Published on September 21st, 2017 | by Angele Colageo0
Channel Zero Press Call Interview Transcript
Here is the transcript of the call I was on. My questions were asked by other callers so I did not want to take up any more of the limited time we had.
CHANNEL ZERO NICK ANTOSCA PRESS AND MEDIA
Moderator: Carmen Chavez
September 8, 2017
1:00 pm CT
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by and welcome to the NBC Universal Channel Zero: No-End House Nick Antosca Press and Media conference call.
During the presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Afterwards we will conduct a question-and-answer session. At that time if you have a question please press the 1 followed by the 4 on your telephone.
If at any time during the conference you need to reach an operator please press star 0. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded on Friday, September 8, 2017.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Carmen Chavez. Please go ahead.
Carmen Chavez: Hi everyone thank you for joining us today. I have the pleasure of introducing Nick Antosca the show runner for Channel Zero: No-End House. And it will premiere on September 20th at 10/9 Central on SyFy.
We can go ahead and move forward with any questions you may have. Nick is very excited to be here with us.
Operator: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen if you would like to register a question please press 1 4 on your telephone. You will hear a three-tone prompt to acknowledge your request.
If your question has been answered and you would like to withdraw your registration please press the 1 followed by the 3. If you are using a speakerphone please lift your handset before entering your request.
One moment please for the first question. Our first question comes from the line of Natasha Williams with The Nerd Element. Please proceed.
Natasha Williams: Hi Nick nice to talk to you again after last year.
Nick Antosca: Hey Natasha how are you?
Natasha Williams: Good. How are you? So I managed to catch the first three episodes. I didn’t want to spoil myself too much with the last three. But I noticed that the character of Seth was a little bit of a wild card.
What is up with him and why is he not surprised by some of the things that are happening? If you can answer that.
Nick Antosca: I will not answer with spoilers but I will say that the character is played by Jeff Ward who I cast because he has a particular ability to be both charming and creepy.
For example, I think he played Charles Manson on some other show. And it was very important for the role of Seth to be a bit ambiguous I will just say that. And you are right to notice that he has a complicated reaction to the stuff that he encountered in No-End House.
Natasha Williams: One more question. Why orchids? As the flower of choice to make it seem a little weird.
Nick Antosca: I have always found orchids to be a little strange and sinister. And there is a particular reason why we chose orchids and you will see why in Episode 4.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Courtney Vaudreuil with OhSoGray.com. Please proceed.
Courtney Vaudreuil: Hey thanks for talking with us today. Can you hear me okay?
Nick Antosca: I can hear you very well. Thank you.
Courtney Vaudreuil: Wonderful. So how was it approaching this second season? Because obviously you have got a new story, you are going in a new direction. I assume you probably got a bigger budget too. So how was the experience and kind of how are you looking to separate the second season from the first?
Nick Antosca: Well first of all, we did not have a bigger budget. But if anything it was more challenging because there were more things that cost money in this season. But part of the reason that we hire really innovative, young indie filmmakers is because they are resourceful, they can work with very small budgets. And in approaching No-End House right after doing Candle Cove we want every season to be a different flavor of horror.
So every season should be a full meal on its own. And Season 1 Candle Cove was kind of our Stephen King season a little bit. And No-End House I think of as a little bit more John Carpenter. It is almost like a John Carpenter version of Solaris.
The upcoming third installment is going to be more Argento for example. So I love all different kinds of horror. And one of the great things about doing an anthology series like this is we can let influences from different kinds of horror come into different seasons.
And we wanted to have each season be really distinguished from the last while kind of honoring the spirit of like – we don’t do jump scares we do dread.
Courtney Vaudreuil: And are you dropping any Easter eggs in that people can look for that kind of link them all together or are they just completely independent?
Nick Antosca: Yes there are some small Easter eggs in each season. And there are thematic connections as well.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Andy Triefenbach with the DestroytheBrain.com. Please proceed.
Nick Antosca: That is a good Web site name.
Andy Triefenbach: Thank you. It is a double entendre. It basically started from zombies. Anyway first off, I just wanted to say unlike the first person that asked the question, I binged the whole season because quite honestly I think it is one of the best genre offerings of the year and I am not trying to blow smoke.
Nick Antosca: Thank you.
Andy Triefenbach: How do you expand upon the really simplistic kind of haunted house Creepypasta story of No-End House into something that is very philosophical, emotional? And where did the thinking of – I don’t want to spoil it for the people that haven’t seen the whole season but – the cannibalism kind of come into play?
Nick Antosca: So when we look for a Creepypasta to adapt we look for ones that have a really simple, strong, horror concept. You know haunted house, haunted TV show. But then they suggest a larger world and a larger mythology that we can build off of and in events.
And what really attracted me to Brian Russell’s story, No-End House, was the idea that once they get of the house what they perceive to be reality is really the last room of the house.
And the idea that when you look around your environment, your home, you have this creeping suspicion that it is not right. It is not your home. It is not real.
And that to me felt like a cool analogy for the experience of being a young person who is struggling with things in your life which is where the main character came from.
And that seed, that twist in Brian’s story felt like the canvas to build something bigger on. And we think of every season of Channel Zero as like the nightmare that you have after you read the original Creepypasta.
So we need a great starting place and then room to expand. And stuff like the haunted TV show, the haunted house, these are horror genre troughs and when you have familiar troughs it gives you the opportunity to subvert them, take them further, explore them.
So that’s what I hope that we have done in the two current installments of Channel Zero and will do in the future. No-End House kind of starts as a haunted house story and it becomes an existential horror story.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register a question please press the 1 4 on your telephone keypad. Our next question comes from the line of Aaron Greene with EatYourComics.com. Please proceed.
Aaron Greene: Hi Nick it is really great to be able to speak with you again. I had a couple of questions I hope that is okay. The first one was being you spoke a couple of minutes ago about the upcoming third season which I can genuinely say I am very excited that you guys are getting additional seasons.
Can you – what I have read online is saying that this is going to be called or tentatively called, Staircases. With the first two seasons they have been more or less direct title analogs within kind of the Creepypasta.
But there isn’t directly one here. Is there another, you know, area that you are pulling from for this? Or can you give us a tease as to which story this is maybe this next season is going to be pulling from?
Nick Antosca: I am going to be very cagey with my answer here. We are going to give a definitive answer right after the finale of No-End House airs and tell you what the next season is going to be. I will say that there are some working titles out there. And I will say that it is drawn from a Creepypasta no sleep realm, a story that I particularly love. I will also say that the third season we experiment a little more. It is less directly drawn from a particular story so much as we took an element of one story we loved and expanded on it.
But more detail to come about that. And the third season is more heightened, more vivid, you know, it is a little bit more Argento and (Nicholas Rogue).
Aaron Greene: Very cool. All right well I will be looking forward to that tease. And then the other one I had just kind of quick touches on something that one of the other speakers had hinted at before.
The young actress who plays the young version of the primary character in No-End House and then plays the daughter.
Nick Antosca: Abigail Pniowsky.
Aaron Greene: Yes exactly. Is that something where you just are reusing actors that you guys enjoy working with? Or is again this kind of hinting to a maybe a more connected, you know, everybody has got their own, you know, horror universe kind of a thing now? Or is it just you guys really liked working with her and wanted to bring her back?
Nick Antosca: Well again being a little cagey. I would say the answer is yes to both. There is a subtle interconnectedness to the world of different installments of Channel Zero.
And, you know, I think that would become more overt were we to get a significant number future seasons which you can never count on. But that said, we cast locally out of Winnipeg where we shoot and Abigail Pniowsky is a wonderful young actress. Obviously she was super important to the first install to Candle Cove. She is great. We wanted to work with her again. She is in Arrival. She is in other TV shows. She is like a really, really good young actress.
Aaron Greene: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking my questions.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Andy Triefenbach with DestroytheBrain.com. Please proceed.
Andy Treifenbach: So I just had a question. I know this might be more of a question towards the director but I would assume as a showrunner you would have some input on this. What were some of your influences of the style and how to handle such an emotional story for a main character?
Nick Antosca: The influences honestly originally come more from literature more than film. I started as a novelist and particularly authors like Peter Straub, Thomas Ligotti, Brian Evenson really influenced me. Shirley Jackson. I think Shirley Jackson, Thomas Ligotti are particular influences on No-End House because they are philosophical and existential horror – character based horror.
And once we had the scripts written and we are thinking about it, you know, purely cinematically. Carpenter is a big influence. You know Stephen who directed every episode is influenced by Paul Thomas Anderson, David Lynch.
And also you know Stephen’s own kind of original instincts and vision really (unintelligible) the season. You know we hire every season one director to do the entire season. And I always wanted the show to be a showcase for a really talented director every season who would put their stamp on it.
So once we have the scripts written, I know roughly like the cinematic zone that we are in and I have a clear idea of what I want the show to be. But then I want to hire a director with a vision who brings their own stuff to it and sees what we are going for but takes it further.
So every season I am looking for a collaborate author to make their mark on the show. And my hope is for the show to be kind of an incubator for the next generation of indie horror talent.
Andy Treifenbach: Great thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Natasha Williams with the Nerd Element. Please proceed.
Natasha Williams: Hi again.
Nick Antosca: Hey Natasha.
Natasha Williams: I noticed that the focus while it is on Margo you do seem to focus a little bit more on the friendship between Margo and Jules. And compared to last season where you focused on the family life between the two brothers with Channel Zero.
Was that something that you wanted to include this year as well as focus on like a female character’s, you know, versus like Seth and you know the other guy becoming like side characters more than main characters.
Nick Antosca: Yes I mean Margo is the protagonist of the season and in terms of her journey we wanted to focus on three elements of a young person’s life and experiences three key relationships.
One with a parent, one with a best friend, one with a romantic interest. And ultimately – I mean the story, her journey is about how she deals with each of those relationships.
Two of them are toxic in some way and one of them isn’t. And in a way it is a story about her choosing which relationship is most important to her.
Natasha Williams: Okay thank you.
Operator: Our next question comes from the line of Danica Davidson with Cemetery Dance. Please proceed.
Danica Davidson: Hi thank you. It is Danica and very nice to meet you.
Nick Antosca: Hi Danica.
Danica Davidson: I was hoping you could tell me about what horror literary influences you have for Channel Zero and otherwise? And what did the different writers teach you?
Nick Antosca: Yes as I mentioned before I started as a novelist and for many years exclusively wrote fiction, short stories, and novels. When I was very young I started reading – actually the first book I ever read was Bunnicula. So, you know, even as a small child I was horror oriented.
But obviously Stephen King was a big influence. Thomas Ligotti, the short story writer who I mentioned earlier has been a particular influence and Shirley Jackson as well.
Thomas Ligotti’s stories are really existential philosophical horror. In particular his collection Teatro Grottesco. They are about a sense of dread in the world rather than something jumping out and eating you or somebody, you know, waiting in your closet and stabbing you.
And it is the kind of dread that lingers with you after you read the story for days. And it feels like experiencing a nightmare. And that kind of dread is what I try to create in Channel Zero.
Danica Davidson: And how do you approach writing horror in book form versus writing horror for television?
Nick Antosca: That is a really good question. I wouldn’t say philosophically the approach is different. You are speaking in a different language. The language of cinema is different from the language of literature.
And you have to think about images differently. I mean the connotation of a word is different from the suggestion of an image. And I think when I am writing TV or film I draw directly from my nightmares when possible.
And it is kind of a purer translation because the language of nightmares is imagery. And it is one thing that particularly draws me to TV and movies. I think it is easier to recreate the nightmare on screen.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen as a reminder to register a question please press the 1 4 on your telephone keypad. Our next question comes from the line of John Farris with Dead Berry and Back Magazine. Please proceed.
John Farris: Nick it is good to speak with you. Congratulations on the first season. Well done.
Nick Antosca: Thank you.
John Farris: Really enjoyed it.
Nick Antosca: Wait can I stop you for a second? Is your name John Farris?
John Farris: Yes it is.
Nick Antosca: That is the name of the author of The Fury, the novel that Brian de Palma movie is based on. Do you know his work?
John Farris: Yes sir. That’s dad.
Nick Antosca: Oh that is awesome. Wow.
John Farris: Yes sir that is my father.
Nick Antosca: Cool. I don’t know if you are aware of this. I tried to adapt The Fury as a TV show for Fox along with Don Mancini a couple of years ago.
John Farris: Wow I had no idea.
Nick Antosca: Yes.
John Farris: Yes I had no idea. I am glad you enjoyed it.
Nick Antosca: That is awesome.
John Farris: It is a small world. It really is. It is kind of in the family blood but I digress. I know you have got a lot of callers and questions they would like to ask. I am sure we at some point we can get in touch with each other. I would like to talk some more about it.
Real simple question if you don’t mind me asking.
Nick Antosca: Please do.
John Farris: Yes about the Creepypasta came out in 2011. And I am sure you have already heard some comparisons drawn to Stephen King’s 1408. But with this particular Creepypasta I guess the kind of question that I am curious about is what is the draw to the No-End House for these individuals?
Do you think it is a money thing? Do you think it is a – they are trying to get answers or it is just a general curiosity?
Nick Antosca: Well it is actually different in the story and in the show. In the story there is a cash prize and the guy needs money. We wanted to tell a slightly different story for our main character.
So we took away the financial need being the draw because it felt like if she or he was going to into this haunted house to win 500 bucks then that is a different story about who this person is.
And somebody in tough financial straits. And then you are sort of telling a story about with the implications about the economy. It is just a different thing than the psychological horror that we wanted to tell.
So in the show they are going for a good time. They are going for the reason that you or I go to an escape room or we go to sleep no more. Or people go to Halloween horror nights.
Just, you know, to have fun thinking that there will be scary things inside the house. They will get a jolt of adrenaline, they will leave, they will be back to their safe lives as they just got off a roller coaster.
But the scariest things are the things that are already inside your head. And what they don’t know when they go into the house is that the deeper you go into the house, the deeper the house goes inside you. And what it finds there it can use against you.
John Farris: Which is a huge draw. There is no doubt about that that cerebral implications if you will of this are astounding. Because like you said, the fear is in I guess the not knowing and then the ramifications.
Just to follow that up real quick. The No-End House obviously people get out of the No-End House or so they believe. In your particular season here that we are looking at. I haven’t had a chance to view all the screeners so I am just curious with this question. Is the No-End House selective of who it is letting out or not?
Nick Antosca: It is a very good question and the answer is yes. Certain people come out of the house and go back into the real world and certain people don’t.
And that is kind of a subtle thing in the season that we don’t underline too much. But it is something that we thought about and is part of the mythology of the house.
And also as in the original story, if you freak out and you know book it out of the first room or the second room, if you go through the exit room early you just go back into the real world.
John Farris: Got you, got you. Nick thank you very much for answering my questions. I really appreciate it. Looking forward to the season. And it was really interesting speaking with you about Fury, it is a small world. I had no idea actually. I had no idea.
Nick Antosca: Get in touch. We should touch base later about that. Because it is an interesting story and I love that book.
John Farris: Thank you. We will. I will definitely get in touch. Thank you for your time I appreciate it.
Nick Antosca: Thank you. Take care.
Carmen Chavez: All right well thank you everyone for joining us. We really appreciate everyone taking the time to speak with Nick. And we look forward to your articles and let us know if you have any additional questions.
Operator: Ladies and gentlemen that does conclude the conference call for today. We thank you for your participation and ask that you please disconnect your lines. Have a great day everyone.