Jon Favreau: If I’m not mistaken, he’s the first guy we set. It was not written for him. It was a physically completely different dude, but as soon as we brought up his name we jumped in and said, “It’s got to be him.”
Not only is he an amazing actor, not only has he done great unexpected choices in the work he’s done and have a tremendous range, especially in the Spike Lee stuff he’s done, all the way to this point in his career. He’s just a hell of a dude. I don’t know if you get a sense of it from interviewing him, he’s the most game, excited, collaborative guy you’ll ever meet.
He’s, to me, in many ways the heart and soul of the show as far as he brings a certain amount of dignity and experience to it but a definite enthusiasm. As you say locker room leadership, he’s definitely a player/coach/team captain. Between him and Billy Burke, who is also a veteran, all these young actors have these great guys with great habits to look up to. As a filmmaker, that’s what you want. That’s as important as talent.
CraveOnline: Whose idea was Wrigley field as overgrown and decaying?
Jon Favreau: We had been looking at different landmarks together from Chicago and that really jumped out as the one that felt the most human, but also seemed to represent society and history. As we were developing a look for the pilot, we kept looking at photos of Angkor Wat and looking at what it looked like when a society used to exist but then nature slowly took it back over, because we didn’t want this to be a dystopic view of the future, especially because it’s told through the lens of two different generations.
You have the people who were there before the lights went out 15 years ago, and then you have the new generation that never knew the old ways. So while people are struggling to hold onto shreds of the old society and struggling to get the lights back on and figure out the solutions to the mystery, there’s Charlie’s generation, who see this almost as a pastoral, simple place that they grew up. This is the only world they know.
And we wanted to show a lot of the show through their eyes so it didn’t feel like The Road orMad Max, but instead felt like this wonderland. When I first heard that Eric was saying one of his inspiration was Lord of the Rings, I didn’t really understand, reading it. Then as I saw the sword fights and the simpler times and the more brutal times in certain ways, but it presents itself as a moment where you had to stick together. The good people stuck with the good people.
The people who were trying to create society and keep chaos from asserting itself had to struggle and sacrifice a great deal. And that’s the heroic, aspirational quality to this that I think the visuals reinforce by making it something where you’re entering into another world. And I know when I watch TV, I want to be transformed and transported when I sit down and watch, not just by the characters that I grow to love over the hours of watching and seasons of watching, but also the world that it plants me into. So the look and the aesthetic of this is just as much of a character as the people that are saying the words.
CraveOnline: Were either Logan’s Run or Planet of the Apes an influence?
Jon Favreau: When they got outside into the Sanctuary, we definitely did discuss that as a point of reference because if you remember, I’m remembering through the lens of my childhood of having seen it, I haven’t seen Logan’s Run recently, but it definitely hit me at a time when I was impressionable, especially Farrah Fawcett as the lovely plastic surgeon’s assistant.
But I remember that once they got outside of the tech zone, everything was overgrown, and there was that sense of, like, a rainforest had reclaimed an ancient society. And the place that everybody was so scared of turned out to be a bit of a paradise. That analogy certainly rang true for what we were looking to present here, which is to turn things on their ear a little bit and go against expectation and make the show very simple.
And actually, the name “Revolution,” it’s not really meant to stand in for what’s going on today, but it’s meant to replay aspects of our history from when we were going from colonial times, living under oppressive monarchies and then becoming a republic. And that was what was exciting for me, is it was a way to tell aspects of our history to a new generation who is a little bit more plugged into, if you look at all the young‑adult novels and what’s in the zeitgeist, there’s definitely a sense of the young generation coming and persevering against people who serve as allegories for how they might feel powerless as young people in the world.
You see, in a lot of the young‑adult novels, you’re dealing with other worlds where the young generation is very important and being a front line of a deep struggle, much like when we grew up with Star Wars. And so it’s an empowering story. Planet of the Apes was also a bit of a reference, but Planet of the Apes, there’s this sense of darkness and doom to it that we definitely didn’t feel was part of our DNA, although you can’t get away from the visuals of it. It’s seared into all of our subconscious from having grown up with the original film.
I think all of it enters into it, and we’re hoping to present a new metaphor that hopefully is exciting for people who have grown up with that, but also a younger generation that sees this fantasy world where you can make a deference. And that’s really what it’s about.
Read the rest of the interview @ CraveOnline.com