Interview: Jorge Garcia Talks 'Alacatraz,' J.J. Abrams and Comic Books

Posted by G-Man (39221 posts) - - Show Bio

What happens when you mix J.J. Abrams, a historical landmark and comics? You get the latest television show crammed with mystery, action and suspense. While most shows these days are either reality/competition shows or crime investigative based, it's great to have a show with an ongoing story.

Alcatraz deals with a mystery surrounding the close of the island in 1963. Over three hundred inmates and guards mysteriously disappeared when they were to be transferred off the island. Sam Neill's characters was a police officer that was one of the first to discover the disappearance.

Now in modern day, he's part of a secret government agency that has been waiting for the return of the "63s," who haven't aged since their disappearance. Jorge Garcia plays Dr. Diego Soto, a brilliant writer who published an in depth book on the island. He also owns a comic shop and writes and draws a comic based on the island.

We first met Jorge at San Diego Comic-Con back in 2009 (watch our seventeen minute video here). Because of the comic book angle of the show, we asked Jorge a few questions about the show and in hopes of prying some of the show's mysteries out of him.

== TEASER ==

Comic Vine: What was it about Alcatraz that made you want to come on board?

Jorge Garcia: Well J.J. for one thing. He's a great guy and I love the he creates. And when I got the pilot script for Alcatraz it did not disappoint.

CV: Similar to Lost, Alcatraz has its share of secrets and strange happenings. Are you in a similar situation where you don't know what happens next or have you been clued in on some of the show's mysteries?

JG: Exactly. I have no idea. Although at this stage in the game I know what happens at the end of the first season. So I'm way ahead of the viewing audience.

CV: Did you spend time touring the island before the show started?

JG: No. My first time on Alcatraz was when we shot the pilot there. And it was really cool to see how accurate our set designer was at recreating the prison on the soundstage in Vancouver.

CV: How much filming is done in the San Francisco area?

JG: We shot three days there. Half of that time was on Alcatraz. But I hear we'll be returning for a key scene in finale.

CV: Being a comic fan yourself, was the fact that your character is a comic book writer part of the show before you came on board?

JG: That was a part that was added when Liz Sarnoff took a pass at the original pilot script. But it's been pretty cool because since we're a Warner Brothers show my shelves are filled with DC's finest. During the pilot I kept trying to flash a copy of Green Lantern on the screen as a wink to a buddy of mine.

CV: Have you ever given thought to writing your own comic sometime?

JG: Not really. I've had some ideas for scripts I might want to write. But I don't know if they'd be conducive to just automatically adapt into graphic novel form. I guess I'd have to write it first and then see.

CV: What are the chances of an Alcatraz tie-in comic happening?

JG: I'm really crossing my fingers on this one. I think with the way Doc has already written an Alcatraz comics series and appears to be documenting the story of this task force in his own way, the opportunities are there.

CV: What comics are you reading these days? Do you mainly stick to trades? Have you checked out DC's "The New 52"?

JG: Have not. I started getting into the Alan Moore SWAMP THING issues. And I have a bunch of trades that are still wrapped that I have to read. A bunch of Batman's like Long Halloween, Tales of the Demon and Greatest Stories. I also picked up a book called Sasquatch which I'm looking forward to. I'm also going to start reading the Osamu Tezuka Buddha graphic novels and I might take another crack at the Walking Dead. I couldn't get into the first trade when I bought it but since I've become a huge fan of the show so I think that might be my in.

Alcatraz airs Monday nights on FOX. Be sure to check it out tonight.

#1 Posted by LiquidSwords (116 posts) - - Show Bio

Getting the scoops! Nice interview!

#2 Posted by Mercy_ (93015 posts) - - Show Bio

WOW. Very cool interview! This is a show I'm going to have to definitely take a look into.

#3 Posted by KidSupreme (848 posts) - - Show Bio


#4 Posted by gangly (113 posts) - - Show Bio

hmm... am I the only one, or does this interview feel more like an ad for the show? I've only seen the first 2 episodes, but aside from about 2 short scenes in a comic store, comics were not a part of the show at all.

Not trying to get all conspiratorial, this just seems like something that would fit better on Screened than here.

#5 Posted by Lt_Cmdr_Kicker (71 posts) - - Show Bio

At first I had a very high opinion of the show. However, as the show continues, I notice that almost every episode is virtually the same. The lost criminal does something to gain the attention of the main characters, then they go on the hunt. Bringing each one in at the end of every episode. Between the mystery & the flashbacks, there's a not so healthy amount of repetition in this series & I hope they do something soon to change the status quo or else the show might begin to lose viewers.. This is just my opinion thought.

#6 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (40340 posts) - - Show Bio

I never got by the first episode of season 2 of LOST, how did it end?

#7 Posted by sora_thekey (8654 posts) - - Show Bio

Jorge Garcia comes back to CV! Awesome!

#8 Posted by Narok24 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

@spiderbat87: Everybody died.

#9 Posted by sesquipedalophobe (4931 posts) - - Show Bio
#10 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2 posts) - - Show Bio

At the tender age of 39, I'm attending my first Comic-Con in San Diego in July. I hope Jorge is there, would love to get a picture with him.

#11 Posted by dementedtheclown (911 posts) - - Show Bio

Loved this guy since his Becker days. Him and the blind guy were the only reason to watch.

#12 Posted by Danial79 (2522 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been watching Alcatraz, and... it's ok. The comic aspect is very minor, so unless they follow Lost's path and you find out it has some relevance in the 4th season or something, I wouldn't go watching it just for that reason.

#13 Posted by Mancotron (23 posts) - - Show Bio
#14 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6958 posts) - - Show Bio

I've been mising episodes of Alcatraz, but have to get back into it. Love his character, how he's a historian AND a comic enthusiast, which is just like me. Enjoy this guy and really enjoyed this interview! Awesome!

#15 Posted by NightFang (10855 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool interview.

#16 Posted by G-Man (39221 posts) - - Show Bio

@gangly: Nothing 'conspiratorial.' I met the dude at Comic-Con a few years back and he was super cool. I dig the show and he agreed to answer my questions. There's a comic book angle in the show. Also, I don't write for Screened.

#17 Posted by The Impersonator (6690 posts) - - Show Bio

@KidSupreme said:


#18 Posted by GamerGeek360 (259 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool interview! I'm a bit behind on the show but I love Jorge Garcia. He was one of the biggest reasons why I was excited for this show. J.J. Abrams was the biggest, of course.

#19 Posted by Eyz (3184 posts) - - Show Bio

Cool interview guys! Score!

Loving this new show so far^^

(though of all Bad Robot productions so far, Fringe still is and will be my fav)

#20 Posted by Green ankh (1077 posts) - - Show Bio

I like the show... and it has a good cast.

#21 Posted by gangly (113 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

Also, I don't write for Screened.

Hahaa! Nothin' but love G-man, I hope you didn't think I was being too accusatory. Just saying that the show really has nothing to do with comics other than a character writing one, which doesn't come into the plot too often. But I do think it's great to get interviews with celebs who even peripherally dig comics.

(also, if I had any chance to talk to Jorge I'm sure I'd be posting as many interviews as possible) ;)

Keep up the great work!!!

#22 Posted by KidSupreme (848 posts) - - Show Bio

good interview

#23 Posted by Inverno (13750 posts) - - Show Bio

He is no longer Jorge Garcia, he is Hurley all the way!

#24 Posted by tenebyss (50 posts) - - Show Bio

Love the show and interview, but it is probably going to be canceled soon. So sad.

#25 Posted by MagicBass (11 posts) - - Show Bio

The only series (drama) I have ever watched from start to finish was Lost. I've tried endlessely since it ended to get into a new one, however it has proven impossible...until Alcatraz! I love how the show "feels" like Lost. I even love how the character flashbacks go back to the time where the character was on an island, as opposed to Lost, which flashed back to the time the character was not on an island ;) Whether that was intentional or not, I thought it was cool!

And as for Jorge Garcia, he's just freakin' awesome. I mean he practically made Lost, and so far he has made this show as well! Although I still can't stop calling him Hurley...

#26 Edited by daredeville (95 posts) - - Show Bio

@Lt_Cmdr_Kicker said:

At first I had a very high opinion of the show. However, as the show continues, I notice that almost every episode is virtually the same. The lost criminal does something to gain the attention of the main characters, then they go on the hunt. Bringing each one in at the end of every episode. Between the mystery & the flashbacks, there's a not so healthy amount of repetition in this series & I hope they do something soon to change the status quo or else the show might begin to lose viewers.. This is just my opinion thought.

I think it feels that way in contrast to something like Lost, where you have lots of different individual stories, but if viewed out of order would be pretty confusing, Lost was a show built to be watched in sequence.

Alcatraz is made to be more accessible for viewers starting on any given episode, regardless of the order. So they have a little bit more of that "procedural" feel to them, like a cop show or a lawyer show. All of those shows have a standard formula for every episode, but they also have over-arching storylines (think about Olivia Bennett's arc in Law and Order SVU, which develops slowly over the course of ten-odd years).

Fringe, another JJ show, moved more toward the procedural format, showcasing primarily stand-alone episodes, and then branched out for more continuity-heavy stuff later on when they had solid viewership. Fringe also places nuggets of the over-arching story in each episode so that long-time viewers also get something special. I'd say it works pretty well because my mom just started watching this season and they are in their fourth season or so...?

Where I do agree with you is that they need to give us a little more idea of the bigger mysteries in Alcatraz soon to get more buzz flowing about the show and people watching. We're getting information slowly, but I think the mysteries have to be deeper or more shocking or I dunno something... so far it's still pretty vague. The reveal about putting silver in the inmates blood for its healing properties was an interesting one, but still pretty minor/not crazy in the scope of things. We'll see though. I'm enjoying Alcatraz more than The River which I thought was going to be the one I'd like better between the two this season, but I'm finding myself looking forward to Alcatraz more.

Personally, I think it's cuz I really like the three leads, especially Sarah Jones as the detective. She's got a great personality and spunk that I love in female characters. Plus, to get to hang out with one of my childhood heroes every week – Sam Neill, Mr. Alan Grant himself – is a huge bonus. And the ever-lovable Jorge Garcia!

I really hope Alcatraz gets renewed, because like all of JJ's shows I know it will only grow as it goes on.

EDIT: I also wanted to speak a little more to the repetition that you perceive... I think there is that repetition of structure, but each man-out-of-time is pretty different and brings new mysteries to the table. And they aren't all criminals either... we had the prison guard, whose story was one of the best so far – heartbreaking even. The nasty handsome-bank-robber with the sad past, the chemist had a really interesting past twist, and the bleakness of the new fish kidnapper story this past Monday. And that great second episode this week with the twins, and having the entire present-day story taking place inside Alcatraz, giving it a claustrophobic, haunted-house feel... That was a great one, and full of some talented guest-stars.

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