ALCATRAZ Red Carpet Interviews with Sam Neill, Robert Forester, Parminder Nagra and Director Jack Bender

     January 16, 2012


One of the most anticipated midseason premieres of 2012 is the J.J. Abrams produced Alcatraz, a supernatural procedural about a team of detectives who hunt and capture inmates from the infamous island prison after the convicts begin to mysteriously appear in modern day San Francisco.

To promote the show, Fox flew select journalists out to the bay area for a premiere party and screening at the prison (here’s my recap of the event). While on location, I got to talk to stars Sam Neill, Robert Forester and Parminder Nagra and Executive Producer and Director Jack Bender about their work on the show. During the interviews we discussed how the series will end, researching time travel, potential appearances by Machinegun Kelly, what it’s like to sit in a real electric chair and much, much more.  Hit the jump for the video interviews.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Generally, Collider will run only original, one-on-one interviews. However, because of delays with the red carpet, several of our interviews were done as two-on-ones to allow the talent to talk to more outlets. Also, we generally have two reporters on the red carpet: one conducting the interview and a second holding the camera. In this instance I did not have access to a cameraman so I was forced to talk to the talent while also trying to hold the camera steady. As a result, the footage can be a bit shaky at times.

Alcatraz premieres tonight on FOX.

Sam Neill

  • :00 – :40 How will the series end?
  • :40 – 1:24 How far ahead is the story planned? How much Neill already know?
  • 1:24 – 2:02 How did the reshoots change the show?
  • 2:02 – 3:19 How did Neill research his character and prepare for the role?
  • 3:19 – 3:43 Where does Neill’s character fit into the pantheon of tv and movie G-men?
  • 3:43 – 4:25 Neill describes his favorite scene so far and his affinity for shooting guns on screen.

Jack Bender

  • :00 – :22 How much of the show is set in Alcatraz? How much of it is filmed there?
  • :22 – :58 Are any of the show’s fictional criminals based on real life Alcatraz inmates?
  • :58 – 1:08 Were real world criminals ever considered instead of fictionalized criminals?
  • 1:08 – 2:42 Is there an endgame plan for the show? Can it be adapted to come sooner rather than later?
  • 2:42 – 3:16 What is the most exciting element of the series so far?
  • 3:16 – 4:00 How are the multiple timelines integrated into the show’s narrative?
  • 4:00 – 4:27 What is the show’s theme?
  • 4:27 – 5:10 Is it challenging to follow up Lost with another show that deals in similar mysteries?

Robert Forester

  • :00 – :37 how big is the mystery?
  • :37 – :58 Forester describes his role on the show.
  • :58 – 2:04 What is it like to sit in a real electric chair?
  • 2:04 – 2:39 Forester muses on the popularity of mythology based tv shows and his own watching habits.
  • 2:39 – 2:49 What is it like to play a part without knowing all of a character’s past?
  • 2:49 – 3:04 Forester summarizes his favorite scene so far.

Parminder Nagra

  • :00 – :30 How is working on E.R. different from working on Alcatraz? How are the characters different?
  • :30 – :49 How far ahead does Nagra know?
  • :49 – 1:17 Given the choice, would Nagra read ahead or stay in the dark?
  • 1:17 – 1:41 What is it like being in the real Alcatraz, since the show didn’t film there?
  • 1:41 – 2:12 Nagra discusses her favorite criminal of the week.
  • 2:12 – 2:50 Will criminals show up more than once? Do any of them become regulars?
  • 2:50 – 3:13 is it more fun to play a character closer to herself or radically different?
  • 3:13 – 3:43 a few tidbits on 28k, her upcoming independent feature.