Friedman & Lena Headey Talk Season 2!
To promote the second season premiere of Terminator: The Sarah
Connor Chronicles (airing September 8, 2008 on FOX), Josh Friedman
and Lena Headey today participated in a conference call with various
online media outlets.
Here is what they had to say! SPOILER WARNING.
After Josh Friedman talked about a big Terminator-related surprise
in the season premiere (which we're not going to post until after
it's aired), Lena Headey talked more about the role of Sarah Connor
in the series. "Its been an interesting season. I feel
that Sarah has kind of taken a backseat in terms of being proactive
and taking care of business. I think that were going to see
a lot more of John taking control and then becoming, making steps
towards becoming the man he has to be to take on his tasks. And
I think this season for Sarah is kind of her losing slight control
over everything pretty much, and my feeling is that I think theres
a slow madness sort of happening in her because she feels that everythings
kind of out of reach right now," she says. She describes this
new direction as "calming" for her. "It's calming,
but will be more visceral I think, but its been strange coming
from such a ferocious side of her to being, feeling very, like all
control has gone from her," she says.
was revealed at the Comic-Con International in San Diego that one
of the series' regular cast members would die in Season 2, and one
journalist asked Lena if the title of the show ensures her safety.
"You can never feel safe, to quote Sarah. I dont take
anything for granted," Lena says. Friedman assures that even
thoguh there may being some death-related themes in the series premiere,
you'll know the "big death" when you see it. "Theres
obviously some stuff in the first episode kind of thematically about
dying and resurrection and reorientation of all the relationships,
but when the character dies, I think well know," he says.
"Its usually their behavior on the set," Friedman
jokes, explaining how he came up with which character to kill off.
"No, its pure storytelling. Its painful to say
good-bye to actors. Its painful, especially this show. Everyones
wonderful and theyre all lovely people, and going to an actor
and saying, 'Heres the script and this is whats going
to happen,' is extremely difficult, and its never driven,
at least so far, for us, its never been driven by economics
or anything extracurricular. Its
and youre, all of a sudden youre having this dawning
realization that you have a really good idea for something story-wise,
but its going to end up costing somebody a job. And its
not easy. These are people, and most of them will, theyll
go on and get other work, but its not a fun thing to do really,"
he says. He does reveal that the actor whose character will die
is aware of it.
Shirley Manson's new character of Catherine, the CEO of a major
corporation, Friedman does not want to quickly classify her as evil.
"I think evils a bit strong. I dont think of any
of these characters as evil. I think that theyre very focused.
They have a plan. Its not personal, like theres some
evil back story where theres revenge necessary. I think that
theres a plan that she has in place," he teases.
Shirley Manson actually was known by Friedman for a few years before
getting the role of Catherine. "Shes a friend of my wifes,"
he reveals. "Personally, Ive always enjoyed her, and
Ive known her as a performer, and last year, when we were
doing the show last year, whenever Id see her, I used to joke
with her about coming on the show to do one episode or something
like that because she never acted. And were like, 'You know,
you should come, do one thing, come be a scary terminator for an
episode or do something like that,' and she always said, 'Yeah,
yeah, yeah, youre never going to do that.' And then this year,
when we started casting, I actually wasnt thinking about her
for this part. Wed just started casting this part, and then
somewhere about a week into casting, I thought I want to bring Shirley
in and see if shes up for it, see if she wants to do it, and
she was actually in Europe, I think, for a funeral. And I e-mailed
her and said, Do you want to come in and audition? She
said, Well, yes, Im coming back in town on Sunday.
I said, Well, we need you in on Monday, and she came
and she did it, and shes just got an incredible charisma.
And also, shes just very professional. Shes always prepared,
and her learning curve in terms of the craft part of it has been
very high so far, so I dont know. It sort of just happened
organically, but she also had to go through the entire audition
process just like any other actor. She was given no extra points
for being Shirley Manson. I think, in some ways, she was given minus
points by people who thought maybe she couldnt do it,"
Another question that came up involves John Connor's place in high
school - a storyline that may take a backseat as the show progresses.
"Weve seen just about the last of John in high school.
I think John and Sarah have either wisely chose homeschooling for
John at this point. It doesnt mean that weve seen the
last of John interacting with people from his high school, but I
think the days of seeing John sitting in class, yes, are pretty
numbered," Friedman confirms. Another thread from Season 1
that actually may resurface is the question of Sarah Connor's future
of dying of cancer. "Thematically, we definitely visit it again
this year, and an early episode kind of brings it back up, and I
think its sort of investigated. Its sort of explored
in a kind of oblique way in one of the early episodes. Its
definitely not something that weve forgotten about, but I
also dont think youre going to see her in bed with chemo
anytime soon," he says.
Regarding Sarah Connor's love life, Lena Headey does not believe
a romance with Derek Reese is in the cards. "I think that Derek
and Sarahs relationship is more a little of already-divorced
parents. I think the fact that hes Johns uncle would
be weird, seeing as his brother was the love of her life, so I dont
think theres going to be any development there. I certainly
wouldnt want it. I think it would be far too obvious,"
Headey says. Friedman agrees. "It's not something that we've
contemplated at all," he says. Charley, however, still might
still be a possibility. "Who knows with Charley?" Lena
posits. "I think that's always an open door at the moment."
Friedman talked a bit about the religious connections in the Terminator
franchise, from the classic movies all the way through to Ellison's
faith in The Sarah Connor Chronicles. "Its something
thats always been in the franchise," he says. "I
think that Sarah as a very, very radicalized Mary figure and John
as sort of a Jesus figure has always been in the franchise, and
its stuff that, thematically, is interesting to explore. And
Ive kind of become fascinated with it through the Ellison
character, and part of it was just because Richard T. Jones is quite
religious and Id spent some time talking to him about it,
and I figure it seemed like a really natural place to sort of explore
some of those themes. And especially with him, regarding whether
or not his faith is either confirmed or challenged by, you know,
with the things hes seen. I think its easy to assume,
oh, because there are terminators in the universe that that means
that God doesnt exist or something, but I dont think
that thats necessarily true. So its interesting just
to see people with particular ideologies have to try to fit radical
world views into it," he says.
Friedman assures that the relationship between mother and son will
remain at the forefront of the series. "I would say that the
Sarah/John relationship is the central relationship in the show,
and I think that, at different times, there can be different shifts
in terms of the power dynamic or the proactivity. Lena talks a little
bit about her character taking a back seat to John. I think that
its a parent/child struggle, and I think that, as a parent,
Ive kind of, well, my child was a lot younger, but kind of
watching the push and pull of that dynamic, to me, is fascinating.
So I sort of look at them as a pair. Ultimately, yes, its
called The Sarah Connor Chronicles and its about how
does this parent of this special child deal with that, and its
challenging. I think its challenging for any parent, and its
challenging for this particular parent because of who hes
supposed to be, but I dont believe that she ever has to stop
being Sarah Connor. I think its just the challenge is kind
of figuring out who that is on a daily basis," Friedman explains.
"I think that Sarahs pretty complex," Headey adds.
"You take a normal girl whos suddenly, thanks to this
conversation, gives birth to Jesus, and was in love, I think was
truly in love with this man and he dies and leaves her with this
legacy. And I absolutely think that her anger is partly at her son
and her situation, obviously. And I think thats what it is,
her frustration in dealing with that as she cant really throw
down with her son. But I think theres a rooted anger also
with everybody that comes to advise her and say she should do this
and look at it this way, and I think she would love to say,' $%#$%
you all,' and she cant for various reasons. So yes, I think
youre right. I think its in the mix. Well, I know its
in there somewhere," she says.
Season Two will have a good balance between action and character
moments, hopefully providing a little bit of something for everyone.
"At this point, its sort of become an organic thing for
us. I think we sort of have a sense of how much action to have in
any given episode. It does shift sometimes. Sometimes you, in terms
of the realities of production, you dont have the time or
money to do big things all the time in every episode, which Im
happy for. I kind of like it when they say, the money people come
to us and say, You know what? This episodes going to
have to be a little smaller than the last episode. I kind
of enjoy writing smaller, more character-driven episodes, and I
think that, at the end of the day, well, I mean, I think theres
sort of three audiences, I think, for the show. Theres the
people who really come for the action, theres people who really
come for the characters, and then theres the large Venn diagram
in the middle, which is the people who want both. And I think those
are the ones that ultimately, I think, are the most pleased consistently
because theyll get one or the other during the week. To me,
its a drama. Its still a family show, a family drama
that is in the science fiction world and has action in it, but its
still, I think, character first for me," Friedman explains.
On the subject of character, the addition of Brian Austin Green
as a series regular as Derek Reese for Season 2 seemed to be a natural
one. "People really liked him and we really liked him. I think
he adds something to that dynamic. I think that Johns always
been looking for father figures, and I think its interesting
to have one around who is a blood relative, but his back story is
complicated. I like the fact that Derek represents the human face
of the future war and kind of the cost, so hes sort of like
a, to the extent that hes sort of this damaged war vet who
is in the scenes. You always have a sense of the stakes of what
theyre fighting and what you dont want to see someone
become, which is Derek. And he was out doing lots of auditions,
so we thought wed lock him up so that no one else could take
him," Friedman says. (In other words, 90210 producers
- back off!)
Friedman seems to be in support of "future" storylines
as long as they tie in to the things that happen in the present
day. "The future stuff really informs the things that are going
on in the present, and you end up, to me, when I watch that episode
['Dungeons and Dragons'], I see an amazing emotional storyline with
Sarah and with Charley and with John, and I think combining those
two and playing those two worlds off against each other is something
that I think works very well for us, and so I think were going
to see it in certain flashes this year, but it should always, and
we try to always keep it informing of the emotional back story of
the show, it doesnt just become just pure eye candy, despite
the joyousness of that," he says.
Friedman reiterates that he's not a big fan of the idea of bringing
in people from the Terminator film franchise into the series,
although he does know that Brian Austin Green and Michael Biehn
(the original Kyle Reese from the movies) are friends. Friedman
wasn't very revealing about upcoming guest stars, though he did
mention that Busy Phillips from Freaks & Geeks will be
With that, the press conference ended. Hope you enjoyed reading
this as much as we enjoyed participating!
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles returns September
8 on FOX! See a gallery
Read some of our interviews from Comic Con '08: Josh
Friedman - Thomas Dekker &
Season 2 Image
Gallery - Spoilers
to the TerminatorSite home page