News broke a couple weeks ago about ABC greenlighting a pilot for a remake of 1983’s ‘V’. If you don’t remember, ‘V’ was the show about the seemingly friendly lizard-aliens-who-looked-like-people who turned out to be not so friendly. I wasn’t allowed to watch very much of it because I was, you know, five, but one scene stands out in my mind as the second most terrifying scene of all time. (First place goes to Raiders of the Lost Ark face melting scene.) Of course the lizards had skin covering them too look like humans and there was a scene where one of the aliens scratched the human skin off of their wrist and it was freaky. Believe me.
In any case, ABC gave the pilot, written by ‘The 4400’ co-creater, Scott Peters, the go ahead and Bailey Salinger himself, Scott Wolf is signed on. Also attached is Morris Chestnut. Unattached, however, is the creator of ‘V’, Kenneth Johnson. That didn’t seem right.
I tracked down Johnson and asked him for his thoughts on the remake, the future of ‘V’, his classical theater training, and what the future holds for him. (By the way, check out his website that my buddy Jon found, which has notes about his experience on The Incredible Hulk movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s, as well as The Bionic Woman series.) His comments below:
You are correct that I am not involved with the new ABC/Warners TV pilot based on my original premise of V. I understand that their “reimagined” take is quite different. The guys involved are gentlemen and I wish them well.
I own the motion picture rights to V and have turned down offers from several major studios whose vision of V as a movie doesn’t correspond to my own. We are currently working to set up V as an independent feature.
My prime desire is to bring big-screen production values to the new V movie while carefully protecting the timeless story, the characters, quality, integrity and substance that make my original V such a favorite of worldwide audiences and a critically acclaimed, international landmark.
You mentioned the classical training I received at Carnegie-Mellon’s Depart of Drama…I think that education has absolutely helped me to steep my science fiction work with more substance and social significance than usually found in the genre. To my delight, audiences and critics have generally agreed.
I’ve been very lucky to have the work that my friends and I have done score successfully not only with the public, but with reviewers as well. — The best of all possible worlds.