We talk to Jay Firestone, executive producer on the NBC mini-series XIII that will air on February 8th and 15th from 9-11 p.m.

(In this series based on the cult French graphic novels, the first female President of the United States is assassinated during her Veterans Day speech. Three months later, with the case still unsolved, a young man (Stephen Dorff) is found unconscious in the woods. Suffering from amnesia he discovers a tattoo on his chest of the Roman numeral XIII, a photograph and a computer chip, which seem to be his only clues to his past . . .)

Q: Which was the biggest influence on the series - the game or the comic book?

JF: I would definitely say that the comic book was the bigger influence on the series. Certainly, while the game is hugely popular, the comic book was the main source for the script—in a sense, the mini-series is the comic books brought to life.

Q: What is it that attracted you to the project in the first place? How is it different from, let's say, The Bourne Identity?

JF: I was initially attracted to the project because of the incredible international following the comic books enjoy. Once I got to know the story, I was impressed by how much it stands on its own; the political intrigue inside XIII is bigger than The Bourne Identity. XIII is the story of an entire government under attack from within. Few action stories are bigger than that.

Q: I don't know if The Sci-Fi Movie Page were targeted specifically by your PR division, but are there any science fiction elements to the story? Would sci-fi fans enjoy it?

JF: XIII is of course an action drama, but it takes place in the near-future. So, just as in science fiction, it is a story about ‘what-ifs’ and possible endpoints from where we are now. That is an aspect of XIII that I’m sure science fiction fans will enjoy.

Q: Any plans for a possible TV series after the mini-series?

JF: Yes we are in the process of developing a XIII series, which will start production mid year 2009.

Q: Val Kilmer has a reputation for being "difficult". What was your experience of working with Kilmer?

JF: Val always impresses me on and-off screen. His performance as the villain Mongoose in XIII was incredible and chilling. Off-screen I have always found him to be a gentleman, which has led to the friendship we now have.

  • Read our our review of XIII.



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