As I said a day ago when I posted my exclusive interview with show runner/executive producer Josh Friedman of “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles,” I recently visited the set of the TV show and had a pretty great experience.
Since I don’t want to bore you with a recap of the same events, I strongly suggest
It was done during the breakfast where all the online journalists and the cast/crew were taking turns talking to each other. It was a loud setting where everyone was talking and having fun, and the conversations went all over the place – from talking about working on the show to having Brian Austin Green reminisce about “90210” and would he be into appearing on the new version.
But the thing I really took away from our time talking was how much fun they all seemed to be having together. When you work the long hours that are involved with making a 1 hour action/drama, the last thing you want to be doing is hanging out on set if you’re not into the show and the people that surround you. I’ve spoken to friends who’ve worked on shows where people hated each other…and as soon as they wrapped they’d be gone. This was clearly not that environment.
Anyway, while I usually make the audio of every interview available as a download, due to how loud it was, it’d be almost worthless to listen to. One of the reasons why this took a bit of extra time to get done is the difficulty in transcribing these people.
Finally, in the next day or two I’ll have my write-up of the hours I spent on set with a lot of photos from not only the breakfast…but of me blowing up a car. Yeah…they let us blow up a fracking car! I’ve been to a lot of sets now…and this was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
And with that, here’s Shirley Mason, Brian Austin Green and creator/show runner Josh Friedman.
When they talked to you about taking on this role, then, they knew that you were going to be one of these robots from the future then basically?
So how did that conversation go, and what attracted you to taking on that kind of a thing?
How much of the character–did you know from the beginning what it was?
And how did that inform the performance, your decisions as an actor, knowing it was a robot. Were you playing it as a person or a robot?
You’re diving right in with this. What do you think about hour long dramas?
Josh Friedman: Actually, there’s a certain kind of contract which is, well, a season regular, but it’s 7 out of 13, which means that you guarantee somebody 7 episodes out of 13 episodes. That doesn’t mean that they can only be in 7 episodes, it just means that contractually that’s what you’re guaranteeing them, and that’s what we have given Shirley, 7 out of 13, so she was like, so at the end of 7 episodes, do I have a good death? And I was like what are you talking about? She’s like, well at the end of the 7 episodes, who kills me? I was like sweetie, you’re not going anywhere right now. She was like oh.
So then it dawned on you, you could be in for the long haul.
Also, I think it was surprising for everyone to learn that you actually sang in the episode. I mean, there’s some music there. Is that going to happen again?
Like it’s a hobby or something?
Brian, did you give Shirley any advice about jumping into a series like this?
Brian Austin Green: No
Brian Austin Green: Shirley and I kind of met in the beginning but we haven’t worked together yet, so we haven’t really had too much of an opportunity to talk. We did a little bit at Comic-Con at the panel, but no. I haven’t helped her at all. I’ve given her nothing.
You can share them, you’re allowed to–
How are you working through the process, how are you doing this?
Brian Austin Green: It’s the preparation that you just have to get used to, yeah.
As a singer, are you formally trained or–
Okay, so you don’t have any formal training for that, either.
In a way it’s performing, right, you’ve been performing your whole life.
How did you–I don’t know if you watched the episode last night or–
How do you like how you look, or I mean maybe that’s not a fair question to ask an actor.
Brian Austin Green: it’s an odd question.
That’s my job.
Or as a urinal.
What about the different collaborative processes of performing with a cast versus working with a band. The team work aspect of it.
Have you guys known each other for a while?
Brian, can I ask you a question?
Brian Austin Green: Nah, I’m just here for breakfast. I wasn’t told I was asking any questions.
Last year you sort of had the challenge of overcoming–well maybe it wasn’t so much of a challenge–maybe it was just us–but overcoming–
Brian Austin Green: it was more of a challenge for you, yeah.
But this year people can accept you for the character that you played already. So what do you see this character going forward?
Brian Austin Green: Well that’s up to Josh, you know.
Brian Austin Green: Yeah
Brian Austin Green: I’m down to a 3 out of 10 contract unfortunately–after this breakfast.
Brian Austin Green: surprisingly gentle, Josh.
That’s a picture I don’t need in my head.
Brian Austin Green: no, he’s a sweetheart.
Brian Austin Green: Holy shit. Golly. Alright, I play a urinal sometimes, yes. I’ll pick up with that one, thanks. Um, I really don’t know what’s coming up. I’m kind of, I’m surprised from episode to episode what’s going on. I don’t know too far in advance what’s happening, I know the next episode.
You feel more comfortable in this guy’s skin now, obviously.
Brian Austin Green: Um, yes and now. I mean, I don’t know if I ever could completely feel comfortable, acting. It’s a strange process. Like Shirley was talking about a little bit, it’s really different from other things. In the sense of you do what you do but that’s all you really have control over. The rest of it is up to everybody else. It’s up to the director and the editors and you know. So you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out until you see it. Which is, luckily I really enjoy watching the show because I’m always happy with how it turns out.
Do you enjoy that, the not knowing where the character is going in the whole arc?
Brian Austin Green: it’s interesting.
If you do a movie you obviously know where the character is going
Brian Austin Green: yeah. It’s interesting. Um, it’s fun. It can be a bit confusing at times, I have to ask a lot of questions. We shoot out of order here which is even more confusing, so the front page of our script is usually a description of what’s happened before this script that we haven’t read and don’t know anything about. So it’ll say okay, this is episode 6 but in episodes 4 and 5 this is what happened, you know, so you’re kind of reading this short run down and synopsis of what’s going on. But Josh is always on set, James Middleton’s always on set, so they’re really good at giving us whatever information we need.
Do you find yourself making decisions about things that might be undone in later episodes in plot-forward episodes?
Brian Austin Green: If you ask the right questions, no, and that’s all I can do. I can ask as many questions as I feel I need in a scene to make sense of what I’m doing and why, and then that’s it.
And Josh will give you the answers?
Brian Austin Green: Josh will give me the answers, always.
How about you Shirley, on the sort of not knowing and playing the character in the moment of the episode but not knowing what the future is?
Brian Austin Green: I mean, television is a much, has a much more drawn out long life than films do. They’re just a completely different monster that way. A lot of film scripts are almost direct time, they’re within the timeline, so they’ll be an hour and a half of time in this person’s life, or a week of life. We’re playing a year’s worth of time, so I don’t necessarily need to know how it ends or where it’s going as long as I know how I’m getting there. Then they can throw whatever they want at me and its just the natural progression. You make it the natural progression.
What episode are you guys on right now?
Brian Austin Green: eight.
Brian Austin Green: it’s the ninth one–no after this one–doesn’t matter. Ninth episode.
Are there going to be more–at what point do you and the writers say to yourselves no more people from future?
One of the most interesting episodes last year was when you had the flash forward to the future.
Are you going to do that again you think?
So we’re going to see more of the future?
Is Shirley going to sing anymore?
Did you watch 90210?
Brian Austin Green: No, I missed it. I’m going to watch it tonight, though.
So you’re not avoiding it, that’s a chapter of my life that’s passed–
Brian Austin Green: no.
Were you aware of everyone that’s back and Silver being a character and–
Brian Austin Green: yeah, yeah.
Do you feel sort of a proprietary aspect to it? Like if they might screw up your back story and–?
Brian Austin Green: I don’t know if you could possibly screw up my back story any more than it was screwed with over ten years. Um, no, it’s a new start, it’s a new show, and the audience that’s watching is new. A lot of them were too young to watch ours. So it’s a new cast and it’s a new take on it. I can’t, sort of a new cast? Well, you’ve got the two that came back, you know. Shannon and Jennie.
She said some very nice things about you.
Brian Austin Green: she did. I know, I actually sent her a text message yesterday.
Given that the character is still sort of in the background of the story, is there any chance under which you’d drop in for five minutes?
Brian Austin Green: I don’t know.