San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Kevin Williamson, Andrew Miller, and Richard Hatem Talk The Secret Circle
The CW's witchy new series "The Secret Circle" premieres on September 15th following "The Vampire Diaries", and if you've been wondering whether or not the show might be up your alley, you'll want to read our interview with executive producers Kevin Williamson, Andrew Miller, and Richard Hatem from San Diego Comic-Con.
Like "TVD", the show is based on a series of books by L.J. Smith so of course the question was raised as to how close to its source material it will be. According to Miller, "L.J. Smith has laid out amazing characters that have great relationships with each other and a terrific mythology. We're basically starting with that and staying really true to that in terms of who the characters are and how they relate to each other, but then we're moving in a different direction because in a weird way the books take such a brief period of time and there's a conclusion to it, and we need to stretch that out for hopefully over seven years so we're really just starting with the characters. It's this Adam and Cassie thing and then the love triangles and the power struggles - that's what really appealed to me to begin with. It's the same as 'Vampire [Diaries]' - really amazing relationships - so we're kind of riding those further than she was able to because she only had three books and we'll have a little bit more."
When asked if he's going to be keeping a lot of elements from the books, Williamson said, "If it works, yes. It's one of those things where if it works, do it; if it doesn’t, don't. When you take a series of books and you have to redesign them for TV, suddenly I change this and this, and then I add to it because I get an idea, and I go, 'What about this and what about this?" You know, I'm a writer; I don't want to just translate. It's like the whole reason you hired me is for me to bring whatever's going on in [my head], and I try to do it. It's no fun for me [if] I can't personalize it. Like I do with 'Vampire Diaries', I had to personalize it so that I could cry over it. Julie [Plec] and I sit there and cry as we write."
We wondered what sets "The Secret Circle" apart from other supernatural shows on TV, and Miller replied, "For one thing, in our case what I find very unique is the supernatural entities of our show are regular kids as opposed to 'The Vampire Diaries' where they've been around for 130 years and they've been to chemistry class a thousand times. Our guys are going through these things for the first time. First love and first betrayal. The friendships and the family stuff … they're going through it themselves the first time, and then the supernatural element is just added onto it so it's a fun world to play in because [they have] very, very relatable stories. The emotions they are experiencing are what we know, and then we are adding the supernatural element onto it."
Hatem added, "What they are experiencing is kind of a fantasy for people. They get to do things that we wish we could do. So we get to enjoy those experiences through them. And they are so likable and beautiful. Who wouldn't want to do that?"
With so many close ties between "TSC" and "TVD", Williamson was asked if he's nervous about viewers thinking the new series is just more of the same. "It does have so many connections. I think the key word is if we can just let people know it's a 'companion' piece and it's not so much a spin-off as it's a separate world. And that's kind of my biggest thing. I do worry … and you know the other thing I worry about is that people will start the show and compare it to the beginning of the third season of 'Vampire Diaries', which is going a mile a minute. Whereas, if you go back to the first season of 'Vampire Diaries', you'll remember it told a story. It took a while to suck you in. And that's what we're trying to do here. I wouldn't say there's a slow pace, but we spend time getting to know our characters and dealing with the relationships and understanding what they want and what they desire and what witchcraft is. And then, right around the time you think it's 'this', then this happens and the whole world turns upside down. It's another fun show."
Miller explained further, "We're excited. It's an amazing opportunity. I was a huge fan of 'The Vampire Diaries' before I ever started this, and I love the idea of being able to try to keep that audience interested and maybe bring in a different audience also. I think that fans of 'The Vampire Diaries' will like the way we tell stories and will like the excitement and will be surprised by the depth of emotion we get to dive into. And again, because no one of our characters has had this 130-year history behind them, it's a little bit more relatable I think than Stefan and Damon. So in that sense 'Vampire' fans [will find] like six Elenas, and I think that's kind of fun."