interview the invisible man Taken from TV Zone #133

Vincent Ventresca

The latest Invisible Man
will see you now

The Cast of The Invisible Man

Also in this issue: interviews with Ben Browder from Farscape, the stars and crew from The Immortal, plus Doctor Who, Andromeda and First Wave


Since its publication in 1897, author HG Wells's novel The Invisible Man has been the basis for a number of movies and no less than four tv series on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps the most famous of these is the 1933 feature film starring Claude Rains as a crazed scientist who makes himself invisible and wreaks havoc on a rural English village. Who could forget the scene in which he removes his hat and dark glasses and unwinds the bandages around his face to reveal - nothing!


This past June, the Sci Fi Channel unveiled its version of The Invisible Man, an action-packed series with a touch of humour that puts an updated spin on Wells' classic tale. In lieu of a mad scientist, the show's main character is Darien Fawkes, played with conviction and cheekiness by Vincent Ventresca. Darien is a small-time thief who reluctantly agrees to serve as a guinea pig in a secret US defence department experiment on invisibility.

An unforeseen chain of events force him to enlist as a secret weapon for a black sheep, under-funded government intelligence agency operating under the guise of the Department of Fish and Game and run by The Official. It is a world that takes Darien time to get used to, but one that Ventresca eagerly jumped into.

Going... going... going... gone!

"Basically, when you accept a job on a tv series it's a lot like going on a blind date," says the actor. "You kind of know what the girl looks like but you're not really sure if you're going to fall in love. Well, let me just say that it's nice to have a job like The Invisible Man that you can fall in love with. I've been acting for 13 years and in this line of work you can get your heart broken because things don't always turn out the way you want them to, especially with tv.

"I did a Sci-Fi show called Prey which I thought had a lot of possibilities. William Schmidt executive produced the series and it was more or less my entry into the sometimes-nasty world of tv. I remember the day he called me up and told me, 'Congratulations, you got the job.' I said, 'Great, I can't wait to work with you.' Then he went on to say, 'Unfortunately. I've just been fired.' So this person who I thought was going to be a part of Prey's collaborative process was now gone.

Job Change

"Something similar happened on The Invisible Man," he continues. "Matt Greenberg created the show and was the executive producer for the first three episodes. Then his mother became very ill and he had to go home to take care of her. Sadly, she passed away recently and I don't know if Matt is coming back but I totally understood his decision. Sometimes in real life things happen and you're pulled out of this make-believe world of acting. Fortunately for us, David Levinson has been appointed executive producer. He's an old veteran at this and has brought a great deal of wisdom and experience to the table.

"We're also very lucky in that the world Matt created for the show is one of great depth and richness," adds Ventresca. "Every character is such an integral part of the pie. It's almost misleading that the series is called The Invisible Man because it's really about the world [of the Department of Fish and Game] that The Official [Eddie Jones] has set up. Darien Fawkes has simply become part of it. As the series progresses, viewers will discover this world has existed for a long time. I don't want to give too much away, but future stories involve Darien's and The Official's family history. Apparently, both those paths crossed 50 years ago and have led up to the world that we're seeing now."

Ventresca's audition process for The Invisible Man lasted a gruelling eight weeks. During that time, he took the opportunity to get to know Greenberg and Breck Eisner, who directed the show's two-hour pilot. "A script is either good or not so good, but whether or not it's made into a successful pilot has a lot to do with how it's directed and executive produced," he notes.

"I thought our pilot script was very well-written, but I could see how, if it went a bit too much one way or the other, things could have become corny or cheesy. However, right from the start, Matt and Breck said they wanted to ground everything in reality, and the pilot certainly helped do just that. It explained invisibility in a way that made it sound theoretically possible. If an idea or a concept at least seems plausible then I think people can more easily accept it and get lost in the story..."

Steven Eramo


Vincent Ventresca talks more about The Invisible Man - in TV Zone #133

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