TPD: How did Broots end up working for the Centre? Did he realize who they were and what they did? Jon: No, he had no idea what he was getting himself into when he got the job. He just knew that he was qualified. His skills, his computer skills, were gonna get him a good position but he really didn’t know. He had no clue. And then there’s a follow up to that I think. TPD: And how do you consider that to have affected his conscience and morals? Jon: Well I think it made him quite a bit more cynical about the world. That the things that he thought were going to be, were pillars in society, I think he started to question everything, he started to realize, “hey, you know, I’m not a conspiracy theorist but maybe there is a conspiracy.”
Fan Patti asks about Broots working at the Centre.
TPD: Patti asks I want to know why Broots worked at the Centre. Did he know what they were about when he started working there? Jon: Patti, that’s a good question because that’s one that I’ve always, that’s one of the most predominant questions whenever I delved into Broots’ character, he should have known when they asked him if he has any relatives living on his employment sheet that there might have been something wrong with… He had no idea what he was getting himself into. And once he found himself there, he really was more afraid to leave than to stay.
Was Broots on Jarod’s or Miss Parker’s side?
TPD: This question comes from Vicky Ponty. We know whose side Broots was on, but what about you? Team Parker or Team Jarod? Jon: That’s a really tough question and I don’t know if I can really answer that because I think I always felt, I always felt that Broots was pretty aware that Miss Parker was actually on Jarod’s side but was not able to express that. I think that there was a lot of pressure on Miss Parker that we, all in the Centre, were not quite as aware of but she had to play a role. I always felt that, I always felt she was playing a role and I always felt that there was going to be a moment where I would turn to her and say “come on, we’ve got to help this guy.” But it never could happen.
Did you make up a backstory for Broots?
tPd: Did you mentally developed a backstory for Broots or did you just go with the script? Jon: Well, I emotionally developed a backstory for Broots, not mentally. No, just kidding. Yeah, I did, I actually did. I always try to develop a history for every character I play. You have to figure what are the circumstances which lead up to where that character is in time that we find the character in any stories. So, yeah, you always have to build a story and that’s part part and parcel to building my relationships with other characters. So yes, there’s a history.
What were your favorite episodes?
tPd: What was your favorite episode on the Pretender to film in particular? Jon: Well, I, you know, my sentimental favorite was the first episode that I ever did and I can’t… It wasn’t Curious Jarod… Every Picture Tells a Story, that was it, because that was the beginning and I knew right away when I came on the set. And the relationship with Andrea Parker, that plays Miss Parker, was immediate and i felt like it clicked and it was like “I’m gonna be here for a while.” I just felt that. So sentimentally, that one. But I think that Cold Dick was a lot of fun. I like the idea of having the story get twisted up like that and I like playing with different realities, I love those kind of things. And I can’t remember the episode where there was the second Pretender, but it was the one where I had the spoon as the weapon.
ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon what is Broots’s first name?
tPd: And this question comes from Judy, who wants to know what the heck is your first name? On the Pretender that is. We know your name is Jon. Jon: I’m not allowed to give that out. I’m not allowed to give… Broots is a code name. I can’t give it out. tPd: What letter does it start with? Jon: I can’t even tell you. tPd: Do you know? Jon: I do. tPd: Fine.
ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon Gries about his fondest Pretender memories.
tPd: What is your all time fondest memory from working on the Pretender? Jon: There’s… I mean… Gosh that’s a hard question, you know one memory… I think that there’s every aspect of every day there was something, everyday working, whether it was Patrick Bauchau wandering around and kind of musing to himself and disappearing and everybody went “Where did Patrick go?” And you know, invariably, you would find him just walking around and drinking a cup of coffee looking at things and kind of humming to himself. It always made me really happy cause you knew, you kinda knew he wasn’t going to be too far off. He never wandered too far but wandered to a place where no one would think of wandering… and he wasn’t like he would go to craft service. That would be kinda in the way, on the way wherever he was going. And just getting the cast together and all of us sitting around. And we do these crossover shows, where actors would come over from other shows on NBC and they would say “this is such friendly, warm, loving environment and we don’t have that on our show” – and I won’t mention which show. But they were not. They were like “This is unreal. How is it so nice? Why is everybody getting along so well?” So I’m looking over to Steven Long Mitchell over there and just so you know.
ThePretenderDaughter asks: Which actor did you prefer to work with?
tPd: Was it easier to play opposite Miss Parker, Mr Lyle or Jarod? Jon: Clearly, no offense to Mr Lyle and no offense to Jarod, but hands down it was easier, always easier to play against Miss Parker. tPd: And why is that? Jon: Well, she is very lovely and, even though she would be mean to me, it would give me something to play of because Broots liked it. Anyway, but the thing is that heterosexually and Mr Lyle although he is a handsome dude and Jarod is a handsome dude and a nice guy to me, I always really liked playing against Miss Parker because I never knew what I was gonna get. She always surprised me.
The Pretender Lives: ThePretenderDaughter asks Jon Gries Questions #10
tPd: While filming the Pretender who messed up their lines the most? Jon: I would say, I mean, I don’t know who messed up their lines the most but who was the most interesting to work with because he was not certain always of what was going on, and sometimes to his credit we would be shooting two episodes at once and sometimes we would be bouncing back and forth between the two, so Patrick Bauchau sometimes would very candidly be standing there on the set, we all would be ready to do it, just about to go and he turned and go, “So, what are we doing here? What is this? What do I say?” And we would go laughing at him because he would just come from the other episode, he just be shooting, but he would wait to the last second to finally go “And what are we doing this particular moment? Oh ok…” Or he would say something from the other episode and it’d be a little wrong. “No, no Patrick. You can’t say that because the other episode is after this episode and you’re giving away information that we can’t give in this episode” and he would go “Oh really? Oh, ok…”
Fan Jenjen, asks Jon to explain the character development for Broots.
tPd: JenJen asks what kind of work did you put into Broots’ character development?
Jon: I would say, with respect to Broots, it was a different experience for me as far as building a character. One- it was an ongoing thing so there was a constant evolution but I would say, more than usual in the past when I arrived, since I’ve been creating characters, it was really centered specifically in the relationships with the cast, because I, you know, there was so much hidden, there was so much that wasn’t there, that I needed to fill in those blanks and I certainly wasn’t getting all the answers from Steven Long Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle. So I had to do a little bit of my own imagination building the relationships. Interesting stories I could tell… Maybe…
Fan question 2
Q: Johnny, Miss Parker was always bullying you on the set, so I’m wondering if Andrea Parker intimidates you in real life. Jon: Kim, Miss Parker wasn’t bullying me on set, that was part of our relationship. Is that what being in an abusive relationship is like because I thought she loved me.
Jon Gries tells Julie secrets about why Broots stayed at the Centre
Julie: Hi guys, I have 2 questions for Broots. What is the story of Broots before he arrives at the Centre and why does he want to stay in the Centre. Bye. Jon: Julie, au revoir! Why? First I’m going to answer the second question. Why did Broots stay? Because Broots was afraid to leave, but then in time I think he thinks he is going to fix the place. He is going to make the place right, he has the power inside to make the place right ’cause he knows everything. He is also afraid to leave as I said. The part about Broots that lead to him getting into the Centre. He used to have special clearance in the military but he left to go work for private entities because that meant he was going to get paid more money. Unfortunately, he chose the Centre.
Was Broots the brains behind the Centre?
Q: Hey Johnny, was Broots really the brains behind the Centre? Jon: Coby, come on! Don’t ask me that question. Of course! Of course! They all had to come to him. That’s the number one clue. Everybody came to Broots. At the end of the day, Miss Parker came to Broots, Mr. Parker came to Broots, everybody came to Broots.
Jon Gries tells about the ‘Secret Meetings’ with the producers.
Brian: Hey Jon, it’s Brian here. I was wondering if you could tell us about the secret meetings that you’ve had with the producers. Jon: The secret meetings with the producers were incredible because it would usually revolve around where we were gonna go for lunch and what we were gonna eat. And whether or not I was gonna drive or somebody else was gonna drive. It was secret meetings.
Laurette asks if Jon has read The Pretender novels?
Laurette: Hi, I hope you’re all doing well. I want to take a moment to thank all of you to do this, as we are probably the luckiest fans in the world. Now I have a question for you Jon. How do you feel about the Rebirth of the Pretender? And have you read the book? Jon: Au revoir Laurette. It’s Jon. I’m gonna answer your question. I have read the book and I’m very excited about the Rebirth of the Pretender, particularly because Broots is going to play prominently. Even though he is not in the first book. It’s ok, I understand. I understand… you have to slow play these things, build them slowly. And then when they finally get there… oh yeah, it’s going to be good. So yes I did very much enjoyed the book and thank you for your question.
The Pretender Lives: Another Man’s Gun #10 (Steve’s testimonial)
Hey guys. So listen. I just finished reading Another Man’s Gun and I have to say I’m pretty blown away – I’m really proud of how great it is. Derek did an incredible job with the script. I can see everything that Jonny brought to it from the director standpoint. I think it could be a classic western. Characters are amazing. The story is amazing. All in all, it’s pretty great. I’m gonna do everything I can to help these guys get made. I think you guys would want to do that too. I’ll tell you what I think you should do. I think you should pester Jon and pester Derek and tell them if you want to see an excerpt of their script as well and I think you’ll agree and fall in love with it as much as I did. Anyhow, pester the hell out of those guys. You guys should see this. I think it’s something we can all help them get made. Ok, I’ll talk to you guys later.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #7
Jon: Do you want to do this one? Derek: Yeah, go and say it one more time for me. Q: I love the western genre, but different in this tech age for many appreciate- and also why specifically this film. Take that how you want. Jon: Karen, to answer your question about why this film. First and foremost it was effective when I read it, it was inspiring and I agree with you that it is definitely not the most accessible genre at least in this day and age but there are still a lot of people that really do have an affinity and attraction for western films, particularly – at least from my perspective – films that are more truthful and less fantastic. Some westerns of late have been less historically accurate and I like this because it was so historically accurate. I think it’s important.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #9
Jon: Hi Linda, thanks for your question. The Rolleiflex is a film camera. I’ve been shooting films since I was very young. My father put actually the first camera in my hand when I was like 13 and I’ve been shooting ever since and I love shooting film. Who knows, maybe Another Man’s Gun might be shot on film. That would be great, especially with all the beautiful exteriors, wide open spaces. Thanks for your question. Derek: Thanks Linda.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #4
Will Jonny be doing any writing and/or composing for the AMG soundtrack? Jon: Well, that’s always a good possibility. I scored the last film that I did, so Derek and I both play music. Chances are we will be and I have a recording studio. So chances are that will happen. Not necessarily that that’s the intention but it might. Derek: I think we’ve had enough of… Jon: Carl. Derek: … shared vision and what we’re going for musically in the film, you know. At some point it will work its way out, we’d love to. (check) Jon: His score sounded too much like Titanic, so I dunno.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #5
Jon: Karen, I know you asked me what Derek’s inspiration was. He and I are not married and I would like to know what his inspiration was as well. So, but here he is and he can answer you. Derek: I can answer you. Thank you Karen for the question. Jon: Thank you very much. Derek: I think I was eating a lot of spicy food, the night before that, maybe. I do know I was inspired by all the research I was doing and all the Oregon Trail diaries, the pioneer diaries, of people with the experiences of actually going through that at the time. I know that Another Man’s Gun is not necessarily a true story, but is kind of based on true possibilities. So, it was inspired by a lot of actual things that occurred. Of course this is a movie so it kind of fantasizes a little bit, but… Jon: It’s a confluence of different events that came to formulate. Derek: Yeah. And I think the characters, their dialogue, their interacting was inspired by the very straight, quick-witted conversation between from all the films from the forties, Humphrey Bogart and all the classic gumshoe films, even though the people in this film speak very traditionally, very, you know… Jon: I can only say that it is one of the things that inspired me about this film when I read it was that it is very true to the era. There’s a sense of difference, a different kind of articulation than we’re familiar with today. Derek: There’s no y’alls, no partners, howdy partners, there’s no boots spurs, showdowns in the streets, no fights, none of that stuff.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #8
Steven: Jon speak a bit about your father directing Will Penny and being on the set of a western and what it means… Jon: You know the thing is that my father was a film maker. He passed away when I was 19 years old but one of the films he directed, which didn’t get high notoriety but was considered to be a classic was a film called Will Penny with Charlton Heston and Joan Hacket and Ben Johnson. And I was in the film, That’s a long story. How did I ended up I the film, cause my father didn’t want me in the film. But I was around it and my father spent an inordinate amount of time, whenever he had free time to read, which was considerable, he read mostly western books. he was into the history of the west and it rubbed off on me, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to be a part of. The idea of this is possibly happening is pretty exciting because I feel that I’ve been preparing for it essentially my whole life.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #3
Jon: Hi Karen. Real quickly, thanks again for that question. The way I got involved with Derek, believe it or not, I directed a music video for a band that are called the Mere Mortals, the video is called Cracked, and Derek replaced the guitar player that was in the video and I met him consequently through my association with the band and then Derek sent me the script and this was about 3 years ago. I read it and I knew right away that this was something very special about it and I said, can we get together and talk about it which we did regularly, probably once every week, once a week, or once every couple of weeks, for about a year and a half. We sat down and talked through the script, went through it scene by scene, just massaged it as Derek likes to say, kinda get it into place. But the bones and the real grit was still there, just needed to, as a director with a vision I wanted to offer that opportunity and see if he would be interested in that and he liked where my ideas were going so it worked.
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #6
Q: Jon, How long have you been riding? You seem very natural around horses. Jon: Riding or writing? I can’t sit in a chair but I’ve been riding horses since I was 7 years old. English sadle until was ten, western after that. Does that answer your question?
The Pretender Lives: Fan Questions for Jon Gries and Derek Walker of Another Man’s Gun #2
Derek: So we’re here talking about Another Man’s Gun with Jon Gries here at the Pretender Lives. Jon: And Steven Long Mitchell. SLM: And I’m jumping in because I don’t really know what the story is from Another Man’s Gun so for those who don’t why don’t you give him a little synopsis so the guys know what you’re talking about. Jon: Quick synopsis. Derek: Quick synopsis, ok. Buck, young man, early 1840s, He has lost his father, a couple of years earlier. His mother and 2 little sisters are forced to move into the property of this old rancher, named Gregson with his halfway son, through years of just being treated like… Jon: Gregson is abusive. Derek: Gregson is quite abusive, sexually, mentally, physically. It’s a bad situation, especially for the younger girls and young man growing up who has no guidance, father figure. So, years go by, of living in this situation. There’s an opportunity of getting a job to pick up a teacher from New Orleans so Buck does it’s best job of convincing the territory Marshal to get that job. When he gets it he gets on a wagon, rides to New Orleans from north western territory of what is today Nebraska. He rides all the way down, picks up this young teacher and brings her back. Jon: It’s about a 7 months job. Derek: A 7 month journey. Jon: And he wants the money from this job to buy a piece of bottom land, to free his family from the indentured servitude that they have to be under with this man Gregson. Derek: If he makes it back alive. Which is the goal. SLM: You know, I’ve never been in front of the camera. You have anybody in mind for the halfway? Jon: Are you available? Derek: I’ve met the director. I can talk to him. SLM: Ok, we’ll see.