SDCC 2014: My Space Command journey

If you’re unaware of the newest film by Marc Zicree, it’s called Space Command and boy does it already have a lot of plans. The project originally started as a Kickstarter campaign, and within days they raised $221,000. It follows the story of different scientists, families, and adventurers who are looking for other life out there in space. At Comic-Con, I had the chance to sit down and ask them some questions about the film.

First off, I got there early and was welcomed by Zicree himself, which was the coolest thing ever. It was an honor to sit and talk with the brilliant mastermind. He went on for ages about his life, work, and so much more. It was beautiful, and it was my absolute favorite interview of the entirety of Comic-Con. So, let’s get straight into it.

Marc Zicree / NR

So, take us to the beginning.

Marc Zicree: I’ve been a writer since eighteen, and a writer for TV since the age of twenty-two. I loved working in the studio/network world. Back then you know, there were only three networks and PBS, so you had to do what they wanted. I loved it, but I’ve always longed for doing things my way. I heard about Kickstarter and decided to try it. We asked for 75,000 in over two months. In three days, we had raised that money. We ended up with $221,000 in total. That was enough to get it going, and then it slowly became six movies.

[Continuing on with that, he went on to tell us other things about his career.]

When I see a brilliant actor, I want to work with them, just like with Billy and Mira. How I met Bill Mumy, it’s actually a funny story. He lived in the same town as me when we were way younger, about seven. I was sick at home, and I decided to get out the phone book and find his name. Well, I found his dad’s name and called his house. His mother picked up and I asked to talk to Bill. When she put him on the phone, all I said was, “Will you be my friend?” and then I hung up. Later on, I called him back and asked to properly hang out with him. Since then, we’ve been friends. We have been trading comic books since the age of seven.

So, I’m curious about the distribution of the film. Will it be theatrical?

Marc Zicree: Well I view it as content. Whatever works. My goal is to reach hundreds of people. You know, people from all over have contacted us about the film wanting to get involved with Space Command. They’re our family.

[Here he started getting really emotional about how thankful he is to everyone who showed interest in Space Command, and it was incredibly touching. I’ve not yet seen anyone be so thankful before.]

I’m proud that regular people buy into this.

For people who have no idea what Space Command is, can you tell us what it’s about?

Marc Zicree: Behind the name, it was actually pretty funny. There is an actual base called Space Command and they called us. Here I am thinking we’re going to get in trouble for copyright, but instead we became great friends and they gave me plenty of tours and we all went out to lunch together. The story is about governing bodies focused on peacekeeping arms. It follows the main characters and their families. It goes over 150 years, and two characters don’t age so they live for the entire series. I’ve written the first four, and it’s all for fun.

I work with quality. When I told the actors their roles, they got excited. Mira’s character was actually written for her. I told her she was going to have a love/hate relationship with her daughter. I also told her that her character was three things: strong, a scientist, and not defined by a man. She told me “I’m in!” And I mean, Bob Picardo, who doesn’t want to work with him?

I took a picture with the entire cast on set and I said to myself, “here I am with my life-sized action figures.” They are such brilliant actors. There was another time where I woke up, and an entire scene was in my head. I wrote it in the car, because I can do that, while my wife drived us to the studio and we got there. I told them to read it, and within the next hour we were shooting it. I also love taking suggestions from some of the actors, and I’ve used some of them before.

Space Command is my biggest adventure.

End of Marc Zicree Interview

I think that is the perfect way to end his time with us. He definitely told us a lot more about his life and work, but it was hard to get every little aspect in here. However, I took everything he said to heart and I had such a lovely time speaking with him. He is now one of my idols.

Next on the list of people I interviewed from the films is Mr. Bob Picardo himself. I think he is most well known for his work on Star Trek: Voyager and the sarcastic, yet smart doctor aboard the USS Voyager. Personally, he was one of my favorite characters. Moving on with the interview, we proceeded to ask him the following few questions.

Bob Picardo / NR

So, tell us how you fit into the overall story.

Robert Picardo: Well, it’s a multigenerational thing. I know that Mira’s character will be featured in all films. My character is the hero in the first movie. The guy I play is a Muslim and is foreman on a moon of Jupiter. He has synthetic men who work for him. Joe is one of them. Their relationship is very much like the story in Of Mice and Men. Doug Jones and my character became friends and I think Mark had me in mind because people know my work as an artificial intelligence on Star Trek and will appreciate that I’m on the other end of the table this time. I’ve known Doug for years, but this is the first time we’ve had rich acting scenes together. It’s a pleasure to work with him. The movie has a small budget, but the movie quality is extraordinary. Marc is a terrific writer and his wife Elaine and the co-director did an amazing job with the cast. It has a nice emotional quote which sometimes you don’t get with sci-fi.

What has been your favorite thing about shooting the entire thing and being apart of it?

Bob Picardo: There were a lot of things that were interesting to me. I am a person of faith, but I’m a cradle Catholic. I go to church every Sunday, but it’s interesting to play a very religious man who is having a crisis IN faith. Since the death of his wife, he has never really recovered. I had to be coached by a Muslim so that it looked like I was doing the prayers correctly. Faith is very much the theme of this film. It’s interesting to play in a sci-fi that’s revolved around that.

The richest part was working with Doug. It echoed back on my work on Star Trek. I think it’ll be fun for fans to see me take the other point of view. Also, Mira and I have been friends for 10 years and it was great to finally work with her. Same thing with Bill Mumy. He was the same age as me and on TV. We have a young cast as well (please don’t force me to remember names) who are very talented. It deserves more of those Kickstarter dollars.

How did you wrap your head around this as more of a passion?

Bob Picardo: It’s great that sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo democratize the film business. If you have an idea, and it appeals to others, you can present it. It’s a wonderful thing that the internet has made it a public forum for you to pitch. You can realize a vision without morgaging your house or using your parent’s money. It’s a great thing. I knew Marc was a good writer, but I didn’t know who he was as a director.

Who were you closest to while working?

Bob Picardo: Like I said, Mira and I were friends before, but I think a deeper friendship has developed. I mean, it’s reached getting invited over for dinner level which is nice because her and her husband are terrific cooks. Doug and I are the type of people who would go to Starbucks or up to a bar and have a beer. We’ve had a rich enough experience to reminisce about things and we forged a friendship. I mean, there is Marc and Elaine, of course. Billy, I had the least to do with in the movie, but it was great to hang out with him at lunch and between scenes.

Sci-Fi fans are the loyalest in the world. We all know this, otherwise SDCC wouldn’t be the city that emerges in San Diego. I mean, we’re 200,000 strong every year. I hope they’re gratified to see their favorite actors put together in a new story and share the screen.

End of Bob Picardo Interview

Overall, he was fantastic to speak to and was humorous in his interview as well. It was amazing talking to him, seeing as just a few days before I was watching him be his witty self on Voyager.

Last, but most certainly not least, I got to interview the lovely Mira Furlan. She was just as strong as Marc Zicree described her character, and is now definitely someone I look up to as a person!

Mira Furlan / NR

How are your feelings about the project in general?

Mira Furlan: I think the final project is going to promise the audience everything they wanted to know about the character. The character is incredibly interesting and I’m so grateful that Marc wrote this character specifically for me, which I know doesn’t happen often. Somehow he knew who I was without even knowing me in person, so that was a big compliment to me. Yes, I play the renowned scientist but it’s basically a story about a search for life as every good story should be. My story is a bigger story about human dignity and love.

Who was your favorite person to work with?

Mira Furlan: This is the first time I worked with Robert Picardo and I’m absolutely blown away by his self assurance skill and his emotional availability. He is a really wonderful actor. And Doug Jones is just a miracle and magical person. It’s just another another worldly quality. So I was very happy that I got to see those two people. As for girl who plays my daughter, she is from the same country, or we used to be from the same country. Now we are from two different countries, but I still consider it in my head one place. Lovely, lovely person and I enjoyed every moment with her.

As a person under the spotlight as a fan favorite, do you ever feel the pressure?

Mira Furlan: Really I don’t…

Everyone loves you!

Mira Furlan: That’s so nice! I don’t feel iconic. [laughs]

That means you would do that pressure so that’s interesting!

Mira Furlan: Yeah I don’t know. I don’t travel with that whole side of the profession, especially now that it has taken a whole different aspect that I’m not really tuned in with unfortunately. It’s really to my detriment, but I have a thing about the privacy and I’m just on Facebook and Twitter. I do occasional Twitter, but Facebook and the sharing privacy with everybody is something that my whole being opposes. I can’t explain it. I’m not judging here, I just really feel who I am would like to be out of there. As my son says, “Well, mom, you’re not out there!”

And I’m not! Something sad happened last year. A person who started as my fan and was my most loyal fan in the world, and really followed me to all the cons for twenty years and then eventually became my assistant and did everything Internet related – as in my website, my Facebook, etc, died just like that. She was a woman of my age and was fantastic. Things happen and so now I feel like I don’t have that support I usually do have. And so I’m even more not in that scene. When you said that fans love me, I really appreciate it and it really does mean so much to me. They’ve been there for me for these 20 years and I can’t thank the fans enough. They make my life what it is now.

What was your favorite thing about filming?

Mira Furlan: Well we only had a limited amount of filming, so I’m waiting for the next installment. It’s a brave project. How Marc and Elaine do it is very brave and I admire them so much. To pull it all to the ground without any help and not much money out of the regular payments and go with your own choice of actors is a magnificent thing. I’m proud to be a part of that. There is a creative and business aspect and this is new to me. I’ve never been involved with something like that. I will be incredibly proud of the whole project when it’s done. So, we are still at the beginning actually. Well, in the middle.

There are good aspects of the Internet like social media. These are the good aspects to really do stuff. It’s not just presenting your self promotion. You can use it for a good cause. Brave, and I’m always in favor of independence, free thinking, and not budging to other people’s desires. It’s a business mode of the future, I’m absolutely sure. Hats off to anybody who dares to tread those murky waters.

End of Interview

All in all, everyone at the Space Command conference was absolutely fabulous and was incredibly kind the entire time. They all gave us plenty of time to get answers, and the actors themselves were very in depth with their answers. This was probably my favorite conference to attend, and I can’t wait for the movie.

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Amber Karpaty
Amber Karpaty 215 posts

You may or may not have seen me dancing around on our YouTube channel. I really love psychology and dissecting shows/film. Also your token anime nerd.