Last week, theTVaddict.com’s Special West Coast Correspondent Steve C. attended the KNIGHT RIDER Media event on the back-lot of NBC studios in Burbank. The following are Steve’s interviews with actors Bruce Davison, Deanna Russo and Sydney Poitier.
Bruce Davison (Charles Graiman)
Steve C: Hi Bruce…ok so to get started, it’s been revealed that your character is actually the genius who created KITT 25 years ago…but your character was never mentioned in the original series…
Bruce Davison: Yeah he was pretty hidden, I was sort of sequestered, but now I’ve been discovered!
So how do you play into the other characters that used to be connected to KITT in the original series like Devon Miles and Wilton Knight
Well I was part of the Foundation (of Law and Government) and was sequestered since the invention of it (KITT) and now the foundation has been resurrected
Now there have been other incarnations of this series like Knight Rider 2000 and Team Knight Rider, do those extended universes play any part of this movie?
We certainly acknowledge our birth and origins, and we’re advancing from the Trans-Am to the Shelby. It’s a new generation and a whole new show, it brings in a whole new perception, and the villains of the world have changed as well. But the same type of tongue in cheek feeling will continue…
Were you ever a fan of the original series?
Yeah I was actually working on the lot when David was doing the original and I’ve known him for 30 years…
What’s the inherent pressure and expectation to be the next generation of the original cult show?
Well everything is different, it’s like what’s happened to Batman and what’s happened to the Bionic Woman, things change and shift and they’ll either fit into a new generation or they wont…but we’ll see, I’ve got real strong feelings about this though and its real interesting because like I mentioned, the villains have changed a bit and the corporate specter and the military specter are much more of a bad guy but at the same time there is an irony and a tongue in cheek about the show and its about what it is…and w/ the special effects and the car, I think there’s a lot of room for lightness and adventure
Deanna Russo (Sarah Graiman)
Steve C: So tell us about your character
Deanna Russo: I play Sarah Graiman, Charles Graiman’s daughter played by Bruce Davison, and we’re smart people…
What does your character do?
I work at a prestigious university as an assistant professor; I’m more of an engineer. And a certain set of circumstances brings KITT and I together and we go on a hunt for Mike Tracer, played by Justin Bruening.
And supposedly there’s a bit of a back-story with your characters right?
Yeah, Mike and Sarah were old friends who lost touch over the years, but now that everyone is in trouble she needs the help of her one true hero, which just happens to be the son of Michael Knight, like father like son, he comes to the rescue
Now he’s a good looking guy, you’re an attractive girl, can we expect some sexual tension between the two of you?
OH, I can GUARANTEE some sexual tension between us, that’s no secret!!!
How would you describe your interactions with KITT on the journey?
Well we do a lot of traveling together in our search for Mike so there’s some great banter and a little psychoanalyzing going on between us. KITT is really curious, caring and intuitive about humans so we actually have some heart to heart moments, its quite strange…
Sydney Poitier (Carrie Rivai)
Steve C: Were you a fan of the old series?
Sydney Poitier: Oh yeah, I think anyone who grew up in the 80’s had to be a fan of the old show, you know what I mean? You can’t have missed it, so yeah I was a fan of that show and I’m just so excited that they are bringing it back. People are going to be so excited to see it, and hopefully so will a lot of new, younger fans that may not have been able to see the original series.
So Will Arnett as the voice of KITT, what are your thoughts?
I think it is so brilliant I cant even stand it, I mean…I love him, I think he’s hilarious and so talented…just brilliant…and his voice is so spectacular, it couldn’t be any more perfect for KITT and you know…a lot of times KITT says something that’s funny, not purposefully but by nature of the situation and by being a nonhuman, non-emotional object that’s trying to interact w/ humans there’s a lot of very subtle underlining comedy and I think will Arnett just lends that….it’s the timber of his voice…I don’t know really what it is, but its just so funny.
Now Justin and Deanna come from a Soap Opera background, do they sometimes fall back into that zone and get really overly dramatic on-set.
No…I think they are both actors who may have started out in Soap Operas but had to adjust their style accordingly…but they know this is something else and they turn off that over the top acting and get it done.
What do you think of the new KITT?
Well this morning was actually my 1st time in it and its really cool…though the backseat is a little cramped, not a lot of leg room back there, but hopefully at some point I’ll get to drive it…it sounds awfully powerful.
25 years ago one man set out to make a difference. He certainly did in the eyes of a 9 year old boy who all these years later now stood amidst the latest incarnation of one of my favorite shows. Though there’s been plenty of speculation and jabs at this TV movie, there’s also those who are thirsty for it, who feel if it can embody the magic the original series had, then it just might be a hit. I for one will be tuning in February 17th in eager anticipation.