Appreciating “Hunted”

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Dear Frank,

I have been rewatching Hunted after I finally got me the DVDs for my birthday in April.

I really failed at making sense of the pilot three times or so. Mostly due to the fact that I watched it at like 2:30 AM.

For Breaking Bad that seemed to work. But since I am not a huge action-scene fan and Hunted has this crime-like “who’s trying to get who”- storyline, I really needed to focus and pay attention. So for a while I simply felt stupid and guilty for not loving ‘Uncle Frank’s’ show right away. After all, subtitles and the rewind-function helped.

I think what I love most about the Hunted, is that it deals with predominant issues of current world ‘politics’ like I have seen no one else do it. So It seems kind of brave for doing that. Mayyybe some documentaries about the banking crash come close. But on a fictional level crime and murder etc. can often end up on a flat black-and-white level.

I am sure that shows like The X-Files and Breaking Bad have paved the way and showed, that it is much more interesting to show the humane in monsters and criminals; often therewith exposing how people end up doing bad things. So that in the age of the financial crisis the lines between the upright citizen and a criminal milieu were shown as blurred.

And so in Hunted you have amazingly put together an ensemble of characters that show different layers of this private sector/ corruption/ global players-machinery. I feel that reviews I have read, have not recognised this enough. Very complex are of course the dynamics between Jack Turner and his son Stephen; but there are also characters like Natalie Thorpe, Deacon Crane and George Ballard to take the audience on a ride that keeps pressing the issue of (morally?) right and wrong decisions and in the end legitimate motives. Like, “Since when has anyone ever made ‘enough’ money?”

If I got that correctly, then there are people behind the Blank-Faced Man who want to do the right thing. It’s just going slowly while projects like the Khyber Damm (love that you chose Pakistan!) reveal how the machinery works and how difficult it is for individual characters to stand up against the rules of it all (mostly, they end up dead…). I’d love to see how all that plays out.

Which brings my to why I wanted to write about in the first place. I think you might at one point have said that fiction can’t possibly get darker than reality at this point, so that in The X-Files it was actually getting harder and harder to scare people, especially after 9/11. Or maybe it was something Chris has said, or you both have said it…

Anyway – I LOVE the look of the show. And so initially I wanted to send you this one picture of Sam Hunter, that struck me as beautiful and sort of emblematic for the show. But then I had all these moments of “Ah, what a beautiful shot! Oh, now it’s already gone.” I don’t want to say that the series feels rushed. It’s just suspense and moving at the pace it should. What blew me away is, that every however-short scene or shot in Hunted feels like it was very consciously chosen to look amazing. Like for example the countless beautiful images of Sam in Scotland in the pilot or the action scene with Sam and Aidan in Episode 4.

Of course it seems like a miracle, that you managed to get material like that to be produced at all and on such a budget /high ‘standard’. But I really really feel like not a single shot was wasted to look boring or rushed. So, this is what I want to sort of congratulate you for. Hunted is really looking all kinds of shiny and sparkly (see attachments).

But mostly that means managing to paint this bleak story in stunning pictures, which transport this mood. For example in the way that room interiors, skylines or London-outside scenes were captured. Sometimes it has this symmetry and post-modern stillness to it, that I always loved in street photography and which seems to fit the deadlocked situation of the whole Byzantium-background story. Like for example when Natalie looks out the window after talking to Aidan in Episode 3 or members of the Byzantium team are shown in front of the nightly London skyline.

As I mentioned, what I admire most about Hunted is the revealing of these complex structures, mechanisms and personal consequences of this dark, gloomy… world. I am sure it can spur some interesting conversations about the world we are living in. I shan’t attempt to write anything about that now.

So, instead I wanted to send you some pictures that illustrate how blown away I was by the look/photography of Hunted.

I also want to say that I loved that you got Patrick Malahide and Richard Dormer to be part of the cast. They are amazing. My favourite character is Ian though. I realize that the show kind of needs a little laugh here and there to bare the heaviness of it all. But I really love how Lex Shrapnel plays Ian. It’s so very endearing, funny but dark and action-hero stylish at the same time.

I feel like all the actors are making their characters 110% believable though. That goes for Adam Rayner (Aidan), Indira Varma (Natalie), Stephen Campbell Moore (Stephen) and Scott Handy (Blank-Faced-Man). Everyone is giving so much intensity, gravitas and richness to the scenes in the series. Even when Morven Christie (Zoe) has to deliver tech-talk or case-information.

I feel like I can’t even begin to say anything about what an amazing job Melissa George did with Sam. The same goes for Oscar Kennedy really. I think I told you before, that I loved Melissa in In Treatment. In Hunted she shows such strength and fragility. Especially the strength-aspect makes it impossible to imagine anyone else playing Sam. Oh, and as far as the look of the show goes, I think George’s beauty was always shown in a very classy, respectable style, you know? That was nice too.

There are of course also many noteworthy lines in the show. Like when Rupert Keel talks to Natalie Thrope in Episode 4 about “You’ve been bought and paid for just as I have. The difference is, I don’t pretend otherwise.”

Oh, and it’s kind of one of the unrevealed bits of the show, but I also loved that part of the troubled young girl trying to save Sam from being hurt by the bad guys? Like broken people/outcasts can do good things in little ways too :).

This is way too long. It just would have been so much longer to describe single scenes, so I thought image collages will do a better job… .

Ulrike

You are very kind, thoughtful and insightful, Ulrike. You have indeed picked up on many issues that others either missed or have not discussed. I’m so proud of the show, and delighted that you appreciated our efforts. And the selection of images you have created is really beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing these and your thoughts. 

 


“The U-Files?”

Hi Frank,

I just read Jason’s email regarding the 50’s and 60’s for The X-Files. It is something I have also thought about. Everything Jason mentioned is a good backdrop for the storyline, and I’m sure there would be room for lots more. The only different spin I would put on it would be to call it The U-Files… as at one time, everything regarding unexplained cases was originally filed under U. Maybe this is where it all begins. It’s an idea worthy of a pitch I think!

Thanks Frank… keep us believing.

Mike

 


Script Drafts for “IWTB”

Hi Frank,

I was just wondering as I have my script in development with an independent production company in London Seahorse Films Uk. I was wondering how many drafts you and Chris did for The X-Files: I Want to Believe?

I am on my 5th draft. Thanks. Hope you can answer this question for me.

Morrison

Wales

Good for you, Morrison. I couldn’t tell you how many drafts  there were of IWTB – dozens, I’m sure. I think it’s a truism that most of writing is rewriting. I don’t stop rewriting until I can’t think of any other way to improve it — or I have to, because it’s filming!


Simply Thank You

Frank,

In 2009 I wrote a message entitled “Simply Thank You.” I still feel that way and thank you again. This is the link to the message.

I don’t know if there is going to be another X-Files movie, but I can always hope…

I really miss seeing new stories of Mulder and Scully and all of the other characters in the X-Files world.

I really hope to see what happens next, and soon.

I do not know if it will happen, but I hopefully look forward to hearing of a production date for the next X-Files movie, and once again to everyone involved, most sincerely…

Simply Thank You,

Alan

Atlanta, GA

Good to hear from you again, Alan, and thank you. I have never stopped believing Mulder and Scully will be back, and I remain optimistic you’ll be seeing them again. (Hopefully sooner than you think!)


Prague

The Transporter Season 2

Dear Frank,

I was thinking about writing to you for a week or so, but thought it might be silly.

I wanted to ask how filming in Prague is going. Are you still there or have you maybe already finished?

Maybe a chance for a picture?

You mentioned you would be filming there. And Prague is one of my favourite places in the world and you are one of my favourite persons in the world. So you see, it’s so perfect.

Basically, I just wanted to ask how things are going in general and in specific with Transporter.

p.s.: I got the chance to watch the commentary of the Fight The Future Blu-Ray for the first time a few days ago and ate it up! I loved that Rob Bowman and Daniel Sackheim were on it too, and you were always paying compliments to Rob’s amazing directing at all of my favourite scenes. :) Oh, and of course all the material on the Blu-Ray is great, but since Fight The Future is still my all-time favourite movie, that commentary is very precious.

And while you are working on your projects, watching “Milagro” a few weeks ago had me ending up on YouTube searching for Frank interviews. I don’t know where the video is now, but I found it very interesting to listen to what you talked about in Munich in 2013. I felt the room and the audience might have been not overly welcoming but your cross-cultural approach and concept of learing from each other was -as always- very endearing!

Take care,

Ulrike

Thanks so much, Ulrike. Transporter is still filming in Prague, and it’s going really well. I’m very excited for everyone to see the new season! I’d never been to Prague before, and I fell in love with the place immediately. The picture above, which I’ve used on my Twitter feed, was taken last week on location. Next stop, Toronto…

 


“The X-Files” in the ’50s and ’60s

Thank you so much for your feedback and interaction with the fans. You really are one of a kind in that regard. I don’t know of any other major show/movie producer/writer who has this level of accessibility. You also seem to really enjoy this aspect of being affiliated with The X-Files.

I was wondering if anyone ever pitched the idea to tell an extended (mini-series maybe?) story about the beginnings of the syndicate? A lot of the framework is already set out in episodes like “Paper Clip” and “Talitha Cumi” and we even get glimpses of it in “Apocrypha,” “Demons,” “Travelers,” “Two Fathers/One Son,” etc. With the success of stories told in those periods (Mad Men and American Hustle) I think it would be a cool story to explore with young versions of CSM, Bill Mulder, Deep Throat, WMM, The Elder, Teena Mulder and maybe even finally getting in the story of Krycek’s parents and more from Arthur Dales?!? There just seems to be a wealth of material there and the different setting would be a lot of fun. I wonder if Fox would consider doing a 13-episode season on FX? Chris Carter seems to be really intrigued by that new model of television.

Jason

Hmm… interesting idea, Jason. I hope Fox is reading this blog!


“X-Files” Question(s)

Hey there Frank! My name’s Clay, just recently getting into the series (currently on S6E9), and it’s without a doubt grabbed me like no other series have, never have I been so emotionally invested in a TV show, so first of all I’d like to thank you for that.

Onto my question. what did you like writing better, Myth-arcs or MOTW’s, and, do you remember any scrapped scripts/ideas that you would’ve liked to see been made? It seems like I’m in the minority in enjoying Mytharc episodes more. Sure, they’re not as fun/campy, but prior to watching The X-Files, those were how I imagined the episodes would be and they’ve surpassed my preconceptions tenfold… Also, I’m sure you’ve gotten a million questions about it, but… Anything on XF3? Gillian said she’s got no doubt that Chris is mustering something up, just wondering if you had any info (that you could share, at least) on it.

Thanks for writing some of the most clever, emotional, and on occasion, hilarious (looking at Dreamland) episodes of any TV show I’ve ever seen.

Thanks so much, Clay, and it’s always great to hear about someone only now coming to the show (and liking it!).

I enjoyed both the “mythology” episodes and the stand-alones, but was especially grateful to have the chance to switch between the two. The stand-alones were like short stories, which I find a really appealing form, while the mythology gave us a chance to dip deeper into the emotional lives of the characters and the larger themes of the series. I can’t imagine The X-Files without them.

There were a few scrapped ideas for episodes, but I’ve forgotten most of them, to be honest. We tried many times to crack a story about a man who had died and come back to life, but never got it right. And I know Morgan and Wong had an idea about a ghost in Lincoln’s bedroom, but left the show before they wrote it. I always wanted to know what that would have been.

No news about XF3, but as longtime visitors to this website already know, Don’t Give Up!


“Transporter: The Series” continues

HI!

My name is Alessandra and I live in Milan.

I’m a fan of Transporter and especially of Chris Vance! ;-) who, in my opinion,  should star in a new series of James Bond! :D

I hope to see soon the new series of Transporter.

When do you go to Prague? And you’ll be shooting scenes in France?

I wish you a good continuation and good job!

Thank You!

Alessandra

We’re shooting very little in France this time around. We just wrapped in Morocco, and are heading to Prague now. I’ll post more news and photos on the website and via Twitter when I can.


John Doggett

What is the likelihood that fans will see John Doggett again in a third movie? I’m feeling “John Doggett deprived” as of late. I need a fix (and rewatching Seasons 8 and 9 isn’t getting the job done anymore, and neither was reading his very short appearance in the Season 10 comic books). I would love to see Doggett again in XF3 (and not in a supporting role like Skinner was in IWTB, Doggett must be a full-blown main character). I love Doggett. I need to see Robert Patrick play this guy again. It’s driving me nuts! LOL

Angelica

SCULLY: But they’ve got you to thank. And not just for saving their butts.

DOGGETT: No. You figured it out. I was just your eyes and ears.

Sorry, Angelica, I can’t say anything. Except I love John Doggett (and Robert Patrick), too.


What About “Transporter: The Series?”

Dear sir,

I follow you on Twitter and you gave us this address in case we have questions.

Well, what about the second season of “Transporter: The Series?” I know that they were in Morocco. Do you know when they shoot in Prague and in Canada? And mainly what about Chris Vance? We don’t read anymore about him. It’s really weird and frustrating for those who want to follow him.

Thank you very much if you could reply to me, especially about Chris.

I would appreciate it.

Best regards,

Cathy

Cathy, we are indeed shooting in Morocco (you may have seen my turban photos on Twitter a while back) and it has been spectacular. We are finishing our third episode, then move on to Prague in a few weeks, and finally to Toronto in the summer. Chris is looking good and having a ball. I’m trying to persuade him to open a Twitter feed, so stay tuned!