ROSWELL NEW MEXICO - Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

ROSWELL NEW MEXICO – Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

The CW’s new series ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO is based on the ROSWELL HIGH series of novels by Melinda Metz. The 1999-2002 WB/UPN series ROSWELL was also based on Metz’s books, but everyone involved says that ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, while it shares the basic premise and some character names, differs substantially from the earlier television version.

While ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO still revolves around a trio of extraterrestrial siblings who came to Earth in the famous, mystery-shrouded crash, and are now hiding in plain sight as humans, these characters and their human friends and enemies are all adults. There are some other major changes as well.

Kevin Kelly Brown is an executive producer on ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO who was also served as E.P. on the earlier ROSWELL series (his other credits include the Oscar-nominated feature TRUMBO and the miniseries FLESH AND BONE and SEVEN SECONDS). At a press event sponsored by the CW, he talks about some of what’s new in ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO.

ASSIGNMENT X: Having worked on the earlier ROSWELL, were there changes that you wanted to make in ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO because it’s now almost twenty years later, and/or changes that you had to make because it’s now almost twenty years later?

KEVIN KELLY BROWN: I don’t know about had to do, but the series is based on a series of young adult novels. So the first series was true to the novels, in that the characters were teenagers. But when I reacquired the rights to the books this time, there were three things that I wanted to do that we couldn’t do on the original series. One is, I wanted the characters to be adults. That was very important to me. I didn’t want to do another teen show. And it was important to me because, the older the characters are, the more they have to lose, so therefore, the stakes are higher. Secondly, in the books, Liz [the human character played in ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO by Jeanine Mason] is Hispanic, and her family is Hispanic. We did not honor that in the original series. I was not going to give in on that this time, and it all worked out. And the third thing, I wanted to lean into the whole look of the Southwest. In the original series, we shot in Covina [California], and at Paramount Studios, so there was nothing Southwestern about it [laughs]. This one, we shot the pilot in Albuquerque, we’re shooting the series in Santa Fe, and we really captured that sort of Southwestern look and feel of Roswell.

AX: What is your collaboration like with your fellow executive producer Julie Plec?

BROWN: Julie’s amazing. Well, Julie directed our pilot, phenomenal job. Carina Adly MacKenzie, the creator of our show, worked with Julie on THE ORIGINALS, and so when we hired Carina, Julie came over as part of the executive producer team [which also includes MacKenzie]. Julie is an astounding creative force for the show, but she’s also smart enough to let Carina give it her own identity, and her own vision, and so that collaboration has worked brilliantly.

AX: Are there things with the advances in technology that have changed the way you approach anything as far as the aliens’ concerns about being detected?

BROWN: Well, we didn’t have social media back then, so the idea that they could keep their secret is something that we’ve had to adjust for this version of the show. But I would say, in terms of technology, it’s just more about, the effects are better, they’re cleaner, they look better, so that’s been a nice change from the original show.

ROSWELL NEW MEXICO - Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO – Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

AX: There are also some LGBT characters in ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO. Was that something that anybody felt strongly about as another aspect of the central metaphor?

BROWN: As another aspect of the metaphor? That’s a Carina question, but I think we felt strongly that the show should be reflective of the society that we live in, and so including an LGBT character was a no-brainer. It felt organic to the show. It just was a question of, how do we make it feel like it’s part of the landscape of the show, as opposed to something we’re just doing to be hip or cool.

AX: As far as the casting, were you looking for people who were similar to your previous leads, very different from your previous leads, or did that factor in at all?

BROWN: We didn’t even think about it. These are just completely different characters. Even if they’re based on the same source material, Carina has created a cast of characters that are very different from the original series, and so it was never an issue of finding people like [the earlier ROSWELL’s] Jason Behr or Shiri Appleby, because these characters were their own thing. So we were just finding the right actors for these roles. And we got very lucky. If you’ve seen any of the show, you know that that cast is extraordinary.

We were looking for what you’re always looking for when you cast a show, which is strong actors who can carry a show. Not every actor can carry a show, so that’s a big, big part of why you cast somebody, and in this case, we knew how challenging these roles were going to be, we knew how challenging the arcs of the stories were going to be, so we needed actors who could have much more depth and variety for this version.

AX: Were there things you wanted to do in the original that you didn’t, apart from Liz’s ethnicity, that you’re getting to do this time around?

BROWN: The ethnicity, and also the fact that there are only so many kinds of stories, with so many kinds of stakes, that you can do with teenagers, and once you have adult characters, the stakes are higher, the variety of stories you can tell are greater, so those two things were really important.

AX: How strong is the fandom for the original ROSWELL these days, and what do they think about ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO?

ROSWELL NEW MEXICO - Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO – Season 1 Key Art | ©2019 The CW

BROWN: As far as I know, they haven’t seen it, of course [prior to the premiere], but they still have their website, Crashdown.com, and they’ve been tracking every piece of news that happens with the show. When we tested the show, we had people in the test audience who were declared fans of the original show. They loved it just as much as people who hadn’t watched the original show. So we are hoping that they will embrace it just as much as they did the original.

AX: And what would you most like people to know about ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO at this point?

BROWN: I think what I would like them to know is that it is still a place that is steeped in mythology, and we’re hoping that when they watch our show, that they will get into the mythology of that place as much as they did on the original series. We are very proud of what [everyone involved with the new series have] all done. They’ve done a phenomenal job in terms of creating a show that stands on its own, which, by the way, part of the reason it’s not called ROSWELL. The reason it’s called ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, is because we do feel that this show has an identity of its own.

Related: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO:  Actor Michael Vlamis talks about Season 1 of the new CW reboot- Exclusive Interview

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Article: ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO:  Executive producer Kevin Kelly Brown chats new The CW reboot – Exclusive Interview

 

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