Whoosh! Issue 26 - November 1998

AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIC GRUENDEMANN
Exclusive to Whoosh!
By Bret Rudnick
Copyright © 1998 held by author
12006 words



Author's Note:

I first met Eric Gruendemann live and in person when I was in New Zealand in May 1998. He was getting out of his car and on the way to the office at a horrendously early hour. This, however, I'm told, is typical of the man who is one of the most important in the Xenaverse/Hercaverse.

Eric Gruendemann spends long hours on the job making sure things work out for three different shows (Xena, Hercules, and Young Hercules) as well as the odd film. Some of the Renaissance production staff have affectionately nicknamed him "Dr. No" since "No" is often a response heard to a request for extra footage, a more expansive set, more time, or more money.

I must stress, though, that every single person I talked to who works for him or with him spoke of Gruendemann only in the most positive terms. Indeed, after chatting with him via trans-pacific telephone cable in September, he is not only a very talented and creative person, but also someone who cares very deeply about what he produces and about those who help him do so.

As an American in New Zealand, Eric Gruendemann has to deal with culture shock, foreign business practices, and the Southern Hemisphere in general while still keeping a hand in what goes on Stateside. All this and much more we touched upon in the following conversation.



THE GUY (01-06)
BACKGROUND (07-09)
RAIMI/TAPERT LOVE AFFAIR (10-13)
SCORING THE NEW ZEALAND SITE (14-22)
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PRODUCER (23-36 )
A QUICK STATUS CHECK (37-40 )
SUBTEXT IN XWP (41-45)
4TH SEASON HERCULES (46-48)
5TH AND 6TH SEASONS HERCULES (49-55)
HANDLING THE STRESS (56-58)
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS (59-64)
YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES (65-69)
MORE HIGHLIGHTS (70-71)
ON THE HORIZON (72-86)
BIOGRAPHY



AN INTERVIEW WITH ERIC GRUENDEMANN



Who wouldn't want to be the meat in *this* sandwich?


It shouldn't be too hard to figure out which one is Eric.



THE GUY

BRET RUDNICK:
[01] Hi, Mr. Gruendemann.

ERIC GRUENDEMANN:
[02] Hello Bret, good to talk to you again.

RUDNICK:
[03] I am sure you are very busy. I appreciate you taking the time to chat for a few minutes.

GRUENDEMANN:
[04] My pleasure.

RUDNICK:
[05] I have been wanting to do an interview with you for some time. You are really the guy down there more responsible than anyone else to make sure we have shows to watch.

GRUENDEMANN:
[06] I guess you could call me the guy. There are certainly lots of other people down here who work with me and for me, though. But I'm the guy the studio calls when we're over budget or over schedule or when they're generally annoyed at what they see. [both laugh]


BACKGROUND

RUDNICK:
[07] What was your background? How did you get started or entangled in all this?

GRUENDEMANN:
[08] I came to the wonderful world of film and television during college. When I was in High School I had a love of film that came about when I was 16 or 17 years old. When I went to USC in Southern California I decided I wanted to be in film but I also wanted to study business. I got a degree in Business Administration with a minor in Film from USC. While I was still there I went to work for Paramount in their Internal Audit department and I worked on films like Beverly Hills Cop (Martin Brest, 1984) and Top Gun (Tony Scott, 1986). I as a very small cog in a very large machine at that point.

[09] Where I worked my job was to safeguard the studio's money and to make sure that the producers and others were spending where they should be spending, that they were not spending illegally, running over budget, and so forth. We were watchdogs for the studio and that got me interested in production accounting, at which point I took off and became a production accountant mostly on feature films. I did a small TV show for George Romero called Tales From The Darkside (TV, 1984) as an accountant. From there I worked my way up from low-budget TV movies to medium-range feature films.

RAIMI/TAPERT LOVE AFFAIR

[10] I first worked with Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi on a film called Darkman (Sam Raimi, 1990) where I was the production accountant. My ten-year love affair with those two guys is continuing now, though in between, I worked on some more films such as Torch Song Trilogy (Paul Bogart, 1988) and Mom And Dad Save The World (Greg Beeman, 1992).

[11] Then I came back to work for Rob and Sam on Army Of Darkness (Sam Raimi, 1993) and was the production manager on that. I worked on that for a h*ll of a long time, some 17 or 18 months. At that point you really get to know people well. I also did a film called Iron Will (Charles Haid, 1994) and I had been producing other videos as well.

[12] When this job came up in 1993 I had just finished Iron Will and Rob called me and said "We have these four tele-movies based on Hercules that Universal wants us to do. We think you're good for it and we'd like you to produce them. Go anywhere in the world you want to make these as long as you bring them in on budget." They were very excited about doing something different with the genre of Hercules and that's what attracted me to the Project.

[13] When I first heard the word "Hercules" I went "Oh, come on." But they came up with a good concept and we decided to make it lush and exotic, not use someone who has had too many steroids. We ended up with what you've seen. We looked at Canada, we looked at Australia --


SCORING THE NEW ZEALAND SITE

RUDNICK:
[14] As legend has it, I heard you were watching a morning chat show and they were doing a story on New Zealand and that got you interested in that area.

GRUENDEMANN:
[15] Yes, Good Morning America (TV, 1975-) was doing a two week session in Australia and New Zealand. I had always wanted to come to New Zealand and Australia because I knew they were beautiful places and they had production centres. Certainly Australia's better known for production. But nobody could really give me any details about them. So I thought "Great, in the process of learning about these places I can get a free trip to New Zealand. This is fantastic." But I had to prove to Rob and the studio before that we could do it financially.

[16] New Zealand didn't have a Film Commission then. In fact, they just got one about a year ago. I had to call at odd hours of the day to track down people who knew what they were doing. I talked to some people who turned me on to other people who turned me on to Chloe Smith, ultimately. She is the New Zealand producer now. I got some numbers that seemed to make sense. Once the numbers work you have to actually find out if you can do what you want to do in the location. Is there infrastructure to support you, that kind of thing. Obviously we're an art department and costume intensive show because we're a completely manufactured world.

[17] I came down here, fell in love with the country and the people, then went to work flying back to Los Angeles to try and convince everybody to make it in New Zealand. Once I showed them the pictures and showed them the numbers, they said "It seems to be the place to go, let's do it." The rest is history, really.

RUDNICK:
[18] I have to say, from what I've seen down there it's absolutely fabulous.

GRUENDEMANN:
[19] It is. It's a lovely place. It's not only beautiful but the Kiwi work ethic and Kiwi mentality have contributed enormously to the shows. In looking back I consider myself very lucky and smart -- more lucky than smart -- in terms of choosing it. It was just the right place at the right time and it's only gotten better since we've been here.

There were no naked Gabrielles seen the day this pic was snapped.


Another toughie for Eric is the occasional visit to the set on location, such as this spectacular beach where the chariot race in CALLISTO was filmed, Hercules washed ashore here several times, and it's been the site of many other memorable events.


RUDNICK:
[20] I've seen US crews at work and I've seen Kiwi crews at work and the Kiwi crews do twice the work with half the people. They're also very dedicated and very skilled.

GRUENDEMANN:
[21] They are. Certainly the dedication is there. One of the things that attracted me to the system is I've done many films in the States with American crews that were great. There's a very different mentality in all of them. I'm not saying that any one country's crews are particularly lazy. I've worked with wonderful crews in the States too. One of the things that struck me about the Kiwi crews is that it's much more of a team effort down here. They've had to be much more resourceful in general than we do often times in the States. In the States you'd have twenty or thirty people to do a job and here you have to do it with five because here they've never had the same resources or manpower or technical infrastructure to do it. I still remember one of the first things that struck me when I came here. The head of makeup will drive the makeup bus to the set. There's a great teamwork ethic here. It certainly exists in the States, but it's a part of the culture here. I was drawn to that.

[22] I was also lucky because when I first came down here it was winter. A lot of people had just finished making a film called The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) or were just finishing a film called Once Were Warriors (Lee Tamahori, 1994), both excellent films. It was dead, and I got my pick of the best people. I've been able to keep many of them on ever since. It's really been a Cinderella story to a certain degree.


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PRODUCER

RUDNICK:
[23] Now that you've been there for awhile and now that there's an established infrastructure for what has to be done, do you have anything like a "normal" day? What's a typical day for you?

GRUENDEMANN:
[24] As it has grown in the last five years, things are a little more "normal". When I first had one show I had my hands in everything. Now that it's three shows, I take much more of an "umbrella" approach. I delegate many more duties down the pipeline.

[25] Chloe Smith is the New Zealand producer and Keith MacKenzie is the production controller. They do a lot of the stuff I used to do, and they do it much better than I used to do it. [both laugh] I also have a two year old son that I didn't have when I first started here, so that's another part of my life that's become much more interesting.

[26] A typical day for me: I'm normally up at 4:30, and that's when I make a lot of my calls to the States because we're five hours different here at least seven months out of the year. It's a good time for me to get people in the States, Rob [Tapert] and other studio personnel particularly. Bernie Joyce is our coordinating producer and head of post production and I'll talk to her then. There are special effects people and other people in the writing offices to talk to both on Hercules and Xena. I do probably an hour to an hour and a half of phone calls normally before my son gets up and we have breakfast. I hang out with him for a little while then come to the office and then it goes crazy. [both laugh]

[27] I'd say in general I'm what they'd call the CEO in the States, or the Managing Director in New Zealand for Pacific Renaissance. There's a certain amount of bureaucratic activity that needs doing, political business, dealing with outside accountants and other firms and things like that, but that's a fairly small part of my day. The rest of it is basically making sure there's a creative eye thrown over everything and that there's a certain homogeneity to everything.

[28] I work very closely with the directors here to make sure they're on the right path. We have different directors for almost every episode, and although we want to get people back who we like, there are still a number of different directors to deal with. I work very closely with my costume designer, my production designer, my casting director, and location manager. We have set meetings once a week or whenever there's a need. They work out the problem and show me what they come up with and if it looks good we move on. I try to go to each set at least three times a week, at least the main unit sets.

[29] We have a main unit on Herc and Xena that shoots with all the actors, then we have a second unit and a second unit director that I deal with on a fairly regular basis to make sure that the stunts are working properly and we're not falling behind. In the old days I used to do a lot of this myself, along with Chloe and Keith, but now I have five coordinators and two production managers. They know what I want, so they run it and they do a great job and I don't have to worry about it.

[30] That's a general day. I also work with the actors quite a bit. If they have problems with lines they'll call me and if I feel it's necessary to call the writers I will. If the director says "This really isn't working" they'll call me from set or in prep. But primarily my focus is on episodes that are prepping and about to be "launched". Once we launch it the assistant directors and the rest of the team takes over and runs with it. Some days get quite busy and some are just like anybody else's. [laughs]

RUDNICK:
[31] It sounds to me like you have a choice between "hectic" and "more hectic".

GRUENDEMANN:
[32] There certainly aren't too many days where I can kick back and just watch television, that's for sure. I always have a mountain of work on my desk. It's just a matter of prioritising and coordinating what I do. I used to watch every single frame of dailies closely, now I often fast-forward through the second or third take. But I still make sure the main unit is following the script as they should be and I do a lot of coordination with the writers and everyone back in Los Angeles to make sure the machine is chugging along. We always try to exceed the expectations of Rob Tapert and the writers and the studio. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we don't. [laughs]

RUDNICK:
[33] Oh, I'd say from my point of view you definitely succeed most of the time.

GRUENDEMANN:
[34] Thank you.

RUDNICK:
[35] Without getting too far ahead of myself I can't emphasise enough the quality, the detail, the beauty and the artistry that go into these shows. Everybody, from the costume people to the makeup people, set direction, set design, lighting, all of that is just fabulous.

GRUENDEMANN:
[36] What we set out to do a long time ago was to make a very special show and take a different point of view on things than was normally done. Being down here has given me a little more financial freedom to try new things and experiment. Just the fact that we have a second unit that shoots as many days as the main unit allows us to fill out the shows much better. We've invented a lot of philosophies on our own here that work for us. As in everything else, it may not work for other shows, but because of our structure and the kind of show we're making, it really helps.

Start of the cut scene where Xena lets Seraphim die to the relief of everyone.


On the set of SACRIFICE, setting markers and preparing to shoot a scene. The camera is at far left, the interviewer (with shield) is on the far right. Seraphin and Werfner are in the centre.



A QUICK STATUS CHECK

RUDNICK:
[37] As the seasons have gone by on Herc and Xena, I was interested to hear what you think about the different directions they've gone, the progress that's been made. How do you feel about that? You certainly haven't taken any steps backward. Both shows have changed and grown with storylines, characters, and so forth.

GRUENDEMANN:
[38] I felt that with Hercules things might have been stagnating a bit. It was our fourth season of the one-hours last year and everyone talks about the fourth season as being the "hump season" where everybody goes crazy. When you get to the fourth season it's just not as fresh as it was before. The honeymoon period is over. You feel you have to do different things in story and visually keep it interesting. While we did try to do that last season we had the problem of not having Kevin Sorbo in several episodes because of his illness. We really sort of floundered around to a certain degree, some of it being normal fourth season, some of it other things. I think we were able to cobble together a pretty reasonable season. But I'm really excited about this [fifth] season of Hercules. I've never been more excited. We're taking different directions, some very gutsy directions that some people may not love at first glance but I think that we're breaking ground in the way these kinds of shows are portrayed.

[39] Xena has always been a groundbreaking show and it's been a great experience working with Rob on both shows, working with Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] who head the writing staff on Hercules and R.J. Stewart who heads the writing staff on Xena. R.J. is a dream to work with, he's extremely creative and approachable and I have a great admiration for him. He and I are sounding boards for each other. He'll call me and say "Something's not exactly right with this and how do we make it better?" I'll call him back and say "I've got two options, I can either go with what you've scripted here but I'm not going to be able to achieve it the way you want to see it, so can we do this differently?" He's just marvelous because not only does he have a great staff working for him but he keeps a wonderful eye on the quality of the show. He and Rob Tapert are never afraid to go where no show has gone before. That's the excitement of doing things that aren't on every channel all the time. That's what makes it interesting for me.

[40] Talking about breaking new ground, it was really fun to conceive a show where two women are going through life together and don't have to rely on men. Two women can be friendly without being catty. They are independent, and whether you want to call them feminists or not, it provides a very thought-provoking situation. It's great to do that kind of a show. Rob figured the last time we had a prime time female superhero was Wonder Woman, which was totally different. We've paved the way for many shows like us to come down the pike and we've had copycat shows appear. I don't mean that to sound to egotistical.


SUBTEXT IN XWP

RUDNICK:
[41] Xena had early on a very strong, core, following with a lesbian audience and there has been strong interest by what many perceive as a subtextual relationship between Xena and Gabrielle.

GRUENDEMANN:
[42] Sure.

RUDNICK:
[43] I notice the producers are very tolerant about that and officially neither confirm nor deny such a relationship. They tend to say that what is on the screen is there for people to interpret how they want to.

GRUENDEMANN:
[44] Absolutely. One of the main reasons why I feel we have succeeded, on Xena in particular regarding that very issue, is that everybody can get something out of it. I have friends who are lesbians who have a great time watching it and watching the "subtext". I have heterosexual male friends who like watching it for the beauty factor. I have friends who don't care about either of those things who watch it for the stories. I think it's wonderful to see so many people coming at it from so many different directions and getting something out of it. That's a great tribute to Rob and R.J. in particular who conceive of something and then play with it and continue to mold it in a way that is not going to necessarily alienate people.

[45] I think that you have to alienate a certain small core of the audience every once in awhile in order to grow and expand, but hopefully you also keep your loyal following and add on new people. Where both shows are going this season, we may surprise and we may shock and we may make people laugh too, but it's good to always go in new directions and excite your audience.


4TH SEASON HERCULES

RUDNICK:
[46] You made the comment earlier about the fourth season of Hercules. I was going through a list of episodes just the other day and there were several in there that really stood out to me that were excellent. For me in particular, I very much enjoyed WAR WOUNDS (H78/419) that explored what happened when the veteran soldiers [of the Trojan War] came home. That has modern day parallels as well. I thought that was very poignant. It also had some good characters recur, such as Kevin Smith playing Iphicles and Gina Torres reprising Nebula from WEB OF DESIRE (H63/404), which was another very intense and, in my opinion, well done episode. Hercules has had some very high moments.

GRUENDEMANN:
[47] We have. I don't think the whole season was a wash by any means. From our standpoint, whether the audience realises it or not, there were a lot of frustrations just from the fact that there were unexpected problems. But you also have some fine moments when you have to think on your feet.

[48] I think everyone would pretty much agree that the greatest Hercules or Xena episodes are the ones that have Kevin or Lucy in them. When you have a show called Hercules and you can't have Hercules you have to rely on other things. We have a spectacular supporting cast and we have writers that are great at switching on a dime. Rob is great at that. But when we have time to prep for something and when we have time to think through stories and have them work to a vision of what you want for the characters, then you can come up with something much more satisfying in the long run.

5TH AND 6TH SEASONS HERCULES

[49] But it is more difficult to keep wowing people after you've made 66 episodes and you're going into 70 or 90. With success comes that challenge to keep things interesting, visually different, visually exciting. Hercules is going to travel to some new lands but we still have to shoot entirely in New Zealand which creates some interesting challenges for us. Same with Xena.

Wanna play healer and patient?


Hercules (and Nebula) will be back for Season 5 and more to come!


RUDNICK:
[50] Is this going to be the last season for Hercules?

GRUENDEMANN:
[51] No. I certainly don't think so. There have been a lot of rumours floating around. Somebody says something that gets misconstrued and then it all gets blown out of proportion. Our ratings would have to drop significantly, to a point so low I don't think they'd go, for the studio to start considering that this would be the last season. We all have every intention for going as many episodes as we can.

RUDNICK:
[52] So there's a good chance for a sixth season as well.

GRUENDEMANN:
[53] Not only a good possibility but pretty certain unless there are some major changes. Both shows have seen a slight drop in ratings but that's normal for the life cycle we have and it's also a trend in syndication.

RUDNICK:
[54] I've noticed pretty much all the syndicated shows suffered a drop this last year.

GRUENDEMANN:
[55] That's correct. You also have to compete with what's up against you, the weather, whether or not people go to bat for you. It's even harder for syndication because we're on at different times in different cities. That's much harder to track. But we're still the top two shows and we hope to stay there.


HANDLING THE STRESS

RUDNICK:
[56] You must have gone through a lot of antacid tablets the last two years, what with having Kevin Sorbo out for awhile this year and Lucy Lawless out for awhile the year before. How did you handle that?

GRUENDEMANN:
[57] I think that there's a certain challenge in rolling with the punches. We never had to shut down during either of those events. A lot of it had to do with the fact that both of them were in the United States when it happened, during hiatus. We knew as we were prepping things for the next couple of weeks that we'd have to change gears. It really is a testament to the flexibility of Rob Tapert, our writers, and everyone that works with me down here.

[58] If you're building a tavern and all of a sudden you have to make that tavern into a Chinese junk set you have to just go with it. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don't. You don't have as much time to solve problems. It drives directors crazy and sometimes the actors when they get new pages on the same day. We usually pride ourselves on getting all the kinks worked out before we start shooting. Sometimes that doesn't happen when you have the unexpected. But it's also a testament to the supporting cast, Michael Hurst, Bruce Campbell, Renee O'Connor. If they can carry a few shows you're fine. You do want to see Lucy Lawless and you do want to see Kevin Sorbo, that's why people tune in. I think they were able to come up to the table with some great ideas themselves and save the show in many ways.


CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

RUDNICK:
[59] In looking back over the shows, what would you say that for you are the bits you're most proud of? What things stand out, artistically or otherwise, as significant highlights?

GRUENDEMANN:
[60] Certainly in Xena if we're going to talk about the last few shows. I think the two DEBTs (52-53/306-307) were the shows I'm probably most proud of. Everything clicked. We're more critical of ourselves than a lot of our fans are. If our fans were as critical as we are we probably wouldn't have any fans.

RUDNICK:
[61] Oh, some of them can be quite critical. [both laugh]

GRUENDEMANN:
[62] Those two shows in particular I'm really proud of. I think the scripts were wonderful, the stories were wonderful, the cast did a brilliant job, everybody down here and back up to Bernie and post production, they all came together beautifully. Those are certainly now in my mind the benchmark shows that we have to aspire to. There were other shows that cost a lot of money and time that didn't exceed it or live up to me as much as those two shows. On Xena those would be my benchmark shows.

[63] On Hercules, it's funny, I have lots of favourites on Hercules and they're all very different. I like some of the funny shows and some of the serious shows. It's hard for me to pick a Hercules.

[64] I'll tell you one I loved on Hercules is one that Michael Hurst directed called AND FANCY FREE (H67/408), the dance episode. I like the shows that break new ground and I will say this, it took me about two years of solid convincing to get Rob Tapert to agree to put Michael Hurst in drag on our show. I feel it's one of my personal triumphs that we were actually able to do that. Keep an eye out because Widow Twanky will be back this season. I particularly liked that episode and I thought Kevin was marvelous.

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES

[65] I have a certain affinity in my heart for YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A HERCULES (H74/415) because it was so different and fun.

RUDNICK:
[66] How did you feel about being parodied on YES VIRGINIA and played by the actor who had played Zagreus in Xena's A DAY IN THE LIFE (39/215)?

GRUENDEMANN:
[67] It's funny because Alex and Bob who wrote that script and who like to do parodies tried to make it acceptable to all audiences. They sent us a script and we tried to re-parody and one-up their script down here. I personally chose the actor who would play me. [both laugh] We cast against part in pretty much everybody, with the exception of Rob Tapert. Bruce Campbell did Rob Tapert played him very close to character, even though he exaggerated the realism a little bit.

RUDNICK:
[68] I've had a number of people tell me that Bruce Campbell does a very good Rob Tapert impression.

GRUENDEMANN:
[69] He does the best Rob Tapert impression. Some of it is on screen but some of it would have been to intense for our younger viewers. [both laugh]

MORE HIGHLIGHTS

[70] Another show I really liked was one Michael [Hurst directed] called MERCENARY (H38/301) from the season before last. I liked TWO MEN AND A BABY (H65/406), SURPRISE (H49/312), and LOVES TAKES A HOLIDAY (H40/303). I have about 25 favourites on Hercules. I have 25 favourites on Xena too but the DEBTs (52-53/306-207) really stand out as superb. Nothing let us down. Good quality television, again, not meaning to sound too pompous.

[71] There are many shows I want to hide my face on when we get them all finished. [laughs] Sometimes we get fantastic scripts and when the episode is done it just sort of lies there and you wonder what went wrong. Someone can be in a bad mood one day and that affects six or seven pages of material. And it goes the other way, too. You can get a script you think is pretty good but it just comes out fantastic. It's hard to predict. A cast can bring it up or down several notches. There are so many different variables. The real trick is to work around it and try to make it as good as it gets at the time.


ON THE HORIZON

RUDNICK:
[72] Without giving too much away, what is coming up for the future that you're particularly excited about -- for Xena, Hercules, or even Young Hercules.

GRUENDEMANN:
[73] Young Hercules is very interesting because once again we've done something very different. That is, we are trying to create kid's show like MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS (TV, 1993-1996) or TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (TV, 1988-1990) that actually relies much more on story than visual pyrotechnics and throwing the camera around. I watch very little children's television but I will turn it on to see what our competitors are like. Just the commercials give me headaches.

[74] We're taking a gamble in that we're trying to make the shows not talk down to children and to show them that you can play them dramatic stories and funny stories, but it's really the stories and the acting that will hopefully hold it together and bring the viewers in as opposed to visual pyrotechnics and loud music. We'll try to give kids what they want, such as action and monsters, and we have those things planned, but ultimately it will live and die on the stories and the interesting relationships between the characters. I'm excited about that. We could fall on our face or we could succeed, it's anybody's guess really.

[75] AMAZON HIGH we shot as a pilot over a year ago and we're still waiting to see if anybody will pick that up for distribution. I'm proud of it. It could have pandered to the lowest common denominator but it doesn't. There are some wonderful moments and good performances.

[76] With Hercules and Xena we're going into new directions that I think will excite and surprise our audiences. It'll be interesting to see the reactions. Neither series is taking the same old road that was taken before. You'll see some interesting things happening with the leads and supporting characters that may be a little unexpected.

No, really!  I just borrowed it!


One way or another, we can expect to see more of Autolycus and other recurring characters.


RUDNICK:
[77] I'm looking forward to it. I've heard rumours for awhile now about a possible project or pilot or even series for Bruce Campbell. Is there any news about that?

GRUENDEMANN:
[78] We've been working for a long time to try to pop together something for Bruce, who is a good "friend of the family" and he's done great work for us as well. I think, as is everything else, we've got lots of good ideas and I think Bruce is happy with how things have been going. It's just getting the right material to the right buyer at the right time. There is certainly the possibility for something like that to come down the pike before too long. We haven't sold anything yet. What will probably happen is they'll wait until the last minute to make it really difficult for us and then say "We want it in a month!" That's what happened a little bit with Young Hercules. That's really about all I know about the future.

RUDNICK:
[79] I know you have a long hiatus coming up. Will you be able to take some time off to travel or holiday?

GRUENDEMANN:
[80] Unfortunately, no. We have another daughter going to be born in about six weeks.

RUDNICK:
[81] Well congratulations ahead of time!

GRUENDEMANN:
[82] We're battening down the hatches for that and Young Hercules shoots straight through the break so I'll be working on that. But that gives us time to prep for Hercules and Xena prior to Christmas. We're in pretty good shape. I'm very excited about where things are headed. Los Angeles is doing their part to gear up for the new shows, and while I hope to exceed their expectations I hope they also exceed ours. [both laugh]

RUDNICK:
[83] I hope it works out!

GRUENDEMANN:
[84] Me too!

RUDNICK:
[85] Thanks very much for your time.

GRUENDEMANN:
[86] You're welcome, have a good day.



Biography

Bret Rudnick Bret Rudnick
Whoosh! Staff
IAXS Executive Committee
"You can never have too much money or too many Amazons"
When he's not working for a big Science/Engineering company that (amongst other things) designs, builds, launches, and operates exploratory spacecraft, Bret writes fantasy novels and short stories. Bret is a man of many skills, having also previously been an Olympic-qualified archer, a drummer in the Butch Grinder Band, a news reader for Public Television Station KVCR, and a Deputy Sheriff for the County of San Bernardino, California. He also collects Japanese swords, armor, and art. He and his dog hunt down stray Bacchae in New England.
Favorite episode: HOOVES AND HARLOTS (10/110), WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP (30/206), and THE QUEST (37/213)
Favorite line: Xena: "What's this?" Gabrielle: "I'm... an amazon princess?" Xena (rolls eyes): "Great." HOOVES AND HARLOTS, 10/110; Xena after being goosed by Joxer: "Are you suicidal?" WARRIOR...PRINCESS...TRAMP, 30/206; Joxer: "Ha. Ha." A COMEDY OF EROS (46/222); Autolycus: "I'm not just leering at scantily clad women, you know, I'm working!" THE QUEST (37/213)
First episode seen: CRADLE OF HOPE (04/104)
Least favorite episode: IN SICKNESS AND IN HELL

Return to Top Return to Index