Fox Executive Kevin Reilly Talks Batman Origin Story GOTHAM, BROADCHURCH Remake GRACEPOINT, WAYWARD PINES, SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2 & More

     January 13, 2014

kevin reilly

As part of the TCA Press Tour presentation for Fox, Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly took some time to talk about the network’s current and upcoming line-up. During the interview, he talked about where things are at with the event series Wayward Pines and Gracepoint (the American version of Broadchurch), how Gotham will very much be the Batman origin story with many of the well known characters, and that the series will lead up to Bruce Wayne finally putting on the Batman cape in the final episode, the 13-episode second season of Sleepy Hollow, and the likelihood that Bones will return for another season, with Stephen Nathan as showrunner, since Hart Hanson will be moving on with Backstrom.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

wayward pines posterWhat’s the status of the upcoming shows that you’re currently going into production on?

REILLY:  For our 10-episode event series, Wayward Pines, we are currently in production on Episode 5.  For our new event series, Gracepoint, we’re going to do 10 episodes.  We are fully cast, and we go into series production in two weeks.  We picked up Backstrom, which was produced for CBS last year.  I love the pilot.  We are keeping it almost entirely intact.  I can’t be happier to be in Hart Hanson’s great hands again with Rainn Wilson out front.  Hart has already written four episodic scripts, and we go into series production in March.  Hieroglyph is our new 13-episode, incredible adventure set in ancient Egypt, and is currently prepping series production in Santa Fe and Morocco.  We are in series prep.  We have three scripts and a series bible already in motion.  Gotham, our Batman origin story, has been ordered to pilot, but we’ll be preparing as a series.  We’ll be staffing in mid-February to begin rolling right into episodic production with scripts, way ahead of the process on that.  The Middle Man, from Glenn Caron and Ben Affleck, has five scripts in motion, and we are casting.  We’ve completely started from scratch with the John Mulaney sitcom, and shot the pilot last Friday.  He’s got four more scripts behind it, and we’ll be shooting six episodes.  We’ll be doing the same thing with Cabot College (working title), the new project from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.  We are shooting a pilot called Fatrick, with Nanatchka Khan and Corey Nickerson.  [Nat] Faxon and [Jim] Rash are directing that.  We are fully cast, and we’ll be shooting that in a few weeks.  I anticipate that will be kicked up to series sometime in early February.

Is the pick-up for Season 2 of Sleepy Hollow for 13 episodes?

sleepy-hollow-castREILLY:  It’s for 13, but we may do a few more.  There’s not a magic number.  It was very heavy lifting this year.  It’s a huge show.  We had a hard time making airdates, and not because there’s anything wrong.  It’s an enormous show.  The finale’s fantastic, by the way.  I can’t wait till you see it.  But for most shows and dramas, in this day and age, it’s better for the audiences to focus and to do shorter orders.  They don’t feel so ubiquitous, as if they go on forever.  It feels like an appointment, and something you can watch.  I think many dramas are just better creatively on a shorter-order pattern.  We will be starting next year’s production of Sleepy Hollow this March.  We will be months ahead of everybody else.

How are you going to position Gotham from a marketing perspective, since it’s a Batman show without Batman?

REILLY:  Batman is in it, as young Bruce Wayne.  This is an origin story.  This is what I love about it.  This is not like some of the things where you’ve bought a franchise, but then you have a bunch of characters no one’s ever heard of, or an offshoot that we make up.  This is all of the classic Batman characters, with a young Bruce Wayne, with Detective Gordon before he’s Commissioner Gordon, with the Penguin, with the Riddler, and with the Joker.  All of those characters are going to arc and become who they are.  I’ve read the script.  It’s really good.  It’s going to be this operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality.  And we will arc a young Bruce Wayne from a child into the final episode of the series, when he will put on the cape.

Can you say how old he is when the show begins?

gotham-TV-showREILLY:  We’re playing with that with casting now.  He’s a young boy, but my guess would be that he’d be somewhere around 12.

What are you looking to do with the American version of Broadchurch, called Gracepoint?

REILLY:  When Peter Rice and I first saw it, we emailed each other one weekend because we were obsessed and said, “What if we just aired this as is?”  We really did contemplate it.  But I think it would probably be lower-rated, where we could have a really big one with this.  I’ve learned the hard way, don’t fix what ain’t broke.  That show will, by and large, be an American version that’s very faithful to the British version.  But they only did eight episodes, and we’re doing 10 hours in the first cycle.  We have a different ending than they have, so there will be something to stay tuned for with a twist.

Why did you cast Anna Gunn, instead of also going with the original British actress?

REILLY:  You need a salt-of-the-earth quality in that role, and I think Anna really does have that.  She’s a tall, elegant woman.  That was her character, to a certain extent, on Breaking Bad.  She is quite striking, but I think in a really approachable way, she’ll be costumed accordingly.  And we really intended to fully do an American cast, top to bottom, when David [Tennant] indicated that he wanted to do the role.  He’s so wired into this franchise and he’s such a huge star in the UK, it felt like his Hugh Laurie moment in time, so we made the decision to go with him.  But at a certain point, then you’re just completely redoing the same show.  That’s how that evolved. 

Is Bones being renewed?

REILLY:  We’re negotiating on Bones for another season.  I would anticipate it will be back.  We’ve got to make a business deal, but I think we’ll work that out.  And I’m really excited.  Stephen Nathan will be running that show next year, and he’s been with Hart from minute one.  Hart’s going to really be focusing on Backstrom.

Around The Web
  • Jan

    Regarding his Broadchurch comments; I love how he’s basically saying Olivia Colman wasn’t hot enough and Americans will only tune in if there’s an attractive, female lead. It’s embarrasing, frankly.

    • The Flobbit

      Absolutely. I hope they stay true the slow-burn tone of the British TV series, and not feel the need to stick in a whole bunch of crappy OTT action.

  • The Flobbit

    OK! Gotham just got a whole lot more interesting. Jim Caviezel for Gordon, Crispin Glover for The Joker. Sounds awesome.

    • Doug_101

      Not that I think he’s not a good choice, but Jim Caviezel is too busy playing The Dark Knight on Person of Interest to be involved with this.

  • Thomas K.

    So, I’m not going to lie.
    Part of me is psyched for Gotham, Part is terrified.

    Did DC approve this, seems kinda shocking if they did, like it would be pretty risky to set up a Batman that most likely won’t be part of their Cinematic Universe.

    I mean, I know there is Arrow and Flash now on it’s way… But Batman is their everything, excluding Superman. Curious as to how DC feels about this.

  • Doug_101

    The real question with this Batman series is whether it will tie into Ben Affleck’s Batman films as a way to avoid setting up all these characters we’ve met before in films. I’m not sure how I feel about it. By having Bruce Wayne be 12 years old in it and then mentioning The Joker in the same breath – does this mean Batman will be fighting a 50-year-old Joker like he did in the 1989 film? The way the history of the character has been crafted over the years is that the costumed villains didn’t start showing up until AFTER Batman arrived on the scene, which makes way more sense than having them exist prior to his first appearance. Also, in having Bruce be 12 and then saying the series finale will be him becoming Batman, that’s really counting your chickens before they hatch. The show would have to run, at the very least, 8 seasons for that to work unless they did a time jump and re-cast the role.

    • The Flobbit

      I think the Joker will be the washed up crook who dresses up as the Red Hood or something like that.

    • The Flobbit

      I think the Joker will be the washed up crook who dresses up as the Red Hood or something like that.

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  • DNAsplitter

    If DC sets this up to tie into their cinematic universe that they are creating then this will be awesome news! If it isn’t then I have a feeling it is going to disapoint a lot of people as the confusion over mutiple versions of characters on two different mediums and the endless comparison will be annoying and confusing having to address both. It would make sense to tie it in as we are getting an older/mature Batman in the new films and this would be a fun way to re-explore his origins again without wasting time in the movies (looking at you Amazing Spider Man) as we just saw it in part in Nolan’s films.

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