Of all the new horror projects heading to TV in the fall, one we’re really looking forward to is “Sleepy Hollow” on Fox, and here are the highlights of what we learned about it during Comic-Con.
In case you’re not quite sure what transpires in this modern-day twist on Washington Irving’s classic story, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is resurrected and pulled two and a half centuries through time to find that the world is on the brink of destruction and he is humanity’s last hope, forcing him to team up with a contemporary police officer (Nicole Beharie) to unravel a mystery that dates back to the founding fathers.
First we spoke with executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci , Mark Goffman, and Len Wiseman (who also directed the pilot and told us he’s definitely returning to direct/co-direct at least one or two more). Right off the bat we could tell they have embraced the horror roots of the source material and have ambitious plans to ramp it up even further, but getting the right “tone was tricky.” Wiseman said it’s “fun and creepy at the same time” with the main challenge being balancing the comedy and drama with the horror.
The conceit of the show is that its “Revolutionary War setting is only part of the story.” What we had then – and have now as well in the present-day town of Sleepy Hollow – is the eternal “battle between good and evil” with “demons, specters, and ghosts” added into the mix. As we’d heard previously, the Headless Horseman is actually the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse so those who watch the show can expect not just historical but also biblical references sprinkled throughout. We’ll see links to all of the world’s religions, cultures, and myths and, on a smaller scale, learn how the town plays into the bigger picture.
They already have a three-season plan but are still keeping it “open to twists and turns.” Don’t expect a “monster of the week” type formula; there is a “master puppeteer plotting” things who “has an end game.” All the “villains are connected in a giant chess game” with the first season being about “Who knows what?” “Who can you trust?” Further complicating matters, some of the townspeople are descended from people Ichabod knew in the past.
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Ichabod ended up in our time thanks to his wife, a witch, and we wondered where she is – stuck in the past? here in the present with Ichabod somehow? – and how he could have not known what she was up to. Also, does her presence, physical or not, preclude a romance between Ichabod and Abbie (Beharie)? Part of the show’s mythology involves his ignorance about her dabbling in the dark arts, they explained, as well as a lot of “resentment on his part” and “guilt on hers.” But they are “searching for each other” and “want to reunite. ” When the dust settles, they “need to have a really long chat!”
Next it was time for Ichabod and Abbie themselves – and Abbie’s boss, Captain Frank Irving, played by Orlando Jones – to join us. Their camaraderie – and chemistry – was obvious right away. Nicole described her character as “complex… and very badass.” She has “a dark past” that we’ll learn about later, but don’t expect a typical episode structure, building and building. “Sleepy Hollow” is “more like a movie than a series.”
Jones explained that his character’s dilemma is that “people are dying” around him, and “the two people who say they know why sound crazy.” Mison added that it’s “a delicate balance” between the “ridiculousness of his character” and the “seriousness of his mission to save the world.”
Nicole summed it up that yes, there’s action, they’re shooting guns, but it’s “grounded in reality.” Tom pointed out Abbie is a female lead role “not defined by the guy she’s with,” something that attracted him to the script. She’s “Mary Tyler Moore with a gun,” joked Nicole, sending us all off with a good laugh… and an ever better feeling about the show.
We’ll be tuning in for sure when “Sleepy Hollow” premieres on Monday, September 16th. What about you?
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