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March 20, 2014

‘Spooked’: Paranormal digital series premieres April 16

Posted in: TV

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A possessed sorority girl is one of the challenges that faces the team in "Spooked." (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

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The cast of "Spooked" -- from left, Neil Grayston (Lindsey), Derek Mio (Elliot), Shyloh Oostwald (Piper), Julian Curtis (Connor) and Ashley Johnson (Morgan). (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

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"Spooked." (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

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"Spooked." (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

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"Spooked." (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

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Director Richard Martin on the set of "Spooked." (Katrina Marcinowski & Jason Boulanger / Bad Hat Harry/Geek & Sundry)

In “Spooked,” a new digital series arriving next month, ghosts, aliens and other mysterious beings create havoc for the Paranormal Investigation Team, a group of four intrepid researchers exploring haunted locations across the country.

A co-production between Bad Hat Harry and Geek & Sundry and executive produced by Bryan Singer and Felicia Day, the new series stars Julian Curtis, Ashley Johnson, Neil Grayston, Derek Mio and Shyloh Oostwald. It will premiere April 16 (10 a.m. PDT / 1 p.m. EDT) on Hulu, Hulu Plus subscription service and YouTube, and the premiere will arrive as the first of four weekly 22-minute episodes.

The first episode will see the team look into a poltergeist’s efforts to undermine his daughter’s marriage and will feature guest stars Dichen Lachman and Alison Haislip. Tom Lenk, Constance Wu, and Nancy Linehan Charles will guest star in later episodes.

“Spooked’s” first season was written by Michael Gene Conti and directed by Richard Martin, an executive at Singer’s company who had long been interested in stepping behind the camera. A show that features at least one possessed sorority girl turned out to be a perfect opportunity.

Hero Complex caught up with Martin to find out why and to learn more about “Spooked.”

Hero Complex: Could you tell me about the origins of the series?

Richard Martin: Bad Hat Harry received the spec pilot from our writer, Michael Gene Conti, a few years ago and it was something that intrigued us immediately. The juxtaposition of jokes and scares within the genre was exactly the type of content Bryan and the company was looking to make as we expanded our digital slate. And there was no doubt that we wanted to bring “Spooked” to Geek & Sundry as we both share such similar sensibilities, and a mutual respect for each other’s work. It was a no-brainer.

HC: How did you get involved?

RM: Well, that’s actually a unique story. It’s a bit cliché to say everyone follows a different path to directing, but it’s the truth. I actually started at Bad Hat Harry as an intern seven years ago and throughout the years, progressed my way up to my current position as director of development. Throughout those years, Bryan and the company always knew I had aspirations of being a director — doing random projects on the side — so when we sold “Spooked,” they approached me with the idea of directing the series. I can’t imagine another A-list production company approaching an executive and giving them an opportunity to direct a project. It was pretty amazing. Of course, Geek & Sundry was extremely supportive of the idea too. It’s just been a great process through and through.

HC: Could you describe the premise of the show for those who might not know?

RM: The show follows a group of ghost hunters composed of an eclectic bunch of outsiders known as the Paranormal Investigation Team as they traverse the country investigating cases of poltergeists, demonic possessions and other occult mysteries. P.I.T. is composed of Connor, who is the leader of the group; Elliot, who is the fanboy enthusiast; Morgan, who is the resident occult specialist; Lindsey, who is the brains and bankroller of the team; and Piper, who is the gifted one. During the development process, we spent a lot of time working on the script to make it a show that was multi-layered with a dynamic team of characters that you wanted to root for, fun moments for pop culture fans watching, as well as building in mythology that will unfold throughout the season. “Spooked” fans will be in for a ride.

HC: What appealed to you about the idea?

RM: The characters, hands down. The idea of an older brother putting his life on hold to care for his little sister was just so powerful (yes, I have two younger siblings). Connor learns that his mute little sister Piper developed the ability to communicate with spirits after the sudden loss of their parents, so without any hesitation he forms the Paranormal Investigation Team to help Piper. The more cases they investigate, the more opportunity she has of speaking with spirits (and humans, too) with the hopes of providing catharsis over their family tragedy one day. But … the series doesn’t get that heavy. There are plenty of laughs too.

HC: How did casting come together and when and where did you shoot?

RM: [Casting director] Steve Brooksbank put together an amazing cast. Both Bryan and Felicia value casting basically above all else, so we spent weeks and weeks in auditions. We had to find the perfect chemistry not only between the whole team, but the brother and sister relationship (Connor and Piper), the best friend relationship (Connor and Elliot)…. But all that time definitely paid off. We’re all thrilled with the team we put together and it really shows on the screen. And the guest stars were absolutely phenomenal. I just can’t stress how lucky we are to assemble such a cast.

HC: Paranormal comedy seems like a great genre to come up with unusual humor – were there particular scenes or sequences that were especially fun to shoot?

RM: It was a great line to walk, that’s for sure. We got to dabble in the emotional, scary, funny, etc. But if there were a sequence in particular, it would be a bit in the fourth episode. The team discovers a sorority girl has been possessed by a demon, and seeing them try to pull off an exorcism is possibly one of the funniest moments in the series. And the possessed sorority girl (played by Emily Yetter) is a contortionist, so we swung for the fences. It was just a blast to shoot.

— Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex


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