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Tim MinearTim Minear - "The Inside" Tv Show - Ifmagazine.com Interview 3
By Carl Cortez
Wednesday 10 August 2005, by Webmaster
TIM MINEAR GETS INSIDE THE INSIDE AND DISCUSSES WHAT’S IN THE FUTURE - PART 3
The creator concludes his THE INSIDE discussion and talks about his HARSH MISTRESS
Alright, folks - this is it, the final chapter in the very long, exclusive Tim Minear interview. This last installment has Minear finishing his discussion of his underrated Fox show THE INSIDE while talking about his scripting duties on the Robert Heinlein adaptation THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS.
iF MAGAZINE: When THE INSIDE was pre-empted two weeks in a row, you were asked to take a second episode out of rotation, which one did you pick?
MINEAR: That decision was made for me when I got the standards notes on Episode 11 called “Perfect Couple,” which is the Amber Benson episode. The standards notes were so extreme, it would have pretty much butchered the episode, that I figured the best thing to do for that episode would be not to air it.
iF MAGAZINE: What was so extreme about that episode?
MINEAR: Not that much. The standards notes I get are so odd. In the “Aidan” episode, a fetus gets ripped out of the pregnant woman. They try to salvage the baby and find the doll. There was a shot where you could see a plastic foot sticking out of the stomach of the pregnant woman and I did not get a standards note on that. I went back and cut that out myself, because I found it offensive. But if someone is shot and is flailing around too much, that’s the kind of note I get. And “Point of Origin,” a guy sets himself on fire. It’s really nothing you’ve seen at the Universal stunt show. We did it on ANGEL and BUFFY all the time, but apparently, we can’t show that on TV. “He’s flailing around too much.” There is a whole flailing issue with standards and practices. But if you show a plastic foot sticking out of the ripped out abdomen of a formerly living woman, that’s okay. I opted not to do the notes on “Perfect Couple” so the episode would not be butchered.
iF MAGAZINE: It seems like you’re doing a 13-hour movie as opposed to a TV series, because they never seem to get beyond the initial order.
MINEAR: This is why it’s hard for me to be angry. I said this on my web site, if they want to keep giving me $40 and $50 million dollars to make 13-episode things, sure. I got to do a space western, I got to do a whimsical, fantastical romantic comedy and I got to do an abyss-staring noir. There ain’t nothing wrong with that. These things practically live now on DVD. I wish STRANGE WORLD was on DVD. We had a kick-ass ending for that, and we shot it and it has aired on Sci Fi.
iF MAGAZINE: Is THE INSIDE DVD scheduled to come out?
MINEAR: It’s not scheduled at this moment.
iF MAGAZINE: When it comes out, would you put all three pilots on it?
MINEAR: I would try to put all three pilots, I have scenes we’ve excised. I’ve saved up every scrap. As an avid DVD enthusiast it’s my pleasure. I really started doing it on ANGEL. If you look at ANGEL Season 3 DVD, all that stuff, all those extra scenes, Cordy’s TV show, the ballet scene from Josh’s episode, was all stuff I personally hoarded.
iF MAGAZINE: Do you keep up the BUFFY references throughout the rest of the season of THE INSIDE?
MINEAR: Half of those references weren’t meant to be references until people started pointing them out. “Oh, the blue glove,” “Oh, he said Serenity.” I’m sure there are a bunch in there that I didn’t even realize.
iF MAGAZINE: Has Fox tried to attach you to anything on their fall schedule?
MINEAR: I’m sure they would love to, but I don’t think they will. Dana Walden who is the president of the studio, has been incredibly supportive. I basically did this for her. She asked me to come in and do this dark, procedural thing. I didn’t at first, then I did, and I’m glad I did. She wants me to develop my own things.
iF MAGAZINE: Have you thought of directing a feature film at some point?
MINEAR: Sure? I’m not sure if it will be in the near future. I’m barely just coming off this thing. You learn something every time, but I do love TV and I like it because you get to tell things over a period of time. It’s a close-ended procedural, crimes are solved every week, but you can really see the thing was moving into arc-territory. And how can you not have arc-territory, when you have a character who is basically Elizabeth Smart. Those questions need to be resolved. What’s Web’s agenda? What’s going to happen with Paul and his family? What’s Mel’s secret? Did Danny kill somebody? You just want to know all these things and it would eventually become about that. It was really about that anyway. If you look at the episode “Everything Nice,” I have Rebecca tell you who the killer is in the first act and it’s all about building everything to one scene.
iF MAGAZINE: What’s next for you?
MINEAR: I’m doing another pass at MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS [an adaptation of the Robert Heinlein sci-fi novel]. It’s for producers David Hayman and Mike Medavoy. I did a pass of that last year, turned it in and they had some notes and they came to me this year and we talked about what the next pass would be. They were giving me their notes and what they were saying, “maybe you can do this, or do that,” and in my infinite wisdom said, “I have an idea, why don’t I do a whole new version. Why don’t I throw this out and start over.” They were like “you would do that?” And I’m like “yeah,” so that’s what I’m getting ready to do now.
iF MAGAZINE: Is it hard to adapt Heinlein?
MINEAR: Yes. Maybe HAVE SPACESUIT AND TRAVEL, which is really about that one guy, maybe that would be easier, but this is about a revolution. It’s big and it has a lot of really complex political ideas. It’s hard in that respect. How do you personalize this? There’s a lot of talking in the book - theoretical talking about Libertarian ideals and political structure and that sort of thing - how do you take that and make it immediate and dramatic and emotional? How do you say that stuff through scenes and action, as opposed to characters sitting around and having a conversation? That’s difficult. The other thing that is difficult is that there is also a certain amount of psychological pressure that I am trying to remove from myself when you’re adapting something like Heinlein. This book is so important to so many people and you don’t want to f*ck it up. So there’s that. You want to keep true to spirit of it, and you want to take this enormously long book, that takes place over a long period of time and try to do a version of it that will play for two hours on a movie screen. The other thing is to make sure the powers that be in Hollywood don’t force you to turn it into some Marxist screed on socialism, when Heinlein was a Libertarian and it’s about free-market capitalism. You want to try and not make it about an evil corporation. That’s the trick.
iF MAGAZINE: It’s just in the script-stage? No official greenlight yet?
MINEAR: Exactly. What they want to do is take it out to big name directors and they’ve named a couple of directors and it would be awesome if that happened. The people who optioned this book - Mike Medavoy and David Hayman - optioned it because they liked the book and the ideas are inspiring particularly the idea of retelling the American Revolution from this sci-fi point of view.