Although I won’t be posting my review of the two-hour premiere of TNT‘s upcoming series The Librarians until closer to the December 7 air date, I have seen it and here’s a sneak peek of the review: I loved it. You don’t need to have seen TNT‘s three Librarian movies to understand what’s going on, but you can get a taste with the latest trailer. The beginning is the same as previous trailers for the series, but after that comes an introduction of each of the characters:
Trailer: The Librarians – Welcome to the Library
If you haven’t yet seen the three (highly recommended) Librarian movies (2004’s The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, 2006’s The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines, and 2008’s The Librarian III: The Curse of the Judas Chalice),TNT has made them all available on tntdrama.com. If you’d prefer to gather round the TV set to watch, all three movies will air on December 7, leading up to The Librarians premiere at 8/7c.
Earlier this week, star Rebecca Romijn, who plays Col. Eve Baird (aka The Guardian) in the series, spoke with media outlets about the show and her role. SciFi Mafia happily got the first question in, and asked her how she got involved in the series:
Rebecca Romijn: You know, the script came to me and I initially was really attracted to it because of the genre. I grew up loving Indiana Jones. And I had not seen the [Librarian] movies. So when I watched the movies, I fell even more in love with it because of the comic tone, which I didn’t quite understand just on the page. And when you ask Noah Wyle if it’s like an Indiana Jones action adventure, he says it’s Indiana Jones if Indiana Jones was played by Don Knotts, which I love. So I love this very specific tone that we’re going for.
If you’re not familiar with Don Knotts, let’s just say that it’s the type of humor that’s gentle, with a few sight gags, but not moronic. Honestly, it’s a breath of fresh air.
Romijn went on to talk about the cast:
The whole show came together very, very quickly and I knew some of the people in the cast, not everybody. And it was a love fest. We had such a good time making it. We shot in Portland from April until August. And, you know, when you spend 90 hours a week with a group of people, you become like family. We had such a fun time up there.
And that fun clearly comes across in the first two episodes. It was a great press conference, with lots of great questions and answers, so here’s the full session. Minor spoilers are marked with a warning, but there isn’t anything there that you won’t see in “next on” ads or on-screen synopses. Enjoy!
Q. For people who have not seen the upcoming episodes, what does Eve think of [Noah Wyle‘s character, The Librarian, star of the TNT movies] Flynn Carsen? What is her impression of him?
Rebecca Romijn: First of all I should say that if you have not seen the movies, you’re not going to be lost starting with our series. I feel like we’ve done enough exposition and enough back-story where people will know exactly what’s happening from the very beginning of our hour series.
I don’t think Eve Baird takes him seriously. I think Eve Baird who’s a counter terrorism expert and comes from this very buttoned up rigid military background. Everything for Eve Baird is very black and white.
And Flynn Carsen is every color in between black and white. And she doesn’t understand that. But once once he shows her that magic exists in the world, I think she becomes very intrigued with him.
Q. How much pressure did you feel coming into this group knowing you’re sort of the new leader of the pack?
Rebecca Romijn: Well, because Eve Baird comes from this military background and, like I said, everything for her is black and white and she doesn’t believe in magic, it didn’t feel like that much pressure at all because she’s the skeptic of the group. And she doesn’t believe any of it.
And because she’s the skeptic of the group, she sort of gets to be the voice of the audience. And that’s really fun to play. She’s sort of the straight man. She demands the explanations on behalf of the audience.
So she’s an investigator. And she’s an expert in counter terrorism. But she’s an investigator, and she approaches these missions and finding these hidden magical artifacts, as she would approach any mission in the military or not in the military. So she’s just doing her job.
Q. Now you were saying that you were spending all this time together filming up here in Portland. How did you all sort of bond as a team? And did you have a chance to see any of Portland beyond the soundstage and the location?
Rebecca Romijn: We did. Eventually I did. I mean I have kids who were still in Los Angeles for the first two months finishing up their school year. So I was going back and forth every weekend to see my kids. And then once they were finished with school, they came up there and joined me up there.
And my husband [Jerry O’Connell] was doing a play in New York at the time. So when he was finished with his play, we all had a fantastic summer in Portland once we were all together. We did 4th of July out on the coast and did the whole nine yards. It was fantastic.
I’m from Northern California so there’s a lot of Portland that feels very familiar to me. The whole restaurant scene there is fantastic. And it’s such a great place for families. We put our kids in summer camps. We had a great summer in Portland.
Q. What do you love most about the series?
Rebecca Romijn: You know, I guess the genre of it but combined with the comedy. We’re not a comic book. We’re not a group of comic book characters. We’re not super heroes. There’s nothing dark or bleak about what we’re doing.
There are so many fantastic shows on cable now. They’re so smart and they have these amazing comic book characters and they’re dark and they’re actually the kinds of shows that I love watching.
But this hits a different tone that doesn’t really exist. And actually we’re premiering on the tenth anniversary of the first Librarian movie airing on cable. We have this Sunday night 8:00 pm time slot, which traditionally was the Wide World of Disney time slot. And as a child of the ’80s, I grew up watching that. That was appointment television for me on Sunday nights.
So I’d like to think that we’re sort of filling in the spirit of the Wide World of Disney Sunday night at 8:00 pm; that we’re sort of in the same spirit of that type of entertainment. And I’d like to think that we’re a great family show.
Q. I love the legends and the Doc Savage atmosphere of [the series]. Just wondering if you could hand out some of the legends that are going to be in the upcoming episodes?
Rebecca Romijn: Oh man. Without spoiling anything, all of our episodes are standalone episodes where we have a different mission in every episode and we have to find a different magical artifact in every episode. Flynn Carsen bops in and out of our season – [Noah Wyle is] only in a handful of our episodes because he has another show with TNT called Falling Skies.
[Minor spoilers ahead]
He is sort of off taking care of a much larger mission. We have a big finale at the end of the season where everything comes together and we have to use all of the artifacts that we found throughout the season to accomplish this one huge final mission.
And I – again, I don’t want to – I mean, you know, I’ve got several favorite magical artifacts but because we use them all together at the end, it’s not like I have a favorite one because one – it’s like we have to use them all together.
We have the minotaurs. The labyrinth was a favorite one of mine. We get stuck in a labyrinth with a minotaur in one of our episodes. One of my favorite episodes is a fairy tale episode where fairy tales are coming to life in the small town and hurting people and killing people. And we slowly start turning into fairy tale characters. That was another favorite episode of mine.
We have a Christmas episode which is my personal favorite episode. It’s the episode where my character’s back-story gets explained. And it’s sort of a Midnight Run episode where my character has to take Santa Claus – we have to drive Santa Claus back up to the North Pole and she doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and she’s not happy about it.
Q. My question is just about your approach for the character for Eve Baird. Can you tell us something perhaps you might have made up about that character; something that helps with the approach even though it might not even be in the script?
Rebecca Romijn: Oh, let’s see. Something I made up. Well, you know, the Christmas episode is where my character’s back-story got played and I’m trying to think of something I made up. Because they didn’t tell me my character’s back-story [before then]. And there are some very specific things that they told me not to make any decisions about because the script hadn’t been written yet.
But I did – it’s funny. I did come up with something. In my head Eve Baird had spent her entire life on military bases. I’ll put that out there. And I made that up for myself. And that did come into play later on.
SciFi Mafia: You of course worked with sci-fi/fantasy in the past. What is probably your favorite and least favorite aspect of about working in the genre?
Rebecca Romijn: You know, I would say that my least favorite thing is trying to, you know, because in sci-fi when you’re working with special effects, usually the effects come in post production and so you have to ask the producers and the director exactly what it is that you’re looking at so that you know exactly how to react to it.
And so you’re usually reacting to something that’s completely imaginary and something you’re reading the description on the page and you don’t necessarily know, well, how big is the flame? Is it like a fireball? How close is it to me? Is it up in the sky or is it like right in front of my face? Is it huge? Is it little? How powerful is it?
So my least favorite thing, which is not knowing exactly what I’m looking at, usually ends up being my favorite thing when you see the final product and I get to watch it just like the audience does and see it all come together and see the final effects all in place.
If you’ve been given the right amount of direction, it usually works out in the end, shockingly. But yes, I would say that my least favorite thing is also my favorite thing in the end.
Q. I just wanted to ask you, since this is like such a sci-fi and action based series overall, what was the experience like performing the stunts and those action sequences overall?
Rebecca Romijn: Well, I love shooting action. And especially when you’re working long hours in hour-long television and you’re memorizing ten pages of dialogue a day. It’s nice to put down the script and just run down the street for a few hours and shoot an action sequence. It sort of breaks up your day.
I had just come off of another TNT series called King & Maxwell last year where I played a secret service agent. And I had to do a lot of martial arts training and weapons training for that. So luckily I got to roll all that training into this character.
I just love shooting action sequences. Learning fight choreography is – it’s not new but it’s something that my brain is still getting used to. I’m really good at dialogue memorization. Learning fight choreography is kind of like learning a complicated dance. My brain is still getting used to it. But it’s really fun once you nail it.
Q. What is it like to play the straight person on this comedic adventure show?
Rebecca Romijn: I think it’s actually sometimes the most fun to play the straight man. I think playing the straight man is kind of the funniest character, personally.
You know, I love getting to be the skeptic of the group. I love getting to be the voice of the audience because it’s ridiculous. I mean every single episode, the missions that are thrown our way are absolutely ridiculous.
And I love being the character. It’s like, what? Fairy tales are coming to life and killing people? What is going – I love being the straight man. It’s so fun. And it’s fun to be the voice of the audience.
Q. Why you think your character was added to the series? Because your character was not in the original films.
Rebecca Romijn: No. I think the tough female protector of The Librarian has been a character in all three of the movies and now in the series. So I think, you know, a different version of this character has existed throughout the franchise. But yes, this is the first time that Colonel Eve Baird is introduced to the world of The Librarian.
And, you know, it’s a fun time in television and movies for female characters who kick butt. And I’ve been honored to have gotten to play some of them. So it’s a fun type of character to play. And I love [executive producer] John Rogers for including Eve Baird in The Librarians.
Q. What can you say about the challenges your character is going to face this season?
Rebecca Romijn: Wow. I don’t want to – I guess the biggest challenges would be spoilers if I talked about them. I don’t think that Eve Baird believes that she is equipped for the things that she has to come up against.
She’s an investigator and a counter terrorism expert. So she approaches each mission as she would approach any investigative job. So this is her job and she just does it according to how she’s been trained. But because we’re dealing with paranormal and things that are, you know, in other dimensions, her brain can’t even process the fact that she’s equipped to deal with the things that she’s put up against.
And as the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s what happens to Eve Baird in this season.
Q. Because, as you’ve been saying, the plot lines are pretty fantastic and sort of outrageous, I was just wondering what the mood was like on set. Was it as lighthearted as sort of what we see on the show? Did people sort of crack up at some of these things?
Rebecca Romijn: Yes. Yes. I mean it’s – the crew up there shot five seasons of Leverage and they’re a pretty tight knit group. You know, some of our cast worked on that show. Christian Kane worked on Leverage so he was pretty tight with them. And they already have a pretty strong family dynamic.
And, again, when you spend 90 hours a week together, it’s not just with the cast but with the whole crew, you become this very sort of dysfunctional/functional family. And it’s a real fun group.
And Portland is a real fun city. And not everybody in the crew is from Portland. Some of them are. Some of them are transplants. And getting together on the weekends and going to restaurants, it was really fun, a really great group.
Q. The character Cassandra [played by Lindy Booth] has has photogenic memory and synesthesia. I was just as confused as your character was about that.
Rebecca Romijn: Right.
Q. But I’m about to talk to Lindy Booth here in a bit and I was wondering, what is the most unique and interesting thing that you can say about Lindy?
Rebecca Romijn: About Lindy or about Cassandra?
Q. About Lindy.
Rebecca Romijn: Oh my God. What is the most interesting and unique thing I can say about Lindy, my sister. My God, I just – we – it’s so funny when you work on a project and there’s somebody in the cast that you bond with so much. I mean she and I text each other five times a day.
We see each other for dinner all the time. We went away for 4th of July weekend when we were in Oregon, her with her husband and me with my family. We all went out to the coast together. I mean we spent so much time together.
She is just absolutely adorable and absolutely hilarious. And she’s – gosh, there’s nothing unique about that description. She’s – God, how do I – what’s something unique I can offer you about Lindy . . .
That the two of us helped get Cat Shirt Thursday into full swing on set. That was something that was not started by us. It was started by two of our crewmembers. But Lindy and I took Cat Shirt Thursday to a whole new level. That’s fairly unique. That was one of the things that we bonded over.
Q. Is there a scene or a moment form the pilot that was your favorite that maybe you can tell us a little bit about?
Rebecca Romijn: Scene or a moment from the pilot. You know, for me personally, I guess from a storytelling standpoint, there are two pep talks that happen. And they come back to back. One is when Jenkins [Bob Newhart] has to give me a pep talk because I’ve lost hope. And then Eve Baird has to go give Flynn Carson a pep talk.
I would say that from a storytelling and from an acting standpoint, those are my two favorite parts of the story; finding the drive. You know, finding the drive in ourselves and in each other.
Q. Just asking another one about Eve Baird in particular. Since she’s a Colonel, will Eve ever call back to some of her NATO resources in the first season and maybe bring up some of that full swing military prowess?
Rebecca Romijn: You know, I would say that the way she approaches every single mission has to do with her NATO training. So I think she approaches everything as she always had in the military. And I would say that she’s all about clearing a room. She’s all about making sure everybody’s safe.
I would say that she always follows military protocol except for that she’s in this very, very, very gray world where magic exists. And so she doesn’t necessarily always know how to balance out her military prowess with magic. But she doesn’t know anything else except for approaching everything from her military background.
SciFi Mafia: We meet one particularly bad group in the first two hours, The Serpent Brotherhood. Do we see mostly them as your adversaries throughout the season or do you have others that show up?
Rebecca Romijn: We do have others that show up. The Serpent Brotherhood do show up when we least expect them. But they’re not in every episode, because as [executive producer] Dean Devlin put it, if the villains keep showing up in every episode, that makes us not very good heroes [laughing].
So the Serpent Brotherhood will disappear for a while and then when we least expect it, they’ll rear their ugly heads again. But, you know, getting to work with Matt Frewer [he plays the head of the Serpent Brotherhood] was unbelievable.
And I’m a kid of the ’80s so I grew up watching not only Matt Frewer as Max Headroom but John Larroquette as Dan Fielding [Night Court]. It was such an honor to get to play opposite those guys. And we don’t see them in every episode but, yes, they’re in a handful of episodes.
Thanks so much to Rebecca Romijn for taking the time to talk with us. I am really looking forward to December!
The Librarians, starring Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane, Lindy Booth, John Kim, John Larroquette, and Noah Wyle, airs its two-hour series premiere on December 7 at 8/7c on TNT.