Fox Executive Kevin Reilly Talks Batman Origin Story GOTHAM, BROADCHURCH Remake GRACEPOINT, WAYWARD PINES, SLEEPY HOLLOW Season 2 & More

     January 13, 2014

kevin reilly

As part of the TCA Press Tour presentation for Fox, Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly took some time to talk about the network’s current and upcoming line-up. During the interview, he talked about where things are at with the event series Wayward Pines and Gracepoint (the American version of Broadchurch), how Gotham will very much be the Batman origin story with many of the well known characters, and that the series will lead up to Bruce Wayne finally putting on the Batman cape in the final episode, the 13-episode second season of Sleepy Hollow, and the likelihood that Bones will return for another season, with Stephen Nathan as showrunner, since Hart Hanson will be moving on with Backstrom.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

wayward pines posterWhat’s the status of the upcoming shows that you’re currently going into production on?

REILLY:  For our 10-episode event series, Wayward Pines, we are currently in production on Episode 5.  For our new event series, Gracepoint, we’re going to do 10 episodes.  We are fully cast, and we go into series production in two weeks.  We picked up Backstrom, which was produced for CBS last year.  I love the pilot.  We are keeping it almost entirely intact.  I can’t be happier to be in Hart Hanson’s great hands again with Rainn Wilson out front.  Hart has already written four episodic scripts, and we go into series production in March.  Hieroglyph is our new 13-episode, incredible adventure set in ancient Egypt, and is currently prepping series production in Santa Fe and Morocco.  We are in series prep.  We have three scripts and a series bible already in motion.  Gotham, our Batman origin story, has been ordered to pilot, but we’ll be preparing as a series.  We’ll be staffing in mid-February to begin rolling right into episodic production with scripts, way ahead of the process on that.  The Middle Man, from Glenn Caron and Ben Affleck, has five scripts in motion, and we are casting.  We’ve completely started from scratch with the John Mulaney sitcom, and shot the pilot last Friday.  He’s got four more scripts behind it, and we’ll be shooting six episodes.  We’ll be doing the same thing with Cabot College (working title), the new project from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.  We are shooting a pilot called Fatrick, with Nanatchka Khan and Corey Nickerson.  [Nat] Faxon and [Jim] Rash are directing that.  We are fully cast, and we’ll be shooting that in a few weeks.  I anticipate that will be kicked up to series sometime in early February.

Is the pick-up for Season 2 of Sleepy Hollow for 13 episodes?

sleepy-hollow-castREILLY:  It’s for 13, but we may do a few more.  There’s not a magic number.  It was very heavy lifting this year.  It’s a huge show.  We had a hard time making airdates, and not because there’s anything wrong.  It’s an enormous show.  The finale’s fantastic, by the way.  I can’t wait till you see it.  But for most shows and dramas, in this day and age, it’s better for the audiences to focus and to do shorter orders.  They don’t feel so ubiquitous, as if they go on forever.  It feels like an appointment, and something you can watch.  I think many dramas are just better creatively on a shorter-order pattern.  We will be starting next year’s production of Sleepy Hollow this March.  We will be months ahead of everybody else.

How are you going to position Gotham from a marketing perspective, since it’s a Batman show without Batman?

REILLY:  Batman is in it, as young Bruce Wayne.  This is an origin story.  This is what I love about it.  This is not like some of the things where you’ve bought a franchise, but then you have a bunch of characters no one’s ever heard of, or an offshoot that we make up.  This is all of the classic Batman characters, with a young Bruce Wayne, with Detective Gordon before he’s Commissioner Gordon, with the Penguin, with the Riddler, and with the Joker.  All of those characters are going to arc and become who they are.  I’ve read the script.  It’s really good.  It’s going to be this operatic soap that has a slightly larger-than-life quality.  And we will arc a young Bruce Wayne from a child into the final episode of the series, when he will put on the cape.

Can you say how old he is when the show begins?

gotham-TV-showREILLY:  We’re playing with that with casting now.  He’s a young boy, but my guess would be that he’d be somewhere around 12.

What are you looking to do with the American version of Broadchurch, called Gracepoint?

REILLY:  When Peter Rice and I first saw it, we emailed each other one weekend because we were obsessed and said, “What if we just aired this as is?”  We really did contemplate it.  But I think it would probably be lower-rated, where we could have a really big one with this.  I’ve learned the hard way, don’t fix what ain’t broke.  That show will, by and large, be an American version that’s very faithful to the British version.  But they only did eight episodes, and we’re doing 10 hours in the first cycle.  We have a different ending than they have, so there will be something to stay tuned for with a twist.

Why did you cast Anna Gunn, instead of also going with the original British actress?

REILLY:  You need a salt-of-the-earth quality in that role, and I think Anna really does have that.  She’s a tall, elegant woman.  That was her character, to a certain extent, on Breaking Bad.  She is quite striking, but I think in a really approachable way, she’ll be costumed accordingly.  And we really intended to fully do an American cast, top to bottom, when David [Tennant] indicated that he wanted to do the role.  He’s so wired into this franchise and he’s such a huge star in the UK, it felt like his Hugh Laurie moment in time, so we made the decision to go with him.  But at a certain point, then you’re just completely redoing the same show.  That’s how that evolved. 

Is Bones being renewed?

REILLY:  We’re negotiating on Bones for another season.  I would anticipate it will be back.  We’ve got to make a business deal, but I think we’ll work that out.  And I’m really excited.  Stephen Nathan will be running that show next year, and he’s been with Hart from minute one.  Hart’s going to really be focusing on Backstrom.

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