WILDFIRE - AFTER THE SHOW
Second Season Finale Podcast
Interview with Kieren Hutchison & Writer Marjorie David
Hosted by Shawn Piller -
10 April 2006
> download Podcast as wmv file [zip 30 MB]
Shawn Piller: Hey, welcome to Wildfire After the Show. You just watched the season finale called "Close Shave". It's episode 13 of season two and it was written by Marjorie David and directed by Bradford May. Today we have joining us the lovely and talented Marjorie David and Kieren Hutchison.
Kieren Hutchison: The lovely and talented Kieren Hutchison.
Shawn: The lovely and talented… So, I think the big question everyone's asking right now is: what the hell is wrong with you, dude?
Kieren: Kerry can't fly. He cannot know what's going on.
Shawn: But dude... How did that come about? I know that we wanted to build all of these cliffhangers and we had a lot of fun doing it and Marjorie wrote this episode and I think she did a great job. But when you were writing that, what was the big challenge to make Kris's decision not be so clear. You know, Junior sort of seducing her…
Marjorie David: Well, it was an interesting… there was always a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in terms of… I guess, what people don't know is how much participation we have when we create the story and how much stuff comes out of powers that be. Like there's a certain etwork interest and stuff that happens, like they wanna make sure that we're concentrating on the kids and then there might be somebody who's really interested in Kerry being the bad guy. And we'd already created Kerry to be a complicated kind of a guy who - it isn't so much that he's bad but that he's bad for Kris. Like the way you played him was how and that's one of the things we talked about how you approach him.
Kieren: Yeah: And that's interesting for us too, because obviously you don't get the scripts too far in advance, cause they are not yet written so we have to sort of take the scenes that you have and got from there … with an uncertain future. Yeah, that's interesting.
Shawn: Literally, we should start from the beginning. This is the first time you've done After the show.
Shawn: But literally, you were kind of a guest star part that we didn't know how long it was gonna stay. And ultimately the network and Marjorie and I went on and sort of fell in love with your character and fell in love with your acting.
Kieren: And I just refused to leave.
Shawn: And you pretty much wouldn't leave, you stayed. So we really want to… So how much of Kieren is like Kerry, how much do you bring to that character?
Kieren: It's difficult to tell. Not that much in some ways. I mean, the whole agent thing is kind of corporate and suits and I've never been that guy. And, I'm from New Zealand, and playing him as like, you know, from America, so that's different again. But then, you know, obviously we… maybe some of the humour and some… you try to bring some of your personality to it to at least bring it to life.
Shawn: And I think it's real, I think, knowing you and I think the writers know how to write your character now. And I think that's always tough when you introduce a new character.
Kieren: Right. 'Cause you're finding the voice and I am.
Shawn: And I thought you have done such a great job that we decided to kill you at the end of the season (all laugh):
Kieren: I used a defective plane, it's not Kerry's fault. His planes are always…
Marjorie: He always got a bad plane. You know, it's a bad carpenter who always blames the tool.
Shawn: So, how hard is it to loose your accent? I've been meaning to ask this.
Kieren: Really hard. Sometimes I loose it, sometimes I don't. I've been 80 % successful.
Shawn: I haven't really noticed it. I mean, I really didn't have to cut around… I never said 'oh my God, we can hear his accent'.
Shawn: Have you noticed that? Anything in the dailies?
Kieren: Oh, please don't tell me now. Lets do it after…
Shawn: We just finished the season, we're done. There's no more work to do. (all laugh)
Kieren: It's all in the can now, right? No, I mean, it is tough, 'cause it's quite a… the way you use your mouth and everything is totally different to the way I'm used to. But that's what's kind of fun about it, you know. Rather than just turning and playing yourself I'm enjoying that extra layer, the different sort of barrier from you to them, trying to make it real. It's kind of funny like when I'm not filming and I'm on set trying to do this in-between thing, like this really bad American accent. It's… I'm sort of my voice and sort of not, so I can sort of step into it rather than having to completely change, but yeah, it's gotten easier recently and I feel it works.
Shawn: So, you're from New Zealand?
Shawn: When did you come to the States?
Kieren: I think it was probably about four years ago.
Shawn: And did you come out on a job or just moved out to L.A.?
Kieren: No. No. I just came out here and joined the line of the
Shawn: What was your first gig?
Kieren: … and rapidly became a waiter.
Shawn: You started acting there though?
Kieren: Yeah. I started acting when I first got out of school in New Zealand, so when I was about 18, I guess.
Shawn: You studied acting in college or high school?
Kieren: Yeah, it was high school. I was about to go to drama school and then I ended up on a TV show in New Zealand and sort of went from there. A sort of a prime-time soap called
Shortland Street. It's a medical drama. That was kind of fun.
Shawn: No horses?
Kieren: No horses, no.
Marjorie: So, you're a doctor now? Because I worked on a medical drama too, and I see myself as a sort of doctor.
Kieren: No, it's true. You learn all that jargon and stuff like a myo cardio infarction and I'm 'What the hell is that?' It's a heart-attack. Right! I know stuff!
Shawn: That brings me to my next question, and this is really for both of you: how does this show and the experience of working on this show compare to other shows you've done in the past; besides of being the best experience of your life, of course, in New Mexico.
Kieren: It's the best experience of my life and in New Mexico. No, it's really good.
Marjorie: It is really good. It's a really warm loving show. We try to get everybody in on the creative process as much as possible like, I think, there's a tremendous amount of interaction between the actors and I'm the person who really represents all the other writers but we work all very closely together and then when I come down here I always work very closely with the actors we do a tremendous amount of improv. And it's usually improv around the subject that's already been written.
Shawn:But let's back up this even further. 'Cause when we first met, it was actually a phone interview.
Marjorie: That was funny, wasn't it?
Shawn: We had read your scripts, I was in New York with my father and family and basically it was… there were two writers that we really liked and thought they were great writers and we met Marjorie on the phone and literally, she said all the right things, she got all the characters, she knew exactly what the show was about, she knew, she already had ideas for what she wanted to do with the characters and really, I personally, really wanted a woman voice to be Jean's voice and be Kris's voice, to be the matriarch of the show. And to have that female perspective 'cause really, it's a bunch of guys, it's like me and my dad and Lloyd Segan. So it was like we really wanted to have that female perspective on the show. And I thought, you've done a great job of bringing that.
Marjorie : Well, thank you, hon. I was going to say and we've been fighting ever since (all laugh).
Shawn : Yeah, but that's part of the process.
Marjorie : This actually is a show were you can have a fight with somebody and still be friends.
Shawn : So, were do the stories come from, where in the beginning of a season, how do you come up with all those different stories?
Marjorie: Well, the stork comes over the building with a little bundle of baby stories and drops them… no. We have a serialised show and so that makes it really different from a show that would be one-ofs. That way it is easier to do, in some ways it's easier to do one-ofs, if you have enough… if you have a franchise. Let me say, this is a guy who remembers everything but… or your Dead Zone, you were able to at least isolate the stories more…
Shawn Piller: So more stand alone and self contained, like little
Marjorie: I've actually done prime drama, like Special Victims Unit
and basically you get to sit in a room, maybe you call in somebody else and you work out a complicated chain of events and somebody comes and checks and sees what's absurd and you fix it or you don't. In this case, it's really about characters and it's also about horse racing, about the horse farm, so we looked at three places for stories. We looked to events in the lives of the characters that we have and we looked to their relationships with each other and because of serialising because we centre so closely on our main characters they tend to have more dramatic stuff happen in their life in short time than anybody else would. And then we look into the horse racing world and the world of horses, which is actually really fun for all of us because we do have a staff that is very horse literate.
Shawn: Let's talk about this. Talk about the writers.
Marjorie: Well, I love horses and grew up with horses and in fact had a horse, until I got to busy to have horse anymore. I think, out of our staff, the writing staff; I would say that five out of seven people have horses or grew up having horses. So we're all very attached to horses, although horse racing is a whole other thing and we had a lot to learn about that. And there have been books that have been really helpful to us. And we spent a little time at the track. Shawn has a friend who works at the track and put us on a great trip to San Juanito one day. And we're more interested in horses and horses as race horses than before. And we're really aware of all the different aspects of racing and we try to bring that into a script in a way that is interesting to people.
Shawn: But in terms of like how far ahead do you try to or can you sort of project what's gonna happen?
Marjorie: We try to arch out to the end of the year. But then things happen that change it. Like when Kerry appeared and turned out to be so delightful and beloved we actually started to put Kerry stories into the main storylines, so he lasted longer. And there are production contingencies that change things. There are times when we just can't have somebody, for instance one of the actors who was a guest star went off to do a TV movie in the middle and that changed this entire plot then. And so there's so much you can plan ahead, and then no further.
Kieren: You roll with the punches.
Marjorie: Yeah, we roll with the punches. But basically we know where we're going from the beginning to the end. We knew what was going to happen to Kerry, from the minute we knew you were staying. But maybe what happened was that we knew what was going to happen to you, but it was going to happen sooner or something, and then you stayed. So, it was really kind of interesting and I find it really… I love the process, I find it really fun.
Shawn: Let me jump to some questions, easy stuff, okay. Actually some of these are hard. Let's see. What is it like kissing Genevieve in front of your real life wife?
Kieren: That is a hard one. Well, usually Nicole's not there (laughs).
Shawn: She doesn't like show up on set and be like (poses as Nicole watching).
Kieren: Look at the schedule, ah, I pop in today. No, it's one of the odd things about this job anyway. You know, I mean, it… sometimes you meet someone, shake hands and 'oh, we will be making out later' (checks his watch). Very odd. But…
[Shawn and Marjorie comment on that.] That's your guys's business. We got cameras on us. I don't know, I mean, the way I look at it is, I get to look at her kissing Micah all the time, so hey, all's fair.
Shawn: You guys haven't really… In the episode I directed, number 9, you guys sort of had your first scene together, but there was no dialogue written for it.
Kieren: It's become kind of a running joke with us on some level. Our characters kind of hadn't really met and we kind of met in the background though, you're right, it was when just before the race when Gen's character was riding Picaro. Right there in the back, there's me and Nicole shaking hands.
Shawn: So funny. Do you guys drive to work together?
Kieren: No. No. Well, 'cause you know, if she finishes early she wants to get home and not have to wait for hours. Sometimes. Occassionally.
Shawn: And do you go when she has a kissing scene, is that weird? Do you get jealous, a little bit?
Kieren: Like I said, it's kind of payback. If only one of us was, maybe it would be weird.
Shawn: So does that make it easier because you are both doing it? It's part of the gig and you're like, it's cool, it's not like…
Kieren: Yeah, I mean, it's really kind of hard to explain. 'Cause I think, when you haven't been in that situation, to people who aren't actors it's, it's kind of strange, like I said, it's odd, anyway, you know. Just acting, regardless of having your wife involved in the show, your girlfriend, anything like that, it's just odd meeting people and just kissing them.
Shawn: In front of 150 people.
Kieren: In front of a whole bunch of people. And obviously I met Gen through the first season when I wasn't on the show, you know, visiting Nicole, so you know that can be odd too, because of kind of have met somebody as a friend and then move to that thing. But Nicole and I have no problems, the occasional fight. No, I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
Shawn: Right. Let's see. This is from Kayla V. from Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, general question: what's your favourite part about being on the show?
Marjorie: The salary.
Kieren: It's really, really nice not serving drinks in a bar in L.A.
Shawn: There you go. Good answer, good answer.
Marjorie: I like that the office is 5 minutes from my house by car.
Kieren: Right by the beach, too.
Marjorie: Well, so is my house. You know what, I love coming to New Mexico. I really do. It's really hard for me to pick one part.My favourite thing, I love coming to New Mexico and I love working with actors as close as I get to do, it's dramatic writing.
Shawn: Here's a good question. And this is for both of you and we start with Kieren. So, do you think about the social impact or meaning of or how the show kind of influences people?
Kieren: Yeah. Just hang on. Yeah, I mean, especially on a show like this, I think, one can't help to be proud about the idea that it is positive, you know. It's not like a negative force out there. Kris is a great role model for young girls and all that stuff. I don't know about my particular character in general, 'cause, I think, I'm the sleazy agent.
Shawn (laughing) Making enemies in the agent community. How do you feel about that?
Kieren: Agents. Agents are great. Yeah, I don't know about my particular character when it pertains to that but the show in general, yeah, absolutely. I'm proud to be part of it for those reasons.
Shawn: Cool. Marjorie?
Marjorie: It's a real line to draw how much sex you show or how much drinking you show, how much of all that stuff you show. And really, we're on ABC Family not pay-cable and you cannot not pay attention to that. I mean, there's just no way that you are not paying attention to this.
Kieren: There's the responsibility part of it.
Marjorie: It's, you know, being honest about who you're writing for. I mean, there are just a lot of issues involved that do affect us every single day. I like to have the characters do what the characters really gonna do. That is just a fact. You do that up to the point where it's acceptable in terms of continuing to be entertaining. I mean, I myself don't like hugging and making up and preaching a message about anything and I also think that that different kinds of people suffer different kind of consequences from anything they do and some suffer none. And that isn't necessarily evil to do, to be, you know, your guy, it's just that you are coming from some place that someone else isn't coming from.
Kieren: Yeah, and what's great about my character…
Marjorie: So, you just try to go through the characters not through the moral issues, you know what I mean.
Kieren: Right. If a character happens to be slightly more selfish than others, where you could make a case perhaps in mine - I'm fairly single-minded about what I'm doing and Gen's character really. I'm not sure if he really cares too much about Raintree and Wildfire.
Marjorie: No, he doesn't and that's the whole point. I mean, what he cares about …
Kieren: But that's kind of nice about it.
Marjorie: He might love her though.
Kieren: I believe he does. Otherwise, what's the point? But, you know, the idea of having a character who maybe is slightly more selfish than… there's a lot of characters who are quite giving on the show. That's the realism about it.
Shawn: So guys, we finished. Season 2, 13 episodes, 26 all together.
Kieren: Big cliffhanger.
Shawn: Can you tell us anything about season 3?
Shawn: Okay. You have to stay tuned and watch season three of Wildfire, starting hopefully this summer. Thanks for watching.
Marjorie: Thanks for watching. See you next year.
Kieren: See ya.
© ABC Family Website - Wildfire After the Show / Transcipt by Ute Lafin