Christian Doyle on directing JQ3 (2 of 2)


You can read the first part of this interview here.

Season 3 provided a number of challenges such as needing to stop shooting as yet another airplane flew over the locations of the JourneyQuest set. Another was working through the weather as the heavy rain during the campfire scene soaked actors who were supposed to be dry and threatened to put the fire out. According to Doyle the most difficult scene to shoot happened on day two when they shot with the Ogres. As the weather and bad luck worked against the hard working crew they experienced problem after problem. However it proved to be one of the most impressive scenes in the entire season. “I was, I was really pleased with the way it turned out and when you consider everything we were up against.” His favorite scene he admits is that between Rilk (Jesse Lee Keeter) and Wren (Emilie Rommel Shimkus) just before the two leave town. “The whole scene is completely in Orcish.” Cast and crew had crossed their fingers for the perfect moment of sun to light the scene, and that’s exactly what happened. “I was crying by the end of it after like the second take even though I couldn’t understand a word they were saying.”

The series has reached a turning point and it is obvious within the opening scene. JourneyQuest’s trademark opening of Perf crossing frame only to lose his hat and turn back for it before continuing his run during the title sequence changed this season. Wren instead ran across the screen during the title sequence instead. Her character showed an exponential growth this season and as Doyle put it “in my opinion she is the protagonist of season three.” He went on to say “this is as much her story as it is Perf’s and it always has been.” This season focuses heavily on the decisions of the characters and consequences there of, but none so intensely as those made by Wren. As the rules and ethics muddy around her she rises to the occasion choosing to take control of her own life. We see Wren begin not only to find her own voice but to use it.

When asked about his inspiration for the look of the production Doyle stressed “I love movies. I love good movies, I love bad movies.” Doyle stated a desire to make the season feel dynamic. He sought inspiration from the works of Aaron Sorkin whose long walking shots are known to make the audience engage with the feeling of movement creating action where there otherwise might not be. For the fight scenes he drew inspiration from the Shaw brothers by focusing more on eyes and small movements of the feet to raise intensity. Avid movie lovers will notice a similarity between that of the fight scene between Nara (Alyssa Kay) and Carrow (Brian S. Lewis) and the film 7 Samurai. During filming he included homages and throw backs to other Zombie Orpheus Entertainment (ZOE) productions as important and fun not only for himself but for the fans.

The possibility of having to recast Nara’s character had sat on the back burner until the contingency was deemed necessary. Filling the shoes of Anne K. Brady would be no small task Doyle describes her as a “dear friend” with whom he has “a lot of history working with her as that character.” Doyle primarily focused on this from a directorial standpoint. Despite the challenges of finding an actress that would fit Nara’s character and finding someone the cast could be comfortable working with, Doyle says “we got really, really lucky! Alyssa got to be way more nervous than I ever had to be. As soon as she read for it I knew, okay she can do this!” This transition went smoothly however and Anne K. Brady made an appearance on set to guide Alyssa Kay into comfortably taking on the role.

Though Doyle said he felt the cast of JourneyQuest was understated he highlighted a two names in particular “ Obviously right at the top of the list is Brian S. Lewis not only is he a great human being but he is a phenomenal actor. Emilie Shimkus this season was just so awesome I’ve worked with her so many times before she just gets better and better every performance.” When asked if he had an interest in bringing on more big name talent to add to the shows existing ranks he said “Part of the reason I love doing this is I get to work with actors who don’t get to be seen and have a lot of talent.” He did note however that working with Matt Mercer or any actor/actress he feels is “fighting the good fight” and “understands what we’re trying to do and has a good message for our nerd culture.” Doyle also mentioned Vin Diesel as someone he would like to work with, he said “I love people who are passionate about their fandoms and I love talent who aren’t afraid to be nerds.”

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