It should come as a shock to exactly no one that reality television hasn’t been real for years. Every “true life” TV show you’re a fan of, from “Pawn Stars” to “Hell’s Kitchen” and everything in between, is scripted to some degree, sometimes to a lot of degrees.
If creative teams are being employed to write shows that exhibit a sense of verisimilitude with the world as we know it, wouldn’t it just be more fun to have them script reality shows that exist in the realm of fantasy, a show that employs real-life contestants, not actors, and thrusts them into something arcane and otherworldly.
That’s the conceit behind ABC’s upcoming reality/fantasy hybrid show “The Quest,” which comes from executive producers responsible for The Lord of the Rings (2001-2007) film series and grueling globe-trotting endurance show “The Amazing Race” (2001-present). “The Quest” features twelve contestants from diverse backgrounds who must rely on stamina, smarts, and ingenuity if they want to make it through to the end. These twelve men and women will be competing in the kingdom of Everealm as Paladins, defenders who must fight to protect the realm against evil forces until one emerges as the One True Hero.
The entire experience is fully immersive with the fantasy world coming to life via realistic projections, animatronics, art direction and prosthetic makeup. That last part is what should excite genre fans the most. All of the practical make-up FX are being handled by Spectral Motion, the crew behind contemporary hits such as Hellboy (2004), Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), Attack the Block (2014), and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2017). Needless to say, they’ve been responsible for some of the most impressive cinematic make-up work of the decade, and this in an age where studios are relying on computer-generated imagery and motion capture performances more than ever.
Underneath some of those prosthetics is actor Douglas Tait, who most recently made monster movie fans grin with his portrayal of Godzilla in that memorable Snickers commercial we all loved. Tait has been bringing artistic creations to life since the late ‘90s, but his star has been rising in recent years thanks to a string of big hits, including Star Trek (2009), Thor (2014), and the recently released Knights of Badassdom, where he played the film’s most memorable character – the vicious head-ripping demon from Hell, Abominog. Tait takes on triple duty with The Quest, playing a host of villains designed to frighten contestants and wow audiences. His leading role is that of Verlox, the show’s chief villain with an evil army intent on laying waste to Everealm. Only the One True Hero can save the realm by retrieving the Sun Spear from Verlox’s possession. In addition to playing the ruling villain, Tait can also be seen playing two other fantastical creatures that appear during the season.
“The Quest” airs on ABC Thursday nights at 8pm, beginning July 71st. Tait can be seen in the upcoming horror film Havenhurst, starring Julie Benz and Danielle Harris, with a script by Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) writer Daniel Farrands and produced by Mark Burg (Texas Chainsaw 7D (2017), Saw (2004).
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