Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Libby

Order In Chaos: The Making Of Season One

Recommended Posts

Order in Chaos: Making Millennium Season One

(transcribed by Libby)

Chris Carter

Creator/Writer/Exec. Producer

The original idea for Millennium actually took shape over time. Fox wanted to do another series and I’d done an episode of the X-Files which I liked a lot. It involved a serial killer. It didn’t actually have a paranormal element. It had a kind of supernatural element but it wasn’t the paranormal. And it got me to thinking about the sort of monsters that surround us, the people that are in the supermarket checkout line with us, at the post office with us. You just never know about someone.

I had this idea for a character in mind that became Frank Black and it took shape over time but I was under the gun. I was in Seattle doing research for this project. I knew I wanted it to take place in Seattle but I didn’t quite know what it was even though I told the network and the studio that I did know what it was.

A retired FBI agent and the idea of the prophecies, Nostradamus, taking the poetry, the millennial, apocalyptic poetry. Those things were sort of added on to this idea of this character, a person who wanted to retire from something but could not. And that basically was the long and short of that. It didn’t require a lot of research. I wanted it to be a murder mystery each week, but I wanted it to have some kind of cohesive idea. Something that I think was in the air, which was a foreboding for the end of the millennium, that something was going to happen and everyone felt it. I thought I could capitalise on it and do a murder mystery with a millennial feel.

Ken Horton

Co-Executive Producer

I was involved in the pilot as much as anyone was involved with the pilot. It was a very interesting process, because Chris had such juice at that point. And everyone so trusted him that he skirted the normal pilot process. Which is - if you talk to anybody, it’s - your elephant gets eaten by mice on a regular basis. Because Chris had the power to basically conceive this project as he wanted to do it, there was very, very, very little input along the way.

David Nutter

Director

With X-Files, there was always the slight conceit of the paranormal. But with Millennium we didn’t want to have that conceit at all, we wanted to basically take that rug out from under people and make it feel very, very real. And also the fact that this television show was really the first show to deal with profiling and FBI and serial killer situations in stories. And I think the more I read, the more I realised that truth is so much stranger than fiction. And you can never make this stuff up.

Ken Horton:

Both the studio and the network were wary of Chris and how to handle him. And because he and I got along and because I seemed to be a pretty good interpreter of his vision, I was designated for both of the corporations, because they’re different companies, to go over and sort of find out what was going on. So I would go over periodically and go, “Chris, what is this show exactly? What do you conceive it to be?” And, as he does, he goes, kind of cryptically, “Seven. I like the movie Seven.” And that was basically it. So I’d go back and there’d be a room full of suits. They go, “So, what is this project about?” And I’d go, “It’s basically Seven.” And there’d be a blank stare, and they go “What else?” And I’d go, “That’s basically it.”

David Nutter:

Chris and I spoke about what the story would be and so forth. And then Chris went away over the holiday and wrote a script and handed it to me. And it was perfection. It was exactly everything he had spoken to me about and more. And something that I actually saw in my head when I read the script. It was one of the situations as a director, if you can begin to see the scenes as you’re reading the story, it’s working and it plays for you.

Frank Spotnitz:

I think Chris had the idea that evil as a concept had been degraded in our society by secularism, by science, and he still believed in evil as a real force. So he wanted to make the scariest possible show he could, and that was what Millennium was.

Chris Carter:

I think, you know, like a good - like Shane, like any cowboy, any good movie, Western movie, the hero is always very self-reliant. Quiet, capable, dangerous. That’s what I saw Frank Black as. There was a moment when Bill Hurt’s name was mentioned, and I think it was one of those ideas that everyone gets excited about without thinking about the reality of it. So, while his name may have been mentioned, I doubt Bill Hurt ever knew that he was even up for this role. So Lance Henriksen really was the first and last choice.

David Nutter:

Chris had come to me with the name of Lance Henriksen and I jumped up and down and said, “Absolutely. That’s exactly the guy you want.” You want that everyman, but also you want someone as far as Frank Black is concerned that has lived life, and has seen hell, and has reached for heaven but not often had it.

Lance Henriksen:

My agent sent me a script. And he said, “Read it. But I’m not going to tell you anything about it. About how it’s being done or what it is.” So I read it and it was powerful - this is the pilot for Millennium. A very powerful piece and the character was, I thought, really exciting, cos it’s a new idea, a new kind of person. And then after I read it, I got excited as hell, cos I thought it was a movie. And they said, “No, it’s a television series.” I said, “No, that’s not possible. Nobody can make a series on that script.” It was a very vivid and edgy script. And he says, “No, it’s definitely the pilot.” And it was the pilot that we shot. But the thing is, then I said, “You know, I got some questions about this.”

Ken Horton:

Lance didn’t want to do TV, and to be honest, there was a whole studio network worry about Lance. We’re on Fox network, right? I mean, this is Simpsons, and, they wanted somebody hot, in his thirties. At worst, in his early thirties.

David Nutter:

Chris and I, we had lunch with Lance at an Italian restaurant near the Fox lot. We began to speak about Frank Black, and how important this character was and how great the script was, and how unlike any other private detective on television. This was not going to be Magnum or things like that. It was going to be something very different.

Lance Henriksen:

My first question to Chris was, “How are you going to make this hero a hero? I mean, it is so dark, how are you going to handle this?” And he said that the fact that the guy is a stand-up guy through all of this is what makes him a hero. Not that I was looking for a hero role, but I knew you had to care about this guy. And where is the light in this show? Where is it going to come from? Cos it was so dark. And he said, “The yellow house.” I said, “What are you talking about? The yellow house.” But he meant it, and I understood later. But he was very, very convincing. All the questions I had, he answered. The way it all went down was pretty outrageous.

David Nutter:

I remember the moment where we were talking about other interests, and so forth, and Lance began to speak about how he like to - he deals with clay in making pots and so forth, and he has a spinning wheel. And Chris said, “I do the same thing.” And so these two guys have a background in - with clay and spinning wheels and hand-worked pots and so forth. At that moment, I said, “We’re in. We got him.”

Chris Carter:

Megan Gallagher came to me as a result of Ken Horton, who was a studio executive at the time. He said, “You’ve got to look at this person.”

Ken Horton:

I had seen Megan on a Larry Sanders Show, a couple of nights before we were talking about it, about that character. And she seemed exactly right. I’d seen her before in a number of things, but she struck me - I don’t know why such a different character than with our show, but she struck me as physically the right person.

Chris Carter:

She has a softness, an intelligence. She’s a Julliard-schooled artist. So she brings a level, I think, of sophistication to the part as an actor and a person, that I think was what we were looking for.

Megan Gallagher:

There was a lot of hush-hush stuff about the script. They didn’t want anybody reading it and they didn’t want it getting out. So I was sent this very secretive numbered script the night before. A very X-Files kind of situation around this whole project. And I read it and, you know, he’s just an amazing writer. And I was told I had a meeting with him and David Nutter, the fabulous David Nutter, the next day at Fox. So I went and met them, and it was a very, very quick meeting, where Chris said - he was apparently a big fan of the Larry Sanders show and some other things that I’d done. He asked me if I had any questions, and I said, “No.” And I said, “Do you have any questions?” and he said, “Well, yes, I do. Why did you sleep with Hank Kingsley?” Which I just thought was - which really made me laugh.

David Nutter:

My attitude with the camera, especially with Millennium, was the fact that it’s all about point of view. Chris really instilled in me the sensibility of point of view in story-telling. Whose point of view is this? What do we need to tell? Where’s this scene going? So I think those are the things I really, really focus on as much as possible as far as what the work was concerned.

Chris Carter:

I remember certain things about the filming of the pilot, but they’re the oddest things. I remember having to apply bruises to one of the victims’ arms and being called into the make-up trailer to comment on a bruise. I’m sure that there were far greater and more important events, but there are just these little moments. I remember it was very, very cold weather in Vancouver when we shot the show. And when we had police officers the river and it was cold and time-consuming and tiring, and people were not happy. I remember reshooting a scene on the Burrard Bridge which is a big, old, beautiful bridge in Vancouver and having shot a scene there that did not work. It was not shot right and the physical effects did not work because we had to have a character hanging from a pipe underneath the bridge and it looked phony. We actually had to put him under there and film him. It wasn’t a trick. It was a trick just to get the camera to look down under the bridge and make the character look like he was really holding on instead of, like he was, harnessed underneath the bridge.

David Nutter:

I remember shooting, I think maybe the final day of the pilot. And Lance basically had to stand in front of this roomful of gentlemen, and describe the Frenchman’s world and how he saw it.

Chris Carter:

In playing some of his other movie parts, he had fallen into some habits. And I asked him to take some of those things away which may have been applicable to other roles. But for what I was looking for, I wanted a very still, quiet and powerful character.

David Nutter:

One thing Chris Carter once told me was, when people speak with their hands and so forth, they’re selling something. And so, basically, I took that very, very seriously and wanted Lance to not do that.

Ken Horton:

When he came in, he was all prepared, and he starts doing his thing. And he talks this way and does all these things [Ken waves his hands around]. And the director, David Nutter, slowed him down and said, “What I want you to do is I want you to come up and I want you to calmly, as calmly as you possibly can, tell these people what they need to know.” And he goes, “Then all I’d be doing is putting my face and my voice on film. There’d be no me.” And David Nutter says, “No, no, it’ll be all you.”

David Nutter:

It was a really tough scene for Lance, but when he fought through that, and fought through those things he felt he needed to do, there was a beautiful honesty that was revealed.

Ken Horton:

Lance goes, “I was so nervous, but I trusted him.” And he said, “It’s the best scene I have ever done in anything.” And he said, “From that moment, I understood the character completely. I understood what he was doing. He’s not a hard-sell guy. He’s a guy who says what he has to say. If you buy his sh*t, great. If you don’t, he moves on.” And he got it.

Lance Henriksen:

Shooting the pilot was like shooting a movie. We shot the pilot for a month. And I said, “Chris, this is phenomenal. Are we going to be doing this every show?” And he says, “No, we shoot every show in eight days.” I said, “Wait a minute.” This is the same page count that we’re talking about for the pilot. And I thought, “Eight days?” I didn’t even know what I was facing. I had no idea.

Frank Spotnitz:

Well, I wasn’t formally working on the show at that point. But I was around, doing the X-Files with Chris. I was reading the script as he was writing it, and I was watching the dailies as it was coming in. And actually, interestingly, he did not have the rights to the title Millennium at that point. And so the dailies were coming in, they were slated “2000” because he thought he might have to fall back on that title. He very much wanted to call it Millennium but it wasn’t clear at that point. But I was watching the dailies, which were quite good. It was clear from the beginning they were quite good. But he wouldn’t let me watch a cut of it until quite late. He worked on it many, many days with the editor and the director, David Nutter. And I was just blown away. Instantly I thought it was one of the best things he’d done up to that point.

David Nutter:

When we showed the pilot to the woman from Standards and Practices, she watched the pilot and felt it was fine. There was nothing exorbitant and/or gratuitous about it. But the problem was this: that night, she went home and she had nightmares. And the next morning she called Chris Carter up and said, “You know, you gotta cut some stuff, cos it’s really, it’s really, it’s too aggressive and it’s not correct.” And Chris really held her to task saying, “Listen, do not penalise us for getting under your skin. Do not penalise us for doing it in a way that affects you emotionally after the fact. Do not penalise us in a way that will cause us not to want to reach higher and to reach deeper into someone’s soul.” And we didn’t really have to change anything in the pilot, which was a great thing.

Frank Spotnitz:

Fox was also equally high on the pilot and they had a big premiere event for it which was screened in several theatres across the country. We got to see it in a theatre in Westwood and there was a big party afterwards. And seeing it on a big screen, it played beautifully. It was genuinely scary, and that’s so rare to experience something genuinely scary in a theatre, let alone for television.

Megan Gallagher:

I was one of those kids that got terribly bad dreams. I had to be very careful when I was a little girl about what I watched, because it just seemed to sort of soak into my imagination and would haunt me for a while. And that image of that guy being in the box, with his mouth sewn shut, was so chilling. Not to mention the idea of somebody photographing you loved ones. And now that I have a family - not that I didn’t understand it then - but there were so many deeply disturbing, chilling elements in that pilot. I didn’t appreciate it, even having read it, I didn’t appreciate it until I saw it. And I was really glad! I said to my friends - I brought, like, ten people to the screening - “I’m really glad we’re going out afterwards, because I need to shake it off.”

Mark Snow:

When we were talking about doing the Millennium theme, David Nutter was also involved, with Chris. They were very collaborative about it. They sent me a piece of music from an Irish band. There was solo violin and a Celtic sound with a cool rhythm. And they said, “You know, maybe this is something to go with.” And the piece I wrote I thought sort of captured that in a way. It had a mournful, Celtic, medieval combination. And they really liked percussion, and I added these big percussion hits, which became in themselves the signature for some of the act-ins or act breaks. These two hits, boom boom, very ambient drums. It was really a thrill, knowing that they loved it right from the get-go. Millennium was a hole in one, right off the bat.

Ken Horton:

I remember Chris telling me the first time, this was before the pilot. I said, “What are you envisioning as a thought process.” And he goes, “If I could do it, I’d have a man sitting on a front porch rocking in a rocking chair. And in front of him would be a group of kids playing on the lawn. That’s what we would see. If we turned the camera round and you saw him on the porch, that’s what you would see. If you turned his viewpoint around, he’d be seeing skeletons and grass growing at a foot a second.” And it was a completely screwed-up world yet everything was completely normal. So that’s what year one was, two views of good and evil.

Frank Spotnitz:

Chris loved Silence of the Lambs and Seven. And I think, as scary as The X-Files was, to him the scariest things are things that really do happen. And while some people could argue whether monsters are real or whether extraterrestrials are real, it’s sort of undeniable human monsters prey upon innocence. He wanted to do a show that was that scary on television every week. And that’s what Millennium started out to be.

David Nutter:

Gehenna was the first episode outside the pilot that we needed to, in less time and less money, create that exact same world and that quality and calibre that we were able to create in the pilot.

John Peter Kousakis

Co-Executive Producer

We were shooting a dark show, we were shooting a show that had the overtones of a Seven and a Silence of the Lambs, and those were the templates that we were following. So, of course, with the dark skies in the winter and the rainy season, did nothing but just add to that palette and really set a nice foundation for us to work in.

Mark Freeborn

Production Designer

One of the things that intrigued me about Millennium was, coming from mainly a feature background, that one of Chris Carter’s prime concerns was that they maintain a feature-film quality to the show.

Robert McLachlan

Cinematographer

We had a very minimalist lighting approach, and part of that was helped by the fact that we were under no constraints from the producers to make everybody look really gorgeous. So the lighting, whatever they were standing in, wherever they were, usually came out of the location. We let that dictate how they were going to be lit. And we would take what was in a location and add to it as minimally as we could , which helped us speed up a lot. The fact that Lance Henriksen’s face is so fantastic, and he’s got these amazing eyes, it didn’t matter where in a room you put a light, it would always seem to catch in his eyes. So I never really needed to have that much there.

Frank Spotnitz:

Millennium tried to be visual in its storytelling every week. So much of television - and this is not to knock it in any way, it’s just practical, it’s just the nature of the medium - so much of television is people talking. So they’re filmed plays. Millennium tried to tell stories with pictures. And really Frank’s gift, his ability to see through the eyes of the killer, is a prime example of that.

David Nutter:

Millennium was one of the first shows to really utilise the sensibility of flashbacks, flash cuts, character points of view and so forth, long before CSI or a lot of these other shows were involved in that type of stuff. And that was really a huge, important part of the show for Chris Carter and I.

John Peter Kousakis:

Frank Black was not a psychic. It’s misconception on the audience’s part and a lot of the critics, because when Frank would investigate a crime, his character would, there would be flashes. And we used a technical device on film to try and manifest that, to try and somehow interpret for the audience what he was going through.

Lance Henricksen:

We never, ever, used the term, “Frank was psychic.” That came from the outside. I thought of him as anything but. I thought he was a forensic profiler, but he was also like a brilliant chess player. He saw the outcome, and when something would happen, he would see a larger picture and a larger outcome down the road.

Chip Johannessen

Writer/Co-Producer

For me, the Frank gift thing, it was like he would get an accumulation of details, of facts about something that would allow him to glimpse something almost physically, like it was inevitable then that the place where the next murder would happen would look like this. Or the place where the guy lives would look like this, or the street the guy must have grown up on looked like this.

Frank Spotnitz:

I can see why people thought there was a psychic component to it. Because it was certainly hinted that his daughter, Jordan, had the same “gift”, if you will. Early on, there was a Morgan and Wong episode, very effective, where it was hinted that Jordan had the same ability. And then it was expanded upon in an episode that I wrote later in the first season, called “Sacrament”. At least for me, and I think for Chris, we never wanted to cross the line into the supernatural with any of that. It was more about an exquisite sensitivity to the way some people think, to the monstrous way some people think.

David Nutter:

We had gone out, actually early in the process and we even spoke with Hank Corwin, who was a famous commercial editor, who cut JFK, that was quite impressive, and did a lot of great commercials. Hank and I sat down and spoke about the work that Robert Richards had done with him, and the various techniques that were used to really create an organic mental picture as far as the characters were concerned.

Robert McLachlan:

Frank’s flashbacks came out of some experiments that we did. They did a few things in the pilot where they turned the camera on and off. And a few things that we’d seen before. But we were playing around, and one of the camera rental houses has these strobe lights that are normally used to get super-sharp images of beer being poured or milk being poured, and any kind of actions, bubbles coming out of a pop bottle being opened. But they give you a super, super sharp image because they fire at a 50,000th of a second. And what we did was we combined lighting a scene and some of those images, some of those violent images, the killer’s point of view. We lit that with a combination of those strobes and normal light and then shot them at six frames a second, which is much slower than you normally film at, and then printed them back to normal. And what you got was an image that was both blurry and extremely sharp at the same time. And then added to that we played with the stop on the camera, and turned the camera on and off. It was sort of a mixed bag of things all being done at once. And then we pulled most of the colour out of it most of the time, maybe we’d leave just the red in if there was a lot of blood or whatever, or not. And it created a really unique look.

Thomas J. Wright

Director

I think it was sort of a device for the audience particularly. Because that show was so strong, and such a tough show, and a hard show and a dark show. You actually hold on some of the images like you would like to. Of course the network wouldn’t let you. So another way to get those images across to the audience would be this multiple quick cuts of the images, or pieces of them. And you get the sense of it without actually holding on it.

Brittany Tiplady:

When the show comes on, I’m allowed to watch it. The parts that I’m in are not scary.

And that’s the only parts that I’m allowed to watch.

Ken Horton:

Year one, we had to deal with the fact that we were doing a show that we knew would turn off a certain amount of audience. That we were excluding ourselves from certain people’s homes.

Thomas J. Wright:

I would shoot the scene the way it was written. In all its gore, all its blood. The crews walking off the stage, going home, “My God, I can’t watch this.”

John Peter Kousakis:

And it did become overbearing at times, for the crew and for everybody involved. Particularly that first season, when you would see severed body parts on a set. And I might add that Toby Lindala, who did our make-up effects at the time, did a fabulous job of replicating these bodies, as gruelling as that sounds, and as despicable as it sounds. He did a fabulous job in replicating those parts. I can remember one instance where I walked in to a set. It was episode two of season one, and I walked into a local location here, downtown. It was way into the deep part of the day, maybe 12th hour, maybe 13th hour of the day. Pouring rain outside. Dreary, cold winter day. And there in an elevator, where a camera was set up on the ground, at ground level, were quartered body parts. At that point, that was the first time, even with the pilot, that was the first time I looked at it and said, “We’re doing something special, but we’re doing something pretty outrageous right now.

Thomas J. Wright:

Even Lance, I remember, in “Dead Letters”, the first time he walked onto the elevator, and we had the pieces there, he was going, “Oh, my god.” Now this was coming from Lance, who we always see, you know, “Yeah, get them out of the way.” Tough guy. Big guy. But he was like, “Holy moly, what’s going on here.” And it affected the crew, because we were very graphic. Even though you didn’t see everything in the show, but it was there, and we shot it. And the crew would get very upset sometimes. Very upset. I had a script supervisor who wouldn’t come back because they were so upset. She finally said, “I love you, Tom, I love this show, but I just can’t do this every day.” She would get quite emotional about it.

John Peter Kousakis:

I felt that when Chris laid out his plan of what he wanted to do and how he wanted to approach this show, it was always from a non-gratuitous standpoint. I didn’t feel we were doing anything gratuitous in the heinous crimes and the violence that was on the outside being perceived by the industry that didn’t really know what we were doing and how we were doing it. The crime had already taken place by the time we’d gotten to where we needed to be in the story.

Chris Carter:

The truth is, I don’t like gunplay. I don’t like to see blood. Personally, I don’t. I don’t think you need to show that stuff. And it’s scarier when you don’t, when you see things obliquely. It’s always more frightening. And so I think that was the approach. Sometimes what my intention was gets lost in the telling. You’ve got different directors, different writers, different producers, working on the show from year to year, from episode to episode. And so - did we go too far sometimes? Maybe we went too far in the sense that we lingered too long. But that was the nature of the stories. And what makes murder mysteries frightening is what could happen to you.

Chip Johannessen:

I have a favourite clue in the whole series, which was a Morgan and Wong clue, which to me was a perfect thing about where Millennium kind of would come in. Because it was a clue that told you everything about this guy, in a kind of profiley way. You really thought you’d got this guy, but you had no idea where he was or what he was going to do next. And so it was a perfect clue. It was in an episode called “Dead Letters”. And at the end of the first act, they’re staring at this human hair that somehow Frank Black knew was going to be there. He knew there was going to be a clue that would be hard to see. He just knew this about this guy. I think it’s like “Hair today, gone tomorrow” something like that written on this hair. And you know what kind of crazy motherf***er would do that. But where he is or what’s he going to do next, who knows? That’s kind of the way the Academy Group kind of thinking was incorporated in the series. That’s my favourite clue by far. Fantastic.

Chris Carter:

The Academy Group came to us as a result of our contacts with the FBI. The Academy Group are a group of retired FBI agents who do detective work. They use their FBI skills for corporations, for individuals. For the Jon-Benet Ramsey case, for example.

Robert R. Hazelwood

Academy Group Profiler

Myself and two others went out there and met with Chris Carter and Lance Henriksen and about 20 writers, as I recall - producers, writers, directors - and spent a wonderful two days out there. I mean, the hospitality was fantastic. And they were exactly the opposite of what we anticipated Hollywood would be like. They were very down-to-earth, very commonsense.

Lance Henriksen:

These guys were so sharp and so focused and so simple about their - well, on the surface it looked simple. But their way of approaching things was very helpful. Because it meant that you didn’t come in with preconceived ideas. You didn’t prejudge anything by material handed to you. And you didn’t want to be told about it by anybody. So they would come in and based on what they saw, and only the facts, they would start opening this case up.

Roger L. Depue, Ph.D.

Academy Group Founder

The fantasy is very important. Many times in a crime scene you can see the fantasy of the perpetrator. Frank Black does this from time to time. He does it in a more dramatic way than we do it. He almost sees it, and you see these splashes and flashes of what he’s seeing. But we do something similar to that. We look at the crime scene and we see the behaviour, and we see the evidence of the fantasy. And we say, “I know what this guy is thinking. I’ve seen this before.”

Lance Henriksen:

When the flashbacks and things would happen in the show, I would get a little embarrassed by it, because I knew that these guys, if they could have flashbacks like that, they would be grateful to have a flashback that was accurate. But it’s a lot of work, it’s a tremendous amount of work and detail, and it takes time and energy. They were telling me there’s a hundred operating serial killers in America right now, and that they’re on all these cases to try to figure them out.

Frank Spotnitz:

One of the funny things about the show was, as much as the network respected the show, they were afraid of its darkness and sombreness. We had these very nervous network notes meetings after the first few episodes, where they very politely tried to ask us to lighten it up with a little humour. We weren’t unsympathetic but we just shrugged, because the subject matter was so dark and disturbing. It was very hard to find places for humour. And I think you see as some of the shows went on, every once in a while, we’d look for more ways to let the brightness of that yellow house, the lightness, the innocence and the warmth of that house shine through.

Chris Carter:

This yellow house idea represented Frank Black’s hope, his hope that he could paint away the darkness. And it became an oasis of sorts, where he could be happy with his family, that he could feel that they were protected, that they didn’t have to experience the dark world that he lived so much of his professional life in.

Frank Spotnitz:

But even that after a while gave way to severed human livers being found in the refrigerator in the house. It’s like, after a while, even that went.

Frank Spotnitz:

You know, the pilot episode, to me, is still one of the finest things Chris has written. And there’s a scene in the pilot when Catherine says to Frank, “Frank, you can’t block out the outside world,” or words to that effect. And he says, “I want you to make-believe I can.” That’s just a very powerful idea because I think most of us in fact don’t want to look at all the evil that goes on in the world around us. And Millennium was about that world versus the world inside that yellow house.

Chris Carter:

There’s a beautiful neighbourhood in Vancouver called Shaunessy which is where we filmed this, and they have restrictions on filming. We should have known better than to go there. And there were neighbourhood organisations who probably didn’t want us to be there, I know that they didn’t. But we actually made this house look better. We reshingled the house, we painted the house. We did a major overhaul on this house to make it look the way I wanted it to look. The pilot got picked up for a television series and we went back to use the house that we had created and we were blackballed.

Megan Gallagher:

The people decided that they didn’t want to do television series in their house. I don’t blame them, by the way. I would never let a camera crew in my house. Ever, ever, ever. I mean, a movie crew or a television crew.

Chris Carter:

We were shut out and had to go find another house in another neighbourhood, which was actually a house that I had used in the second episode of the X-Files, strangely enough.

Megan Gallagher:

It was a more diminutive version of the same thing. But it had a wrap-around porch and they could paint it yellow. And the woman who owned that house was actually a flight attendant on Canadian Airlines. And I used to see her all the time on the plane as I was going back and forth from Vancouver to L.A. And they loved it. They loved it because they redid the whole house. They bought themselves a new kitchen. That’s the one thing. A television series can pay well if it’s done in your house. You’re displaced, but you’re making some cash.

David Nutter:

“Loin like a Hunting Flame” was written by Ted Mann. It was probably the sexiest Millennium episode that I was involved in. It was written with a lot of edge and need to be filmed that way. It was all a situation of what you wouldn’t see in the cutting and so forth was really the secret to it all. And we actually had the woman from Standards and Practices actually flew to Vancouver to watch us shoot it, to see that we didn’t cross any boundaries. It was fascinating because the video tap didn’t work on the camera and she couldn’t really get into the room. So I had a little handheld machine that I’d used for years and I recorded it and got a chance to play it back for her and she said it was OK - what we did and so forth.

Ken Horton:

Year one was about establishing for the audience what they could expect.

Frank Spotnitz:

It was a very challenging year because it was the fourth year of The X-Files. So Chris Carter was still running the X-Files and launching this new show, Millennium, with an entirely different staff of writers. There was some great work done that season and there was some other work that missed the mark. But it was a lot of really talented people trying to find the centre of the show.

Chip Johannessen:

Personally, for me, it was like awful. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to do stories and how hard it was to get them produced. So, like two-thirds of the way through the first season, I was just having the worst time of my life. I said, “I’m not going to do this any more. I don’t care, you can sue me. I’m not coming back next year.” Then I looked around at what else there was, and I realised how lucky I was. Those of us who were writing it were really interested in the kind of millennial aspects of it. If you remember back then, people thought the world was going to end when the clock turned year 2000. There was a lot of anxiety and Chris had chosen this whole big broad palette to tap into that. “Force Majeure” that I did, was episode 12 of the first season. The Noah’s Ark thing was some guy who we’d find in iron lung who’s been preparing for the end of the world for fifty years. It wasn’t executed perfectly, by and large, but it was a pretty cool story.

Robert McLachlan:

On the episode “Thin White Line”, we did 80 setups one day. That included stuff with huge rigging and power pods, albeit with two cameras, and a relatively long day. It was just one of those days, it was right after the Christmas hiatus. The whole crew was fresh after a bit of a break and we hit the ground running. Sometimes the lighting and everything just clicks. The other big reason we were able to do that was that Thomas Wright was directing. He’s probably the most organised television director I’ve ever worked with. He’s really fabulous. He used to be Hitch****’s storyboard artist.

Thomas J. Wright:

“Thin White Line” is also one of my favourites. A huge show. A huge show. There were times on that show we were shooting three scenes at the same time, just to get them done. Two on the stage and one outside, all at the same time. We’d run from one set to the other.

Lance Henriksen:

Imagine the challenges that these shows give you. Because they’re always throwing something at you, like: “Well, in this show, you’re going to be 20 years younger and playing yourself older.” “And it’s like a nightmare, but it’s coming true.” All this stuff.

Thomas J. Wright:

They’re very hard shows to do, heavily detail-oriented. And you just try not to miss any details, because that’s what a lot of the show is about. And they were tough shows to do. Long, long hours, hard work. Everybody stuck with it. Bad weather, and of course, dark show. A lot of nights, always raining. And if it wasn’t, we made it rain.

Megan Gallagher:

We started early in the morning, on a Monday, 5.30, 6.00 a.m. calls. And through the week, we got into what they call “splits”, which is, you get called a little bit later in the day later in the week, but then you’re still going to work a 12, 14, 15-hour day. And then you have to have 12 hours from turnaround from the time that you stop shooting until the next time you have to show up in front of the camera. It’s all according to union rules. So by the end of the week we were wrapping at five o’clock, six o’clock in the morning on a Saturday morning. And that’s brutal. Because then you’re this night creature, by the end of the week. But you have to turn around and be a morning creature in a day, in one day. You sleep half of Saturday away because you’ve gone to bed at six o’clock in the morning and so you sleep until at least noon or one o’clock, something like that. But then you have to get to bed early because Sunday night you’ve got to be in bed by nine. So it’s really hard. It’s just - it’s very challenging in that way. I think it’s hard - that kind of schedule’s hard on everybody, it’s hard on the cast, it’s hard on the crew. It’s tough.

Lance Henriksen:

I would get one script, and then while I was shooting that eight-day script, I would get the second script, and before the same first show was done, I’d get the third script. So now I’m sitting with three scripts, and each one is original. And I’m going, “I don’t know if I have the capacity for this.” I mean, I really didn’t know. You get to a fatigue that is so deep, it feels like despair. And I was doing a very dark character. So besides looking into the abyss, I felt the despair from fatigue and it started working on me a little bit.

John Peter Kousakis:

In terms of humorous moments and moments of just letting out your frustrations and anxieties, people had fun on the set. They had to.

Lance Henriksen:

I wasn’t difficult to live with for anybody but my wife. On the weekends she’d say, “Frank Black, can Lance come out and play, please? Leave him at the door.” So, anyway...

John Peter Kousakis:

Lance found it very difficult at the beginning, and it was difficult for Lance because he had to adjust to a television schedule. And he was the star of the show. He was carrying the weight of the show. He began, after the season got under way, to adjust to it, found it of course at times to be very frustrating, but he was terrific in that role. That role was written for him and there isn’t a person who has viewed that series that doesn’t believe that from the get-go.

Frank Spotnitz:

Millennium was a very ambitious, difficult show to do. Fortunately we had a fantastic crew in Vancouver, the finest crew Vancouver had to offer. I think the success of The X-Files helped us draw a lot of really talented people there. We had an amazing co-executive producer in John Kousakis, great production designer, great cinematographer. And a lot of fine directors, chief among them Tom Wright, who got amazing footage in an incredibly short period of time, and really carried a lot of the production weight of that show. It looks fantastic. There are so many great, indelible, striking images over the life of the show.

David Nutter:

I was just so happy to see that when Millennium did come out and the notoriety that Lance got. I know he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor. And the show won the Best New Series on People’s Choice. And that I think was before only one or two episodes had even aired after the pilot. So I was really proud of the fact that we charted that, we went forward and, as I sometimes will say, we walked blindly into the fire but we had a firm step. I was really happy that Lance was able to get the notoriety that he so deserved and so earned.

End

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.