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Titans Interviews

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If Dynasty didn't exactly define the 80's, it certainly reflected it, as did Melrose Place the 90's.  Now it looks like Titans, Aaron Spelling (executive producer) and Charles Pratt Jr.'s (creator/executive producer/writer) latest joint venture will be the prime-time soap to set the standard for the new millennium. 

"The truth is, doing Melrose all those years, and creating Models Inc. and Sunset Beach in a strange way was sort of my training for this show," Pratt explains.

Spelling promises that there will be excitement from the get-go based on the response of one of his biggest critics - his wife.  "It's always great when I show a daily at home, and Candy will gasp and then laugh," he says.  "That's a good sign indeed."

Tony Calega:  How was Titans "born"?

Aaron Spelling: NBC felt it was time for a serial, and I thought, "Hey, that's a good idea."  I called Chuck immediately and we just started talking and he said, "Let's do it.

Charles Pratt: The concept of doing a true family saga as a soap opera/continuing prime-time drama is something I've wanted to do again.  When I first talked to NBC, I realized nobody else is doing this - Beverly Hills 90210 was going off the air, Melrose had been off for a year, there's a hole there. - and I just said, "God, the timing is perfect."  I also knew just from what pilots were being written and produced there was nothing else even remotely like Titans out there.   I though to myself, "The prime-time soap is a genre that is ready to come back - and who better to do it tan Aaron and I?"

Tony Calega:  How do you describe Titans?

Aaron Spelling: Two words - fashions and passions (laughs).  It's a very passionate show.  It has great twists and turns.  It has some turns that will shock you so much that you go :AHA! While you're laughing at them.  And the clothes...

Charles Pratt:  It's funny because you can use all the adjectives and adverbs you want, but I think what defines the show is simply the elements of surprise.  I've always felt that the fun of these shows, much like SURVIVOR or even a game show, is you don't know how it's going to come out.  The key to it is to never make it come out the way people's expectations are.  You never want to hear them say, "I know those two are going to end up together",  or, "That's going to happen next."  With this show, just when you think you've got it all figured out, it takes a turn in a different direction.  We're making the stories come out of the characters so that it isn't a show about Third World countries and princes and princesses coming in and attacking, which is so easy to do.  All of the story comes out of the internal strife and romantic entanglements of the characters onscreen and out of their weakness. 

Tony Calega: Are you excited about getting back into prime-time soaps?

Charles Pratt: Yes, Titans has unleashed in me things I missed writing.  I don't mean soap operas and melodramas - I mean characters who have some wit, intelligence and bite to them.  With this show, the idea was to create colorful characters you like, care about, and can relate to, no matter what walk of life you're coming from.  I think we have definitely done that. 

Tony Calega: Can you give us a preview of the storylines?

Charles Pratt:  There's a huge cliff-hanger to the very first episode, so it's very hard to talk about the storylines.  What I can say is that we'll have a rivalry between Gwen and Heather that will build and build until it explodes.  The Chandler/Heather/Richard triangle will be hugely explored, and basically sets the tone for the entire show.  We will also be challenging an issue pretty early - Jenny's alcoholism.  There's some real surprises regarding Gwen and Jack's past, and the connection between Samantha and Chandler.

Tony Calega:  How did you assemble such a dream cast?

Charles Pratt:  It is a dream cast, isn't it?   Just now, I'm beginning to realize how fortunate we are that we've nailed every single role.  Sometimes you get a good script, a good director, and enough money and then you put together all the wrong people.  Aaron and I were both obsessed with NOT doing that, and NBC especially has a wonderful casting department, so it was a team effort to cast every part. I've known Casper (Van Dien, Chandler: ex-Griffin Stone, 90210, ex-Ty Moody, OLTL) because he was one of the finalists for a role on Models, Inc - but lost out to another actor who was never heard of again.  When I was writing Chandler, I have to say I had Chandler in mind.  NBC brought up Yasmine's name and I was one of the few people who knew she had done daytime,  I called up a writer that worked on OLTL who just raved about her acting (she played Lee Ann Demerest).  We didn't really know until the day she set foot on the set if she could handle it...but she just nailed every single scene.  We wanted Jaclyn Smith for Gwen, but NBC wanted Victoria Principal, who initially turned down the part.  When we came up with Jack, Aaron and I met and said there's no one else on earth that could play this part better than Jack Wagner.   We had to convince other people, and Jack had to come in and win the role against some formidable competition, but he did it.

Aaron Spelling:  I was very excited to get Ingo (Rademacher, David).  I'm a big fan of his.  He's really great; he's fun.   We're also very lucky to get Lourdes (Benedicto, Samantha). 

Tony Calega:  Why was Priscilla Garita replaces by Lourdes?

Aaron Spelling:  Lourdes was always the network's - and my - first choice, but she had another pilot, and when that pilot didn't sail we inherited her, thank goodness.  I'm not knocking Priscilla, but I believe that Lourdes adds a sensuality to the role.

Charles Pratt:  Priscilla did a fine job on Sunset Beach - but I think Lourdes is the find of the century.   With her, I think we've found the Audrey Hepburn for the year 2000.  She has a very unique look,   and a vulnerability that you rarely find in very experienced actors.

Tony Calega: Any other break-out performers we should keep our eyes on?

Charles Pratt:  I think John Barrowman is going to be an overnight sensation.  He steals every scene he's in.  Also, I think Josie Davis, who has been around for a while will finally get the exposure she deserves. 

Tony Calega:  I've heard that Perry King will be leaving after the fourth or fifth episode.  Is that true?

Charles Pratt:  I don't even know what the official word is, but what I can say is that Perry's done a great job.  There are demographic concerns, however we personally like Perry, and he's gotten the role. We'll just have to see I guess.  And, as you know, on soaps nothing is ever final.  Remember Kimberly (Melrose Place)?  She came back.

Tony Calega:  Why are there so many day timers in the cast?

Aaron Spelling:  My god, to do an our a day - it's such great training.  I get so angry in this stupid town when you mention you were on daytime and people give you a look, or they ask if you're going to u se actors from Daytime?  It's like a dirty word, and makes me so furious.  I have a new quote now "What is cleaner than soap?  You wash your hands with it every day, for god's sake!"

Tony Calega:  Titans has been called the new Dynasty.  Is that a misconception?

Aaron Spelling:  It's not Dynasty.  We never had as many young people on Dynasty, and by the way, you won't be seeing any shoulder pads, either.

Charles Pratt:  The only similarity is that we're dealing with a large family separated by divorce and broken up into camps as a result.   The acting styles are so different.  We have a much more hip, Melrose-style of acting.  The storytelling is extremely different, much more heightened.  Things happen quicker than they did on Dynasty.  But, I think the one thing we want. as on Dynasty, is to create an audience that literally schedules their week around watching this show.

Tony Calega:   There have been some rumors swirling that some former Spelling show characters may turn up.

Charles Pratt:  Joan Collins seems to be the most persistent casting rumor.  I admire her a great deal as an actress, but right now I don't see any need for her.  We're cast, and there's not a lot of room for anybody else.  Down the line, you never know.

Tony Calega:  Do you think you have a hit on your hands?

Charles Pratt:  Well, I feel like all the pistons are hitting.  Everybody seems to get the show - from the people who are publicizing it, to the people who have seen it, to the actors.  Everybody is on the same team.   There is no dissention.  We all kind of know where to go.  That doesn't mean there's not a lot of backstage drama -  you need that or the show's a bomb.   It's interesting that there is a feeling that we're going to make this a big hit.   I've never experienced that on a new show before.  The only question is:   Do people want this show now?  I guess all we can do is give it our best and then we'll get our answer.  If it bombs after six episodes, it, too, will become part of my training for some other show. 

 

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