INTERVIEWS

LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Exclusive Interview With Millennium Co-Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz
By James Whittington, Saturday 22nd November 2008

On October 6th cult television series Millenniun comes to Zone Horror. This terrifying drama series horror in its purest form with a leading man that really knows how to make the skin on your neck crawl, Lance Henriksen. Here we speak exclusively to Executive Producer Frank Spotnitz about his involvement with a series that changed TV drama forever.

Zone Horror: Is it true you began your working life as a journalist?

Frank Spotnitz: Yes. I was editor of my college paper at UCLA, then went to work for United Press International, first in Indiana, then in New York City. I later wrote for the Associated Press in Paris and freelanced for a number of magazines, including Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.

ZH: How did you get into television work?

FS: I decided I didn’t want to be a journalist anymore! I moved back to Los Angeles from Paris so I could study screenwriting at the American Film Institute. The X-Files was my first job in Hollywood.

ZH: When did you first meet Chris Carter?

FS: By chance. I met Chris in a book group shortly after I moved back to L.A. This was years before he created The X-Files.

ZH: How did you become involved with Millennium and can your recall your reaction when you first heard the basic outline for the series?

M1FS: I was very flattered that Chris asked me to work on Millennium as well as The X-Files – flattered and, in short order, exhausted!  It was very tough doing double  duty on the first season of Millennium and the fourth season of The X-Files. I remember that I only vaguely understood what Millennium was going to be about before Chris let me read the pilot script.  I read it on the laptop computer in his office right after he finished it. I was, quite simply, blown away. I still think that pilot is among the very best things he’s ever written.

ZH: Is it true Lance was the first choice for Frank Black? If not who else was considered? (Personally I can’t think of anyone else who could bring his quiet intensity to the role)

FS: Yes, Lance was Chris’ first choice. There were other actors considered for the role, but I don’t want to risk making them uncomfortable by giving their names.

ZH: What was it like to work with Lance Henriksen and Megan Gallagher, two very different actors?

FS: It was great, although I have to say I didn’t really work “with” them very much.  On Millennium, nearly all of my work was done in Los Angeles — breaking stories, writing scripts, editing episodes and so on. Occasionally, I’d fly up to Vancouver to help prep an episode, but usually I’d only see Lance and Megan when they were in Los Angeles (or during crew parties!).

ZH: The two leads brought so much depth to their respected roles, which other actors that appeared on the show stand out for you?

FS: Terry O’Quinn was, of course, amazing, just as he now is on Lost. I also thought Birttany Tiplady was an astonishing little actress, Sarah-Jane Redmond was fantastic, as always, and Klea Scott is one of my all-time favourite actors, period.  There were too many wonderful guest stars for me to mention.

ZH: As Millennium was based totally in the real world how did you approach writing your episodes, as they were far different to what you were creating for The X-Files?

FS: It was very easy for me to get in touch with my fears on Millennium, because the things that scare me most are things that can happen in the real world. The challenge for me was finding interesting ways to involve Frank’s family in the stories.  And I was also always looking for ways to find hope amid all the darkness. The things I would say The X-Files and Millennium had in common were our focus on tight plotting, and wanting to find interesting reasons for why the bad guys were doing what they were doing.

ZH: Why do you think the series has continued to generate interest and debate with the viewing public?

M2FS: I think it’s because it was very intense and uncompromising. That turned off some viewers, but the people who liked the show, really liked it. I remember the earliest meetings with the network concerned how dark the show was. They kept asking us to lighten up, to find more humour. But Chris had a vision for the series, and it was pretty intense. I also think the show touched on something fundamental about life – the split between the darkness of Frank’s work, and the lightness of his family and home life. Frank struggled to protect his family from the darkness – of the killers he hunted, and inside himself. That’s a very powerful idea to me, and I think it resonates with a lot of other people, too.

ZH: I know some critics disliked the show for its violent content but do you agree it needed to show the horrors of real life in such a graphic manner?

FS: I think there’s an even greater danger when you sanitize violence, or make it less disturbing in some way. I think the most responsible way to depict violence is to make it horrific, because that’s what it is in real life.

ZH: Do you have a favourite episode of Millennium?  

FS: The Pilot episode and Lamentation. Among the ones I wrote, Sacrament.

ZH: There’s a legion of fans waiting the return of Frank Black, is there any chance?

FS: I’d say a small chance, getting smaller every year. We’d still love to revisit the character, but at this point I think someone would have to light a pretty big fire under the Fox executives to make it happen.

ZH: Congratulations on The X-Files – I Want To Believe, an intelligent and refreshing break from predictable CGI drenched blockbusters. Can we expect more?

FS: It’s too soon to say.

ZH: What other projects are you working on at the moment?

FS: I have a couple things in the works I’m very excited about, but the deals aren’t done, so I can’t announce them yet. Soon, hopefully!

ZH: Frank Spotnitz, thank you very much.


MORE INTERVIEWS
Interview with Alexis Kendra, the writer and producer of The Cleaning Lady
Posted on Tuesday 15th June 2021
Alexis Kendra-4

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of The Cleaning Lady on June 26, the film's star, writer and producer Alexis Kendra talks about playing a 'Goddess', coping with lockdown and why she can't watch horror films on her own.

HC: The Cleaning Lady is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

AK: I love you guys. Always have, always will. I'm honoured.

HC: It's a very disturbing film, dealing with abuse, addiction and hidden rage, yet the characters are sympathetic and have real depth. It's horror with a twisted heart. As a co-writer, alongside your director Jon Knautz, what were the main challenges in getting the balance right between acting and writing? <...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Jen and Sylvia Soska, directors of Rabid
Posted on Tuesday 1st June 2021
Soska sisiters-WEB-1

Ahead of Horror Channel's premiere of Rabid on June 12, Jen and Sylvia Soska reflect on the challenges of re-imagining Cronenberg's body horror classic, meeting the great man and their new monster movie, Bob.

HC: Rabid is having its channel premiere on Horror Channel. Excited?

SS: The Horror Channel has supported us and our work since the beginning, so it's a special treat to have the newest film premiere there!

Js: We are so excited. Having Rabid on Horror Channel feels like coming home. They've been very kind to us. We are happy to have so many of our films on there.

HC: We all, of course, remember that Rabid was one of David Cronenberg's earli...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Mickey Fisher, creator of sci-fi series Extant
Posted on Thursday 6th May 2021
Mickey Fisher 1

Horror Channel will be continuing its commitment to bringing cult and classic sci-fi to its audience with Seasons 1 and 2 of the CBS Studios/Amblin Television production of Extant, starring Halle Berry as astronaut Molly Woods, who returns home to her family, inexplicably pregnant after 13 months in outer space on a solo mission.

The series begins on Horror May 11th so, we decided to chat to its creator, Mickey Fisher about how the series came to be produced and what it was like working with Hollywood royalty.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be a writer?

MF: From the time I was maybe five or six years old I wanted to be an actor. Going to see Star...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Gary J. Tunnicliffe, writer and director of Hellraiser: Judgement
Posted on Saturday 20th February 2021
Gary J. Tunnicliffe doing SFX make-up on the set of Hellraiser Judgement

Director and long-time Hellraiser franchise SFX artist Gary John Tunnicliffe has a new entry into the Hellraiser series for us all to enjoy, Hellraiser: Judgement. Here he chats about this gritty horror.

HC: Was there one person or film which inspired you to want to be in the effects industry?

GJT: I can't remember one film that directly inspired me to be in the effects industry, it would definitely have been around 1982 (when I was 14) when The Thing AND American Werewolf in London came out (as well as a mass of FX laden movies) but more than anything it was when s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Chee Keong Cheung, director of Redcon-1
Posted on Wednesday 17th February 2021
Director Chee Keong Cheung

Fast-paced British zombie thriller, Redcon-1 will be having its UK TV premiere on Horror on Saturday 20th February so we decided to chat with its writer and director Chee Keong Cheung about this acclaimed movie.

HC: Where did the idea for Redcon-1 come from and are you a fan of zombie movies?

CKC: I'm a huge fan of the zombie genre and in particular, Danny Boyle's '28 Days Later', Zak Snyder's 'Dawn of the Dead' and of course George Romero's original works which helped to pave the way for the genre and was a real inspiration for me growing up. I remember watching 'Saving Private Ryan' and 'Black Hawk Down' on TV and had always been drawn to the men on a m...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Scott Reiniger star of the original Dawn of the Dead
Posted on Sunday 15th November 2020
DAWN_OF_THE_DEAD_3D_BD_SLIPCASE_PACK_ (1)

On the eve of a stunning new 4K box set of George A Romero's Dawn of the Dead from Second Sight Films, we chat to one of its stars, Scott Reiniger about this incredible film.

HC: How did you first become involved with Dawn of the Dead?

SR: Well, I was in New York, I was a stage actor in New York and I went to college with Christine Forrest, who later became George's wife and she asked me if I wanted to audition for this film called Dawn of the Dead, she wanted to know if I knew who George Romero was and I said, "Yeah, he was the guy who directed Night of the Living Dead". So, they sent the script over and I read it and it was pr...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Steve Speirs, star of Concrete Plans
Posted on Sunday 1st November 2020
Concrete Plans poster

Welsh, Scottish and Ukranian dialects clash in Concrete Plans, a stand-out movie from Will Jewell which has just been released by FrightFest Presents via Signature. Its a super and very dark thriller with an outstanding cast headed up by Steve Speirs. Here he chats about this amazing piece.

Be warned this interview contains some spoilers about the movie. If in doubt watch the movie before reading. You have been warned!

HC: Was there one actor of one film you saw when you were younger that made you want to be an actor?

SS: Oh, I've never been asked that actually. When I started to get into watching films, I'd always wanted to be an actor for as long as I can ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Shayne Ward, star of The Ascent
Posted on Thursday 22nd October 2020
SHAYNE WARD NEW PROMO HEADSHOT 2020-6

A special ops team on a mission in a war-torn country find themselves trapped on a never-ending staircase that they must climb - or they die! This is the premise for Tom Paton's superb, action-packed horror The Ascent which is having its UK TV premiere at 9pm on October 23rd. Here its star, Shayne Ward tells all about his career to date and how he became involved in this sci-fi shocker.

HC: How much did the X-Factor change your life?

SW: Oh, like anyone can say who has been on it, who has done well on the show, it does change your life because it catapults you into the limelight, into the public eye. One day you are relatively unknown...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Ryan Kruger, writer and director of Fried Barry
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
Fried Barry

Anyone who as been to Grimmfest will know that the team behind the event try their very best to bring to their audience films that challenge and push as many envelopes as possible. Fried Barry from director Ryan Kruger is such a movie. Packed with mind-bending imagery and and emotional punch, this polarizing movie has to be seen just for its creativity and strong storytelling. Here, Ryan chats about this incredible movie.

HC: Where did Fried Barry come from?

RK: Fried Barry was born out of total frustration where I was in my career. I am known in South Africa as a music video director for doing narrative story telling within music vids and sharp visuals. Although I al...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Deiondre Teagle, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
thumbnail_Brandon Blood

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with new talent and one actor that stands out is Deiondre Teagle who styars in Charlie Steeds' grindhouse homage, Death Ranch. Here Deiondre explains his role and what it was like being part of such a bold movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to be an actor?

DT: I've definitely known my whole life I've wanted to be an actor. One of my favourite movies of all time is the original Men In Black. When I was little (about 3 or 4 years old), I would re-watch my VHS copy of that movie over and over and over again. I would re-enact every scene. Since then, my love for acting and film has just grown. I have such a love for the...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Faith Monique, star of Death Ranch
Posted on Sunday 11th October 2020
FAITH MONIQUE INTERVIEW PHOTO

Grimmfest 2020 is packed with world premieres and none so bold as Charlie Steed's Death Ranch. We chatted to one of its main stars, Faith Monique about her role in this brutal and brilliant movie.

HC: Was there one person you saw at a young age who inspired you to want to become an actress?

FM: Funny fact, I grew up without a TV! So, at a young age, I never had an actor that inspired me and to this day I still don't. Acting did not become a dream of mine until 2016 and for inspiration, I like to dig deep into my own soul to find truth to bring into each character.

HC: Are you a big fan of horror movies and were you aware of grindhouse and e...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Charlie Steeds, writer and director of Death Ranch
Posted on Saturday 10th October 2020
CHARLIE STEEDS EDITED-23

Horror movies and controversy always go hand in hand but when they tackle serious issues by using extreme violence to hammer home a point they can be very worthy. Death Ranch from Charlie Steeds is having its world premiere at Grimmfest so we chatted to him about this very strong movie.

HC: What inspired you to write Death Ranch?

CS: I'd always wanted to try making a movie with a 70s Grindhouse/Exploitation style and was watching old Grindhouse trailers for inspiration. I came across the movie Brotherhood of Death, where black characters fight back against the KKK for some of the film (the tagline is 'Watch these brothers stick it to the Klan!') and that conce...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interviews Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Ascent
THE ASCENT
Saturday 7th August
10.50 PM
Odd Thomas
ODD THOMAS
Monday 9th August
9.00 PM
Eat Locals
EAT LOCALS
Sunday 15th August
10.55 PM