Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci spoke with reporters about their new show and provided some insight into what to expect with their interpretation of these well-known stories in the below edited excerpts from the interview.
On the decision to have Ichabod Crane with a British accent
Orci: Originally we were not necessarily going to go for an English actor, but when we met [Tom Mison] and saw him read, we realized that actually in the day of the Revolutionary War many of the folks fighting for revolution and for the independence of this country may have been recently arrived from the U.K. So the idea that this man with an eloquent accent is actually one of the first Americans who fought and almost died for this country was fascinating.
About the make-up the town of Sleepy Hollow
Kurtzman: We wanted to make the town slightly bigger than the actual Sleepy Hollow, in terms of really kind of looking at it from a place of treasure hunting, that there are many, many secrets hidden beneath the surface of this perfect, quiet New England town. We didn't want to go too small because we would've been limited in our options and we didn't want to go too big because it would've felt ultimately really false. So, I think, Bob, what would you say our population is?
Orci: Actually, a biblical number of 144,000, which has some relevance biblically, but the idea is the pilot and the series, you are watching a small town with small town problems become a small town with big city problems. So it had to be just the right size to have a familiarity with the habitants with each other, but not everyone knows each other by name. So, it's between a city and a town.
On the show's tone of a mix of adventure and horror
Kurtzman: We fall more into the suspense horror element of it. But it does have a sense of humor, like some of the best horror has. Definitely has a secret mystery Da Vinci Code/National Treasure aspect to it, in that we are sort of rewriting history, or at the very least seeing what the parallel history of certain events were.
A look back at American history
Kurtzman: One of the trumps that we like to use on the show is to revisit events that we all know; like Paul Revere's famous riding warning the British are coming or The Boston Tea Party, or you know, the massacre that ignited revolutionary fervor. Revisiting those events and finding out what was happening on the periphery of those things leads to modern day discoveries.
There is an element of the treasure hunter element to it, but then obviously you are also in a race against evil when you're doing that, and that's where the horror element comes in. So it's a complicated soup of many tones and hopefully when it is working, all those tones are harmonizing.
On the connection between the Headless Horseman and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Kurtzman: The minute you have a headless horseman, that seems like a rather ominous, powerful, and in our minds, became a biblical thing. When we were imagining what the next chapter of Sleepy Hollow could be, ... this idea that came to us of him waking up in the future, we thought of, what if the Headless Horseman got a little more connected than you ever imagined.
Actually, he is only one of four horseman, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and it was through the connection of the antagonist of the original short story that we thought maybe that's the larger mythology that the original short story could have been embedded in and we kind of ran with it from there.
And that allows the show not to be every week, the horseman is chasing Ichabod Crane. It enters you into the world's myths and the world's religions, and the cast of characters that populate these myths as being on one side of good and evil, and sort of saying that all world's religions are potentially a loving shadow of the truth of a one world religion, that kind of thing. It just led us to just a lot of rich, we are going to be able to explore lots of different cultural myths through this and not have it just be the horseman of the apocalypse every week.