Wednesday, 30 April 2014

interview: David Winning

I interviewed director David Winning by e-mail in September 2000 about his work on what was then a brand new, unaired show - Andromeda. David has also directed a stack of other TV shows, including Earth: Final Conflict, Friday the 13th, Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark? plus the second Power Rangers movie.

How well are the cast and crew of Andromeda gelling at this stage in the production?
"This is the same production team that I worked with in Vancouver on three episodes of the NightMan series in 1998. Headed by executive producer Allan Eastman, it was as much fun then as it is now. This is certainly a bit different though; the stakes are higher and we're all aware of the legacy and the tradition - not to mention the fanbase that no one wants to let down. Director of Photography Gordon Verhuel is giving the series an amazing visual look. My second episode (‘The Pearls That Were His Eyes’ with John de Lancie) brought them to the halfway mark of the first season. This is a group that works very well together and is very talented and respectful of the material."

What problems are presented in working on a series which hasn't aired yet and so has no audience feedback?
"At last count there are already 94 websites in existence for Andromeda. How's that for pressure? Robert Hewitt Wolfe (DS9) who developed the series from Roddenberry's notes has an excellent feel for the genre and has created a very exciting group of characters and storylines for the first season. I think fans will be pleasantly surprised. It is tough with a new series but it's a whole new universe!"

To what extent is the legacy of Gene Roddenberry felt on the show?
"Star Trek (the original series) had an indelible impact on me as a teenager. And I didn't discover it until reruns started in the early seventies - on a black-and-white TV no less! I've said many times that it taught me how to make films. Even in the days of corny melodrama, Roddenberry certainly tapped into something special in 1966. The entire production team has an enormous amount of respect for the Creator - and hope we created something equally special with Andromeda. And yes, he's there on the bridge of the Andromeda Ascendant even today."

On the basis of what you've seen, which character, device or other aspect of Andromeda is likely to be the one that everyone latches onto and identifies with the show?
"Too many to name. Seven exciting and vibrantly different main characters to start - and some incredible new alien visitors that should keep fans tuning in. I really think there will be something for everyone. Stories filled with action, drama, humour and intelligence."

How well is Kevin Sorbo exorcising the ghost of Hercules and establishing his new character?
"Kevin is an incredible actor and person. He's bringing a real warmth and humanity to Dylan Hunt that I think audiences will respond to. He did seven seasons of Hercules and wasn't ready to jump back into television this soon. I don't think he could resist this part when it came along. To start with, Kevin is a huge Roddenberry fan. He's a very powerful presence on that bridge."

How does John de Lancie's character Uncle Sid compare with Q, and is he likely to return in future episodes?
"First of all - does he return? Well, that would be giving away the plotline of ‘Pearls’ - due to air in January 2001. John is kind of a hypnotic performer. He brought so much likability to the character of Uncle Sid in a portrayal that I'm hoping will entertain many fans when it airs next year. On a personal level, he's a quiet, soft-spoken, very intelligent man who is extremely busy juggling many projects at once. It was a fun experience."


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