“Taken” star Clive Standen says that despite it’s blockbuster origins, his new NBC series will be different than other big-budget action franchises.
“We’ve got nothing compared to those $100 million action movies,” Standen said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. “A lot of the action movies out there are all sound and fury signifying nothing. I don’t connect with big explosions and backflips and things. It has to be driven by heart, and it has to be driven by character.”
The show, executive produced by Alex Cary and Matt Gross, serves as a pseudo-prequel to the Liam Neeson film series, but set in present day. The executive producers describe the show as a “modern day origin story.”
“We were never talking about a prequel, we were talking about a modern origin story,” Cary said. “What we wanted to do was to bring the franchise, the unique selling point of the ‘Taken’ to the television screens, but do our own unique story.”
Luc Besson, the writer of the original “Taken” trilogy, also serves as executive producer on the NBC drama, which Gross said was an attempt by the writer to have more involvement in TV adaptations of his work following the CW’s “Nikita” and the short-lived Canadian adaptation of “Transporter.”
“He has steered us in a direction that I think will be loyal and faithful to his original vision in the movies, but he has not limited himself in a way,” Cary said.
“I feel like in a way we’re going backwards,” said Jennifer Beals, who plays the mentor to Standen’s character, a new role invented for the show. “We get a chance to watch the planting of the seed and watch the plant grow. In this case, it’s not just an effort to take advantage of a story that’s already popular.”
“It’s not just about [how he learned] his unique set of skills, it’s how he became who he is,” Gross said. “It’s really understanding him as a character.”