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Interview with Kelli Giddish and David Hudgins of "Past
Life" on FOX
I was really excited to talk to Kelli Giddish because
she was so great as Di on "All My Children". I really hated when they
killed off her character. She was a real delight to speak with and
seemed grateful for her work and her fans.
This new show sounds very interesting, maybe a cross
between Ghost Whisperer and Bones? She plays a psychiatrist that helps
people investigate their past lives through regression. It is kind of
like a mystery, and she has a handsome partner to help her with the
investigation. I look forward to watching the first episode next
week! I hope it does well because Kelli Giddish is a great talent and
deserves more success!
David Hudgins was the other person we spoke with, and
they both did a good job of explaining the show and giving us more info
about it. They filmed 6 episodes, and if it is a hit, FOX will order
It also stars the awesome Richard Schiff, who was so
great as Toby on West Wing, and Nicholas Bishop as her partner. I
know I will be tuning in!
The Past Life
February 2, 2010/1:00 p.m. EST
Elissa Johansmeier Ė Fox Publicity
Kelli Giddish Ė Past Life
David Hudgins Ė Past Life
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for standing by and
welcome to the Past Life conference call. At this time all participants
are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question and answer
session. As a reminder todayís conference is being recorded. I would now
like to turn the call over to your first speaker, Elissa Johansmeier,
please go ahead.
E. Johansmeier Hi, this is Elissa Johansmeier from Fox Publicity. Thank
you guys all for being on the conference call today. Thank you for
waiting the short delay as well. Very quickly I just want to give you a
couple points of information and then we will put the call over straight
to question and answer with Kelli Giddish and David Hudgins. We have the
pilot episode entitled Pilot airing next Tuesday, a week from today,
February 9th, at 9 p.m. That is called our series preview episode. Then
the series premiere is an episode entitled ďDead Man WalkingĒ that will
air Thursday, February 11th at 9 p.m. The regular time slot for Past
Life is Thursdays at 9 p.m.
Today we have, as I mentioned, Kelli Giddish, she is the star of the
show and David Hudgins, our executive producer and creator of the show.
They are available today for questions and answers. Without further ado
letís head over to the question and answer session.
Moderator Certainly. Our first question comes from Steve Eramo, with Si
Fi and TV Talk.
S. Eramo Hi, Kelli. Hi, David. Thanks for taking the time to speak with
K. Giddish Sure.
D. Hudgins Good morning.
S. Eramo My first question actually is for Kelli. I wanted to find out
if Kelli maybe could tell us a little bit about how you first became
involved in the series, and maybe about some of the acting challenges
you found stepping into the Dr. McGinn role.
K. Giddish Well, there is a pilot season every year and this is actually
one of the first projects I went out on probably about a year ago --
last January. I really, really loved the character and went right in for
it. Actually David and Deran Sarafian, the director of the pilot, and
Lou Pitt, were all down in Baltimore and I was living in New York at the
time. I went in and tested and it went from there. They had found Nick
Bishop and so it kind of just rolled into a project from there.
When I first got the script looking at Dr. McGinn it was just someone
that I immediately connected to, in terms of just a through-line for me.
It was immediately a character I felt like I didnít have to take a lot
away from myself to play her; I just got to add on layers, one being
that she believes in a system of reincarnation and past lives and thatís
her way to help people.
A challenge which I think is really nice to see her overcome as a
character and one for me as an actor is to really get people on your
side and to get the patients on your side. I think she really acts as an
emotional conduit to people that are having trouble or experiencing
trauma, from what she assumes and is from their past lives.
S. Eramo Cool.
K. Giddish Yes.
S. Eramo Then if I could just follow up that question for David. I
wonder, David, if maybe you could tell us first where your inspiration
for this series came from, and then for you maybe some of the challenges
creative-wise, production-wise getting the show off the ground.
D. Hudgins Sure. First let me add on to what Kelli was just saying. The
way we cast Kelli Giddish in this role was very unique. Hereís what
happened. I got her audition on tape, which is actually an e-mail they
send. I was sitting at my computer and I queued it up and I watched it
and I was absolutely blown away. In the moment I said to myself that is
Kate. That is exactly who I had in mind so we flew Kelli down to
Baltimore and we screen tested her for this pilot which is not that
common anymore these days.
As soon as we screen tested her and showed it to the studio and the
network everybody agreed that she was perfect for the role. I just think
thatís Ė there was good karma from the beginning Ė
K. Giddish Yes, right?
D. Hudgins -- with Kelli. In terms of my inspiration the series is
inspired by a book called The Reincarnationist written by M. J. Rose. I
had a pilot deal with Warner Brothers. They sent me the book and asked
me to read it and I did. Frankly, I didnít really have any expectations
when I picked up the book but as soon as I finished it I was immediately
engaged. I said this is an incredibly cool world. It was a world that I
was not that familiar with so I immediately started doing research,
started talking to people. I happened to see a three-part special on
Oprah that she was doing with a guy named Dr. Brian Weiss about past
lives an regression. I just got hooked immediately and thought this is
just such an interesting, different, unique world.
From a storytelling point of view what I love about it is it is so wide
open. There are so many different stories you can tell based on this
world. I came up with this franchise of The Past Life detective team and
building around that just sort of went forward with the series, and
created the characters. The inspiration really for the project was this
book, The Reincarnationist by M. J. Rose.
As far as Ė letís see you asked about some challenges for production.
One of the great things about the show and frankly, something that we
were pretty surprised with when the pilot and the first episode started
coming in is there are these regression episodes within the shows where
the patients are having Ė theyíre basically flashbacks. Theyíre going
back and theyíre experiencing their past lives and we really wanted to
have these sequences Ė we really wanted these sequences to have a unique
Deran Sarafian, who directed the pilot, did an amazing job with that and
he came in and he created this visual style thatís very filmic. Itís
very cinematic, itís scary, itís fast, itís .... What we ended up with
were these really interesting sort of mini thrillers that play
throughout each episode which were a challenge to shoot because there is
a lot of different coverage and a lot of different pieces that you have
K. Giddish It was kind of great to see the tools you guys employed to
get those Ė everything from iPhones to --
D. Hudgins Yes, the tools are basically Ė at some points Deran running
through the forest with the camera in his hands. I mean it was that much
fun and that sort of outlaw style of shooting. It really worked. It
really cut together well. We developed a whole system for shooting those
regressions with a second unit. It required a lot of cutting and a lot
more visual effects than we originally anticipated.
We actually hired a special editor to do the visual effects and to edit
those sequences. That was a challenge to do the regression episodes. The
rest of it was really just a dream. Itís just an amazing case and we had
a really great crew in Atlanta and it was a great time.
S. Eramo Kelli, David, once again a pleasure speaking with you and best
of luck and success with the show.
K. Giddish Thank you so much, Steven.
D. Hudgins Thank you very much.
Moderator Thank you, and our next question is from Alice Chapman-Newgen,
with Times Courier, please go ahead.
A. Chapman-Newgen Hi.
K. Giddish Hi.
D. Hudgins Hi.
A. Chapman-Newgen Kelli, so youíre from Georgia.
K. Giddish I am.
A. Chapman-Newgen Are you familiar with Ellijay, Georgia?
K. Giddish Yes. My Aunt and Uncle used to live out there.
A. Chapman-Newgen Oh, cool. Thatís where Iím from.
K. Giddish Now theyíve moved down the street from my parents, but yes,
Iíve been to Ellijay.
A. Chapman-Newgen Well, I was wondering how did Ė is there any relation
between you and your character that you could Ė are there any
K. Giddish Well, yes, I think so. In the script Kate McGinn is a girl
from Texas. She drives a big old pickup truck, which I drove a pickup
truck for a long time, a stick shift with a camper top. On an emotional
level I think, yes, she tries to calmly try and guide people, not by
beating them over the head with her agenda or with her beliefs but in
the way that she gets people on her side and allows her to heal them I
think is a very Ė as a Southern woman you can kind of get in peopleís
heads in a way that maybe other people canít.
Like I said with this character there was just a lot of stuff that I
didnít feel like I had to take away from myself to play her. It was just
kind adding layers on.
A. Chapman-Newgen Thank you, and David, putting the show together, what
have you learned from the experience and from the past lives research?
D. Hudgins The past lives research, well, number one is to be
open-minded. One of the things about the show that I think is really
interesting and that people are responding to is this question of what
if? Weíre not out here preaching to the world about reincarnation. Weíre
not saying itís this way or that way. What weíre basically saying is
letís go on a ride here. Letís ask the question what if this were real.
Think about all the possibilities that that opens up and all the stories
we could tell.
I have learned to be incredibly open-minded about it. Iíve learned that
there is an entire world of people out there who are fascinated by this
stuff. Obviously not only in the United States, but all over the world.
Really there is just this fascination with past lives that I really feel
like itís something that weíre tapping into. Itís wish fulfillment in a
way; itís a fantasy show in a way, there is definitely a sci-fi and a
paranormal element to the show, all of which comes together with these
great characters and Kelli.
You know, you asked Ė itís funny you asked about the similarities
between Kelli and her character, let me say this, Dr. McGinn is a very
empathetic character. Thatís one of the great things about her, she has
this ability to connect with people and to read them and to understand
them. Sheís a healer, and thatís Kelli. Sheís also a woman who doesnít
take any shit and I promise you thatís Kelli as well.
A. Chapman-Newgen Thatís a Southern lady for you.
K. Giddish There you go.
A. Chapman-Newgen Well I appreciate that, thank you.
D. Hudgins Thank you.
K. Giddish Sure.
Moderator Thank you, and our next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue
with The TV MegaSite.
S. Lanoue Hi.
K. Giddish Hi, how are you?
S. Lanoue Thanks for taking our call.
D. Hudgins Good morning.
S. Lanoue I was wondering if youíd tell anything about the relationship
between your character, Kelli, and Richard Schiffís character?
K. Giddish Well, heís her mentor. I think as the series goes along weíre
going to find out more about what exactly they mean to each other in
terms of personally, but professionally they think very similarly. They
respect and are highly educated within the field in which they work.
I think itís also a very special relationship because we donít know Ė in
terms of father figure, in terms of he kind of thinks around things in a
way that maybe Kate hasnít gotten to quite yet. Sometimes he can
simplify things in a great, creative way that maybe she misses. Itís
kind of great to see his character and his perspective inform the work
that sheís doing.
S. Lanoue All right. I was wondering Ė this sort of leads to that. I was
a great fan of yours on All My Children, you did a great job.
K. Giddish Oh, great. Thank you!
S. Lanoue Let me take that and run with it to David. I was wondering if
Kelliís character will have any romance on the show?
D. Hudgins Oh, yes, she will. I mean, you canít look at that character
and not wonder is there a romantic interest in her life. Itís
interesting, any time you have a show with a male and a female lead
there is always the question of romantic relationship between the two of
them. Whatís great about Kelli and Nick Bishop is there is obviously
chemistry. We saw that in the screen test. We saw that the first time we
got together and we put them on film and it really translates onto the
show. We all know that itís there but as a storyteller and sort of the
creator of the show, I just think thatís something you have to be
S. Lanoue Right.
D. Hudgins You know, hooking your two leads up, I guess would be the
phrase. For now I think the relationship is strictly professional.
Theyíve got a lot of issues to work out in their personal lives and
professionally right now theyíre just friends. But, yes, there is
definitely chemistry between the two of them, and as to whether that
goes anywhere hopefully people will tune in to find out. Dr. McGinn is
single and she lives at home right now with her dog and her mother, who
is very interested in her getting out there and meeting people.
She is so wrapped up in her work at the moment that sheís trying to make
time for her personal life but I donít think you can watch that
character on screen and not say to yourself sheís going to end up with
somebody at some point, sheís too great, and too bubbly and attractive,
K. Giddish Right, right.
S. Lanoue Thank you.
K. Giddish Thatís what Iím thinking. Make him cute, David.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from David Martindale with
Hearst Newspapers, please go ahead.
D. Martindale Yes, thank you. Hi guys.
K. Giddish Hi.
D. Hudgins Good morning, David.
D. Martindale I enjoyed the pilot; it was really good.
D. Hudgins Thank you.
D. Martindale A question for Kelli, David told his take on this but has
the material, the ideas, any research that you might have done, or
people that you met, has it challenged or changed your belief system in
K. Giddish Well, you know as David was saying, itís kind of been
interesting to see how much of an interest there is in all this stuff
and belief in reincarnation and past lives. I actually went and did my
own regression, mainly to check out the woman that was giving them.
D. Martindale Wow.
K. Giddish That kind of thing. Itís like Ė I went to go see if she was a
kook, you know, and see to see what kind of character she was thatís in
her personal life doing past life regressions as a job. She wasnít Ė she
wasnít a kook. She actually has blonde hair, sheís like 32, from Texas,
it was like Kate McGinn in real life. I did that regression and what was
interesting about that, it was on the Upper West side in New York and
she pulled me back out of the hypnosis and she said, ďHow long do you
think you were under?Ē I was like, half an hour, it was great though,
thanks. She said, ďAn hour and forty-five minutes.Ē I said, ďNo kidding,
wow!Ē I have an hour unaccounted for there that I was off being an
Alaskan boy and a fruit picker in the 1930s. Whether or not I really
believe I was an Alaskan Native-American, Iím not sure but I came out of
her office really feeling light on my feet and looking around at things
with a little gleam in my eye. Itís nice. We play the what-if game with
ourselves all the time and this is certainly a wide open world in which
to play that.
D. Martindale That sounds like an interesting day to have.
K. Giddish Yes, it was. It was.
D. Martindale Thank you so much.
K. Giddish Sure.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Crystal Ledford with
Forsyth County News.
K. Giddish Crystal.
C. Ledford Hey, Kelli, how are you?
K. Giddish How are you? Iím so glad you got on this.
C. Ledford I know, this is great. Hey, I know last time I talked to you,
you were really excited about being here in Atlanta filming. You still
happy about that situation or are you still in the area or have you
moved on since?
K. Giddish No, Iím out in LA now, Iím being a snowbird and dodging any
kind of East Coast weather that you guys are experiencing. Itís 65
degrees out right now outside.
C. Ledford That sounds nice.
K. Giddish Yes.
C. Ledford Itís chilly here.
D. Hudgins Thatís right, she had to come do press, so fortunately the
weather was nice for it.
C. Ledford Exactly, exactly. Hey, do you have any special message for
those guys here in your home town who might be checking out the show,
K. Giddish Well, it was such a great experience to be able to come home
and know that thereís biscuits and gravy just around the corner, that
thereís chicken and dumplings being Ė the teamsters fixed chicken and
dumplings out in the parking lot during one day of filming. There was
sweet tea always on the tables at lunch so that was certainly nice to
come back home.
C. Ledford Thatís great.
K. Giddish And really explore the city, you know I left when I was 18 so
you canít really go down and listen to music and have a drink when
youíre 18 in the big old city so it was kind of great. It was like being
introduced to a new city. Atlanta has changed so much in the last decade
it was Ė
D. Hudgins Atlanta was fantastic. That was my favorite part about the
whole experience was being able to shoot there. The crews were
incredible. We got so many looks out of Atlanta. It was just an absolute
pleasure to be there. By the way, we canít wait to come back. Our sets
and our wardrobes and our props are all sitting on our stage behind a
locked door. Weíre ready to come back.
K. Giddish Exactly.
C. Ledford Well, we certainly hope you guys get to. I thank you guys for
letting me join in the call today.
K. Giddish Sure, Crystal, thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Lisa Steinbert with
Starry Constellation Magazine, please go ahead.
L. Steinbert Hi, itís a pleasure to be with both of you.
K. Giddish Hi, Lisa.
D. Hudgins Morning.
L. Steinbert Morning. I was just wondering, Kelli, what has been your
most memorable moment so far from filming Past Life?
K. Giddish Oh, lordy.
D. Hudgins I want to hear this.
K. Giddish I know, right.
L. Steinbert Heís bated breath.
K. Giddish I know. Gee, you know you go in for 10 to 15 hours a day and
youíre just Ė I was on set all the time and it was such a joy. It all
kind of runs together. No, but my most memorable things that happen on
set were with the guest stars that came down, being surprised by their
ability and their talent to go into all these regressions that we had
them go into and seeing each person do it in a completely different way.
I have to say my favorite, I think, was Juliette, the girl that played
Sarah. She was like 12, I just remember being on set with her and she
knew more words to Beatlesí songs than I did. I was just so impressed. I
was so impressed. I was like youth is not lost. They are not lost,
D. Hudgins What about the improv dance at three in the morning?
K. Giddish Yes, that was amazing. We were on set, it was, David it was
the last scene, right, of the day?
D. Hudgins It was the last scene, it was three in the morning.
K. Giddish We had Dean White there who is our directing producer,
producing director, however it goes, and so he had been with us the
entire time in Atlanta and he was directing that episode and David was
down in Atlanta. It was three in the morning, and weíre shooting the
last scene of the day, and of that episode I think and it was the last
scene and he just Ė he put on, what song was it David?
D. Hudgins It was Ooh-la-la by Rod Stewart.
K. Giddish Yes. It was Ooh-la-la, and we just started dancing, me and
Nick Bishop in the middle of Talmadge Center and it got captured. It was
such an organic, beautiful thing that moved out of this really great
conversation that had been written. We just started improvíing with each
other and all of a sudden Iím begging him to dance and weíre laughing
our heads off. It was great.
L. Steinbert David, why donít you tell us why exactly people want to
tune in to watch Past Life?
D. Hudgins Well, first of all I think theyíre going to be immensely
entertained. Itís a mystery show, weíre solving a mystery each week, but
weíre doing it in a way that is different because of the past life angle
to the show. Itís a very satisfying viewing experience because youíre
seeing a mystery be solved from start to finish in a very different and
unique way. Weíre also doing it with characters that are arguing about
it as they go along, that are agreeing on certain things, that are
taking different approaches, and that are Ė the conflict part of it, I
think, is very entertaining and informative, but itís also fun.
At the end of the day the episodes are really about hope because
patients are, in 90% of the cases, being healed. Theyíre not always
going to be healed but most cases they are. Itís just a very satisfying
experience and very emotional, I have to say. Itís sort of a roller
coaster ride in each episode. There are great comedy moments in the
show, there are also very scary moments in the show with these
regression episodes, but you know, each week in doing all the cuts,
whatís consistent each time are the performances of Kelli and Nick and
all the actors. Itís really great just to go on the ride with them each
week and see them do their thing.
L. Steinbert Thank you so much both of you for your time.
K. Giddish Thank you, Lisa.
D. Hudgins Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Troy Rogers with
T. Rogers Hi, Kelli. Hi, David.
K. Giddish Hi, Troy.
D. Hudgins Hello.
T. Rogers David, I wanted to know, how do you think the way a person
acts is connected in some ways to the energy of a past life? Like
current karma and someoneís destiny?
D. Hudgins What interested me as much as anything in this whole project
was this idea of consciousness and I donít want to get too technical and
pretend like Iím a super expert but, putting the idea of reincarnation
aside, I got into this whole idea that I think started with Carl Jung
about consciousness. Basically, all people are connected and the idea is
that some people are able to sort of access this level of consciousness
and others arenít.
Where it really popped for me was, for example, the idea of dťjŗ vu,
which I think everybody has experienced. Even something like Ė the show
touches on all sorts of things related to it such as, I mean people are
always coming up to me and telling me a ghost story or telling me about
somebody that they met and say, ďI swear that was my mom in a past
life.Ē The more I researched and the more I got into it I realized that
the world is really out of body experiences, itís near-death
experiences, itís this whole idea of the science of the soul, which I
think is tied up in consciousness.
There is a line that Kelli has, that Kelliís character has in one of the
episodes where somebody says to her, ďYou know you only go around once.Ē
And she says, ďActually, not really.Ē That was kind of my takeaway. One
of the other characters in another episode has a line, ďLive like youíre
going to live again.Ē I guess for me, again, not getting into technical
definitions of karma, for me itís kind of like, this is going to sound
corny, but kind of like the Golden Rule. Itís like just do right, live
like youíre going to live again and you donít really have anything to
K. Giddish It certainly doesnít hurt to look at it that way, does it?
D. Hudgins Right, exactly.
T. Rogers All right, cool. Now, for both of you, why do you think
viewers are open to a show like Past Life? Like 10 or 15 years ago I
think theyíd still be fearful.
K. Giddish Hmm Ė
D. Hudgins Do you want to go Kelli, or do you want me to go?
K. Giddish Yes, go for it.
D. Hudgins Well, I think Ė
K. Giddish I donít think about the viewers, huh?
D. Hudgins Yes, I mean, you know, I certainly donít want to ever
underestimate the American public and the American viewing audience. I
think people are a lot smarter and a lot more open-minded --
K. Giddish Exactly.
D. Hudgins -- than we generally give them credit for. Look, this is an
entertaining television show. As I mentioned before, weíre not preaching
anything to anybody, weíre saying just come along with us on this ride.
There was a line in the book that really landed with me when I read it,
which was one of the characters, I think it was Dr. Ė it was Malachi, it
was Richard Schiffís character, said, ďFor me the question isnít why
should I believe in this, itís why not?Ē And thatís sort of the attitude
that I tried to infuse in that character and in everybody who works at
Talmadge. Itís this idea of what if? Come along for the ride and I think
people will do that. People get on board and they see these exciting
teasers and they figure out what the case of the week is going to be.
Then itís about solving the mystery, and then itís about the twists and
turns that happen because of the regressions with Kate and Nick and
everybody sort of taking us along for the ride.
K. Giddish I think Davidís attitude and outlook on this whole topic,
this whole genre, that itís not even a genre yet, but I think it really
comes through the characters such as mine. Sheís not trying to beat
anybody over the head with it. I think we all come to work and itís a
playground. Itís just letís see, I really think the question of what if
is really fun to play around with. Why not put that question in the
hands of ten writers and Ė
D. Hudgins Right. Thatís actually Ė thatís a great point, Kelli. After
we did the pilot and I hired my writing staff and we got together in the
room I was absolutely amazed by the stories. We spent an entire week of
people just pitching stories and experiences related to this world and I
was really blown away by that, by how many people seem to have been
touched by stories that exist in this world. Again, I just think itís a
really exciting place to be able to tell stories.
T. Rogers Excellent, thanks, guys.
K. Giddish Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Shaun Daily with T V
S. Daily Hello.
K. Giddish Hi.
D. Hudgins Good morning.
K. Giddish Good morning, how are you?
S. Daily My listenerís have been waiting for this show since it was
announced. Congratulations. Itís finally going to be on the air. How do
you feel that itís almost here, a week away?
K. Giddish Iím so excited.
S. Daily I bet.
K. Giddish Iím so excited. Iíve been watching Fox and all of a sudden
you see a teaser and youíre like, Wow! That looks great, you know? Weíve
finished filming a couple of months ago so itís kind of great to finally
see it coming on. It just looks great. Feeling confident in the job that
I did, and that my fellow cast mates did, and that the directors did,
and the writers did. It feels great to know that youíve got a great
product and a great story coming out. A lot of people are going to get
to see it after American Idol.
D. Hudgins Yes, again, Iím thrilled to death too. When we heard that we
were going to get our preview launched after American Idol on Tuesday
night, of course we were ecstatic. The network and the studio are behind
the show and they believe in it and weíre going to get our shot. I
really think and hope that there is going to be an audience for the show
because itís a lot of fun to watch.
S. Daily I bet, I bet. Also, maybe you can tell us a little bit about
the team. I know, Kelli, your character Kate whoís got a partner named
Price Whatley, is that right? Did I get the name right?
K. Giddish Yes.
S. Daily Heís a cynic, so how important for the show, maybe both of you
can comment, to have a cynic on the show to challenge Kate and the other
team members around her, their thoughts and their hypotheses?
K. Giddish Well, I think itís a pretty important character for the
audience. If I were watching it Iíd want to see the other side and I
think that he does that very well and a lot of humor comes out of it. I
think heís a very Ė his character plays a very important role. He does
it with much aplomb.
D. Hudgins He does. I think thatís right. You know, look the skeptic and
the believer, itís sort of a classic twosome, but what Kelli and Nick
did is they brought a lot of nuance to it. Price Whatley, who is played
by Nick Bishop, heís not completely one note. Heís not just sitting
there saying, ďI donít believe,Ē every episode. He goes on a journey and
Kate takes him on that journey and thatís what I think is interesting to
me. Price is sort of voicing the other side of the coin in a lot of the
episodes, but heís also going on a journey because of his back story
with his wife, who died accidentally.
K. Giddish Heís coming to this with a very personal question in
something that he doesnít know about, which is his wife is dead. Is she
going to come back? I donít know, heís just been through some trauma
himself. I think that represents a lot of what David and I and the
writers have found talking about this subject to people, that everybody
Ė heís kind of like I did want to think that, that she was my grandma,
Itís like this little personal question that maybe, itís not out in the
open but itís underneath everything that Ė all of his actions.
S. Daily Also, maybe both of you can tell us about Ė a little about the
rest of the team. We heard about Richard Schiffís character, but there
are a few other characters, maybe you can shed some light on them?
D. Hudgins Yes, maybe I can give you a little shorthand. There are four
people working at the Talmadge Center on this team. I look at them as a
family, both personally and professionally. On a professional level,
Richard Schiffís character, Malachi Talmadge, is the boss. Heís the
namesake of the center. Heís the one who sort of all cases, questions,
and decisions go through. He puts the team through their paces each
week; itís sort of like the Socratic Method. They bounce ideas off of
him and he sends them off on their certain journeys and tasks.
Of course, youíve got Kelliís character, Dr. McGinn. She was actually
one of Malachiís graduate students, is her back story. She is a
psychologist. Then Nick is a former NYPD detective, his job is to
essentially take the clues that Dr. McGinn gets out of the regressions
and use his detective chops to solve what happened in the past life.
Ravi Patel plays Dr. Rishi Karna who is a great character. Dr. Karna is
the medical doctor of the team. His specialty is cognitive research and
brain science. Heís like this really smart, quirky, funny student of the
human brain. He is involved with the patients medically each week, sort
of looking at all the possible physical causes for the symptoms. Heís
also the rookie of the group. Heís sort of like the young brother to
Kelliís older sister. Nick is kind of like the new fiancť and Richard is
kind of like the Dad. How about that?
K. Giddish Mm-hm.
S. Daily Terrific. Iíve seen the pilot. Congratulations, itís fantastic.
I hope to talk to you guys again sometime in the future.
K. Giddish All right.
D. Hudgins Thanks so much.
S. Daily Thank you.
K. Giddish Thank you.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Brandon Henslee with
Brandonís Buzz. Please go ahead.
B. Henslee Hi, Kelli. Hi, David.
K. Giddish Hi, Brandon.
D. Hudgins Hi there.
B. Henslee Listen, Kelli, Suzanne mentioned All My Children earlier and
I as well was a huge fan of your work on that show.
K. Giddish Oh, great.
B. Henslee We always hear of actors calling soaps a great training
ground for future work in prime time and film and having now landed this
huge prime time vehicle. Iím wondering if you feel that way and what
lessons you did learn on All My Children that youíre carrying with you
on this experience.
K. Giddish Yes. You know, you think on your feet. When youíre on a soap
you get one page, you better damn well know your character.
B. Henslee You bet ya.
K. Giddish You better know what she would do in every situation because
itís a very, very fast paced business. You do 90 pages a day in a soap.
The most we ever did was like 6 3/8, you know. Itís insane. Itís such a
small world, the soaps. Itís all contained in this little studio. Itís
so nice. One thing thatís so different, you get to explode and you get
to see the directorís vision of a particular scene and what heís trying
to do with it with the camera work. In the soap itís a proscenium so it
was so nice to move out of that small box of a studio and actually get
to incorporate everybodyís ideas and really collaborate on whatís
happening in the scene between the cameramen, even the focus puller.
Itís a whole other machine.
B. Henslee David, I have kind of the same question for you. I am a huge
fan of a show that you helped produce and write called Friday Night
Lights. My understanding is that that show is filmed and put together in
a way that is radically different from almost any other television
series. Iím wondering what lessons you learned working on that show that
youíre carrying with you on Past Life now?
D. Hudgins Letís see. Youíre correct. Friday Night Lights is shot very
differently from a lot of traditional network television shows. I
learned a lot from that experience. Number one is trust your actors and
your directors. Surround yourself with good people and just sort of have
faith in the process. We were able to do that here with Dean White who
is our producing director and Deran Sarafian, he directed the pilot and
sort of set up this great template for us. What we ended up with is in
the body of the show the past life episodes, itís traditional camera set
ups and lighting for the most part. Then these regressions are much more
similar to Friday Night Lights; they were very run and gun, often
unrehearsed, often a lot of improv and we found a lot of those scenes in
the cutting room. What I love about the way Friday Night Lights works
and is shot, is itís a very organic set. That sounds like a nerdy
technical term. Basically what that means is you get there on the day to
shoot the scene and you sort of find it with the actors. You donít sit
there and say this has to be recited word for word as it is in the
script. You let everybody find the scene, you collaborate, you take
suggestions. You just go for it. I found that a lot of times you get
great stuff. Theyíre smart people. People have good ideas, especially
people who know the characters. That was my takeaway from Friday Night
Lights and I try to apply that because I really think it works.
B. Henslee Fantastic. Well, David, you said that Fox seems very solidly
behind you guys and they have a verifiable history of taking concepts
like this that are kind of out there and making them huge hits, The
X-Files and Fringe and even 24 and House were revolutionary in their own
way, do you feel lucky that this is the network that youíve landed on?
D. Hudgins I do. I do. I felt that way when we originally sold the
pitch. There were other networks interested, it just felt like a good
fit at Fox, and theyíve been behind us the whole way. Weíre excited and
I think the fact that weíre getting this preview after Idol next week
B. Henslee Absolutely. Well, I tell you what, Iíll be watching Tuesday
night. I canít wait to see it.
K. Giddish Oh, good.
D. Hudgins Thanks so much.
K. Giddish Thanks.
B. Henslee Thank you guys.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question comes from Meg Mimura with
Lighthouse. Please go ahead.
M. Mimura Hi, David and Kelli.
K. Giddish Hi.
D. Hudgins Hi.
M. Mimura I met you both at the TC and Press Ö
D. Hudgins I remember Meg, you came up to the dais after the panel,
M. Mimura Yes, I gave you a story, right?
D. Hudgins Yes, how are you?
M. Mimura Iím doing great. Iím so looking forward to the premier. I
watched both of the episodes and one question that came to my mind that
both of them deal with sisters. Do you realize that?
D. Hudgins Yes.
M. Mimura The pilot and the Dead Man Walking.
D. Hudgins Correct.
M. Mimura Because of that it touched me more than anything else because
I have one sister that I adore and weíre like Ė I think sheís my soul
mate. Do you have any concept of soul mate in this series?
D. Hudgins Absolutely. We do an entire episode about that. Itís the
episode called Soul Music. I believe itís the third episode to air, so
it will air a week from next Thursday. Itís an episode about that exact
concept, about a girl and a guy who are soul mates and who keep finding
each other in lifetime after lifetime. I can tell you when we got in the
room, Meg, with the writers, that was one of the first ideas that came
up and it came up over and over again. This idea of do we have a soul
mate out there and if so, how do we know who it is and can you find each
other across lifetimes? That was something I responded to personally.
Itís funny now that you mention that I didnít really Ė it hadnít dawned
on me that both of those episodes involve sisters. I have three sisters,
Iím the only boy. Maybe thatís where that came from, I donít know. It
just so happens that those two episodes are about sisters, theyíre not
all about sisters.
K. Giddish One of them happens in the past life and one of them is the
M. Mimura Right.
D. Hudgins Thatís true.
M. Mimura Right, right. One more question for both of you, I totally Ė
Iím a total believer in this so you donít have to convince me of
anything. You just gave us such hope and I was so taken by this series.
I was wondering if you ever thought about Ė I know each life has some
lesson youíre supposed to learn and I know what mine is but have you
ever thought about in this life, current life?
K. Giddish Well, you know what, as an actor, itís almost an exact
parallel, really. I mean every project youíre involved in and that any
character that youíre invested in - you learn a message from that
experience. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but itís true. Itís kind
of funny the parallel that I drew from that. You kind of learn something
and you get to apply it to the next thing.
D. Hudgins You know itís funny, Meg, I obviously have been talking to a
lot of people the last couple of weeks getting ready for the show doing
press and publicity and several people have asked me similar questions
or asked about if there is a spiritual aspect to the show. I used to be
a lawyer and I quit the practice of law to start writing and one of the
reasons that I did that was I had an older sister who was too sick, who
had breast cancer and it just got me to this moment of really looking at
my life and saying what do I really want to do? What is really going to
make me happy?
Do I want to be 65 years old looking back and regretting not ever having
taken the chance or the risk? I think that informed the writing of this
pilot for sure, and probably the series. I canít say exactly how, but
there is just this feeling I have of life is short and when you see
somebody you love get sick and die it really hammers that point home. I
wanted it to be about hope, I wanted it to be about there is good out
there so I know thatís not a very articulate response.
K. Giddish Any question that comes from the heart, I think deserves
M. Mimura Well said.
K. Giddish Yes, but I think we all know that to be true.
M. Mimura Mm-hm. Well, I have to tell you this series is very healing
and I just love it, so best of luck with the rest of the season --
K. Giddish Well, thanks.
D. Hudgins Thanks so much, Meg.
M. Mimura -- and Iíll talk to you later.
K. Giddish All right.
D. Hudgins Okay.
M. Mimura Thank you very much.
K. Giddish Bye-bye.
Moderator Thank you.
K. Giddish There is a hummingbird outside.
E. Johansmeier We have time for one more question.
Moderator We have a follow up from Suzanne Lanoue with The TV MegaSite.
S. Lanoue Thank you. I was wondering, you mentioned going back to
filming and I was wondering how many episodes do you have filmed and how
long, if you have any idea, how many episodes will happen and what Fox
is looking for in terms of whether they give you the green light to make
D. Hudgins Sure. We filmed a pilot, plus six, so we have seven episodes
in the can that will be broadcast starting Tuesday night. Again, I think
Tuesday night is the launch and the regular time period is Thursdays
Obviously, you know, once the episodes go on the air Fox and the studio
and us, will all look at the ratings and hopefully there is an audience.
If there is an audience for the show Fox has said that we will get a
second season order and weíre ready to go.
K. Giddish And go back to our studio down in Atlanta. Iím all ready for
D. Hudgins Weíre ready to get right back to work.
S. Lanoue Thatís great to hear. Well, good luck with it and I know Iíll
be watching and Iíll tell everybody I know to watch.
K. Giddish Thanks, Suzanne.
D. Hudgins Thank you so much.
E. Johansmeier Thanks everybody, so much for joining our call today. We
really appreciate it. As I mentioned before, weíre recording the call
for playback and we also will have transcripts available so weíll be
sure to send those out to you as soon as they are ready. Thank you so
D. Hudgins Thank you.
K. Giddish Thank you guys.
Moderator Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
KELLI GIDDISH (Dr. Kate McGinn on PAST LIFE)
Born and raised in Cumming, GA, Kelli Giddish began acting at an early
age and was a staple in her high school's theater department. Giddish
was also an athlete and member of her high-school's championship
softball team. After high school, she attended the University of
Evansville in Indiana, where she was an Irene Ryan Acting Award finalist
selected to perform at the Kennedy Center. She graduated with a degree
in performing arts.
Giddish moved to New York after graduation and made her debut in
"Shoes." She appeared opposite the late Farrah Fawcett in "Bobbi Boland"
and in her one-woman show "Dropsy." In 2005, she made her television
debut on "All My Children." She also starred in the online series "The
Burg" and made a guest appearance on "Law & Order: SVU." Recently,
Giddish has appeared on "Life on Mars," "Without a Trace" and "Law &
Order: Criminal Intent." She has also had a recurring role on "Damages."
In 2007, Giddish played a lead in David Connolly's independent feature
"The Understudy." She also appeared in the feature film "Death in Love"
opposite Josh Lucas and Jaqueline Bissett.
Giddish divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.
DAVID HUDGINS (Creator/Executive Producer, PAST LIFE)
A graduate of Duke University, David Hudgins began his career in the
U.S. Senate as a staff assistant to Sen. Albert Gore Jr. He then earned
his law degree from Southern Methodist University, and spent eight years
working as a trial and appellate lawyer in Texas.
In 2001, after the sale of his feature screenplay "Scottsboro" to LeVar
Burton's Eagle Nation Films, Hudgins quit law to pursue screenwriting
Two years later, Hudgins took a job as a staff writer on "Everwood." He
spent three seasons writing for the production, eventually rising to
co-producer. He moved to "Friday Night Lights," where he served for
three seasons as a writer and co-executive producer. For his work on the
show, Hudgins received three Writers Guild Award nominations.
Originally from Dallas, Hudgins resides in Pacific Palisades, CA, with
his wife Meghan, sons Jackson, Brooks, Reid and Owen, as well as the
family's two golden retrievers, Lucy and Rudy.
Preview Event: Tuesday, February 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT)
Series Premiere: Thursday, February 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT)
Have you ever experienced d=E9j=E0 vu or met someone you thought seemed
familiar? Do you believe in karma, fate or love at first sight? Have you
ever had an out-of-body experience?
From writer David Hudgins ("Friday Night Lights"), and inspired by the
book "The Reincarnationist" by M.J. Rose, comes PAST LIFE, a new drama
series about an unlikely pair of detectives who investigate the world of
DR. KATE MCGINN (Kelli Giddish) is not your typical psychologist.
Confident, outspoken and highly educated, she works at The Talmadge
Center for Behavioral Health in New York City, a world-renowned
institute dedicated to the study of the science of the soul. After
experiencing a past-life regression in her 20s, Kate became a believer
in reincarnation. Using therapy and her natural gift for reading people,
Kate helps solve the mysteries of her troubled clients by investigating
their consciousness. She believes there are levels of consciousness and
explanations for human behavior that science can't begin to explain.
Accustomed to skeptics, but not bothered by them, Kate is an
unapologetic believer and a force of nature who marches to the beat of
her own drum.
Her partner, PRICE WHATLEY (Nicholas Bishop), is a different story. A
former NYPD homicide detective, pragmatic and cynical, Price is a
damaged soul who constantly battles grief and guilt over the accidental
death of his wife. Price feels that Kate, though not certifiable,
certainly operates on the fringes of science. It's a volatile
relationship, but with Price's solid detective skills and Kate's
penchant for out-of-the-box thinking, together they make a formidable,
albeit somewhat dysfunctional, team.
A fast-paced emotional thrill ride, each episode finds Price
and Kate working with their colleagues to unravel a new mystery and
solve the mysteries of consciousness. DR. MALACHI TALMADGE (Richard
Schiff) is Kate's mentor and the center's namesake, an avuncular but
gruff elder statesman who is a legend in the field of cognitive
research. DR. RISHI KARNA (Ravi Patel) is the rookie of the group, a
baby-faced therapist from Calcutta who loves bad American TV, Cuban jazz
and driving everyone crazy.
Produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Warner Bros.
Television, PAST LIFE is executive-produced by David Hudgins and Lou
Pitt. Hudgins also serves as writer. Deran Serafian directed the pilot.
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