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Interview with Tim Kring and Carol Barbee of
"Touch" on FOX 2/6/13
FBC PUBLICITY: The Touch Conference Call
February 6, 2013/10:00 a.m. PST
Moderator Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by
and welcome to today’s Touch Conference Call. At this time,
all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will
conduct a question and answer session. I’ll remind you of
instructions at that time. As a reminder, today’s conference
is being recorded for replay and information on accessing
that replay will be given at the end of today’s conference.
With that, I’d like to turn the conference over to our host
today, Mr. Josh Governale.
Josh Thank you, Dave. Good morning and afternoon, everyone;
thank you for joining us on the Touch Conference Call with
executive producers and show runners Tim Kring and Carol
Barbee. As a reminder, this Friday night marks the Season 2
premiere with a special 2-hour installment starting at 8/7
Central on Fox. Without further delay let’s proceed with our
first question, and please welcome Tim Kring and Carol
Moderator Our first question will come from the line of Kyle
Nolan with Noreruns.net.
Kyle In the second season we have a new setting, a lot of
new characters, and a new story. Could you talk a bit about
this sort of reinventing of the series for the second
Tim Yes. We start the season off very much where we left off
the season at the end of Season 1 so that if you watched the
season finale we will pick directly up from that and
continue the story that we were telling at the end of the
season. Again, if you were a loyal viewer of the show you
will have noticed that the show started off in a kind of
standalone nature where every episode had a beginning and
middle and an end and things were sort of tied up.
By the end of the season we had introduced a more serialized
engine to the show, and we ended the season with Kiefer
Sutherland’s character taking his son and running, basically
on the run, and coming all the way to California in search
of this mysterious girl names Amelia. We sort of introduced
the idea of this mystery girl early in the season, in Season
1, and by the end of the season we are in Los Angeles on the
journey to finding her, and that connects us up with Maria
Bello’s character who is Amelia’s mother. That’s where we
pick up the season.
In many ways everything changes from the first season to the
second season in that we took the entire storyline and took
it from New York City to Los Angeles, and that entire world
and all the characters that were in that world are starting
pretty much fresh in the second season.
Kyle So is the show going to remain heavily serialized that
we get in these first two episodes or are you also going to
be bringing back some of like the feel-good reunion love
connection type of intertwined story that you used to have
in the first season?
Carol Hi. It’s a combination of both. I’d say this year the
stories—there are three main stories that are all serialized
in their own way, and they’re all barreling towards one
another so that there comes a point where they all
intersect, and that’s where the major thrust of the action
is. We have a character who is one of the special people
like Jake but he’s bent on tracking them down and doing harm
to them so we’re watching that happen and seeing who he is
able to get to and who he’s not, and obviously he’s coming
for Jake. And then we have the character—
Tim That character is played by Said and I don’t really know
how to pronounce that.
Carol Taghmaoui. We’re having a very hard time with that.
Carol He’s fantastic. He gives such a drive to this season.
We have another character who is played by Lukas Haas, a
name that’s easy for me to say, and he plays Calvin Norburg
who is a genius who has been doing the work and trying on an
analog level to achieve the kinds of results with numbers
and patterns that Jake is able to do naturally. We have him
also on Jake’s trail.
Anyway, these three stories sort of barrel towards one
another. There are still those connections that happen
around the world. Some of them are much darker this year
because of the story with Said, but it’s much more of a
page-turner. It is serialized. Every episode does feed in to
Tim I think what happened at the end of last season or
towards the end of last season, by introducing this
nefarious villain in this corporation Aster Corp that we
introduced, and by raising the threat to Jake and to people
like Jake it really dictated that was the direction we were
going to go in in the second season. Once the mistakes had
been raised it was very hard to sort of back off of that,
and it dictated a much more serialized storytelling that
we’re doing in this season.
Kyle Really enjoyed the premiere and can’t wait to see more.
Carol Great. Thank you.
Moderator Next we will go to the line of Joshua Maloni with
Joshua So these changes that you guys just both described
personally I thought it was taking the show in a really good
direction, and I really enjoyed the finale and sort of the
lead up to that moment. But I’m wondering was that change
sort of planned or was it sort of in reaction to something?
Tim Well, again, if you paid attention to the show last year
we did start as a sort of standalone show because, frankly,
we wanted to make sure that we got viewers when new viewers
were sampling it at the beginning of the season. We wanted
to make sure that people weren’t thrown off of the show
because they didn’t know what was going on. But we started
introducing the idea of a serialization really early on. In
the very first episode after the pilot we introduced that
there was a mysterious person in this room in the
board-and-care facility, and we slowly started to leak out
who that was, and by Episode 6 when Danny Glover’s character
was killed we knew that he died in a way that was mysterious
and it was attached to this corporation Aster Corp that he
seemed very afraid of.
I think it was a very subtle burn, a kind of slow fuse that
built to the last three or so episodes, and by that time the
show had morphed in to much more of a serialized show, and
then picking up where that left off we kind of picked that
up in a full blown way. It was designed but a bit subtle for
the audience I think.
Joshua All right. And I want to ask you too about Kiefer
because I really enjoy him in this series. I think he’s the
kind of actor that I would watch on anything, but coming off
of 24 do you guys feel any sort of added pressure to sort of
put him in more action packed type situations?
Tim Well, I don’t know that it’s pressure. I think it’s an
advantage to have somebody who has that in his wheelhouse
and this character was always designed to be an every man
who was put in extraordinary circumstances and forced to
become much more of an action kind a guy than Jack Bauer
ever was. In other words, Jack Bauer his backstory was much
less of an ordinary guy; he was sort of built to be that
guy. This guy was not built to be that guy. He was a
reporter and a family man but he’s thrown in to these
extraordinary circumstances, and I think it’s really just
using some of the skill sets that come along with somebody
Joshua All right. Thanks, Tim; appreciate it.
Moderator We will hear next from the line of Saula Benavente
Saula Saula from Argentina, and I would like to ask you
about the production design, about the difference between
this season and the first one. Thank you.
Carol Production design, so the—
Tim Well, you know the show is going to look a little
different just because we are shooting it for Los Angeles.
In the first season we actually shot everything in Los
Angeles no matter where we were, if we were in Africa or
Japan or wherever. We were actually within 30 miles of our
offices here, and that became something that was actually
very difficult to do because we’re in sunny Southern
California but we could never say that we were in sunny
California. By moving the storyline to Los Angeles it made
it much easier for us, production wise, to actually point
the camera in any direction and say that we were here as
opposed to some other part of the world.
But the production design on this how has always been very
challenging in a really good way because we depict so many
different places, and we work with this incredibly talented
team. One of the things that we try to do is move as quickly
as possible so we designed the shooting style that allowed
us to use a lot of natural light and a lot of natural
locations. In other words, if we have a scene that’s set in
a bicycle store then we go to a bicycle store and we shoot
there rather than making one ourselves and having to pay for
all that. That’s sort of the style that we adopted and we
took that to kind of new levels this year by really
designing a shooting style that allowed us to move very
Saula Thank you.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Simon Applebaum
with Tomorrow Will be Televised.
Simon From the get-go Tim and Carol you’ve explained that
the whole center of the show is how people connect with each
other. How people touch and inspire each other; that was
show in all the … as well as the main stories. Why do you
think that people think that’s going to get lost in the
second season, that that’s all going to be downplayed and
the whole focus of the show is going to get lost?
Carol I would say that while the season starts off with
Martin on a mission and there’s danger involved last year it
wasn’t dangerous. He was being sent on these missions by his
son that helped people find each other and helped things
happen, but it wasn’t necessarily dangerous. By the end of
the last season it was dangerous and he had to go on the
run. We got that ball rolling downhill. He’s on the run and
it’s dangerous; people are after them, but then those
connections do start to happen again so that part of the
series does not get lost. It definitely comes back in to it,
and also within those stories that are barreling towards
each other even with the danger there will be those touches
that happen around the world. I think that the audience will
be satisfied because they’ll actually have both.
Simon Carol, are you there?
Simon Okay. Say what you said again. I think everyone lost
Tim Where’d you lose it?
Carol Yeah. Did I say anything? Did you hear anything?
Simon No not for like five or six seconds. Not as bad as CBS
with the Super Bowl Sunday ….
Carol What was I saying?
Tim Simon, can you go ahead and say what the last thing you
heard was just so Carol can pick up—?
Simon You were saying that the connections that ended the
story, the … for example, where you had different people
from around the world, how they were connecting to each
other and how it all came back to the main story; how that
is not going to get lost despite the fact that you’re taking
the show in this direction of the main story.
Tim Well, listen, the truth is there will be less of that
idea of sort of disconnected people who somehow connect up
at the very end of the episode. Because of the nature of the
very high stakes that are driving the main story it’s
sometimes very hard to jump off of that train and on to a
story that doesn’t have a lot of stakes to it. I think once
we start down this hill I think people are going to be
pretty hooked on the idea of finding Amelia and what it all
means and who is behind all of this. My feeling has always
been that we can always—while there are still parts of that
in this season we can always come back to that, and I think
once the danger is lifted then we see sort of glimpses of
how we’re going to come back to those kinds of stories.
Simon Okay. Great. Thanks, Tim. Thanks, Carol.
Moderator We’ll hear next from the line of Monique Jones
Monique My first question is you were speaking earlier about
some of the challenges of filming in Los Angeles during the
first season. What were some of the challenges for the
making of this season?
Tim Well, you know the show is—because we cram a lot of
story in to one episode it’s always challenging to make a
show. Every show has its own challenges, but I have to admit
this year was much less challenging by being here. One of
the challenges that you have is the kids in the show, both
David and Saxon (who plays Amelia) are both under 16 years
old, and so because of that we’re limited by how much time
we can actually film with them, and they have to be in
school for a certain number of hours during the filming.
Whenever you have children playing a major role you always
have the challenge of dealing with that.
But we try to put as much production value on the screen as
possible so there are always location issues. Los Angeles is
sometimes difficult location wise because people have gotten
used to the fees that are paid to park trucks and all of
that kind of stuff. That’s why you see a lot of production
leaving Los Angeles because it’s expensive to film here. We
have the same challenges that everybody else does.
Monique And how do you think fans will react to the new more
serious storyline this year?
Carol I think the audience is going to be thrilled. I think
it’s a real page turner. It’s sort of a thrill ride this
year, and you’re watching Kiefer Sutherland, who people love
to watch on a mission. You’re watching him on a mission and
he’s got a great storyline. I think people are going to
really hook in and really enjoy it and take the ride.
Tim I can’t really stress enough that the loyal viewer of
last season I think will find this very seamless because
there has just been such a natural progression on this
story, and especially towards the end of last season. All of
those things were rewarded; you were rewarded for your loyal
viewing. All those sort of hidden Easter eggs start to show
up about Aster Corp and about the 36 chosen ones and all of
that mythology gets flushed out in a really big way in the
second season. You’re very much rewarded for having been
there from the very beginning.
Monique Great. Thanks so much.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Rita Sherrow with
Rita I was wondering how big of a difference and how true to
life … that all of a sudden Jake can now speak? How is that
going to play out and does that raise Martin’s expectations
that his son is finally coming back to him or is on the road
to come back to him, so to speak?
Tim Well, we’re reserving—early on we’re preserving the idea
that he doesn’t speak. Nobody sees that in the first part of
this season, and so when that happens and if it happens
we’re still not talking about right now. But there certainly
is a new kind of form of communication, and I think the last
minute of the season finale of last season really points to
so much. Not only are you introduced to this brand new very
big character (Maria Bello’s character) but Jake actually
takes his father’s hand for the first time and touches him
so the idea of touch actually becomes this very big move
forward in their relationship.
In the second season we’re going to play with that idea of
their ability to communicate with each other a lot, and so I
think people who felt maybe frustrated that there was little
communication are going to feel a lot less frustrated by the
ways in which Jake communicates to his father without
speaking are going to really increase this season.
Carol I think we’re also playing with an evolution in Jake
and in people like Jake so it’s also rooted in the mythology
of the show as to what is happening and how quickly it’s
happening or how slowly it’s happening. But they’re sort of
raising something in each other and we’ll see that develop
as we go along.
Rita If I can just ask one more thing; did you feel like
that was necessary not so much to move the story along so
that we could do this for seven years but that people wanted
a payoff? They wanted Martin to get something that he’s
worked so hard out of this relationship with his son?
Tim Well, you know the truth is when we talk about the
audience like people want that we very much internally are
sort of like the audience. I mean the writer’s room and all
of us who are making the show often have the same kind of
arch with the show that the audience does. Just when we
start to feel like we’ve gone too far in this direction or
too little in that direction I think it mirrors where the
Listen, 13 hours of story is a lot of story, and when we all
grow up watching movies 13 hours is a long time and so you
do have to move things forward or else it starts to feel
like there’s sort of a stall going on. I think people want
things to move forward but they don’t want things to change
too much at the same time so there’s always a balance with
that. We’ve found a very subtle way for them to start
communicating with one another in kind of new ways, and it
really liberated us, and I think it actually liberated the
actors a little bit in playing those parts.
Rita Thank you so much.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Tara Bennett with
Tara Obviously there’s the underlying kind of sci-fi feel
just in terms of the … of exactly what is going on with the
connections and such. Have you guys decided to kind of
downplay that aspect of it so it’s much more grounded this
season or will there still be kind of elements that will
make people that are maybe looking to the more sci-fi be
able to still question whether or not these powers and these
connections are something that might be unexplainable in
Tim I think that part of it actually sort of gets heightened
a little bit this year, and I don’t know that I would call
it sci-fi as much as kind of mystical or—yeah sort of it may
be supernatural more than sci-fi yes, but I think it gets
heightened a little bit this year when we dig in to the
mythology of who Jake is. Why he is the way he is and why
are there others out there? It’s not much of a spoiler to
say that we do introduce this idea of this new character
Amelia, played by Saxon…
Tim Yeah. She comes in to the show fairly early on in the
season and is someone who possesses the same sort of
abilities that Jake has, and so we dig a little deeper in to
it this year, and we don’t shy away from it.
Carol And then the mythology of the numbers and what they
all mean Jake has started those numbers from the first
episode from the pilot and they continue. You will
understand this season what they mean and what their power
is so I think that also feeds in to the supernatural sci-fi
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Jonathan Hatsell
with Sci-Fi Now.
Jonathan I was wondering if you could talk a bit about this
… mix that Maria Bello brings to the show and how that
affects the relationship between Martin and Jake, how those
three kind of come together.
Carol We had a lot of fun with the Lucy character, which was
Maria Bello’s character, because she is a mother bear on a
mission to find her daughter. That’s all she cares about,
and she gets involved with Martin and Jake because they are
also looking for her daughter, but along the way where they
agendas collide she’s going to do her thing. All she cares
about is finding her daughter so she and Martin come in to a
lot of conflict along the way.
What I love and I think what the writers—what we all really
enjoyed writing was her relationship with Jake because Jake
hasn’t had a mother his entire life. His mother died when he
was 9-months-old so he now has this sort of de facto mom in
the house, and she’s not your Regular mom. She’s got a great
way with him. She’s not precious with him and yet she’s very
loving and accepting of him, and he really bonds to her.
It brings a great element in there and it gives Martin
somebody to talk to and to share things with. She’s somebody
who is three years ahead of Martin on the trail of Aster
Corp and these numbers and everything else so she knows
things that Martin doesn’t know. It’s a great relationship
with him but it’s fun to see them build this little family
Tim And as we say they’re sort of part of the smallest
private club in the world because they share this
unique—these children with unique abilities. But yeah this
idea that both of them have their own agendas for finding
Amelia and that’s going to come in to conflict in the sort
of Sophie’s choice of it all of what do you do when your own
child’s wellbeing is at stake. Which side do you choose?
That’s where we’re moving with that storyline.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Reg Seeton with
Reg Since Martin and Jake are on the run this season how
important was it to tap in to some of the intensities that
Kiefer was known for on 24? Was that a consideration for you
Carol Absolutely. He’s great at it and I think audiences
enjoy watching him trying to save the world and so yeah
absolutely. It plays to his strengths and it also is what
was required for the story that we’ve started.
Tim Yeah. You know that really started in earnest in the
last two hours of the season last year when he realizes that
somebody is after his son, and he goes to these
extraordinary lengths. In the season finale he goes and buys
a gun from a pawn shop and goes in to the board-and-care
facility where his son is prepared to use this gun to take
his son and flee across the country with him. Again, it’s
that every man aspect of what would you or I do in that
situation and not Jack Bauer that makes it kind of
When Martin first gets the gun in the season finale from the
pawn shop he has to feel the weight of the gun in his hand
because he doesn’t really—he’s not used to holding a gun,
and that one moment I think really said a lot. It sort of
told people instantly that this isn’t Jake Bauer doing this;
this is a much more dangerous situation because he’s a bit
ill prepared. So Kiefer’s able to tap in to the action stuff
that he played for so long on 24 but he’s able to do it
through the lens of somebody who is not trained in that.
That tension I think is the part that’s fun to watch in
Martin Bohm and not Jack Bauer.
Moderator Next we’ll hear from the line of Sheldon Wiebe
Sheldon Tim, when you were doing Heroes in the second season
you had a case where you expanded the world and some fans
kind of fell away because they didn’t see the development of
the new characters as a good thing but rather as taking away
character … from their favorites. I’m just wondering if with
the second season of Touch with the cast and the world
expanding as it has is there anything you’re doing different
with this in terms of devoting specific things to characters
to keep the original fans from first season involved and
Tim Well, I think because we have a much narrower world and
a much narrower cast in Touch than we did in Heroes it
becomes easier to distill it down to it’s really just the
two main characters that carry on from the first season.
It’s just the father and son, and so in many ways it wasn’t
nearly as difficult to move.
With Heroes you’re moving a cast of ten or eleven people
forward and if those characters don’t change then the
audience gets very upset because nothing is happening, and
if they do change then the audience gets very upset because
they’re changing too much. You’re in kind of a strange bind
in those situations. This I think was much easier because
there were only two characters, and we knew who they were,
and we knew a lot about them, and their dynamic does not
change between them. It’s only the circumstances that they
find themselves in. I don’t think it was nearly as
Moderator We’ll go next to the line of Kristi Chain with TV
Krista I just had a question, can you tell us anything about
any guest stars that will be on this season and if there
were any guest stars that you would want to try to work with
in the future?
Tim Well, let’s see how far we can go forward here.
Carol We’re thrilled with the performance Lukas Haas gives;
it’s such a beautiful performance and it’s complicated and
scary and odd so very happy with him. Said was fantastic.
Going forward we—
Carol Francis Fisher—
Tim —joins the cast towards the end of the season about
Episode 8 on.
Carol Right. So she’s significant in the cast.
Tim D.B. Sweeney comes on board.
Carol Leland Orser is a wonderful actor and he joins as
well. I’m trying to think who else.
Tim Bodhi Elfman.
Carol Oh, Bodhi Elfman yeah he comes back as Avram.
Tim He comes back as Avram and so that character comes back.
I don’t know that’s about it.
Carol While we expended the world we did and we have
multiple story lines, they all are serialized, and they all
work all season long, and they’re all acting upon the Jake
Martin story so it feels a lot more focused even though we
have a bigger cast this year. They’re with us the whole Time
for the most part, and we were really, really thrilled with
the cast we had this year.
Moderator Our final question will come from the line of
Lakeshia Artis with Fanhattan.
Lakeshia I have one quick question. Tim, you are the creator
and Carol you are the executive producer. What is the best
part about bringing these characters to life and sharing
them with everybody?
Carol That’s a good question.
Tim Yeah, really good question. You know what’s really
interesting—I mean I could go off in to a very big tangent
here but I’ll go on a little one—is just the nature of
making a show is very interesting in that the actors and the
characters sort of meet you half-way. It’s a very organic
process and things that you set out to do often times change
because you start to see the possibilities that actors bring
to things. That process is I think the most exciting part
about making a series is that you can’t really dictate your
will on it very much because it ends up being what it wants
For instance, you’ll get two characters together and decide
that they’re going to have a lot of chemistry or that
they’re going to hate one another. Then you get those actors
together on the set and you realize it doesn’t look like
they hate one another or they have no chemistry with one
another, and so you end up having to change in midstream all
these ideas that you had for the story. It’s I think what
makes a show really exciting to watch is when an audience
can inherently feel that there’s an organic process to the
show. That it wasn’t just all laid out in a bible and that
it actually has a kind of energy to it, and for me that’s
the most exciting part about making a show. It’s just
watching it change and having to be nimble enough to change
Carol And I would say, to add to that, it’s been an amazing
experience making this show. One of the things I love the
most about writing this show is the variety of things you
get to write about and the variety of stories you get to
write about. Last season we had one main story with Martin
and Jake, but there would be four or five sort of short
stories taking place around the world, and we would just
drop in to these people’s lives and pick up a little four,
five, six beat story that then would connect them to other
people around the world. As a writer that is just such a
gift to be able to do that.
This season we were still able to do that but we got to
follow some of those characters through the whole season,
and they were all very sort of diametrically opposed to each
other so you felt like you were really writing a wide
spectrum. It’s a great show to be able to write.
Moderator Thank you. That concludes our question and answer
session, ladies and gentlemen, and the conference today as
well. That concludes your conference today. We
appreciate your participation and for using AT&T Executive
Teleconference. You may now disconnect.
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