The stars and executive producer of Fox’s action drama “Human Target” took center stage in the Esplanade Ballroom at WonderCon on Sunday afternoon. Sitting down to talk about the past two seasons, as well as ruminate on a possible third, were Mark Valley (Christopher Chance), Jackie Earle Haley (Guerrero) Janet Montgomery (Ames) and executive producer Matt Miller.
Jenna Busch, moderator of the panel, kicked off the hour by asking Miller to recap what happened during the show’s second season. Miller said he tried to grow the world while developing both old and new characters further.
“I got a Green Lantern ring. Its free, its WonderCon; what are ya gonna do?” said Valley when asked what he’s been up to lately. Shifting to the show, he said, “I got to do a lot more talking during the second season. Talking to other people. The first season I did a lot of explaining and exposition, but this time I found myself doing scenes with a lot more people.”
Haley joked that if they get picked up for a third season, the infamous scene where Ames has to squeeze through an air duct in nothing but her underwear and oil would be repeated with an even smaller duct.
“I got in my underwear a few times in season two,” Montgomery said. “Ames did, not me, it was all character. It was interesting because I asked what the oil was for when we shot the scene. It looked big enough for me to squeeze through with my clothes on. They said, ‘No, you’re gonna need to undress and use the oil.'”
“Janet would now like to perform for you, live!” Haley interrupted, with Montgomery saying she was game if anyone in the audience had any oil. Sadly, they did not.
Montgomery said it was fun joining a mainly male cast. “They kind of took me under their wing and looked after me,” she said. “In her underwear!” added Valley.
Miller credited the amazing production values to the crew in Vancouver. “I think everyone who comes on the show, deep down wants to be an action director, so they really get up for it. As far as I’m concerned, we are doing the best action out there on television.”
Valley said despite the action scenes, he’s never been hurt on the show. “I get hurt all the time!” said Montgomery. In the last episode of the season, she recalled how she was hanging on a ledge about a foot off the floor and fell right off.
“I’m not sure whether I like working on the show more or being a fan of the show. I find watching the show, I am completely invested in all of the characters,” said Haley, admitting to geeking out over script readings where he gets to find out what happens to all the characters.
“I read the script like it’s a comic book, without the comics obviously, without the pictures. Then we shoot it, and I’m kind of a fan of the show myself,” added Valley.
The moderator asked the cast to drop clues as to details in the story people may not have picked up on. Valley and Haley pointed out that their characters both have the same tattoo, the origin of which hasn’t been fully explained. “Next season, she gets the tattoo,” joked Valley to Montgomery.
Miller said the next season will feature more on Baptiste’s relationship with Chance and Guerrero’s history. One specific storyline will feature Guerrero hiding from his ex-wife who gets released from jail. “Even Guerrero has his kryptonite,” said Miller.
Busch asked Miller what he would like fans to send to Fox as part of a campaign to make sure the show gets picked up, to which Miller responded, “Guns!” He then quickly specified that he meant water guns and not real ones.
Miller went in to what might happen Chi McBride’s character Laverne Winston if the show gets picked up for a third season, saying they went in to some of Winston’s back-story in season two and season three will feature him trying to save his nephew in order to get back in his wife’s good graces. “It doesn’t work out so well for him,” said Miller.
Characters that might come back for a potential season three include Baptiste, Roger Bart and Harry. “I have to think, did they die? No, they didn’t die. Which ones died, which ones are in jail,” asked Valley.
Haley said the only real difference between TV and film is that TV is a lot quicker. “TV has caught up to movies,” he said. “I feel ‘Human Target’ looks like an action movie of the week.”
At this point Busch opened up the panel to questions from the audience.
A season two DVD will be released towards the end of the summer, featuring behind the scenes bonus footage, said Miller.
A fan asked the panel to comment on Guerrero’s change from a computer nerd character in season 1 to a badass action hero in season two. “He’s sort of like the gimp in the box, and once in a while you bring him out,” said Miller. “I don’t know if he’s more of a bad ass, but he is morally questionable with some of the things that he does. That’s sort of the fun of the character.”
Miller admitted that changing the theme song in season two was a mistake and that if the show is brought back for a third season, they would bring back the composer from the first season. “I had no idea the backlash that replacing the opening theme music would have. Mea culpa. In hindsight perhaps things would have been done a little differently,” said Miller.
Miller said shooting Vancouver and treating it as though it were San Francisco was a lot easier in season 1, since Chance was in hiding and not out in the open. In the second season, while they have shot more scenes to resemble San Francisco, that is weighted by the fact that the show frequently leaves its home city in the course of the narrative, meaning there are less San Francisco shots to be made overall. “I would love it if we got to shoot in San Francisco!” said Montgomery. Haley said he partly took the show because it was shooting in Vancouver, pointing to the Vancouver hat he was currently wearing as proof of his love for the Canadian city. Haley had first fallen in love with the city while shooting “Watchmen.”
A fan pointed that the same actor was used for two different walk on roles in back to back episodes. “The guy who looks like John Legend, right? Yeah, one of them was John Legend and the other was him,” joked Valley.
The next fan to take the mic asked if the producers were doing anything, such as cutting the budget, to give “Human Target” an edge over other potentially renewed shows like “Fringe” and “Lie to Me.” “You seem to know more about the numbers, maybe we should ask you! What are our chances?” asked Montgomery. “I think the question is, ‘Why are we here?” said Valley. On a more serious note, Miller said negotiations are currently going on and they would do whatever it takes to get a season three. “You may have to do some more work in air ducts with oil,” Miller told Montgomery.
Haley commented on his relationship with the character of Ames in the series. He said that it was tough to pin down exactly what type of relationship they have.
Valley said that he saw the character of Christopher Chance as Keen Eddie’s older brother that beat up on him sometime.
Miller said that Baptiste would frequent the show more often in a season three, but he would never join the crew full time. “You don’t want to ever see Baptiste completely defanged.”
The scene where it snowed in San Francisco happened almost accidentally. Originally, the scene was meant to be shot in the rain, but the day they had the rain machines it was so cold they couldn’t use them. They shot the scene without rain, but it didn’t have the same visual impact, until it suddenly started snowing Vancouver. Even though they knew it doesn’t snow in San Francisco, Miller said, they just went with it because it looked so beautiful.
The last questions of the event asked the panel what fans could do to ensure a season 3 of the show happens. “We really appreciate the support that everyone has given us so far towards a season three. It wouldn’t be a show without the hardcore fans and I just wanted to make sure I said we really appreciate that,” said Valley.
“Be as vocal as you can, we would really appreciate that,” said Miller, noting that in today’s world of Facebook and Twitter, Fox really does pay attention to what fans say about the show online.
Haley added, as the last comment from the panel, that he encourages fans to oil up and film their own air duct scenes, than post them online to protest the show getting canceled. With the audience in stitches, the “Human Target” panel officially ended.
All photos by Caitlin Holland