‘Project Blue Book’ Creators & Cast on American UFO History | Closer Look

(light electronic music) – Hi and welcome to Closer
Look “Project Blue Book.” Today I’m joined by David O’Leary, Sean Jablonski, Aidan Gillen, Michael Malarkey, Laura Mennell, and Neal McDonough. Let’s dive right in. So David, take me back to the beginning. What made you want to
make a show about UFOs? – You know it’s a subject matter that has always fascinated me. I’ve had a, I guess, a
lifelong obsession with UFOs. And with the question of are
we alone in the universe? And I think that America’s
history with UFOs is fascinating, particularly “Project Blue Book.” And just the fact that, you know, the two men initially
involved in the program started off being skeptics and
by the end became believers. And that was always just
a fascinating journey that I thought would make for an interesting television series. – And so what was the pitch
for “Project Blue Book” and what made History
the right home for it? – Well, yeah, I mean, the short pitch was that it
was a real life “X-Files” set in the time of “Mad Men.” Was I think the most
condensed version of it. But I actually got fortunate
in that I wrote the pilot and I was able to sell the
pilot script without having to actually go in and pitch. Eventually I did have to
pitch when they decided that we were gonna make
the series and everything. But that was sort of it in a nutshell. – And then what about for Aidan, you were obviously coming
off playing Little Finger in “Game of Thrones” for many years. Why was this a project that
you wanted to sign on to? – You know, when you finish
playing one character, I was about to say
something really airy fairy about taking off the cloak. (laughter)
The mask. which I literally did. And I do enjoy taking off the cloak and just throwing it on the floor and forgetting about that
for the rest of my life. I really do like finishing things as much as I like startin’ them. And I’d played a villainous role and I’d played a few other
villains along the way. And I had this conscious, you know, made this conscious
decision awhile back to just try and find some warmer, lighter characters to play. And, you know, and I had. This wasn’t, it wasn’t like
this was the first one. But to be up, for something to be seen as
widely as this is being seen. And this is seen in many, far more places than I
even imagined it was. Like 160 countries or something. You know, I’d done a few indies
that, you know, are great, but not many people had seen them. And comedies that were similar, you know. But I wanted to do that in a kind of arena that people could actually see. (ominous music) This is all redacted,
there’s nothing here. – You do know what we
need to do here, right? Rubber stamp this and move on. – You know how to rubber
stamp something like that? And I had a similar interest
in the UFOs from an early age. – Really? – So, when this came along
and Hynek is a, you know, a smart guy. You always want to play smart guys. I mean the reason I’m an
actor and not a writer is because I can’t write. And if I was I’d probably be one. But writers are great because
they make you sound smart and clever and insightful and funny. (laughs)
and Hynek was, you know, a really clever,
interesting maverick. So, you know, those are the characters
that actors wanna play. And I had, you know, I had a knowledge of him
that I even didn’t know I had because “Close Encounters
of the Third Kind” was like a really, you know, is, remains one of my favorite all time films. And, certainly, when I saw
that when I was 10 or 11 it gave me a real interest in the subject and a real interest in cinema, also. And, you know, these things all came
together with this character ’cause Hynek was the technical
advisor on that film, Hynek’s in the film. – Right. – One of the first things I did was I got out my three disc, four
disc Blu-ray set and watched the original theatrical
trailer of Close Encounters which is about six minutes long, it’s kind of like a documentary in itself. And Hynek was like, I
think maybe the first or second person to show up. And I was like, “All right,
this is meant to be.” – That’s when you found out
you were going to do the show and then you watched it? – [Aidan] Yeah. – Wow, that’s- – It didn’t happen the other way around, that would’ve been good. – [Neal] Right? (laughter) – Actually I watch that
film every couple of years. Anyway, I know that’s a long winded answer to your question.
– It just came on. It was like re-released, like last year. – [Aidan] Yeah, but it was an anniversary- – Yeah it actually opened, they re-released “Close
Encounters of the Third Kind” the weekend before the
writer’s room opened. – Yes, he’s right, yeah.
– It’s was like- – Are you serious?
– I saw it, I went and saw it the night, it was like I have photographs. Like me and my wife went
to see it the night before. And the next day we started the room. – [Aidan] I think it was a 40th, it was like a 40th anniversary. Which that sounds crazy. Because that film, it does look
like it was made yesterday. The effects in that still stand up. So at the time it was mind blowing. I always end up talking far
too much about Close Encounters when we’re trying to promote this show. So I’m going to stop talking. (laughter) – We’re here to talk
about “Project Blue Book.” So what about for you
Michael, and Laura, and Neal, did you also have a
fascination with UFO’s? What was it that, sort of,
drew you to this material? – Well, I mean, for me I’ve
always had an awareness of what was going on with
some of the big cases. But in no way was I as
deeply fascinated, you know? I was doing other stuff. I was making music. You know that was more my world. But, you know, the show I did before this was a supernatural show. So I guess there’s certain
parallel there in a way. But I wanted to do something
completely different from the last thing I did. And I feel like that’s always been my, a lot of my reasons for choosing roles. Is, you know, have I don’t this before. Or, if so, then I’m not
really interested, you know. I like to kind of move on
and try different things. (ominous music) If I was betting on who
pulled our dessert stunt go all in on this guy. You see somethin’? – I’ll be right back. (ominous music) – There was more than one crash site. This was just so masterfully constructed. And the character was a lot more than I thought was on the page initially. He’s got this really deeply ingrained, wounded side to him that’s a lot of, part of his engine, you know. And I just felt like it
was a really complicated and interesting character to play. And I just adore this team. And it’s really- – I just have to share this too, that the first time we, I think all of us, met Michael for the first
time was over Skype. – [David] Yes.
– Because he was, he says, you know, he’s also a musician. It was backstage. I think it was, you were in Paris? – I don’t know, one city somewhere.
– In Paris, backstage, getting ready to
go on stage to play a set. Skyping with us for the very first time to talk about the character and the show.
– It’s the only time we could do it with the time difference. – Yeah it was the time difference. And I think we got about 20 minutes in and he gets like, so you clearly somebody
talking off camera. He’s like, “So I’m just about
to go on stage right now. “It’s been lovely guys.” You know, “This is great.” And we were like totally hooked and sold. I admit, because he also sort of embodied this sort of like, sort
of reserved coolness. It was just like it came across. – Well, like that’s the
character too, yeah. It was perfect. – And I thought I’d wrecked
it after that skype. Because I was like, “Oh,
they’re not going to think, “they’re not going to take me serious.” – Oh we thought it was so bad ass.
– I’ve got this graffiti on the background.
– [Bryn] You won him over. (laughter) – [Laura] And you were in Paris.
– [David] You’re like, “Gotta go on stage and perform.” – [Michael] I was in Paris,
darling, yeah. (laughs) – [Laura] I wish that was my life. – He took the phone out and
skyped the whole stadium. Everyone’s going crazy. “Malarkey, Malarkey!” Put’s it back, “Gotta go.” – [David] He’s like, “I
don’t need you guys.” – [Sean] That was all compete set up. – Yeah, yeah. – He literally was at home. – It was a set. (laughter) – He was in studio, that’s where he was. – [David] It was the green room set. – But no, I think it’s a
great role and a great project and I’m thrilled to be working on it. – [Bryn] What about you Laura? – Well I think initially, I mean, its such an exciting project because it is really about
one of the biggest mysteries of all time. I mean, is there
intelligent life out there other than ourselves? And I think our show has a
really compelling argument for yes. But it’s also entertaining. And I also loved the female aspect of it. Being a woman in the 1950’s
was a bit of a different time. When women had to fit a certain mold. And Mimi goes through a nice arc. I mean, she was a little, you know stuck, in her sort of rut of
domesticity at the beginning. And little by little she
starts to become a stronger, and ballsier Mimi this season. And is really getting
out there in the world and becoming more of a
woman ahead of her time. Evan, I’m sorry. I lied about who I was because I was worried I wouldn’t
be accepted into the group. – When Caroline told me who you were I thought you were working with the FBI. (scoffing) They try to infiltrate our groups. Not just ours. Across the whole country. – But what does the FBI want
with civilian UFO groups? – They think we’re dangerous. (scoffing) – Well that’s silly. – We are dangerous. – [Bryn] That must be
fun to play, I’m sure. – Oh my God, it’s amazing. So thank you to these guys. It’s been great. And also working with
these wonderful guys too. – [Bryn] What about Neal, for you? – I think Aidan kind of hit on it. You know, growing up in the 70’s there was so many great
shows about, you know, there was “Star Trek”
then there was “Star Wars” there was close encounters. There was so many great
shows thinking about what else could be out there? What’s going on out there? So, I’ve always been fascinated
with science fiction. Also love military characters. My dad was in the Army so I’ve always gravitated towards them. From “Band of Brothers”
and “Flags of Our Fathers” and different stuff. But talking to the guys
about this character, I said, “Is he a good
guy, or is he a bad guy?” He said, “We don’t know.” “What does that mean?” “Well he has an agenda for the government. “He could be good at
times, he could be bad, “it could be all kinds of stuff. “But it’s a great character
that we have in the show.” And they hooked me with that. An unknown threat buzzes the White House. Hundreds of people witness it. And yet we’re the ones to put it to bed. How? Because we officially investigated it. I want Project Blue Book to formally close the Roswell incident. For me I gravitate towards characters. You know, whether it’s science fiction, whether it’s a cop drama,
whether it’s a musical. Whatever the case is, it’s the characters. – [David] Musical. – And the words on the page. But these guys sold me on,
you know, the character. And I’m so fortunate that I’m part of it because I get to delve into
a really fascinating guy. And it’s been quite a blessing. – [Sean] It’s funny you say musical because we were talking
about that for season 3. (laughter) – Open up. – [Sean] A musical episode. – ♪ Da na na na. ♪ – [David] It’ll work. No the whole season! Not just-
– Not just one. A whole season. – [Sean] It’s like the
sharks and the jets. – [David] It feels like
the natural progression of where we end things this season. – I need to renegotiate. – Yeah right. – It could work. – [David] It could totally work. It could totally work. Could have me and Suzy doing the- – Just a little jazz hands. That’s all I need to do and I’ll be happy. – For Sean and for David, how much research did you guys have to do into the Air Force’s real program. Obviously you said that
you were interested in this from a young age.
– Yeah. – But how much did you
dig into these old files? And study up?
– We did a lot of research. I mean, you know, Hynek
wrote a number of books. Which were immensely helpful. And then the first director
of Project Blue Book wrote a, sort of, a tell
all about his experiences. Being the first director
of Project Blue Book. And that is a fascinating book as well. So those books were certainly- – Before he mysteriously
died of a heart attack at 38. – Yes, yeah. – Edward J. Ruppelt – There was like a number
of mysterious deaths surrounding Project Blue Book as well. – [Bryn] Wow.
– So, and we’ve explored some of those in terms. And we’re just surrounding
the UFO phenomena overall. You know, the secretary of defense, you know, committing
suicide in the late 40’s. We pay, you know, an
homage to that as well. But, yeah we do a lot of research. And we’re always on the hunt for new cases and things we may not have heard before. And it’s just, it’s endless. I mean, you know, Project Blue Book investigated
over 12,000 cases. 700 of which remain unexplained – And more than that too,
like, there’s blue book, but there is America in the 1950’s. And blue book touches on a lot of the, there’s the military aspect of it. We’re fortunate to have Paul Hynek, who is J. Allen Hynek’s son. And so understanding more
about family life in that way, as well. And then just understanding, like, the fabric of society at the time. – Yes.
– Like you don’t want to just, sort of, treat that as like,
“Oh that’s just our backdrop.” You kinda want to understand how women were treated back in the 50’s. What was on the military’s
mind at that time with the cold war, and
Korea, and all of that stuff. So beyond just the cases is, like, understanding how it all
fits together in the world. And that takes, that’s constant. You know? That’s constant search. – The whole thing would be, you know, showing the infrastructure
of how the whole control the narrative concept is. And fake news and all of that. And I feel like it’s
really timely and relevant in that aspect, you know? We’re getting to see a time
when that was a huge deal. To deal with panic and hysteria. And I think now more
than ever we’re realizing just how fragile the media is in a way. And this is almost some
of the beginnings of that. Which is quite fascinating. “The original fake
news,” as we like to say. – Yeah, I was gonna say, in watching it myself, you know, it takes place in the 50’s obviously, but it does feel so relevant today. And I was thinking why? You know, why are these themes
still resonating so much. So it’s interesting that you- – There’s so many different sort of, you know, in some cases unfortunate theme. You know, like, fear of cold
war, fear of nuclear invasion. – Russia’s a very big-
– Women’s rights still an issue. You know, the mystery of
UFO’s, of course, persists. And then, yeah, everything
that Michael touched on in terms of the media and
trusting your government. (laughs) You know, so it goes- – And in between season
two and season three there’s a change of power
in the White House as well. And that has, you know,
that’s on people’s minds. – Right. – You know, in blue book and in military. So yeah, it’s very, it’s
nice, it’s relevant. – And Aidan, you’re playing a character based on a real life astronomer. J. Allen Hynek. How much research did you do? – As much as I could in the time. I think that’s what you do. You know, you got like, you might have a year
you might have a week. And it’s an ongoing thing, so. But this playing a real character and one who has a high
profile and a media profile and who’s written books and
who’s done TV interviews. You know, there’s plenty of stuff there. So in that way it was easy. There’s a lot of stuff that I would love to have got my hands on that’s not available. Like there was a debate
between Hynek and Carl Sagan that I would’ve loved to have seen. Which, you know, they were kind of pitted as
kind of arch rivals in a way. In fact they were into mostly a lot of the same things and ideas. But you know with a couple,
some fundamental differences. And that was this televised debate. Look, there’s tons of
research material there. But you’ve gotta make it your own as well. And it’s not a direct impersonation. ’cause you can’t get away with that. If I looked exactly like Hynek and I could possibly
sound exactly like Hynek I might have done that. But, you know, it’s always about finding
the space where the actor, you gotta bring your own part of your self and your own imagination
and your own interpretation to bear on that. Paul Hynek is a very
forgiving man, I might add. Well the first day, you know,
like his kids come onto set. It’s kind of terrifying. ’cause your like okay. – [David] Playing dad, yeah. – That’s right.
– [Aidan] You know, are we gonna get away with this? – [Michael] What have you done? – You know, they understand
that its about finding a medium between you and the real person. – It’s getting the soul
of the thing really, is the important thing. – Yeah the spirit, capture the spirit.
– You know, like Johnny Cash’s you know, Joaquin and “Walk the Line” wasn’t impersonating Cash. I think he’s a good example in a way. Because it felt like, you felt like that embodied
the energy of Cash. Not that we’re talking about that show. But, let’s talk about it. – [Aidan] Let’s talk about Johnny Cash. – [Michael] It’s a great film. Love that movie. But yeah, I think, you know, save the impersonation for Vegas. Right? – [David] We’ll do that later. (laughter) – We’ll do the Vegas show. – [Sean] It’s funny now, like seeing him as Hynek is so-
– [David] Billy Idol’s playing Vegas now. – Let’s go. – Seeing you as Hynek so often now when I see the real J.
Allen Hynek I was like, “I don’t, that doesn’t feel right to me.” – [David] Yeah right, doesn’t ring true.
(laughter) – [Sean] There’s something
off about that one. – That’s how you do it. It’s just that when we
were walking through A&E’s offices last night
I had my brother with me and there was a poster
up on the wall of Hynek, or me as Hynek. And he goes, “That’s really
weird because that’s our father “over there on the wall.” you know. – Oh bizarre. – [David] Yeah it’s fascinating. – Anyway that’s just a little side- – [Michael] Just riffin’? – Little side show there. – You mention his sons being on set and also Paul, I think, being consultant. What did they give any sort of notes? Or did they have any feed back
on what you guys are doing? – Yeah, they always
come up with, you know, small things, little things, you know. “Oh, my mom would do it this way.” Or, you know, “My dad
really wouldn’t say that.” you know, “As a scientist he
might adjust it that way.” There were certain details we learned about Hynek’s interest in, like, radios. And he used to love to
like take apart radios. And that we would then incorporate as plot devices into the show. So it’s been immensely
helpful to have him on board. – There was a word I
remember specifically. – Oh yeah!
– It’s in, I think, it was the first or second episode. – Yeah second.
– That Paul was always saying, “My dad would always say confound it.” As like a way that somebody
would say damn or God. – Confound it! – Confound it.
– There was a specific way he says it. Which Aidan-
– There was a specific way. And that line, and that
word was sprung on us a little earlier than I thought. So I had to ring Paul, or, you know, at like two in the morning and say, “How does your father say confound it?” And by the time he got back to us, it was like about four seconds before we had to shoot the scene. – [Sean] You’re kidding. – No.
– Confound it! – It was in time. – You had already shot a
couple takes the wrong way. (laughter) – Well, you know, it was the context was, context is everything. So I think I gave it a little slight turn. – [Sean] I love it, I love it. – Paul probably wanted approval. But you know, what can you do? – No, Paul is such a lovely man
that I think he would, they, both Paul and his brother
Joel have been so good. And that I think for me
especially, like as Mimi, there’s not a lot of footage
out there of her, right? I couldn’t really find very much at all. So there were so good
at sharing there stories and photographs. – Didn’t you get like
a pin or something too? DIdn’t he share like a piece of jewelry? – Paul gave me his mother’s pin that I wear in an episode
in the first season. And also this little totem. So it’s nice because the Hyneks have been so
much part of our show. I even got to meet over the
phone the sister Roxane. And at our premiere we
had the granddaughter of the Hynek’s there. So it’s nice because we’re
becoming close to the family. And we’re also sharing that
legacy of who Hynek was and sharing that with the
newer generation which is- – Which they appreciate.
– Oh, I can’t even imagine. – And the thing you were
saying about little things. I mean, they give us little things. And little things are big things to me. You know, the first few
shots I had with them they just gave us a few little things. And I was like, that’s
kind of 50% of everything that I’m gonna bring to this. You’ve given us and by showing
us four family photographs. By giving me that tie and telling me about that camping trip. That’s it, that’s like
I’ve got more there from in that 10 minute conversation than I did in like the last month. Because little things are big things. – [Bryn] Yeah, makes the character so much-
– And they have remarkable memories too. Like they really remember
details about how, “Oh, I remember this one time.” you know, it’s different
stories about their family. And it’s, so I think it- – There part extraterrestrial.
– We’re so blessed that they give us the
blessing to do the show. You know what I mean? I think it’s so important
that they’re involved. – And we’re telling real stories. I mean, blue book, every case that we do is based on real stories. So we have real people, real stories, real stuff that happened. And so, you do carry a
sense or responsibility as I imagine you guys must all feel. That you’re embodying somebody
that existed in lives, that existed in cases and
other witnesses and all that. And so you do feel like
you owe it to the process to dig in, research it,
and then turn it back out as something that is, you know,
both satisfying historically and as a TV show. And we always say
authenticity over accuracy. ‘Cause, you know, it’s not
necessarily making a documentary. But, as you say, like you take it in, and then you put it back
out in your own way. – It’s hard sometime also, to play a character that
is a historical character. You know, you see lots of
different actors along the years. I always say Hopkins did the best job of playing a historical
character, he played Nixon. Because I swear he never
looked at any footage of Nixon. He made it completely his own. – Right. – We see guys just
really trying to imitate. And say, “That doesn’t really work.” The one thing I will say about Aidan is Aidan Gillen, talking to him right now, and Aidan Gillen as his character, are two totally different people. And I don’t say that very often. You do something with this quiet intensity that you listen so well
and bead in on things. And when I’m watching you do your stuff, whether I’m in the scene
or I’m watching on camera. It’s, you tip your cap to who Hynek is, but you infuse your own character into it. And that’s what I think makes
this show such a great show. Because you lead it with
honesty and integrity and that charge which is fun to watch. – Well I’ve done, I’m actually going red. (laughter) You see it’s like this. – [Neal] This is true. – See that rise, am I right? – [David] It’s 100% right. – [Sean] It’s totally true. – He’s not trying to play Hynek, he’s trying to play this guy within the confines of our show. – I’ll say that everybody’s like that. Because we all know each other fairly well outside of the work environment. And so when we all talk
outside I’m always struck by, like if you go to set, or like, I noticed it last time
with Michael on set. Like, you know, saw each
other like previously, before, and then he showed up
on set and it was like I could feel like a shift in energy. I was like, oh wow, like
how do you locate that? I mean, and it’s just like
you can really fell it. – Good writing. It helps every time.
(laughter) – But I mean, I think that’s part of the, they all come with, you guys
all come with this thing. Where like, when I see you
in character and in costume and it’s like a whole other energy. – And it’s also, and it’s a little like- – [Sean] It throws me every time. – It’s a crazy talent that
only great actors have. Like Sean is Sean, David
is you know what I mean? – But History doesn’t,
you do a lot of shows, we’ve all been on a bunch of shows. In a lot of shows there’s
always network executives always on set and trying to put their, you guys were all kind of
left alone to create something really kind of organic and fun. – [Sean] That’s true. – And that’s the difference between a lot of other shows we’ve been on and what History has done. They’re like, “All right boys. “Here’s your show, make it great.” – And people do work really hard on this. People are really prepared. You know now a day’s,
schedules, and we do try. You know we got the big
stories that have a lot of, you know, different locations and effects, and stuff like that. And we don’t have a lot of time to do it. But we do it. Which means you’ve gotta come
in, know your stuff and do it in one or two takes. You know, I’ve worked some
things where, you know, people don’t show up on time,
and don’t know there stuff. And that happens quite a lot. And it doesn’t happen here. And you know, I feel very
lucky for it to be Michael. – Amen.
– Because it’s, you know, he’s rock solid. And not just a great actor. But, you know, a really
good acting partner. And we do each other, we
can help each other out. Some days when you need
the other person to just, can you just take this and, you just like take some of
my work load on this one. – Yeah. – For Michael and Neal, your characters are also loosely based, as I understand it, on real life people. Did you guys do research into them? What did you learn about- – Yeah, well my character
was based on General Twining. And the one thing that really hit me was I look at his funeral. And the amount of people that
showed up to Twinings funeral was shockingly massive. So there, right from there, I said, “Okay, well this guys
not going to be really “a truly villainous character.” Because I’ve played so
many really cool villains on television and films. This guy was loved by so many people. And when he retired at the highest decorated
guy in the Air Force history at the time, the ticker tape parade that
was thrown for this guy was really, it was awesome. So to play that kind of guy, and to delve into it with
the words that these guys, especially this year. Like season one, I would say, was kind of like the macro
management of the show. This year, this was really micro. You took each character and
really allowed us to breath our won personal beings
into these characters. Like for me being, you
know, devout Catholic. They put that in. I’m a boxer and then Sean’s a boxer. So he’s, all right, lets get
you, you know, to start boxing. – Interesting. – So for all of our characters they allowed us to put as
much of us into the character to make it really interesting to watch. And it’s been a blast. Season two was just, I mean
for me, speaking for me, to break down and have
questions about my faith, and questions about is there
something else out there? What’s going on? What did I do in 1947? How I feel so badly about what I did. Can I get over it? And then there’s Valentine as, this year has become really
like my fatherly figure. Saying, “We can do this. “Stay the course. “We can get through this.” I’m, “Okay, yeah, we’ll stay the course.” While tears are rolling down my face. It was great for me to
play that on television. Especially with this cast and these words. It’s, you know, thank you History. – I think all the characters, really, are pushed to those types of limits. Gravitas. You know, this season,
even more than last season. And I think it’s great. I mean my character was based loosely on Edward J. Ruppelt. He was the person who wrote the book David was talking about. First head of blue book. But I think kind of in a conglomerate of several other people who
were running it at the time. So, maybe still a few seasons left. ‘Cause he died at a certain point. (laughs) But yeah I obviously read that book. Which is a giant tome. Just the relevant stuff. And obviously did all the, as much research as I
could on the phenomenon. I tried to steer clear
of too much modern stuff. Because it wouldn’t have been
as available at the time. Which is always hard to do. You know, I’ve played another
historical person before. A couple of them, Tennessee
Williams, Elvis Presley. And when I was played Elvis,
I was playing I was 56. So it’s very hard to really get that, an insight into a certain
era of a characters life and just play that. But for Ruppelt, obviously, it was, there’s limited information. You know as well. I couldn’t get a hold of
any interviews or anything. But I just, for me, wanted
to play the Air Force man and really get into the
mindset of what it’s like to serve your country and
the responsibility of that. And the cool thing about Quinn this season is that he really starts to see, the illusion of it is
starting to disappear. And realizing, “Wow, I’m
actually being used.” And, “Am I okay with this?” you know, he’s kind of waking up in a way. And we see that whole journey through. I don’t know if it’s
seen on screen or not. But at least that’s
what’s going on in my head the entire time. Is this break down of what’s
real and questioning that. And it does come to a head in
the final episode especially. Which you guys are in
for a treat with that. It’s gonna be killer. – And then I’m curious because you guys of course
have based this on real events. But you also dramatize
it a little bit as well. So how do you straighten? Sean you talked about
this a little bit earlier, but how do you strike
that balance when your, you know, mapping out these story lines? – Yeah, I mean we, well you know we also come in with a certain agenda of where
we wanna take the characters and what’s going on. You know, we try to serialize
as much of the show as we can and then figure out, okay
where are they emotionally, as we draw from a
particular case, you know? You know, and sometimes
the challenge becomes that we have to figure out, okay what are the most interesting aspects of this particular case this week? Or how do we want to utilize the witness that experienced this towards something that
we’re trying to reflect in our main characters. And things of that nature. You know, so it’s always about I think dialing down and getting to the core of what’s the most
interesting part of the case, and what’s moving our characters
forward in the way that, you know, is hopefully
compelling for the viewers. – And the other thing
too is, like, you know, you can’t ever say, like, “Oh, it’s aliens.” Right? You do that and it all of a sudden becomes a very different show. Because now your characters
are like, “Oh, they do exist.” We get asked that sometimes. If we do like the AlienCon
and people come up to you and they go, “Do they exist? “What do you know that we don’t.” And so always having to take
the aspect of those cases and go, “Okay, “there always has to be
an earthly explanation.” You do want to delve into
the facts of that case. And who’s the, what’s the story behind the
person who saw whatever happen? ‘Cause it can’t just be
the “Law & Order” episode of like, “I was here at this time, “and I looked up and I saw
that, and I went away.” And it’s like, “Okay,
thank you very much.” You have to sort of build it in. And then you want that to mirror what’s going on with the characters. And then it just takes a life of it’s own. I think that’s the process, right? I don’t know that there’s one direct way that we say how we figure it out. It tells you, you know? It reveals itself at a certain point. And then you just, you know, and then when you add in
what you have actor wise. What they bring to it. And then this year I think
we’ve had more quiet moments with people. More moments where it’s less,
we’re a little off the case. So they can explore what’s
going on with themselves. It’s like it’s becoming
this wonderful dance. – And even when we get into cases, I think we’ve found some
cool ways to come at them, you know, sideways, or
in a whole new direction. It’s not just like, the phone rings, somebody saw something strange, let’s go out and investigate. It’s, you know, it’s sort
of hopefully feels organic as we go through it. We’re like finding cases, and we’re coming into
cases in interesting ways. So that’s part of the fun to. – And you guys structured the first season so that each episode was sort of it’s own, you know, UFO sighting, or- – Right. Yeah, there’s a case of
the week aspect to the show for sure. Even though it’s very serialized. In terms of the character
dynamics and the story telling that we’re doing. – Second season was, you know, how we approached it was in a, I think we’ve all talked about this, was before, you know, the
mystery was up in the sky. And this year its about
going back to find out where it began on the ground. And that starts in Roswell for us. And so, really, if it was about trying to
understand what was up there, not this second season
about trying to understand where the conspiracy to sort of cover up what was known and is known
about going on in the sky takes place. – That’s right. And Sean would say, the conspiracy is the case, right? – [Sean] The conspiracy is the case. That’s great, yeah.
– [David] And for the season, you know what I mean? And so each case kind of builds on that. You get more of a piece of what’s going on while these incredible
events are happening all at the same time. – And also, it’s quite eclectic, I think the way each episode unfolds. I mean it’s a colorful season. Not that last season wasn’t. But I feel like we just have
these rich backdrops going on. You know, we have the dessert, we have the deep woods, we’ve got the vast open water with battleship and everything. I just feel like there’s, each episode is it’s own individual film with it’s own feel and
it’s own stuff going on, you know? And I think it’s just a visual treat as well as a dynamic, nuanced,
character study as well, for everybody. – I feel like I’m having a
little bit more fun as well. – [Michael] Definitely. – I don’t know if that were the- – [David] Yeah season one was a drag. (laughter) – [Sean] Yeah that was just terrible. But because we got to season two- – Well, let me tell you-
– [Sean] Furniture’s off, let’s enjoy this a little bit. That feels good to hear, ’cause- – [Aidan] No, no, no I
totally did have a mandate to, you know, just try and at least look like, you know, in the middle
of this there is some, you know, lightness or some fun to be had. Which there is. Because I mean it’s fact based, history
based, science based. But it’s also entertainment. And you want to see people
having a good time sometime. And having, you know, even if that is in just
the satisfaction of, you know, solving something. Or finding the answer
to a question, you know? I’m very old school, you know what I mean. Like one of my favorite TV
shows was “The Hardy Boys.” And especially when Nancy
Drew came on board as well. (exhaling) (laughter) – Laura were you gonna say something? – I was just gonna say, it’s also nice because between us, our dynamic is a little
bit different this year. We’re not fighting, and
at odds, quite as much. You know? Like it’s nice that there’s, since I’m doing a little
digging for Allen, and helping him with some of his research. There’s almost, kind of, more of an understanding of each other, and an appreciation that starts to happen. Which I liked. – Yeah, that’s true. And part of that is also, kind of knowing each other a little more. I really like one of the worlds
that’s explored this year. I’m not sure how much
we can talk about it. But
– Oh I know what your talking about.
– with Mimi Hynek. You know, becoming involved
in civilian UFO groups. Which were kind of huge.
– [Sean] Which were real! It was a very big deal back then. – And were considered quite
a threat in there own way. The FBI looked at civilian UFO groups as where these breading grounds
for communist activity, or spying on the government. And Mimi gets involved
in that this year, so. – And just a threat to
kind of national security. Because it’s about this. So much of these groups were about the government is lying to you about what’s going with UFO’s. And so it’s like these ground
swells of government distrust. That they were very concerned about. And, of course, the civilian
public was right about that. – [Aidan] And for me
that’s, sorry no keep going. – So yeah, it’s great that we get to, that was an area that we really wanted to take Mimi’s character this year. And it’s exciting that we get to, kind of, dip our toes into, you know, what the ordinary civilian
population was thinking about. You know, with all these flying
saucer sightings happening in the skies. And there were many different chapters, and many different groups. – I heard you mention the beginning that you had your own UFO experience. – Yeah, yeah, I had
something weird happen. It was, actually, it was after I had sold
“Project Blue Book.” And I, you know, listen, maybe
it was just because like, I mean, UFO’s were always on my mind. But maybe particularly on my mind. I was walking home, a couple
blocks away from my home. I was on the phone with
my friend at the time. And I saw what looked
like a tear drop shaped, green, self-luminescent ball of light, kind of emerge out of the trees. – Drones. – I actually didn’t, I know. I was on many drugs at the time. No.
(laughter) And I was on the phone with a friend and in my minds eye it sort
of started to move towards me. And I will be completely
honest, I panicked. And I like ran underneath it. It was completely silent. And then it just kinda flickered
and continued to move on. It was the strangest thing. – Strangest looking- – And I mean, this is true. Even now, like when I take
out the garbage at night, I’m a little like,
(squealing) – Every time he sees that street lamp. (laughter) – Well on that note, thank you all so much for being here, and be sure to tune into season two of “Project Blue Book” on History. – [Michael] Thanks guys. – [Bryn] Thank you guys. (light electronic music)

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