Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2016 by Fred Topel
Syfy’s new series Hunters could be a cross between V and Homeland. An FBI agent discovers a terrorist organization called Hunters, who are actually aliens from another world. Nathan Phillips and Britne Oldford play agents pursuing the Hunters, and Julian McMahon plays the main Hunter.
Hunters is produced by Natalie Chaidez and Gale Anne Hurd, adapted from the book Alien Hunter by Whitley Strieber. We got to speak with Chaidez, who also used to produce Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, after her Hunters panel for the Television Critics Association. Hunters premieres Monday, April 11 at 10PM on Syfy.
How has doing double duty between Hunters and 12 Monkeys been?
I did most of 12 Monkeys stuff at the beginning of the season. I helped Terry [Matalas] and Travis [Fickett] break season two and then I peeled off because Hunters was shot in Melbourne, Australia. So basically I went from June ’til December and lived and shot in Australia.
Is that show more cerebral versus Hunters?
There’s action in both. I think Hunters is a little bit more of a grounded world because we’re talking about politics. We’re talking about terrorism. We’re trying to keep the world as grounded and realistic as possible, and obviously 12 Monkeys is an apocalyptic fable although a great deal of season two does take place in contemporary time.
Is Gale Anne Hurd the ultimate producer?
Oh my god. I had such a crush on Gale. Gale is the ultimate producer. She is across everything from the macro to taking on the studio and networks, managing that, all the way down to: have you taken a picture of that gun in that actor’s hand to make sure it fits? I don’t know how she does it spread across Walking Dead, Fear, a new show, her other development project than Hunters. She was on the set in Melbourne. She was giving notes on script. She’s been by far the best producer I’ve ever worked with and you understand why her projects look so good once you’ve worked with her.
I don’t know the source material. Is the science and alien species of it directly from the book?
No, it isn’t. The book was very much of a jumping off point and inspired by. I actually worked pretty closely with a Brown professor named Seth Horowitz on the development, anatomy and the physiology of the home planet and the hunters. It grew out of conversations with Seth about the planet, about what kind of being would inhabit that planet. Not that we see very much of that in season one, but it grew out of that. It kind of departs from the book.
So it’s one alien race, not multiple?
In season one, yes.
Is the first season very serialized?
It’s extremely serialized. It’s heavily character driven and following a cell of one group of hunters and what they’re doing on Earth. I can’t reveal what they’re actually doing but it won’t be what you think they’re doing and what every other aliens have been doing on TV for a long time. It has a good twist.
What was strong enough Hunters that pulled you away from 12 Monkeys?
I mean, basically I wrote Hunters. I wrote the pilot and Terry and Travis wrote 12 Monkeys. So it was really the opportunity to do my own material. Also, 12 Monkeys was stable and was up on its feet. I didn’t need to be there day to day for it to have a really strong second season which I’m really proud of. And the opportunity to work with Gale, the opportunity to launch another show for Syfy and for the studio who asked me to do this. You can’t say no. You can’t say no to another series.