LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It’s been three years since Michael Chiklis left behind foul-mouthed Vic Mackey, the antihero at the center of FX’s cop drama “The Shield.”
After a stint in such features as a sequel to his 2005 hit “The Fantastic Four” and “Eagle Eye,” he returns to the small screen next Tuesday with ABC’s family-oriented superhero series “No Ordinary Family.”
WERE YOU LOOKING TO DO SOMETHING THAT WAS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT THAN “SHIELD”? BECAUSE THIS REALLY IS AT THE OTHER END OF THE SPECTRUM.
Chiklis: I wasn’t particularly looking for something that was family-friendly, just the best script I could find. I usually look first for the best material you can find. Then you ask who is involved here, and is this going to be handled in the best possible way.
WERE YOU EVEN INTERESTED IN DOING A COP SHOW OR ANYTHING LIKE “SHIELD”?
Chiklis: There were some people making an attempt at something in that “Shield” area. It’s just that to me, “The Shield” is not the kind of stuff you come across every day. It was extremely special. Sure, if I found something in the world as complex and well-written as “The Shield,” I’d jump at it. But I haven’t seen anything like it, not in my estimation.
THE SHOW SOUNDS A LOT LIKE “THE INCREDIBLES,” WHERE IT‘S FOR KIDS AND IT DOESN‘T BORE ADULTS SO MUCH THAT THEY FEEL LIKE KILLING THEMSELVES WHEN THEY‘RE FORCED TO SEE A MOVIE WITH THEIR CHILDREN.
Chiklis: It’s funny that you bring up “The Incredibles”; I get what you’re saying. I‘m a father and have two children, 16 and 11. A show like “The Incredibles” has wit, pace and excitement and fun, and it’s one that as a parent, I go and enjoy as much as my children. I wanted to make a show like that parents and kids could enjoy together. And this is that kind of show that will appeal to both.
SO YOU‘RE MAKING SURE THAT THIS WON‘T BE TOO CUTE LIKE A LOT OF FILMS FOR KIDS.
Chiklis: If it makes my eyes roll, we’re not doing it. Everybody’s radar is full-on about that. All of our discussions have been that. There will be episodes that are lighter at heart and then shows that are darker in tone. We’re never going to be “Dark Knight” kind of dark because that goes to a place that precludes and excludes my 11-year-old. One of the templates that we used in terms of tone was the first “Spider-Man” movie: It was pure entertainment; it was smart, had familial stuff between Peter Parker and his aunt and uncle. There was romantic stuff between him and Kirsten Dunst and the adventure stuff between he and Green Goblin. And all worked scene to scene. We’re going for that because there’s a very sophisticated audience out there. But they had five months to shoot, and this situation is fraught with challenges and quite different.
Chiklis: If you look at the poster for “No Ordinary Family,” look closely enough you can see my tongue in my cheek. We’re aware of what we’re doing. I wouldn’t personally call this a drama or a comedy, I’d call this an entertainment. This is fun, and it’s supposed to be fun.
HOW DO YOU DO THE ACTION LIKE IN “SPIDER-MAN” ON A SHOW LIKE THIS?
Chiklis: We have an ample budget because it’s network. Two, one of the most thrilling aspects of this gig for me, the CGI effects world is growing and mushrooming exponentially, and they’re able to deliver the effects in quicker turnaround and less expensive. I don’t know what we can achieve by the end of the first season in terms of special effects, always new stuff happening. We’ll be able to do better. We’re shooting gags that are on par with everything we did on “Fantastic Four.”
DID YOU FIND BEING ON A NETWORK TO BE CREATIVELY CONSTRAINING?
Chiklis: To be honest, that weighed heavily in my choice of something being family-friendly. With a family-friendly show on a network, we don’t have to worry about what we can do and the challenges of what we can and can’t do. That’s very freeing. I have trouble abiding by being told what we could do, and it was so amazing on “The Shield,” there wasn’t that in terms of what we couldn’t do creatively. If I was doing a hard-hitting adult drama on network television, it would be harder for me in that context. It presents creative challenges and content challenges that any thinking person and grown-up would find very challenging and frustrating. There’s a level of frustration in trying to do adult situations on broadcast network television.
Chiklis: Yes, because you also need the reach. We want as many eyeballs as we can reach, and this has that capability. You can be 18 or 80 and watch this show and be entertained. You can have a chuckle, a thrill or have a fantasy. In that way, it’s definitely a network show. It’s completely on-brand for Disney; it makes sense in every way.