Starz, BBC America, AMC, and IFC each brought something to make waves at the Television Critics Association gathering on Friday in Beverly Hills. Coming on day five of TCA presentations, all the networks made an impression that should last at least through the next two weeks of the press tour (not to mention, top all the Fuller House news to break this week).
Although we’re not so sure about Kit Harington, at least we know Maisie Williams has a job on season six of Game of Thrones. In between, she had time to shoot an episode of Doctor Who, which was teased by current showrunner Steven Moffat during BBC America’s TCA presentations.
“Once you see what she’s up to in the show, you’ll appreciate what a clever idea of Brian Minchin’s that was,” Moffat explained. “Brian Minchin, who is my co-exec, thought of Maisie for this part. It’s a significant role. We are not throwing her away. We are not just getting the star value and doing nothing with it. It’s a great part, and she’s terrific in it. But I would say it will develop in unexpected ways. She is not playing a returning character; she is a brand new character. She’s not someone from the Doctor’s past — unless I’m lying.” So, for the time being, fans can stop wondering if Williams will play the Doctor’s daughter, and go back to obsessing over whether or not Jon Snow is dead.
AMC is already confident enough in their Walking Dead spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, to give it a second season, which — according to their announcement Friday — will have 15 episodes. So the six in this first season, starting August 23, are just an appetizer. And it’s going to take that long for these people to figure out they’re dealing with zombies. Fear begins right when the infection starts, and “walkers” aren’t the first phase of the diagnosis.
“You’re going to have to wait until season two,” showrunner Dave Erickson said. “By the end of season one, we know the world has changed. It is the end of the world as we know it, but we aren’t necessarily at the same place we were when Rick woke up [in The Walking Dead.] We structure the season in a way that the characters are still insulated from the truth of what’s going on. Part of season two will be that very thing.”
To discuss the long-awaited follow-up to the Evil Dead trilogy (sans 2013 remake), Starz’s Ash Vs. Evil Dead, Bruce Campbell took the stage and he was like Ash incarnate, only better dressed. Did you see that white jacket? And were those alligator shoes? Campbell made fun of NBC for stealing the theme song to his 1993 western show The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. for The Olympics. “They stole my life, NBC,” he said. Playfully messing with one journalist, he said, “You guys are bored out of your skull right now, aren’t you?” Even when costar Lucy Lawless got a question about a possible Xena reboot (there isn’t one), Campbell pitched a role for himself. “I offered a three-episode arc on the new reboot as the older Autolycus,” he said.
Oh yeah, and about Ash Vs. Evil Dead, which premieres on Starz October 31 — when one reporter (let’s say his name rhymes with Ted Fropel) asked about previous times when Campbell suggested that Evil Dead IV was a bad idea, the actor wasn’t biting. “When did I say that, sir?” Campbell asked. “I don’t believe I’ve ever been quoted as saying that.” (Campbell mostly compared the idea to the disappointment of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). “This is not a fourth movie, sir,” Campbell commented. “This is a TV series.” Still, don’t lose hope for an Evil Dead IV. “Making a fourth movie would work also,” Campbell said. “Because we still may make more movies. This is not a dead issue because I think what’s going to happen is this series will force us to make more movies, because people will go, ‘Oh, that’s only 10 hours of programming. I need eight more movies.’”
We’ve seen Johnny Knoxville put on the old-age makeup in Bad Grandpa, but what about a Bad Grandma? In the IFC comedy Gigi Does It, David Krumholtz plays an old lady, thanks to makeup by Alterion Inc. who did Bad Grandpa and the latest Chucky movie! Gigi, who you’ll get to meet this October, is based on Krumholtz’s late grandmother, and the stunts he pulls in public are nothing compared to the real thing.
“Well, she flashed her vagina a lot,” Krumholtz shared with the TCA. “When I was about eight years old, I saw my grandmother’s vagina quite a few times. She loved doing that. She was an incredibly spirited woman. We would have to control her. Me and the rest of my family, we’d have to kind of control her in public. She liked to mess with people. She liked to go out. Especially restaurants, she would complain about food and in a very, sort of you know, it was all a joke. For her, it was all a bit. She was always on.”
AMC’s new drama is a kung fu movie on TV! In a post-apocalyptic future where barons rule their feudal provinces, Into the Badlands follows the journey of a well-trained warrior (Daniel Wu) and a boy (Aramis Knight) who will learn how to be a great martial artist. Reporters got to see a clip of one the barons who rules the land — The Widow (Emily Beecham), who throws knives, kicks bottles, and takes out every dude in a bar. After blowing this reporter away with that fight scene, which you can see in November, Beecham told us how she did it.
“We had a five-week training before we started, which was grueling, but great,” Beecham said. “We’d start at 9 a.m. and did stretches, learning Shaolin Kung Fu and Wushu. They kind of design the fights around our strengths. So they got to know us better for five weeks and what we were good at. I’d done a lot of ballet and yoga, so I was flexible before, but I had to build my strength because things like back bends — all that sort of stuff — is really difficult if you’re not strong. So I had to improve on that. There’s wires here and there, which help us some of the things I can’t do on my own. I can’t do back flips on to bars on my own.”
Each episode will contain about five minutes of action scenes, but actor/executive producer Wu assured reporters that there was more to the show than badass fighting. “If you don’t do it right, it becomes pornography,” he explained. “We wanted the storyline to be as good if not better than the actions scenes.”