ALPHAS Comic-Con 2011 Panel

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The Alphas panel at Comic-Con 2011 featured writer and executive producer, Ira Steven Behr, co-creator and executive producer, Zak Penn and actor, David Strathairn who plays Dr. Lee Rosen on the show.

Highlights from the panel:

– When asked about the casting choices, Behr and Penn both agreed that the goal in casting for Alphas was to ultimately get a group of people in who would be comfortable improvising around a script when necessary so that some dialogue would appear more natural. Every person that was cast has turned into the expert of their character.

– Strathairn said that when he originally read the script for Alphas, it didn’t read like science fiction to him and he was originally attracted to the character and the way the story was being told. He’s worked to make the character a bit more eccentric than average so that Rosen’s enthusiastic commitment to the Alphas would be more believable.

– Behr and Penn both emphasized that they were trying to keep the world of Alphas rooted in reality. The Alphas concept was inspired by actual recruitment of individuals with psychic abilities for military purposes and they take a lot of influence from the work of Oliver Sacks. If there is no basis in neuro-anatomy, it won’t make it on the show. When the show was pitched to the network, they showed clips of real people doing incredible things similar to what they had in mind for the Alphas. They do voluminous amounts of research on the scientific backgrounds and consult with doctors on a weekly basis to get opinions on what would be potential limits of the Alpha abilities if they were to exist in reality. Zak even tried to get in touch with Oliver Sacks for his input. The concept of the show is not about superheros fighting super villains, they all have to live within the parameters of their reality, ie. Gary has to be home by 9:30 every night, etc.

– In future episodes look forward to guest stars, including: Lindsay Wagner, Summer Glau and Brent Spiner.

– The characters, their stories and their relationships are developed as the show progresses and as the writers see how the actors relate to one another. The actors interactions often affect the writers and the stories they intend to write.

– Expect to learn more about the conspiracy and mythology behind the Alphas. More things will happen with Red Flag this season and there will be expanding conspiracies and bigger stories. The idea of who is a “hero” and who is a “villain” will not necessarily be clear.

– Michael and Zak worked on the Alphas concept for 3 years. They eventually wanted input from a variety of professionals who were familiar with the television world. There is no finite plan for where the story will go although there are certain ideas that they would like to see happen if the show continues on for a few seasons.

– Ryan came up with Gary’s physical language for his abilities. He created hand gestures that mean specific actions. Per Strathairn, Ryan is not playing a condition, he’s very consciously playing a person.

– There is an Alpha child coming up.

– Characters are sometimes developed first, but just as often, characters are developed because they want to showcase a specific ability. Characters are only limited by their basis in reality.

You can find more photos from the panel below.

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