Posted on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 by Fred Topel
What do you think it is about this TV season that we’re seeing so many shows not only based on movies, but sequels to those movies rather than remakes?
Alex: I think that the line between television and features started to blur a couple years ago. The standards started to become the same which is that the idea had to be very loud. The show didn’t have to be loud, the idea had to be loud. It had to cut through the clutter. Especially in television where there is so much to watch at any given moment, it has to distinguish itself. There is a certain amount of awareness that the title brings, but you never want to do a show because it’s a title. You want to do a show because you think that there is a story there that works well for television. In the case of Limitless, the movie asked a lot of interesting questions but it didn’t answer all of them. So our show is going to spend time answering a lot of the questions that the movie asked. We get to roll up our sleeves and dig into those in ways you wouldn’t necessarily have time to do in a two hour movie.
Is it hypothetically any easier to get a Limitless show going than a Limitless 2 movie?
Alex: I don’t know. I wasn’t the producer on the movie and I don’t know what their feelings were about it. I think they felt, wisely, that there was a procedural engine at the heart of it if used correctly. How interesting would it be to see a character who has to deal with who he is on this drug suddenly applied to something like being a cop or being a lawyer or being a federal agent or any number of things. It definitely felt to us that there was a real reason to pick up that ball and run with it.
If there were a Limitless 2, could it team up Eddie and Brian?
Alex: It’s an interesting idea. You should write that up.
Does Marvel getting Spider-Man back compromise your plans for Venom?
Alex: My focus is 100% on the monster universe right now. That’s really where I’m spending my time.
So Mummy will be your next movie. After directing your first movie, People Like Us, do you feel ready to direct the kind of big movies that you often write?
Alex: I’ve had the good fortune of being able to write and produce a lot of them now. I’ve spent time with directors who’ve been very gracious with me about really allowing me to sit by their side. I’ve watched them do their thing. I’ve learned a ton. I don’t think you can ever really stop learning, especially from people who are that amazing, so I feel ready. I feel really ready to go and Universal’s been incredible about supporting our whole monster endeavor, so I feel like I’m going to have amazing people around me in order to help us launch it.
Did the delay from 2016 to 2017 help, giving you more prep time?
Alex: Yeah, it does actually, it really does. My partner in the universe, Chris Morgan, I couldn’t be partnered with anybody better as far as someone who understands big movies and big franchises. Obviously, with everything he’s done with Fast. I feel like we put together a wonderful team of writers and it’s going really well.
Shared universe is a new form of sequels. Does it have different demands and rules and things to celebrate about continuing a story?
Alex: Yes and no for me in the sense that because I started in television and have been in television for a long time now, you approach television from a much more serialized longview place. So you think about not just what is the one story I’m telling, but how do I take this story and tell it over many seasons? That’s obviously started to be what’s happening with movies but the challenge is, you have to deliver each movie. Each movie has to be satisfying. You can’t be so serialized that if you didn’t see the movie that came before, you’re really lost. The benefit of being able to exist in a shared universe world is that you can take more time to develop your characters. You can put them in situations that don’t necessarily resolve right away. That’s really exciting. It means that you don’t just have to have a beginning, a middle and an end in which everything is resolved. Obviously as a writer, that’s a lot of fun because it gives you a lot of room to grow.
It’s called The Mummy but do you have access to any monster you may need at some point in the story?
Alex: We very well might.
Do you want to have your mummy wrapped in bandages at some point?
Alex: Look, I don’t think you can make a mummy movie without having a character wrapped in bandages. I feel like that’d be doing a big disservice to the mummy. It wouldn’t be a mummy otherwise.
Who is the new character you’ve invented, Navy Seal Tyler Colt?
Alex: I can’t say too much about the character other than to tell you he’s not a SEAL.
A modern day Mummy has never been done before. Does that give you new opportunities?
Alex: Absolutely, 100%. The minute it’s modern day, the rules change. And yet, what’s really exciting for me is how do you take this ancient creature and make an audience believe that they exist in modern day?
Have you solved that?
Alex: I believe so. I hope so.
Is it connected to Dracula Untold, or is this the start of the Universal Monsters cinematic universe?
Alex: The Mummy isn’t connected to Dracula but I think that is an ongoing conversation.
Are you setting it up so any of the characters in your Mummy will be available to future monster movies?
Alex: That’s very possible.
How do you top the first season of Scorpion?
Alex: I think the thing about Scorpion is that the foundation of the show, there’s so much room for growth on so many different levels. The cases are limitless, no pun intended, but you’ve got characters who are just beginning to understand what it means to integrate into society. They’re the outsiders who never fit in and they’re just starting to in different ways. They come together as a family and they’re still learning a lot about themselves but they have a long way to go. For me, the answer is always what is the most emotional thing and what is the most emotional circumstance we can put our characters in? Hopefully that will top where we went last year. I think it’s always fun, when you bring a family together, to try and find the things that might break it apart?
Do you think there could be an entire episode about their social life, or would it always have to be interwoven with a case?
Alex: I think usually interwoven. We definitely need a case to solve. I think the best episodes are the ones where the cases somehow reflect an emotional challenge that the characters are going through. Hopefully we’re always mirroring those two things.
You haven’t run out of Walter O’Brien stories, have you?
Alex: No, never. By the way, I don’t think you can run out of Walter stories. There’s too many.
Are there any supporting characters who haven’t gotten the focus yet that you’d like to address in season two?
Alex: I think we’ve been actually pretty good about giving everybody a lot of focus on the show, but I think there’s always room for growth for everyone, and maybe some new characters will show up next year.