The Mikaelson family is extremely complicated, and who better to untangle that drama than Julie Plec? The Originals showrunner will blog each week’s installment throughout the season exclusively for EW. From answering burning questions to giving behind-the-scenes stories and more, this is a place for fans to hear directly from Plec about the episode they just watched.
Welcome back and thanks for tuning in to “Alone With Everybody“ written by Ashley Lyle & Bart Nickerson and directed by Hanelle Culpepper. This was Hanelle’s first episode within the Vampire Family, and we consider ourselves very lucky to have met her. We always love it when we can gather around the monitor and find not just a female director, but a female writer and a female line producer. Bart was alone on his dude island on this one, and we’re okay with that. Sorry, Bart.
I’ve mentioned this before, but there are a lot of different paths one can take to becoming a director in television. There are several different ladders to climb as a way of learning the ropes and getting your foot in the door. On our shows, we have given directing opportunities to editors, camera operators, directors of photography, script supervisors, actors, line producers, assistant directors, and yours truly, a.k.a. a writer. So if you can’t afford to produce your own short films or get fancy film degrees, that doesn’t mean there are no opportunities for you. Reach out to the guilds (ACE, DGA, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, and WGA) to inquire about training programs, mentor programs, fellowships, etc. And in the meantime, if you want to be a filmmaker, seize any opportunity to learn and practice the craft. And join us back here next week to celebrate the directorial debut of the Hybrid you love to hate, Joseph Morgan.
Tidbits from Ashley and Bart:
- We all know Marcel Gerard kills it at karaoke… but it turns out Charles Michael Davis is a talented musician in his own right; every time we’re on a set with a piano (both the Mikaelson compound and the St. James Infirmary have one), you’re bound to find Charles at the keys between takes. Which of course means that he was more than a little jealous when he found out that Daniel got a big jazz number in the teaser of this opener. Don’t worry though, Charles made sure to swing by set to critique Daniel’s piano-miming skills and pitch us on Marcel’s future musical side-projects. Personally, we’re hoping he and Josh start a 90’s-style boy band.
- Every episode, there’s a prop that everyone wants to take home at the end of the shoot. Last year, the producers even made up “Viking bumper stickers” based on one of Davina’s lines in episode 204. Not surprisingly, Klaus’s “Mothertrucker” cap was a VERY hot ticket this time around.
- This episode featured Josh’s very first fight scene. Obviously, as co-presidents of the Josh fan club, we love seeing him evolve from hapless pawn in the war for New Orleans to Marcel’s right-hand man and a badass in his own right. But it’s also worth mentioning that while we have obviously have (fantastically talented) stunt people, our actors also learn all the fight choreography for the close-ups. In this episode, Steven Kreuger, Nathaniel Buzolic, and Casper Zafer all put in an amazing effort to ensure that our showdowns (and beatdowns) felt authentic. In return, we made sure they had plenty of Advil the next day…
- In our world, vampirism has its benefits: compulsion, wealth, power, and eternal youth, to name a few. So it was fun to explore the darker, more philosophical side of immortality in this episode, via Elijah’s existential quandary over the potential destruction of the white oak. Ultimately, is forever a blessing or an unbearable burden? Early on, all the writers spent part of an afternoon debating the relative pros and cons of vampire life — and deciding whether or not they’d choose to turn if given the chance. Turns out, we’re pretty evenly split (apparently only half of us are egomaniacs with questionable morals) — with Bart claiming he’d turn, but only if given some advance notice to hit the gym, and Narducci declaring that not only would he NOT turn, but if he knew for sure that vampires were real, he’d dedicate the rest of his life to hunting them down. Because he is basically a comic book hero come to life, and a much better person than the rest of us.
- We all loved the idea of turning the water in the courtyard fountain into flames, both for its visual and dramatic impact. Unfortunately, one side effect of a fire fountain is that it’s loud. Like, 1,000 tropical fish tanks, mad scientist’s lab LOUD. Luckily, our sound design geniuses in post-production were able to work their magic and make sure that the cool effect didn’t ruin the scene.