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Feature: The Dead Zone, Anthony Michael Hall

Sensing Disaster

Anthony Michael Hall and Nicole deBoer star in The Dead Zone
Anthony Michael Hall and co-star Nicole de Boer are in The Dead Zone Its June 16 premiere set a ratings record for all basic-cable original dramatic series. Anthony Michael Hall talks on location about his role in the new series based on Stephen King's The Dead Zone.

A crowd of bystanders and TV reporters gather outside The Cleaves Mills Savings and Loan bank. They watch in silence as Sarah Bannerman (Nicole deBoer) kneels beside a body bag and looks down in shock at the ashen features of her ex-boyfriend... Then Johnny Smith's face is covered as the body bag is zipped shut by a paramedic. Director Michael Shapiro yells, "Cut and print!"

The body bag is unzipped and a smiling Anthony Michael Hall climbs out of it. The star of the new USA Network series The Dead Zone has just finished shooting a scene for upcoming episode The Siege (scheduled broadcast August 4). On the show, based on the Stephen King novel, Hall portrays Johnny Smith, a former science teacher who, with a simple touch, can see into the past or not-too-distant future. In doing so, tries his best to help those around him. At 34, the affable Hall is no stranger to the camera. Believe it or not, though, this is his first TV series - a new experience which he's approaching with great zeal.

"This is a really exciting time in my life," says Hall, taking a break in-between shots. "The best thing about it is I didn't have to audition. Michael Piller, the executive producer and creator of the series, along with Stephen King, just offered me the role and I couldn't have been more flattered. Apparently, he based his decision on seeing my work as Bill Gates in [the TV movie] Pirates of Silicon Valley, which was a wonderful thing to hear.

"I can't tell you what a huge opportunity this is for me. When it comes to Michael Piller, well, I'm working with one of the most prolific and creative producers in TV history. He's been involved in the Star Trek franchise, so I have an enormous amount of respect for him. His son Shawn, who is one of the creative producers, is on the set every day and has become a real friend to me... Last but not least, there's an incredible crew up here in Vancouver, some of whom came from Smallville, who are busting their butts. It's a great assembly of incredible talent and I'm thrilled to be a part of the show."

Asked about the stories, Hall enthuses "We've actually shot some really neat stories so far. We just finished a courtroom drama - an homage to 12 Angry Men. This week's shoot [The Siege] is very Dog Day Afternoon like in that it's a hostage situation at a bank. There's one we did called Enigma that is amazing... It's so cool," enthuses Hall. "I can't wait to get the next script."

The USA Network has given the OK to an initial 13-episode run of The Dead Zone. With the premiere's ratings a huge success, viewers can probably count on seeing Johnny Smith continue to use his abilities to help people...

by Steve Eramo

Read the full feature in:
Xposť #69

Image © USA Network / Lion's Gate / Paramount
Feature © Visual Imagination 2002. Not for reproduction

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Xposť #69, see below for ordering options
Xposť #69
July 2002
ships from Jun 13 2002
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