Producer makes transition from big to small screen

Aug 26, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The Hollywood trend of big-time movie producers taking a chance on the small screen has now hit syndication.
Best known for her work as a producer on big-screen hits such as “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “The Abyss,” Gale Anne Hurd is helming Tribune’s syndicated action hour “Adventure Inc.” this fall.
Ms. Hurd said she decided to cross over to television because it is a producer’s medium. “In the world of features, the stars and creative force behind a movie are generally perceived as belonging to a director,” she said. “It’s the auteur theory, the worldwide perception that it’s a director’s picture. In television, the producer is the one who guides the process and has the final control over the material.”
Television also allows more time for character development. Most action/adventure in the film world is plot-driven,” she said. “In television it’s much more character-driven. If you’re tuning in after the first week, it’s because you’re interested more in the characters, and you have a connection with them.”
Ms. Hurd’s main character in “Adventure Inc.” is Judson Cross, a seafaring adventurer-for-hire. “Adventure Inc.” was originally Ms. Hurd’s idea, and Cross is based in part on the real-life exploits of Barry Clifford, one of Ms. Hurd’s close friends. “It’s not common in television to have a character inspired by real events and real characters,” she said.
Also making the transition to regular series television and lending to the big-screen aura of “Adventure Inc.” is actor Michael Biehn, best known for his roles in the above-mentioned Hurd-produced hits “The Terminator,” “Aliens” and “The Abyss,” who plays the role of Judson Cross.
“For me, it was really important to have a lead who can carry the series,” Ms. Hurd said. “[Michael] is far more charming than you’ve ever seen him before. He has much more of a Harrison Ford repartee. On the small screen more so than on the big screen, you want that depth of character, that complexity … to get to know that character better, and Michael brings all of that to the character of Judson Cross.
“He gets to smile a lot, and he’s got a great smile.”
One big difference between film and television, Ms. Hurd said, is budgets. In relation to her films, “Adventure Inc.’s” budget is “a very small percentage,” she said.
However, Ms. Hurd said she credits legendary guerrilla filmmaker Roger Corman for her ability to deliver the series on time and on budget. “What I think prepared me for television was my time with Roger Corman, where we neither had time nor money to finish our projects,” she said. “Instead of as a negative, though, I’ve come to see it as a positive thing.”
Dick Askin, president & CEO of Tribune Entertainment, which is producing and distributing the
series along with Fireworks Entertainment, is encouraged by Ms. Hurd’s first foray into series television. “Gale is a class act,” he said. “Although she’s been extremely successful in the theatrical business, we have found working with Gale to be a terrific experience because she is collaborative, very hands-on and very creative.”