Frequency gender swap

Frequency was a modestly successful movie in 2000. Jim Caviezel played a cop whose ham radio allowed him to talk with his father 30 years earlier. Now The CW has turned Frequency into a TV show and there are a few differences. Peyton List plays the cop, making it a father/daughter relationship. And now that she’s in the present day, the past is 1996, not 1970. We spoke with producer Jeremy Carver about the adaptation in a roundtable at San Diego Comic-Con, where Frequency had a panel.

Like the movie, Raimy Sullivan (List) prevents her father’s death, but since her mother was not attending the funeral, she became a victim of the Nightingale Killer preying on nurses. Carver said the Nightingale Killer mystery is only the beginning of the show. 

“There are other mysteries and conflicts and issues that are either explicitly brought up in the pilot or hinted at,” Carver said. “I think that’s one of the fun things about the show is while we have this sort of a propulsive mystery with sort of a ticking clock, we have all these other complications standing in the way. That’s been lending itself to episodes that are pretty unpredictable. There’s no one template for the show. While that makes it a little trickier to break these stories, I think it’s ultimately going to be more rewarding to watch.”

It’s hard to believe 1996 is the distant past in a time-jumping show, but it was 20 years ago. The choice of years was practical. “If we didn’t want our main character in 2016 to be too old, how far are you going to go back?” Carver said. “’96 felt like just different enough era-wise to be able to pull it off. It’s a bit of a tricky generation to hit just because it’s not so singular like the ’80s or the ’70s or ’60s.”

A movie only has to worry about the two parallel time periods. If Frequency lasts two or more seasons, would Carver have to consider moving up the time periods to 2017 and 1997 respectively? “I don’t know that we would necessarily jump a year,” Carver said. “That’s story dependent, whether it’s a direct pickup or not. Let’s see where we end up. It’s not set in stone.”

In the new 2016, Raimy remembers her father Frank (Riley Smith) died in an automobile accident only a few years prior. Since she already saved him once, could she also prevent his second death? The movie features a satisfying twist, but in the film Dennis Quaid’s character had died of lung cancer.

“I think in success anything is possible,” Carver said. “You could see a world where down the road they might confront that very issue, but they might not confront it in the same way that you’re thinking about. It might not be as simple as it’s portrayed in the pilot.”

The big question was about the gender switch. “For me, I just thought it would be much more of a challenge to do this,” Carver said. “I always love that central relationship of the movie, but when I thought more and more about it, the idea of making it a father/daughter just felt more dynamic to me. I’m a father of a daughter. There’s this trope of daddy’s little girl that I think this show sort of explodes because she’s anything but. We’ve really run with that. I hadn’t seen a relationship like this, at least in the shows I’m watching. It just felt more exciting, more dynamic and not so tried and true to be completely honest.”

Frequency premieres Wednesday, October 5 at 9PM on The CW. Read our review of the pilot here.

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