Posted on Friday, April 8th, 2016 by Fred Topel
Gale Anne Hurd has made movies about aliens. In fact, one of the greatest of all time, the sequel Aliens. She also produced one of my personal favorites, Alien Nation. So the news that Gale Anne Hurd is back in the alien game should mean a lot. She is producing the new show Hunters on Syfy.
Hunters is about a race of alien terrorists who have infiltrated humanity, and the FBI agents who pursue them, including a Hunter working for us. Natalie Chaidez developed the adaptation of Whitley Strieber’s book Alien Hunter for television. We got to speak with Hurd after her Hunters panel for the Television Critics Association. Hunters premieres Monday, April 11 at 10PM on Syfy.
Can TV actually do action better than movies now?
I think TV does it differently. We don’t have the budget or the number of days to do what Mad Max: Fury Road can do. At the same time, because TV has an opportunity to create and build characters and spend more time with them, when they’re in jeopardy, whatever it is they do, there is just much more of a fan connection to and investment in, that it’s harder to achieve in movies.
Fury Road is extraordinary but so many movies use shaking cameras and quick cuts so you can’t even see the very expensive, dangerous things they’re doing. Can TV give you a little more clarity?
Because we’re working with the actors day in and day out, especially we’ve got a group of people who like each other and want to support each other the way that our cast and crew really bonded, I think that shows. We put our cast through a lot on Hunters. We really did. There were a lot of visits to chiropractors and masseuses to work some kinks out.
You did Aliens and Alien Nation. What is your view on aliens today?
Well, I think that we have an opportunity with Hunters, because I’ve never done aliens in a TV series, to make them scary again. What I mean by that is make them three dimensional. Characters that you get to know in a three dimensional sense are much more interesting and can be much scarier because you know them that much better. It’s not just about can they be gory or can they be scarier looking. When you really dig deep and you expose who they are, that’s what’s really scary to me. Often the scariest people are three dimensional villains, not just the villains who do despicable things but ones that are a lot more complex. That’s what we’re able to do with Hunters.
But the Giger Alien is still one of the scariest creatures ever. How did they do that without having us get to know it?
I don’t think you can do that with a TV series. Then you essentially become the scare of the week. With a TV series you really want to peel the onion so to speak and find out who each and every one of the characters are. Yes, absolutely, but that’s a different kind of show. Our show has horror elements but I wouldn’t say it’s a horror series. So that’s really one of the differences.
When did aliens stop being scary? When did this happen?
I think they began to be, in my mind, sort of one dimensional. Okay, they’re coming to Earth, they want to invade, they want to take over. That just became a trope that we’ve seen time and time again. To me, that’s not all that interesting. Their home planet is destroyed. They’ve overused their resources and now they’re going to take ours. They’re superior to us in all their technology and everything else, that’s not all that scary either. I think the fact that aliens are living amongst us, we have no idea what their aim is, but we know that they’re dangerous and we know that one on one they can take us on and win, but they don’t have that critical mass or that technology to defeat our planet.
Were there any similarities to developing the alien race in Hunters to the Alien Queen in Aliens?
Absolutely, because part of developing the Alien Queen was changing the original idea of the life cycle from the first film. In this, we came up with an entire life cycle of the alien species and ways in which they are completely different from the human life cycle.