Film Courage: What is sci-fi and what does it mean to the two of you?
Marc Scott Zicree: Wow! That’s an interesting question. That is a big question. Well…should I take it Elaine because I’m the science fiction geek [laughs]. Well science fiction [sighs] is a wonderful playground because it allows us to comment on our world in a way that makes it much more universal. For instance, when Rod Serling came up with TWILIGHT ZONE he was censored by the networks and sponsors by saying anything he wanted to say about politics or race or social issues of the day. So he created TWILIGHT ZONE so he could comment on those things without the censors removing it and as a result those TWILIGHT ZONE episodes are as timely now in the Trump era as they ever were when he was writing when Eisenhower or Kennedy was president.
So I love the fact that science fiction allows me to reach an audience of people around the world and the work lasts decades and actually centuries ultimately.
Elaine Zicree: And it also seems to inspire people because there are so many things that were jumped off from things like Star Trek, where geek kids grew up to be geek scientists and they actually jumped in and they made it real, so it really is inspirational. One thing I really like about science fiction is it’s the same thing with stories in small towns or westerns. It’s where a lot of the complexities of modern life is stripped away and we can really focus on moral and emotional issues in a much clearer way.
Marc Scott Zicree: Yes…And also if you kill a character you can bring them back because you can clone them or whatever.
Elaine Zicree: I’m particularly good at that.
Marc Scott Zicree: …Have their head in a tank with nutrients or whatever. It’s really fun.
Film Courage: Do you remember when the two of you were exposed to the first sci-fi story and where you were, how old you were?
Elaine Zicree: But I wanted a robot!
Marc Scott Zicree: You wanted a robot toy, exactly. But my first experience with science fiction when I was a kid I was reading comic books from as early as I can remember. My first favorite book was Farmer in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein… when I was age 7. I just grew up in the genres of TWILIGHT, STAR TREK, THE OUTER LIMITS. Those were TV shows that made me want to be a writer. And as soon as I was a teenager I ended up going to science fiction conventions meeting those writers, the writers that had written for those shows, Harlan Ellison, D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Theodore Sturgeon, Richard Matheson, George Clayton Johnson, Ray Bradbury… and many of them became friends and mentors. So I definitely knew where home was for me.
Elaine Zicree: And I was more brought up on some of the social issues of some of the older writers like 1984 [author George Orwell] and H.G. Wells where they were exploring social issues. So rather than the newer writers, I knew the older ones. My parents leaned strongly to the left and so did I and we found their ability to explore things, where people would not put up walls because it was in the future, allowed them a much greater freedom to reach into people’s thought processes and feelings without defensiveness.
Marc Scott Zicree: That’s sort of the sum of it. When I was a kid I was given a Christmas present of a trip to the STAR TREK set, so I was there for the last episode of the original STAR TREK ever shot, Turnabout Intruder. So I got to sit in the captain’s chair and stand on the transporter. I remember looking up and seeing there was just a lightbulb screwed into the transporter above my head and I thought “Huh? Well, gee…” I remember thinking how small the engineering on the STAR TREK set was a forced perspective and I was thinking “Gee, this is a lot smaller than it looks on television.” And it was just an amazing day, a wonderful, wonderful day. The best Christmas present ever…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).
About Marc and Elaine:
Working both together and individually, writer-producer-directors Marc Scott Zicree and Elaine Zicree have sold over 100 teleplays, screenplays and pilots to every major studio and network, including landmark stories for such shows as STAR TREK– THE NEXT GENERATION, DEEP SPACE NINE, THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, BABYLON 5, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, FOREVER KNIGHT, SLIDERS, LIBERTY’S KIDS, SUPERFRIENDS, HE-MAN, REAL GHOSTBUSTERS and SMURFS. Their work has been nominated for the American Book Award, Humanitas Prize, Diane Thomas Award, and Hugo and Nebula Awards, and they’ve won the TV Guide Award, prestigious Hamptons Prize and 2011 Rondo and Saturn Awards. Fans of their work include Steve Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Ray Bradbury, Damon Lindelof, Frank Darabont, Joss Whedon and millions of fans around the world (Read more here).
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