Part Two

Continued from Part 1

odensdisir: Isn't it just like people, though, to perceive the other guy as trying to do to one what one is trying to do to the other guy.

GAVIN:  Just go back to the question someone raised to JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH.  That is one of the great unmade episodes of the secret adventures for which a script exists, VOYAGE TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, where Jules goes down in an expedition where they discover Neanderthal man.  The point about Neanderthal man is that Neanderthal man fled from human beings.  That was the reason that they disappeared from the surface of the earth and set up this utopian, peaceful existence deep beneath the earth.  Once human beings get down there, there is the risk that this whole place will be corrupted, and, so that's, the episode is about what Jules does about that situation and how he, in effect, preserves the secret of Neanderthal man's world under the earth.  So that's an episode that, one day, I really hope to get the chance to make.


daurmith: Would we get to know what is in the alien disc that Jules received in Crusader in the Crypt?

GAVIN:  Yes, the alien disk contains fascinating material, not all of which I'm authorized to reveal now.  But, definitely, in what I hope will be the wonderful second series, and possibly the movies, the contents of the alien disk will be revealed as they are translated.


rebeccasdisciple : THE CARDINAL'S DESIGN  "Whenever you're not around, there's no light", Phileas eventually stammers out after Rebecca is nearly killed by the scorpion in her bed.  Rebecca makes a bit light of this, for Phileas, especially, quite profoundly emotional remark.   How do you think she truly feels about what he said?

GAVIN:  Rebecca is touched by Phileas' remark, but she doesn't want to encourage him too much for the reasons I described earlier that she wants to maintain the relationship with him on this level for as long as possible and doesn't believe it would actually sustain if they were a marital unit.


e_universe_1 : I show "crusader" at my SAJV parties at conventions.

GAVIN:  I'm so pleased about the idea of CRUSADER IN THE CRYPT being shown at parties after conventions.  I like CRUSADER IN THE CRYPT a lot.  I love the notion of Rebecca's encounter with the evil Prussian.  And, what I really liked was being able to create the world from which Phileas and Rebecca came-that wonderfully cozy English countryside with the forelock tugging peasants and the loyal retainers and that all this craziness came out of this wonderfully idyllic environment.  And, I thought it was also great for Jules to come up against the kind of characters who had influenced Phileas and Rebecca in their childhood.  It's certainly a place I would like to go back to in future.


daurmith : McIver! The vicar! And a mysterious Standing Stone! Why was Sir Boniface attracted to that spot, by the way?

GAVIN:  I think Sir Boniface was attracted to the standing stone because, despite his bluff image and his no-nonsense manner, he was fascinated by mysteries beyond human ken.  The standing stone represents mysteries that Jules Verne indeed may explore himself in the future.  Who built those standing stones?  What is the real significance of the stone circles?  I think the alien disk actually revealed something about Stonehenge and that Sir Boniface was personally determined to try and figure out his relationship with the ancient stone builders.


daurmith : Yeah, but let Jules comes back without a hat

GAVIN:  The hat, absolutely.  I think on the first day of shooting Chris suddenly appeared in a hat and we, all of us, looked at the rushes that night and said, "the hat goes".  I think you'll see a series of shots, if I remember rightly, of him holding the hat in his hands, because on the next day of shooting we said, don't wear it, we can't just lose it entirely, but don't wear it.  So, I think he held it in his hands for a while and twisted it about and then it, mercifully, disappeared.  The has was, I don't know who's idea the hat was, it just appeared and then got deep-sixed as soon as possible.


daurmith : Would that be part of the explanation why Phileas seems to have these "psychic flashes"? In Dust to Dust, in his comments about feeling if Rebecca is alive, in his feeling something evil at the Prometheus...

GAVIN:  Yes, I think one of the explanations for Phileas' robust matter-of-factness and reluctance to believe in the supernatural is the fact that he actually has an element of psychic sensitivity himself, which he's determined to suppress.  I think that's a feature of his character just as it probably was of his father's.


Chris Demetral joins the chat

GAVIN:  Hello, Chris.  It's me, Gavin, I'm happy that you're here.

CHRIS:  Hey, Gavin, it's good to be here.

GAVIN:  We were just talking about your hat.  Someone was saying, "what happened to Chris' hat", and I was remembering that first episode where you appeared in a hat and we decided, "we don't think a hat really works", and we took it off and then you had to carry it around for a bit before ditching it.

CHRIS: Yes that was an evil hat and I'm glad it went away.

GAVIN:  Have you ever talked to the fans about your experience inside the giant gun?  'Cause that was one when I wrote it, I thought this is really funny about having Jules Verne attached to the mouth of a giant gun and I didn't really give any thoughts to what the actor would actually have to do to be stuck up, chained to the mouth of the gun.  Have you talked to the fans about what it was actually like?

CHRIS: Yes, I have, but for anyone who doesn't recall, it was a not so pleasant experience with the oil dripping in my face and my hands.  But, that's part of acting.  There are always those unique challenges to actors.

GAVIN:  If I recall rightly, we built the mouth of the giant gun.  I can't remember how big it actually was, well, it was obviously big enough to take you.  I can't remember how long it was.  And, then, it was up against a blue screen, I think.  That was the way it worked. And then you when out into the forest in order to fall down from it when you wriggled free.  Is that right?

CHRIS:  I think they played around with a lot of the logistics.  I think you are right, Gavin.  At first they had it up too high where Jules obviously would have broken his neck along with every other bone in his body if they put it where they originally placed it.  So, I think, the second attempt, they lowered it a bit.

GAVIN:  So, that was one of the delights for me when the actually created the gun on CG and we saw the scale of the thing against the forest.  It looked so cool.  Both the barrel of the thing sticking out over the Russian countryside, then when you went inside the cave, the wonderfully elaborate breech mechanism and everything for the gun was…   It must have been a terrible set to work in.  Not so much the set, but the actual-it was a factory, wasn't it, which I remember being full of cinders and fumes and, a pretty dreadful place.

CHRIS:  Yes, if I recall, when we originally shot that episode, most of the crew members had to wear masks to protect themselves form all the dust and the embers and the things that were going into their lungs.  It was not too pleasant a place form a filming standpoint.

GAVIN:  The other think I remember about that episode, correct me if I'm wrong, I wrote, I remember, I series of things that you did to train the Russian peasants to become astronauts.  And I've got a feeling we actually shot more of them than we were able to put in the episode.  I know we got the one with you trying to get them up to the gravity simulation machine, but there was some, wasn't there some jumping that we did, as well?

CHRIS:  I know we did one with the trampoline effect.  I think it was with Sergei but, I think on film, it just came off as very obvious that the four of us wouldn't be able to propel him to the height that he would reach.  So, I think they drastically reduced what that stunt looked like.

CHRIS:  You know, Gavin, I've often talked with the fans from the board that there is so much of the episodes that wound up getting cut out due to the commercial restraints, that it'd be great to eventually put the show on DVD and show the show in it's entirety.  And, also maybe add the commentary from you or the other four actors.  I think it would really add a lot of insight into the show.

GAVIN:  I totally agree, because, I mean when you said the form.  In some ways, once you did start to add in all the material that we shot it would start to get up to the 90-minute length, which would be great. You know what would be fascinating, it would be great to have all of us talking about the, the principal actors and myself and people like, Rick Overton, as well, talking about our own memories of what was going on.  Because, of course we all had a different perspective as to what was happening and what we were creating.  I think it would be quite fascinating, for us, quite apart from other people, to hear what each of us was thinking about and what we were doing at the time, what we were creating

CHRIS:  Yes, you know, I actually just saw Rick at StarFest and he was his usual charming and brilliant self.  I agree, I think if you could mine all those commentaries you'd have almost a crew's eye view of what went on on the set.  I think it would really help the fans understand what we went through and the excitement that we felt every day.

GAVIN:  One of the other things about Rick Overton, which is really terrific when everyone is talking to him, is that, for everything you see in the show, he has-every machine, every device-he has a whole explanation for it, which just floods into his head as he's speaking about it.  He's completely interesting to listen to, you know, things that I might have written and said, well, Jules does this, and Rick's thought about it and done little sketches and comes up with a complete technology to explain it.  Once you just let him go you could just listen to him for hours.  One of the delights, unexpected delights, when we were in Montreal was that, because Rick Overton is a terrific stand-up comedian, people got him to do stand-up comedy at various venues in Montreal.  We would all go and watch him and he would treat us to the most extraordinary mindfests of his life.  On the subject of Jules Verne, he can talk for hours.

CHRIS:  You know Rick is also on the lookout for the blooper reel, which I think would a definite necessity to any DVD collection.

rebeccasdisciple : THE CARDINAL'S REVENGE  "Rebecca is not acquainted in the least bit with limits" Phileas says to Verne.  Clearly among his other feelings for her must be great respect and admiration warring with his fear of losing her.  Don't you reckon this is a source of conflict for him?

GAVIN:  In relation to the question about Rebecca and Phileas, no, I think you're absolutely right that he is conflicted partly because he is, in some ways, a traditional 19th century gentleman and they were the bosses.  There were the masters of the world of their time and the masters of their households.  So, the idea of hooking up with a woman who had opinions that were just as strong as yours and who would stand up to you, that would have been quite unnatural in Victorian times.  So, much though Phileas loves Rebecca, she is definitely not the kind of woman you take home to meet mother.  And, I think that's the sort of conflict.


lagniappetite : Gavin...we have asked Chris this before - but do you think that Jules knew that the Count's journey into space (in Rocket to Moon) would kill him, or not?  Was he under the impression that the Count would return to earth unscathed?

GAVIN:  I don't think that Jules thought of sending the Count into space as a death sentence.  I know he didn't, in fact, because in the original version of the script, we actually took it a little further and had the Count, had that capsule landing on an island in the Pacific ocean and the Count walking ashore in his, in a moonsuit.  I don't remember how he got the moonsuit at that point, but anyway, he was, by this stage, wearing one of the astronaut outfits, and he walks ashore.  And, of course, the inhabitants of the island fall down to worship him.  That, of course, left us with a wonderful handing chat for another episode.  I liked the idea that the Count could recur, so although we left the Count literally in orbit, it wasn't Jules deliberately trying to end his career.


odensdisir : Some of the promotional material from Promark/Talisman describes Sir Boniface's death as "mysterious," and yet by the dates on his sarcophagus he lived to a respectable age. Is there a mystery in your long-term plotting over Sir Boniface's death?

GAVIN:  Oh, yes, Sir Boniface's death was quite a scandalous event at the time, even though, as you say, he was of a good age.  The exact cause of it and the timing of it were extraordinary and, in another episode, perhaps that event will be replayed to startling effect.


Question about stories told and not told.

GAVIN:  One of my favorite lines in Sherlock Holmes, is Dr. .Watson's reference to the giant rat of Sumatra as being one of the cases of Mr. Sherlock Holmes for which the public is not yet ready.  And, indeed, the whole Sherlock Holmes canon is studied with Dr. Watson's, he pulls a file up out of an old chest and : one day I will tell you about he mysterious affair of, and then he never does.  I definitely think that's one of the delights of creating a world like this, that there are stories for which the public is not yet ready.


theater3d : When writing your "bible" did you have a series of typical lines the characters would say?  

GAVIN:  No, I definitely didn't have typical lines for the characters to say.  I suspect that if one had written typical lines for the characters to say, it would have started to look really unconvincing straight away.  Basically, the bible was filling in the backgrounds of the characters and the schemers, and so on. 


susanmgarrett : Gavin - what about licensing books or audio tie-ins?

GAVIN:  Licensing books or audio books- I mean I would love to see Jules Verne comic books.  I think these episodes would be really cool as comic books.  I love the idea, actually, of being able to do readings of them.  I love listening to audio books and, for example, some of the BBC radio plays on tape are so terrific, the actual production value of audio versions of great stories can be so strong and, obviously, can be much cheaper to do than actually doing them on video or film.  So, the notion of actually having Jules Verne in audio is very attractive to me.


treehugger20170 : Gavin, have you read any of the fan fiction?

GAVIN:  I haven't yet, I should read some of the fan fiction.  I think it's partly because I'm so closely bound up with the ideas that are in my mind, that I possibly just shied away from doing that.  But, you know, I ought to, I will go and check it out because it's a great tribute that people have been creating this.


GAVIN:  I just want to say I've got to go in about 5 minutes time, various family obligations.  It's been so delightful talking to you all.  I've really enjoyed it.  If there are any burning questions that anyone has got, the next few minutes would be a good time to ask them.


theater3d : What do you feel is your biggest mistake with the series?

CHRIS:  Don't ask him that. <laughs>  There were no mistakes, the show was perfect, you should know that.

GAVIN:  No, as I think I've said, actually, probably the biggest thing I learnt from the process of making the shows was that I was cramming so much into each story that it was genuinely hard to resolve it at the right pace in the constraints of an hour-long show.  Having said that, it does mean that there is quite a bit of richness in there that can be exploited and, you know, can be teased out.  In terms of the future projects, as soon as I know anything, rest assured, I will be letting the Jules Verne fans know anything I know as soon as I know it. 

GAVIN:  OK, bye from me.  It's been great talking to you all.  Keep on enjoying the show.  Keep on doing the great work that you're doing in trying to persuade people to make the second series.  I'm talking to everyone that I can think of and let's all just see if we can make this happen.  Bye, now.

CHRIS:  Thank you, Gavin, as usual, a pleasure.

GAVIN:  'Bye, Chris.


Gavin Scott departs


daurmith : Talks with Gavin always leave me with my mind reeling... So many thinhs...

CHRIS:  It'd be great to hear him for just a couple of hours.  Well, I get tired of hearing me talk.  You're all are much too sweet.  Thank you very much.

Many comments on how the chatters never get tired of hearing from Chris.

CHRIS:  No I don't get tired of you guys, either.  That's why I keep coming back here.  If I got tired of you guys I just would not.


The chat continued for well over an hour, with a very informal conversation between Chris and the denizens of the chat room. And because it was an informal conversation, there is no transcript to do it justice.


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