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Dean Devlin Q&A Interview: ALMOST PARADISE Season 2, THE OUTPOST + LEVERAGE Reboot

Michael Giordano - July 7, 2020

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The first season of ALMOST PARADISE wrapped up earlier last month on WGN, and despite WGN transitioning to an all-news format, the potential for a Season 2 is there. There's a chance we see Christian Kane and company back at it again next year. We spoke with Dean Devlin about that possibility, as well as details about other projects he has in the works.

(Check out our first interview with Dean here.)

 


 


Q&A with Dean Devlin

Christian Kane as Alex Walker in ALMOST PARADISE.

Question: Being that the show is set in the Philippines, what has the local reaction been like?


Dean Devlin: Actually, we haven't aired yet there. The network in the Philippines, ABS-CBN, was shut down for some time by the government. But once they came back online, they requested earlier air rights for ALMOST PARADISE. After granting them, we can expect ALMOST PARADISE to air in the Philippines in June or July of 2020.


Cast of ALMOST PARADISE (L to R): Arthur Acuna as Ernesto, Samantha Richelle as Kai, and Nonie Buencamino as Ike

Question: Do you feel there have been breakout roles by some of the Filipino cast?


Dean Devlin: Here's the thing about our cast: the Filipino talent is big in the Philippines. They're stars there but otherwise unknown around the world. We know we've got great talents there. The Filipino cast is big in the Phillipines but unknown around the world. Hopefully ALMOST PARADISE will show the world the talent there.


Dean Devlin (L) and Christian Kane (R)

Question: I've noticed Christian does a lot of accents on the show; is that his influence on the story?


Dean Devlin: (laughs) Christian actually hates doing accents. But it's my influence, really. I've worked with Christian a lot and we usually have dialect coaches around for accent work. Not so in the Philippines. Christian's been left to his own devices for these accents and he will certainly be happy to get to work with a dialect coach again.


Christian Kane as Alex (L) and Samantha Richelle as Kai (R) in ALMOST PARADISE.

Question: Okay, let's talk about Season 2: What can we expect? Romance with Kai and Alex? Ernesto background? Ocampo getting too big for his britches?


Dean Devlin: I'll start and say Season 2 is not officially confirmed yet but I can tell you about story things we are thinking about moving forward with. Things between Alex and Kai are strictly non-sexual. Alex's reason for going to the island is to heal. He was betrayed by his former partner at the DEA, his relationship with his wife and daughter was fraught, so he escaped to the island to get away from it all. In the Season 1 finale, we see the progress Alex has made - both with his new friends and by gaining closure from his betrayer (while at the same time starting to repair his relationship with his daughter). Alex doesn't need to reconnect with the DEA or get more involved with the local police; he's accomplishing what he set out to do.

Dean Devlin (continued): That being said, you can expect a lot more in Season 2. The big police bureau in Manila, mentioned a lot particularly by Ocampo, will become a presence in Season 2. And you'll see Ocampo's ambition go up. He has ambition but he is a seeker of justice. Ocampo wants to do good but he has a delicate ego. He's not a villain; he's just complicated. But you can rest assured if things aren't going his way he's going to put pressure on his officers. Alex's reason for going to the island is to heal. In the finale, we see that he's made progress, both with the friends he's made and healing from the betrayal of his old partner. Alex doesn't need the DEA.

Ernesto will be tested in Season 2. I've said he's the soul of the group and we've shown that he's a guy who doesn't want to fight but will fight if he absolutely has to - that's when the glasses come off. But we're going to learn more about Ernesto's martial arts training and his background. We'll go to a deeper place with him that will generate more conflict with his principles.

We'll also see more of our already established side characters. As I said before about Filipino actors showing their talent, there are characters we wanted to expand because of their actors' performances. Like Cory (Ces Quesada) and Rita (Sophia Reola)A - they've made quite an impact in front of the camera with the main cast so we feel they're deserving of more story in the second season.


Question: When will you know more about Season 2 getting picked up?


Dean Devlin: We should know more about Season 2 by October. If we get a second season, we would probably start shooting again sometime in February 2021.


Christian Kane as Alex (M) and Samantha Richelle as Kai (R) in ALMOST PARADISE.

Question: Will there be a concerted effort to tackle the themes brought out by the now global protests against police brutality and racism?


Dean Devlin: I think a message like that is very important but you don't need to change the tone or story to get the message across. I remember watching Star Trek as a kid, thinking about all the weird planets and aliens they saw and problems they got into. It wasn't until later that I realized those stories were allegories for civil rights and the Vietnam War and violence.

If you look at Rwanda, it was illegal to teach about the Genocide. So Rwandan teachers taught about the Holocaust. They were able to impart their messages and teachings about genocide without specifically mentioning the one in Rwanda.

Dean Devlin (continued): I don't expect ALMOST PARADISE to get explicit about such themes because those messages are already latent within the show's stories. This is a show about brown people. As a Filipino, I've had my ethnicity questioned a lot around the world. Generally, people think I'm latino and Filipinos get their share of racist comments at home, too. At the end of the day, or episode, you're rooting for the struggling brown family or business owner to pull through, or for Alex and company to protect them from greater harm. And if you're not brown and find yourself rooting for the brown person, it makes you relate that to real life. We're humans, we're all one race.


Cast of THE OUTPOST (L to R): Jessica Green as Talon, Imogen Waterhouse as Gwynn, and Jake Stormoen as Garret

Question: How has COVID-19 affected your filming schedule?


Dean Devlin: Actually, ALMOST PARADISE was on its last night of filming for Season 1 when the alerts came that airports would be grounding flights. Literally, season wrap night and instead of a big party everyone's racing back to their hotel to get packed and get to the last flights out of there. Some of our crew were stuck in the Philippines. They had to stay in the dressing rooms for three months.

But we're coming back with aggressive safety measures and guidelines for filming. Another show of mine, THE OUTPOST, was set to premiere its third season this summer. Thankfully, we're just now resuming filming in Serbia - with these guidelines in place (masks, consistent temperature taking, sanitation, etc) and we'll be able to premiere THE OUTPOST Season 3 this Fall. My production company, Electric Entertainment, is starting to reopen offices with the same aggressive guidelines in place. We're ready to get back to business but our first goal is safety. Humans are adaptable. This is a new thing now but we'll become used to these new procedures and you'll see the industry humming along in no time.


Cast of LEVERAGE (L to R): Beth Riesgraf, Aldis Hodge, Christian Kane, and Gina Bellman

Question: LEVERAGE was a popular show with a big fan base so it must have generated a lot of excitement to announce the reboot. Will the cast be the same? Do you have a filming schedule or a premiere date set?


Dean Devlin: We haven't finalized anything regarding LEVERAGE 2.0. But Christian is excited to be involved again, that's for sure.


NOTE: According to Deadline, the LEVERAGE reboot will feature most of the original cast - minus Timothy Hutton. The new series will premiere on IMDb TV (under Amazon Studios), date TBD.


Episodes of ALMOST PARADISE to Watch

Episode 3 ("Reef Eel Soup for the Soul") offers a good look into the local community through both Alex's and Ernesto's eyes. Episode 5 ("Unbecalming") is a great bottle episode where the Sebu police force is trapped in their building during a typhoon and Alex is their best chance for surviving. Episode 6 ("Rise of the Kalangay") is a great look into Kai's backstory and motivations for becoming a police officer (and also features the aforementioned Raymond Bagatsing). The final two episodes of the season are worth watching as the character development that's been building piecemeal really comes to fruition in the season's finale.