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