Star Kevin McKidd and Creator Kevin Falls break down this show that tackles dual realities
From Emmy Award-winning writer-producer Kevin Falls (The West Wing) and Emmy Award-winning director-producer Alex Graves (The West Wing) comes Journeyman a romantic mystery-drama about San Francisco newspaper reporter and family man, Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, Rome), who inexplicably begins to travel through time and change the course of people's lives. Along the way, he must also deal with the difficulties and stress at work and home brought on by his sudden disappearances.
Kevin McKidd and Kevin Falls recently participated in a conference call to discuss this new series.
Can you talk about the character of Dan Vasser?
Kevin Falls: Yeah, it's not a triangle. It's a rectangle and certainly Dan has to balance not only his wife in the present but he has this fiance who died at the apex of their relationship. So he's straddling these two women that he loves in a very epic manner. If that isn't an ingredient for soap I don't know what is. Coupled with the fact that the Jack character, played by Reed Diamond, was at one point dating Dan's wife.
Kevin, that gives you more to play than the sci-fi aspect, right?
Kevin McKidd: That's why the audience is going to connect with the show, because if we've done our job well it appeals to the sci-fi audience because we have all that intrigue and great plot twists and devices that we use; the time travel element. The thing that pins it down and gives it the sense of reality is the interpersonal relationships between these quite complex, human and flawed people.
In your lifetimes would you like to be able to travel and see how things could have been different?
Kevin McKidd: It's a funny question, I think I'm intrigued with the small things. I think the show's about people who have taken, maybe, the wrong path or need to be nudged back on to the correct path of their life. I'm a very lucky person... hopefully that points to the fact that I haven't made too many mistakes.
Kevin Falls: We'll find out...
Kevin McKidd: I wouldn't want to be burdened with this affliction that Dan Vasser has, no.
Kevin Falls: I wouldn't change anything but I think I would like to go back and observe some of my early years. Then I could probably go watch the movie Superbad and that petty much would be my life.
Why do you think we're getting more and more shows with characters who have extraordinary powers?
Kevin Falls: Well... everyone's talking about escaping from the dark dramas of the shows that were on last season, but also what's going on in the world today. I let others speak to that... like I said, I simply had run out of ideas; there was no master plan. With Kevin's character, Dan, we wanted to approach from a place of reality because Alex and myself don't believe in time travel. We wanted our character to approach it... he's going to get an MRI in the first scene, Steven, Dan and Katie, despite the wonderful parlor trick of hiding the ring in the backyard, they're still trying to get their heads around what's going on. There's going to be an approach of, "There's something wrong with me" as opposed to "What power's doing this?" Eventually he will trip on that. He's a very real person who still has to keep a job, a wife, be a father to a child and we wanted to speak to the idea of the ultimate, emotional workplace affair when talking about the dead fiance coupled with the ultimate job on the road.
What does the time travel aspect of this show do that you wouldn't be able to do if this show was completely based in reality?
Kevin Falls: Well, we're doing an episode... a lot of time we'll visit people who have common problems and, relatively speaking, rather normal lives. In Episode 4, Dan is transported to a D.B. Cooper-like character's parachute. You think we're going to be following the D.B. Cooper character through it all and you will. What's connected to that story is something that's happening in Iraq which is that he's trying to get somebody out of Cambodia; an interpreter that helped him in the Vietnam war. Because of that, we get to draw some parallels to the people we may be leaving behind as we start, hopefully, a withdrawal out of that country. It allows us to speak to it in a different context.
Kevin McKidd, what about the rumors that they want you to play Thor?
Kevin McKidd: A) It's semi-true although I didn't know about it either until I heard the rumors. I called my agent and he want, "Yeah, we've been talking to them about it," but I think the last I heard from my agent they're talking that they want to go for somebody much younger. A 19 or 20 year old for that role, so they're re-conceptualizing it as we speak. Although now they're switching their sights and the other main character in that movie I'm in consideration for, but by certainly no means is it in the bag. To be honest, until I read a script I don't really know. I haven't really had a look at the script. This is all still information coming in. It looks fun but it just depends on what's on the page. I think it all starts and finishes with the quality of the script.
Can you talk about the complications of Dan having to go back forth between his two different loves? Are there any repercussions because of that?
Kevin Falls: I think that's the heart of the show and what does separate it from other shows that have done this. He does love both women. He really loves his wife and his family, he does not want to change it, as much as he loves Livia. It wasn't like a divorce or he got dumped, their relationship ended at the apex of it, they were getting ready to get married. How could you not still have some feelings if you ran into them again? That is the complication of the series. Amongst some executives who have watched the show there's Club Katie's and there's Club Livia's kind of identifying... it changes week to week because the actresses are so strong. I'm gonna have to say through 5 episodes it's a toss up.
Journeyman premieres Monday, September 24 (10-11 p.m. ET) on NBC.
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