EXCLUSIVE Charlie Jade interview: Charlie Jade himself

It's not long now before UK readers can get their hands on a free DVD of the first episode of Charlie Jade (issue 162 is on sale tomorrow), so in the second of our exclusive Charlie Jade interviews, we catch up with Jeffrey Pierce, the man who plays Charlie Jade...

SFX: How did you go about creating the character?
Jeffrey Pierce: “I think when we went into it we wanted to create an anti-hero and lead with that. We didn’t want to make some knight in shining armour. The thing that attracted me to it was that it would be someone who had a lot of different colours and who fought as much against the bad within him as the good, and hopefully the good would come out on top. We didn’t want to make something that was a cardboard cut-out of this heroic leading man coming in to save the day. He’s a guy with a lot of self-interest and selfishness which he combats and that’s his personal journey, where he tries not just to fight the evil outside, but to fight the evil inside of him.”

SFX: How long did it take you to get your head around the concepts in the show?
JP: “I arrived in South Africa after a 23 hour plane flight the day before I started shooting, so I didn’t have much time to think about where the hell I was, because I was in a different universe to what I had ever experienced personally, so I just kind of went with the flow and trusted Bob [Wertheimer, the show's co-creator and executive producer]. He and I had a really strong creative relationship in terms of understanding what the other one was thinking and it made it very, very comfortable.”

SFX: Were you into science fiction before Charlie Jade?
JP: “I think everybody for my generation grew up on Star Wars. Like most kids of the late ‘70s I got my first dose of philosophy from the Star Wars saga and was intrigued and compelled by that as a kid in a pretty profound way, and my mother brought me up on star Trek re-runs. My own personal taste for it goes along the lines of Blade Runner, Children of Men – I think that those are two incredibly powerful science fiction neo-noirs. That’s another thing that Bob really wanted to do - make it have the feel of a noir.

SFX: Did you pay much attention to previous science fiction?
JP: “I think actually there was a conscious decision to honour Blade Runner by Bob. I think that’s one of his all time favourites. The idea was to honour it, but also to just build upon it. It’s not an attempt to rip it off by any stretch of the imagination, but to say this is the root of modern science fiction noir and we are going to build upon it.”

SFX: Did working on a non-US production mean you had more freedom?
JP: “Absolutely, we had ultimate freedom because we weren’t attached to a network at all aside from the one in Canada, and the Canadian network was very supportive of the creative side of it. I think if he’d had a network and a studio presiding over everything we had to do, it would have been much more difficult to make decisions on the fly. Bob and I had a lot of meetings the night before shooting in which the script would change drastically, which is something that you couldn’t necessarily do without a lot of power at a network. But it was something that gave us incredible freedom, and made it a lot of fun to experiment.”

SFX: What did you think of Cape Town as a place to shoot?
JP: “It was incredible. Africa is a place where everyone has the biggest hearts and the sweetest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. It was an incredible experience and difficult to leave when I left, and still when I think about South Africa it just gives me chills because it was a really incredible personal experience beyond shooting a TV show.”

SFX: Did you know when you were doing the last episode that it would be your last trip to the Charlie Jade universe?
JP: “There are a lot of things left open in the season finale, but the principal journey of season one is resolved. I know I wanted to come back for another season. I knew I wanted to get some sleep in between the two things, but there was no certainty either way, because they still had six or seven months of special effects to do, so we really didn’t know what the final product was supposed to look like until a good six months later. It was just kind of running the last leg of a marathon at the end, so there wasn’t a lot of thought put towards that.”

You can read more about Charlie Jade in SFX 162, on sale Wednesday 26 September (find out more about the issue here ). You can also read an exclusive interview with Michael Filipowich, who plays bad guy 01 Boxer, by clicking here . Look out for another exclusive Charlie Jade interview on the SFX website tomorrow.