Collider: For people who aren’t familiar with what you do, can you talk about your duties are on the show?
JENNIFER JOHNSON: We’re the showrunners, so what we do is everything.
DANIEL PYNE: We work with the writing staff to generate stories for each episode, we cast, we cut, we edit, we spot music. We basically are responsible for the final product, along with our other executive producers, Jack Bender in Vancouver, and J.J. [Abrams] and Bryan Burk at Bad Robot. But, we’re the day-to-day people. Basically, we’re the arbiters of the storytelling, in whatever form it comes, whether it’s through the music, the visuals or the words. That’s what we do, with the help of a staff of writers, great editors, great directors and great actors. It’s like being the conductor of an orchestra.
JOHNSON: The one thing that we are solely responsible for, that is our most important job, is generating the scripts and making sure that we have good scripts ready to film in Vancouver, every eight or nine days.
What was it about Alcatraz that initially hooked you in and made you want to get involved with this particular story for what could be a long period of time?
JOHNSON: For me, it was the science fiction elements and the magical element of these criminals who are coming back, because I didn’t understand them at first. It was impossible to understand what it would be like to be transporting from 1963 to 2012. So, I was intrigued by the criminals and where they had been, and what they might want to do here, in the present-day. Certainly, the mystery of the island and Alcatraz prison intrigued me, with the way it’s situated on an island in the middle of the bay and how isolated it is. There was a feeling that anything could have happened there, and I wanted to know more. It’s a very magical place. It feels like a secret clubhouse that you want to go visit and understand and explore.
What can you say to tease where the show is headed for the remainder of this season, and how many questions you’ll be answering?
PYNE: We’re trying to arc out the first 13, so that by the end of them, people will have answers to many questions rather than just continuing to wind out the same questions, over and over. By the end of 13, we hope that people will see what’s behind the secret door, they’ll understand what is being put into the blood and maybe the reason why, and a little bit more of the architecture of what’s happening present-day with these guys who are coming back. Clearly in the past, they were in prison and that was their life. But, now that they’re coming back, there’s a sense that there’s a master plan afoot, and we’re going to try to answer some of that question.
JOHNSON: Rebecca (Sarah Jones) will finally face off with Tommy Madsen (David Hoflin), her grandfather who killed her partner.
How do you guys keep everything straight between the inmates, the guards and the doctors, and connections between past and present? Do you have a giant room where you can keep trying of all of the connections between everyone and everything?
PYNE: We have many white boards with scrawling on them, like a mad scientist’s laboratory. It keeps shifting and things disappear. It’s tough. It’s actually a huge challenge.
For the full interview, visit: http://collider.com/jennifer-johnson-daniel-pyne-alcatraz-season-2-interview/146806/