The following is an interview with Richard Martin and Julian Curtis, the director and lead actor (respectively) of the new digital series Spooked from Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry and Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry, which will be released on June 4th. In this interview, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor Barbra Dillon chats with Martin and Curtis about their initial interest in the project, the creative process of the cast and crew, and their own favorite scary movies.
This interview was conducted on April 28, 2014.
Barbra J. Dillon, Fanboy Comics Managing Editor: Congratulations on the upcoming release of Spooked! For our readers who may be unfamiliar with the project, how would you describe the digital series?
Richard Martin: Thanks! Spooked follows a team of ghost hunters comprised of an eclectic bunch of outsiders known as the “Paranormal Investigation Team” as they traverse the country investigating cases of poltergeists, demonic possessions, and other occult mysteries. P.I.T was started by Connor (Julian Curtis) who is the leader of the group, Elliot’s the fanboy enthusiast (Derek Mio), Morgan’s the resident occult specialist (Ashley Johnson), Lindsey’s the tech guy (Neil Grayston), and, lastly, Connor’s little sister Piper (Shyloh Oostwald) . . . she has a unique gift.
Julian Curtis: It is a paranormal comedy, so fans can anticipate a lot of creepy moments, but they can expect laughter at the center of the show, as well. Each episode will start with the P.I.T. gang visiting a client to investigate their paranormal occurrence, and hilarity ensues from there. P.I.T. is the cheapest ghost hunter company you can hire, so you can imagine things don’t pan out smoothly with all of their opposing views. Between the characters, story, and mythology, there is a lot to keep fans happy.
BD: Richard, as the director of Spooked, what attracted you to the project, and what do you hope that audiences will take away from the show?
RM: Oh, the characters, absolutely. The idea of an older brother putting his life on hold to care for his little sister was just so powerful. (Yes, I have two younger siblings.) After the sudden loss of their parents, Connor learns that his mute little sister Piper developed the gift to communicate with ghosts, so, without any hesitation, he forms P.I.T. to help her. The more cases they investigate, the more opportunity she has of speaking with spirits (and humans, too) with the hopes of one day providing catharsis over their family tragedy. But, don’t worry, the series doesn’t get that heavy. There are plenty of laughs, too. I want our audience to have a good time, first and foremost. It’s a fun show with a lot of heart. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
BD: Julian, with your past credits ranging from theatre to film and TV, do you find that working on a digital series medium differs from your previous experiences?
JC: For me, my approach to each project is usually determined by the people that surround me and the dynamic of the cast. I focus less on if it is on TV, digital, or the theatre stage. For this series, we were spoiled to have such a fantastic and fun group in front and behind the camera. In terms of the cast, I think our friendships and the fact we enjoy each other’s company beyond the work shows on screen. Oh, and I also got into Vine. I Vined for the first time on this. I was pretty scared to Vine. Derek (Elliot) has got Vine covered. He’s very good at Vine . . . so, I’m gonna stop talking about Vine now . . .
BD: As the digital series is being executive produced by Bryan Singer (Bad Hat Harry) and Felicia Day (Geek & Sundry), how would you describe your collaboration with the two production companies?
RM: It was great. As a first-time director, you couldn’t ask for a better environment to help develop and execute your vision. They each approached the material from very different point of views, and, ultimately, Spooked was stronger for it.
BD: The cast and crew consist of some amazingly talented creators and performers. Can you tell us about the process of working with the creative team and the contributions of these individuals?
RM: Steve Brooksbank (casting director) put together an amazing cast. Both Bryan and Felicia value casting basically above all else, so we spent weeks and weeks in auditions. We had to find the perfect chemistry not only between the whole team, but the brother and sister relationship (Connor and Piper), the best friend relationship (Connor and Elliot), and any romantic sparks that may ignite over the season. But, all that time DEFINITELY paid off.
We’re all thrilled with the team we put together, and it really shows on the screen. And, the guest stars were absolutely phenomenal. I just can’t stress how lucky we are to assemble such a cast. Everyone was so professional and dedicated to making the best show possible, but the minute the cameras were off, they all got along so well. There was literally a day when we stopped shooting, and I turned around to find the cast all singing along to Tom Lenk’s beautiful piano playing. Good times!
BD: The first season of Spooked will contain four weekly episodes. Are there plans for the series to continue as an ongoing series?
JC: I believe so. I mean, I would love it to. The writer (Michael Conti) and director Richard have definitely started conversations.
BD: Being that we focus on all things “geek” at Fanboy Comics, would you care to geek out with us about your favorite paranormal TV shows or movies?
JC: I was a Ghostbusters fanatic as a kid. Sigourney Weaver in that red dress with Rick Moranis, just, not coping is permanently ingrained in my mind. Then, the marshmallow monster! Like, seriously, how did that go down in a pitch meeting? “So, then this big marshmallow is going to appear and chase them through the streets.” HA! I love that movie. My comic book collection was all about X-Men. So, to be working with Bad Hat Harry, the home of the X-Men movies, is um, kinda pretty rad and cool and nerve wracking and stuff . . .
RM: Wow, that’s a dangerous question. Time to prove my geekiness? I really love THE SIXTH SENSE. It was one of those films that made me re-examine the parameters of genre films. It accomplished so much emotionally, you almost forget it’s about ghosts. But, if you’re asking which film have I seen over and over and over again, well, that would be GHOSTBUSTERS. No question. I don’t know if these are even still around, but at the back of every “Boy’s Life” issue, there was this odd section trying to sell obscure items, and it always had a “working” Ghostbuster backpack with authentic jumpsuit and everything. And, for years, I wanted to order it but never did. Talk about the one that got away . . .
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Spooked?
JC: Watch it when the show premieres June 4th! We just came off a WonderCon Spooked cast panel where we shared our trailer and were able to talk about it in detail to those attendees. It packs a lot of the show in there, so we hope the fans love it as much as we do. And, if your readers dig it, they should share it on to their social networks. Thanks for reading; we appreciate it!