Larry Hertzog (Creator - 'Nowhere Man')
'Hertzog: Still A Prisoner Of His Love'
The critically acclaimed television series 'NOWHERE MAN,' was created by Lawrence Hertzog ('24,' 'La Femme Nikita,' 'Profiler') back in 1995. The show attracted a roster of who’s who of film and television including Joel Surnow (creator of '24'), Tobe Hooper (director of the original 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre'), Bruce Greenwood, Carrie-Anne Moss, Bryan Cranston, Dean Stockwell, Dean Jones, Maria Bello, Cliff De Young, Hal Linden and many more!
In 'NOWHERE MAN,' unknown forces conspire to erase photographer Thomas Veil’s (Bruce Greenwood, 'I, Robot') identity and without warning, every aspect of his life is unraveled during the course of one evening – his wife acts as if he’s a stranger, his credit cards are suddenly invalid, his keys no longer fit the door to his home and in one way or another, his family and friends are silenced.
Completely alone, Veil sets out on a desperate cross-country quest for an answer while eluding his powerful and unknown enemy. His only clue to the possible motivation behind the harrowing ordeal is the disappearance of one of his photographs, “Hidden Agenda,” which depicts the execution of natives in a war-torn Third World country.
With 'NOWHERE MAN' having just now been released in a 9-disc DVD box-set, I recently sat down with creator Larry Hertzog to dig a little deeper into this wonderful show. And so, acknowledging that 'NOWHERE MAN' was quite possibly one of the best shows of its age for modern television, I first wondered where (and when) its initial concept had originated? "It originated in Mike Sullivan's office at UPN when he asked me if I'd like to do a show like "The Prisoner." Since that had been my favorite show of all time, I said, "yes."
When it comes to creating anything, names are important. So, where did the main character name of 'Thomas Veil' originate? "Tom's name was truly one of the few times I felt the name was going to be as important as it was. I can't say exactly where it came from since I don't know. Inside my head, which is cluttered with a lot of bric a brac. But when it did come, I felt strongly that it was "right." Something about "veil" that conceals something or somesuch. Who knows. It was there, scattered among some old sneakers."
Cancelled before its time, as many of these shows seem to be, what were your feelings back then knowing that you still had a story to tell and yet also had to hastily (one would imagine) put together a 'secret revelation' wrap for the show? "Given the state of the show at the time it was cancelled, it's cancellation actually came as something of a relief. The "revelation" at the end of the first season was actually conceived of while the pilot was still in progress. Therefore, it wasn't all that hasty. And I say we had "stories" to tell as opposed to "story." 'Nowhere Man' was always about the episodes for me, not the arc."
Are there any funny/serious behind-the-scenes filming secrets that you can now reveal that we could all look out for now that this series has been released on DVD for the first time? "I don't know. The show was shot in Portland while I was, mostly, in Los Angeles. If something funny happened, they kept it from me. They kept a lot from me. In fact, now that I think about it, they might have been after me. Please, don't make me think about this."
At the time, how close to any modern day reality known to you was this 'real world government conspiracies' scenario that you created? "The government's always and easy target for conspiracy theory. For me, the "bad guys" in 'Nowhere Man' were far more difficult to pinpoint. The government was just a way to symbolize what we were getting at. For a better idea as to what I was trying to get to, I'd suggest standing in front of the mirror. And there's no need to look over your shoulder."
Why has it taken 10 years to come to DVD and allow those avid viewers from a decade ago to finally find out who was behind Thomas Veil's erasure? Do you believe that, perhaps, it was just too intelligent for its time? "I'm not sure that we get (societally) more intelligent over the years. If that were true, we've had enough time to become outright geniuses. That hasn't seemed to happen. I think we were on a new network and very few people even knew how to find us. Then again, had we been more in the "mainstream" (networkwise) we might've been cancelled earlier. There's really no way to know. I do remember, at the time, almost no one knew what UPN was. In fact, even UPN wasn't quite sure."
Is it true that 'Nowhere Man' was planned by you as a reworking of the UK's beloved own 'The Prisoner'? There seems to be a list of so-called 'doppelganger' episodes in both 'Nowhere Man' and 'The Prisoner' which one could assume to be ingenious overlaps and so forth "That would be telling."
As part of the Special Features, we listen as a former CIA operative discusses conspiracy theories and such. But, how real is this 'former CIA operative' and where does one find such an special asset? "You'd have to speak to the people who produced the DVD. They came up with this gem. They also told me that if I were to reveal anything behind that interview, it'd be the last "revealing" I'd ever do. So, being a chicken, I'm not going to say anything else about that."
Finally, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I do like Penguins. I'm not a big Linux fan but I like the birds. I like dogs, too. And horses. Sadly, I like many of our furry critters far more than I like some of the people I share the planet with. In the dark, I'd take a penguin anytime."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win a 'Nowhere Man: The Complete Series' DVD box-set, just answer this easy question about Larry: At the extremely mature age of 16, Larry quit Teaneck High School to pursue a career in ... what?!
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new 'Nowhere Man: The Complete Series' DVD box-sets! Just send us an e:mail here before February 23rd with your answer and the subject title 'NOWHERE MAN DVDs' to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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