FOX's Sleepy Hollow has been airing for a few week's now, and as viewers are beginning to see, the series' take on the tale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman has a far different mythology than anything we've seen before. We had the opportunity to sit down with series co-creators and executive producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman following their panel at the TCA (Television Critics Tour) recently. We elected to hold the interview until the first couple of episodes had aired so that the viewers would have a sense of the series.
The writing/producing team's credits include the two most recent Star Trek films (they'll also return for the third) and next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, among other things.
IGN: Just looking at what you have on deck, how is it humanly possible for you to accomplish all the work you need to get done?
Alex Kurtzman: It’s funny you say that. I think we ask ourselves that every day, but it’s just the reality. We started as partners when we were 18-years old. And we were very fortunate in that we were given the opportunity to work on a television show, and then run the television show at a very young age. We were doing movies at the same time so we learned very quickly to start multi-tasking and really how to organize your time during your day. It means that when you’re focusing on something you’re there for it, and when you switch gears you’re there for that. And it is a marathon.
Roberto Orci: I think part of what we learned in that experience is that you must surround yourself with an amazing team and it isn’t just about each other, it’s about the people we work with. And in each project, there is an amazing team. Also, not everything is happening at once. We’ve staggered it structurally. So we’re going to work on this for these months, and then we’re going to movie to this one, and then we’re going to move to this one, then this one. So that you can live wholly and completely in whatever it is that you’re doing.
IGN: We’ve posted a few articles about the show, and one things I’ve noticed is that some people are responding in a way that indicates that they feel attached to, or protective of, this story. Is that surprising to you, or something that was a concern as you were working on this reimaging?
Orci: The original property was 17 pages, so I feel like we have some leeway. There are so many references that are right out of that short story that we pay genuine honor to and now we’re continuing that story. There’s really nothing left to violate at that point. It’s really called “Sleepy Hollow, the Ride of Ichabod Crane” and he’s a professor, he gets chased by a horseman across a bridge and he vanishes. That’s the story. So, I think, we had a much harder time staying true to things in something like Star Trek. And I think we’re being very true to it, but then we’re imagining what would happen if it was continuing on, if Washington Irving was around to make it a show.
IGN: It’s interesting, because you guys do work with properties that fans have a genuine attachment to. But then I think there are circumstances where that the sense of attachment becomes exaggerated. Someone may not have read say, this story in years, if ever, and yet a new interpretation emerges and a trend happens where some genuinely start to feel as though they have a deep connection to the original, and as such, are resistant to a new version. In reality they may, or they may not have actually thought about it in years. It’s interesting. What’s your take on that phenomena?
Kurtzman: It’s a complicated thing where everybody has a right to protect something that they care about. And I think we feel that way about things. We don’t take something on that we don’t feel protective of. You can’t please everybody, and you can’t try to please everybody because you’ll only fail. So, I think the most important thing is to ask, what is it that you love, and what is it that you’re following? Because usually, if you’re following something that is genuine and from your heart, you will reach people. I think if you love the short story of Sleepy Hollow, then you’ll see that we’ve made a tremendous amount of references to it and that we too love it. The beauty of what we all do is that everything is open to interpretation. That’s part of what this medium is about. So, I’m equally sure that if we took Sleepy Hollow and translated that frame-for-frame they would say that it was an incredible violation of the short story. So, maybe you can’t win, and in that sense it doesn’t matter. You can’t let that drive your process. It’s not a matter of tuning people’s voices out, it’s a matter of saying, “What do I want to see?” And then letting people respond because they have a right to.
IGN: Well, as to that, let’s talk about the mythology of the show a little bit. There’s the idea of this “larger war” that you mentioned in the panel, and we can start to see that emerge in the pilot. There’s the idea of the war of good vs. evil, in a sense, with the horseman now set-up as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Crane as the man who – at least temporarily – stopped him. But when first they meet, it’s on the battlefield of the Revolutionary War with the Horseman fighting on behalf of the British. So...are the Red Coats working for the devil [laughs]?
Orci: [Laughs] No, not at all. We’re not saying that some other country was fighting for the devil. Certainly the idea that we’ve been talking about though is the idea that evil did not want freedom to flourish. The Red Coats were obviously just pursuing their own colonial interests – not working for the devil [laughs]. We’re not saying that the British are evil.
IGN: Damn it there goes my headline! Orci and Kurtzman: “The British Are Evil.”
Orci: [Laughs] But yes, there is the idea that there is another war going on underneath that is related but not identical.
IGN: And that it’s this particular moment in history that felt like a threat to that…entity that didn’t want freedom to flourish?
Orci: Well it's the birth of the greatest democracy that hopefully ever lived. So that was a big problem.
IGN: So what does that mean in terms of Greece. I mean why wasn’t the Headless Horseman in Greece, the birthplace of democracy, to sort of nip it in the bud before it could even become an idea?
Orci: Maybe he was…by the way…we don’t know [Laughs].
Continue on for more on how they plan to reveal the Horseman's backstory...
Source : ign[dot]com