Part Two

Continued from Part 1

gerty_mac : Is it just coincidence that Rebeeca showed interest in the King Louis, who looked a lot like Jules, and the King of Montravia, who looked a lot like Passepartout?

GAVIN:  No, it's no coincidence about Rebecca's enthusiasm, both for Jules, for people who look like Jules, and Passepartout, and people who look like Passepartout.  I mean these are both men who she likes, and indeed, loves in that she thinks they're delightful. 

I mean, I've always seen the relationship between Jules and Rebecca as being one where he thinks she's quite wonderful and if there was a possibility of them getting together he would.  But, she knows equally that she would eat him alive, so to speak, that she's too much for Jules, that Jules is too young naÔve for her.  But, he thinks she's absolutely wonderful and she's attracted to him. 

And, just Passepartout, again, she loves Passepartout, he's such a delightful character, how can she not?  But at the same time she can't obviously have an affair with Phileas' manservant.  But, what she can do, when the opportunity arises, is to have an affair with someone rather like him, as in ROYALTY, take advantage of that.


cindy_s_roberts : Mr. Scott, of all the episodes - and we've asked this of the actors - which was the most favorite for you to do?
faeling2marion : Which was your favorite story to work on for the first season?

GAVIN:  Here's the thing in relation to my favorite episode.  I'd like to share with you the experience of someone who A, came up with this idea and, B, developed it over many years.  Actually seeing all the stories about Jules Verne come to life was so wonderful, I can't tell you.  I've written and made movies like SMALL SOLDIERS and THE BORROWERS and that's been great but, the sheer scale of this was fabulous.  You invent characters like Jules and Phileas and Rebecca or develop them from Jules Verne and then you see that world becoming real. 

In that huge engine shed in Montreal, which was covered in snow when we began, I saw the Paris that I'd imagined being built, literally, the cobbles appearing on the roads, and the carriages, and the little shops and cafes.  I saw Passepartout's laboratory being built.  I saw these people and their world coming to life and, over all, that whole thing was such a fantastic experience for me, I can't tell you.  So, yes there are some of my favorite episodes, which I mentioned, starting with QUEEN VICTORIA.  But, I enjoyed everything about it.  It was a magical experience.


lonalea : Can you tell us anything about the project you are working on now with K. Spacey?

GAVIN:  I think I probably can't give any further details about the project I'm doing for Warner Brothers.  Suffice to say that some of my favorite war movies are things like:  THE DIRTY DOZEN, WHERE EAGLES DARE, THE GUNS OF NAVARONE.  I think I'll leave it at that.


tamaraeus : Mr Scott you must be a history buff then

GAVIN:  This question of being a history buff.  Yes, that's true, I mean history is one of my great delights.  I studied it at university and I read history constantly.  For me it's a great pleasure, it's like being aware of the past in the sense that it almost seems to be living in 2 dimensions if you don't feel the past all around you, and I do.  In order to have an understanding of what really went on in whatever environment I'm living in, I love to study the past.  Right, and I also am fascinated by the whole shape of human history from when we were evolving up to the origins of civilization.  I love to think about how we got to where we are today, where we're going.  That kind of thinking does produce ideas like Jules Verne.


lonalea : What is Passepartout real surname?

GAVIN:  The quick answer on Passepartout.  Passepartout, of course, means pass through everything and, or pass by everything, and it was the name of an early form of cellotape  and, so, I think it was a little joke by Jules Verne. 


prizdude : Any chance of the series hitting DVD with masters from the HD source and full Audio Commentary?

GAVIN:  I would love to see the series on DVD.  In fact, I'll tell you one of the reasons why I'd really love to see it.  Because we, I certainly wrote enough, and in many cases we shot enough for each episode to fill much, much more than 45, 48 minutes.

 I mean, if you had the material we shot and could put it on DVD, each story, I think, virtually, could be much richer than it was on television.  I was very pleased with it on TV, but it could, I think, be even better.  And, I would love to discuss each story as it goes by.  I love watching TV series on DVD.  They give you an element of control.


miss_yuriko : How do you feel about inspiring us, among others, to read the works of Jules Verne and learn more about the history of the time period?

GAVIN:  Just to answer the question about books to read about Jules Verne, there's a very good biography that was created recently by Herbert R. Lottman, just called "Jules Verne:  An Exploratory Biography", published by St. Martins' Press.  I would recommend that quite strongly.  That was published in 1996 and that's very good.


dani_girl36 : Any thoughts on The Time Machine-due out any day now?

GAVIN:  On THE TIME MACHINE, you bet I'm looking forward to THE TIME MACHINE.  There was a point where I was thinking about Jules Verne meeting up with H.G. Wells.  I haven't entirely given up on that idea.  H.G. Wells and Jules Verne were the two writers who first fascinated me about science fiction, when I was about 10-11 years old.  In relation to H.G. Wells, the book I would strongly recommend is "The Collected Short Stories of H.G. Wells" 'cause he wrote some of the best science fiction short stories ever.  They are all together in one book and they're a great read and very inspiring.

I mean, my only thoughts on THE TIME MACHINE are I'm really looking forward to seeing it.  I know Simon Wells, the director, who's a charming man and the great grandson of H.G. Wells, which I think is a wonderful thing, and I'm sure he's done a great job.  Plus, Badelt, who wrote the music for THE TIME MACHINE, is also a close friend and a terrific musician.  Look out for the soundtrack of that.

Actually in relation to whether Wells and Verne actually met, they didn't, but obviously they knew of each other.  In some ways, H.G. Wells was coming to the fore as Jules Verne was becoming older and less, a little less popular and there was a little edge of rivalry and, not sour grapes, but Jules was not so enthused about H.G. Wells.  I think, unfairly, he was just a little bit jealous of his success at that stage in Jules career, but they were very similar characters in my view.


Lisa A : How much of the characters did you develop, and how much did you leave for your (fabulous) cast?

GAVIN:  The fabulous cast embodied the characters that were created.  They were absolutely wonderful.  The scripts continued to be written during the making of the series, but most of them were written before we began shooting.  We modified them during shooting, so, I would modify them once I knew we had a Michael Praed or a Francesca Hunt to do the roles.  But, basically, the characters were created when they came on board and, indeed, when they were auditioned for the parts, it was the way that they brought what I'd written to life that made it so fantastically exciting.


lonalea : If Passepartout were to speak French, would he use normal syntax, or does he have problems with every language?

GAVIN:  I think Passepartout is a bit like the wonderful English vicar, the Reverend Spooner, who was able to confuse the English language even as he spoke it.  So, Passepartout, I think, has a knack for mangling language whatever language he's speaking.


zhaansacolyte: Do you think that Rebecca was flirting with Sam Clemens only because she was attracted to him, or also to get her own back with Phileas, a bit?

GAVIN:  The relationship between Rebecca and Sam Clemmens, I think, is great fun.  I think she was genuinely attracted to Sam Clemmens.  I mean, between Rebecca and Phileas, there will always be issues and there are always scores to pay off, but I don't think that was principally it.  I think it was the fact that Sam Clemmens was this delightful, witty man and he made her laugh and he thought she was terrific and I think that's what drew them together.  He was a genuinely attractive character.

And, I trust everyone knows it is at least possible that something like this happened, because Sam Clemmens did indeed, having successfully been a riverboat pilot, not want to get involved any further in the Civil War after a brief and unhappy period there and basically lit out for the territory.  So, this is the period when he was on his way to the West and it was in the West, as Mark Twain, that he would make his name.


odensdisir : Please excuse this very technical question, which may be irrelevant; but we have wondered whether the troops that were in pursuit of Erasmus and Phileas when the dreadful event occured were Prusssian.

GAVIN:  Yes, I think they were Prussian.  The Prussians got up to all sorts of terrible things.  One of the characters I wanted to bring in and may get a chance to bring in is a great villain, Bismarck.  Bismarck was very much around at this time.  He was a huge larger-than-life character.  You could tell what sort of an unsettling person he was by the fact that Bismarck would tell people that he, what he really liked to do, was to sit down with a pound box of marzipan and eat it all at once.  Anyone who can do that has gotta be a great villain


cindy_s_roberts : We'd love to see Sam Clemens return in a second season.  We love the character.
tamaraeus : Thank you for bringing Mr Walker to play Sam Clemens
onalea : Other than the principals, will we see Jonathan Coy, etc., back in their roles?

GAVIN:  I'd like to think so.  I think everyone was so terrific I'd like to see them come back


davros72 : Mr Scott... is there a possibility of you working with Francesca Hunt on an upcoming project?  She mentioned at her last chat with us that she met with you recently in England...

GAVIN:  Francesca and I keep in touch and her husband is also involved in the business and there are all sorts of projects we're talking about constantly.  It's too early to sort of go into it, but I'd love to work with all our actors again, they were terrific.  We keep in touch and, if any possibility arises, we'll all jump on it.


zhaansacolyte: What do you think Rebecca really thinks of Phileas leaving the service, in her heart of hearts, especially considering that she says to him,  "It was you who let go the wheel, Phileas.  Well, there isn't much honour in being an armchair critic"?  (when he's needling Chatsworth about having resigned as a "protest against the Service's woefully incompetent management" )

GAVIN:  Yes, absolutely, this issue of Rebecca's view of Phileas, you see, she, yes, definitely Rebecca thinks that Phileas should have taken up the mantle of his father and joined the British Secret Service.  In some ways, the reason that she is in the Secret Service is because she is doing what Phileas should have done. 

She doesn't like the fact that Phileas spends his life going from casino to casino and from race meeting to race meeting.  She would like to see him more fully engaged because, then, she thinks that his cynicism would be diluted, because some of his cynicism comes from being the perpetual outsider.  So, a lot of the motivation Rebecca has, I think, is to bring, is to engage Phileas in the world and doing important things. 

She knows he's fantastically talented and she is always afraid that that talent will be kind of curdled by not being used.  So, that's an important motivational element in the whole story, I feel, is Rebecca pushing Phileas go get engaged.  That's one of the reasons she's aboard the Aurora.


LisaV: Does PPt have any loyalty to the British Government'?
lagniappetite : Was Passepartout in on the fix with the Baron and the Aurora being given to Fogg?

GAVIN:  Passepartout, no, I don't think Passepartout had any knowledge of the British government.  He is, after all, a French subject.  But I don't think he has any particular loyalty to the French government, either.  His loyalty is to Phileas and then to Jules and Rebecca.  In that he thinks in terms of human beings.  He doesnít think in terms of big ideas.  I mean, he's a highly intelligent guy, but he doesn't get carried away with grand concepts, it's human beings  who concern him.  Passepartout had his suspicions about how the Aurora got to Phileas Fogg, but I don't think he was actually in on the fix.


daurmith : This is wonderful, thanks so much for those insights, Mr. Gavin
daurmith : (I meant Mr. Scott, sorry)
miss_yuriko : Daur--is difficult to call someone Mr. Scott due to Star trek

GAVIN:  There's no need to call me Mr. Scott.  Call me Gavin, that's fine.


zhaansacolyte:  Did Rebecca know?

 GAVIN:  Rebecca had her, yes, she knew what was going on.


Comment on character development of Jules
odensdisir : As a nerd and a writer I am especially delighted to see a nerd and a writer handled with such affection and care.

GAVIN:  This business of Jules and how he developed as a character.  This is, again, one of the great themes for me, because Jules Verne's life was very interesting.  He knew he wanted to write from quite an early age, but his father insisted he go and study law in Paris, which he did.  And then he, having done his law degree, realized he could never do it.  He was going to be a writer and he thought of himself as a playwright. 

And, for the longest time, he really lived the life of a starving artist in Paris, living on bread and jam and helping to mange theatres and writing plays that never got put on, or got put on and lasted for one night.  He had a hard time.  It was a long time before he discovered his talent, before he realized in the sense of a writer, that he was the father of science fiction, that the combination of strong factual stories with romance and adventure was what he was good at. 

For me, Jules Verne's realization of who he is, is one of the big themes of this series, because we're watching him being created.  This is not the Jules Verne who has written FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON or FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON or AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS.  This is the young man discovering himself.


zhaansacolyte:  ROCKET'S RED GLARE-Francesca mentioned in our October chat that she saw Rebecca and Phileas as being very competitive with one another.  Do you see this as being the reason that they were quite testy with one another ("Phileas Iím getting sick and tired of your continuous feud with Sir Jonathan Chatsworth.  It is not grown up.") during this episode?

GAVIN:  Well, I think I've covered this business of the origin of the clash between Rebecca and Phileas, in the issue of what she thinks he ought to be.  But, of course, the issue of Sir Jonathan Chatsworth is another irritant , because, of course, Sir Jonathan Chatworth is doing the job that Phileas could have taken up, that he, Phileas, could have been head of the British Secret Service.  He could have been Rebecca's boss. 

But, then, of course, she might never have joined the Secret Service had Phileas taken up the mantle left by his father.  But, he certainly regards Sir Jonathan Chatsworth as a highly inferior character.  And, he is.  There's no question Sir Jonathan Chatsworth does not run the Secret Service as well as Phileas would have run it.  But, Rebecca is saying "look it was your choice.  I did it to fill the place that you might have taken.  I now have to take orders from Jonathan Chatsworth, so let me get on with it".  So, yes, it is a source of irritation but, as I say, behind that lies the larger issue of Rebecca's belief that he should be more than he is and her constant efforts to make him that way.


cindy_s_roberts : Mr. Scott.  What was your inspiration to begin the creation of this magnificant show?  I probably missed this earlier before I got here.

GAVIN:  Well, in relation to this question of my inspiration for the show, I mentioned it earlier.  The realization that Jules Verne had originally written 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA about a Polish nobleman and had then changed him into Captain Nemo for political reasons, or to avoid getting into trouble with Napolean III. 

But there was another element in the characterization that I should mention, too.  I was reading a wonderful book, which I strongly recommend, by a biographer called Richard Holmes.  Now, this is not a biographer of Jules Verne.  He is a biographer of a number of famous 19th century figures. In his description of his life as a biographer, he describes a building in 19th century Paris.  A very run-down building, formerly part of the royal stable, which the Bohemian set used and had enormous parties in, people like Nadar and Jules Verne himself.  The idea of creating that world of the Bohemian set and realizing Jules was part of it played a great role in the development of the series.


lonalea : Will we Alexandre Dumas in a future episode?

GAVIN:  I would like to think we'd have Alexandre Dumas in a future episode.   


GAVIN:  What Iím going to have to do now is drop out for a little while, 'cause I've actually got to take my daughter to soccer.  <laughing>  It seems a rather banal reason but, look it's been delightful talking to you all.  I so appreciate the enthusiasm for the series that everyone shows.  It's really heartwarming to me.  I look forward to talking again, on some future occasion, and I hope you all continue enjoying the show.  'Bye for now.

top of page

Chat,  Set-UpReports

Home, Introduction, EpisodesCatacombs, Chats, News, Links