J.J. Abrams, Orci and Kurtzman talk ‘Fringe’ on Fox

“Fringe” is Fox’s latest suspenseful thriller replete with great special effects, imaginative characters and storytelling. 

The cast includes Joshua Jackson, John Noble and Anna Torv.

Fringe has been described as a blend of “Alias” and “The X-Files,” with a bit of “Outbreak” for its premiere episode.

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

“Fringe’s” opening scene takes place on a plane.   A man injects himself with an unknown substance and proceeds to deteriorate before our eyes.  A hyper-virulent “patient zero,” he infects the entire plane during the flight, rendering a whole passenger load as DOA.

Monsters and Critics got a chance to speak to show executive producers J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman during the recent summertime Television Critics’ Association press tour.

Where did the idea of this show come from?

JJ Abrams: It came from the question what did I want to see or tune in to see? I didn’t want to do the ‘X-Files’ again.  I obsessed about (David) Cronenberg, (Michael) Crichton stuff growing up, those stories.  It started for me with ‘Westworld’ ad Robin Cook’s ‘Coma’ and all the great stories where medicine and science met in real life.  That was where Alex, Bob and I started talking.  How can we do a show that lives in that universe?

R. Orci:  We all sat in a room, and listed off our shows, and obviously X-Files was an inspiration as well, but I wanted to do a story of geniuses solving problems.  Alex (Kurtzman) was a huge fan of ‘Twin Peaks’ and ‘Altered States’ – but that is where we started.

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

A. Kurtzman:  With regards to the action of the story and the interpersonal storylines, that was critical for us, equally part of where we start. Although it sounds like a derogatory term, in a lot of ways we also have to know what the soap opera is as well.  It’s just as important as the genre.  What is the character’s story?

Why did you shoot the pilot in Toronto and the series in New York?

JJ Abrams:  Part of the reason is we wanted to shoot it in a city that had weather, which set the mood for the show.  We looked at various places, and the truth was that the economic s worked for the series to be shot in New York, like with ‘Lost’ or ‘Alias’, shooting in a city whether it be Honolulu or Los Angeles – the show will take place in lots of places; so no matter where we shoot it was going to take place elsewhere.

Also, many cities which have certain kinds of rebates and opportunities.  So it becomes a question of what do we need, what is available, and what fits.  New York was a great fit.  We’re thrilled to be shooting there.  Toronto was wonderful for the pilot and we got an amazing look,

How did the writers’ strike affect your production?

JJ Abrams:  The writers’ strike was something that none of us wanted or liked.  It was bad for everyone.  I feel that any ultimately any pressure or expectations for this or any other show could ruin a show.  If you expect something that’s going to change your life no matter what it is, it is almost invariably going to be disappointing. 

What I’m hoping is the story of the show, the incredible talent of this cast and crew that, moving forward, that we create a show that is entertaining and as much fun as we think and hope it is. 

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

Fringe, courtesy of FOX

I don’t think anyone show can save the fall, but I think a great show is something we all want.  So I look forward to seeing the reaction.  At the end of the day, our fingers are crossed and we’re excited and nervous, more than anything we’re just thrilled to have this chance.  Fox gave us an incredible time slot. 


 

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