From the Montréal Set, an Exclusive Look Inside CTV’s QUANTICO with Executive Producers Josh Safran and Jake Coburn

— September 17, 2015

Premieres Sunday, September 27 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV

In advance of the premiere of CTV’s blockbuster new conspiracy series QUANTICO next Sunday, executive producers Josh Safran (JS) and Jake Coburn (JC) provide us with exclusive look at what’s in store for viewers, and why QUANTICO is destined to become everyone’s new fall favourite.

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  1. What sets QUANTICO apart from other whodunit series?
JS: It’s not really a whodunit, other than the fact that you don’t know who the terrorist is. The show takes place in multiple time periods and it really is a character study more than a murder mystery. It’s not just a Who Dunnit, but also a Why and a How Dunnit and a whole host of other things. JC: Priyanka Chopra. She is one of those actors who you see on screen and you can’t look away. You’re just immediately drawn in. She’s so incredibly appealing, and that’s part of the reason she’s one of the biggest international stars, and we’re excited for Canadian audiences to love her as much as the rest of the world does.
  1. What are the underlying themes of the show?
JS: The biggest theme for me is there is no such thing as the truth. There’s what you believe, and what I believe, and what the world remembers, and I think those ambiguities are what the show is based around. There are multiple ways of looking at an incident, a person, a relationship, a family, and this show is going to delve into those. JC: One of the core ideas behind the show is the notion that an individual has many different faces. So while you may see a sweet, kind, and gentle person, to someone else they may seem like a deadly killer. Identity is this sort of complex web—so even when you think you know our characters, you’re always about to be surprised by something that you didn’t see coming.
  1. How did your own 9/11experience influence the shape of the series?
JS: 9/11 definitely informed the show. One of my first thoughts when I came up with the concept of Quantico was how to deal with what I experienced being a New Yorker in New York during 9/11. And we talk about it every day in the writers’ room. JC: As a fellow New Yorker, I think it changed the way not just New Yorkers but the whole world understood what was going on geopolitically. It changed the way we think about our everyday life and existence. And I’d say we are creating a show that attempts to explore the politics of identity, race, terror, religion, and culture in this post-9/11 framework.
  1. You drew from your own family experience with the CIA, what aspects of the Agency do you feel translate well to entertainment for an audience.
JS: I drew from some family experience. The thing that was most interesting to me about dealing with a government agency such as the CIA or the FBI or the NSA is that there are very strict steps that must be followed in order to gain employment by said agencies, and I thought it could be fun to showcase and walk our characters through those processes. But also the idea of conspiracies and shadow organizations, and people being on a need-to-know basis, and that you never really know what your neighbor is doing, what your co-worker is doing, what your romantic partner is doing—all of those things combine into a sort of perfect storm, and I felt that the plot fit very nicely within this framework.
  1. Why do you think audiences will identify with Alex (Priyanka Chopra)?
JS: Alex is on a mission to understand the truth within her family, and I think that’s something that is very relatable. We grow up idealizing our parents, but often times things happen that make us question those ideals. I think anyone who has ever searched for the truth can relate to Alex. Also, she’s incredibly driven and incredibly smart, but she’s a stranger in a strange land, and there’s a lot fun in watching what it’s like to learn a whole new skillset as a person just like you or me. So there’s fun for the audience in joining her in that journey both in the FBI and on the run in the future.
  1. In terms of authenticity with the FBI, what were your primary concerns? Where do viewers need to suspend their beliefs?
JC: We are constantly in talks with FBI consultants and we want to do the best job we can as far as making it as realistic as possible, but at the same time we’re trying to make the most exciting, engaging, dramatic version of events that we can.
  1. What were the factors that led you to choose Montréal as the filming location?
JC: We wanted a location that offered us a global palette. So we could tell stories at Quantico in Virginia, but at the same time we could shoot Montréal for New York, LA, Europe, and we felt like Montréal’s diversity of architecture and style gave us that.
  1. What is the most challenging part of shooting the series?
JS: The most challenging part of this series is that it takes place over multiple time periods in multiple locations, and while on a film that wouldn’t be a problem because you could sort of step that out, but on a television schedule where you have 8 days to shoot each new episode, you have a day where Priyanka has to be in multiple places, during multiple time periods, in a variety of outfits, with different hair and makeup—keeping it all straight in every department’s head and in our head is a constant challenge, except for the fact that everyone is doing an incredible job. So that seemed like it would be the hardest thing, but we’re actually doing a pretty good job at it. JC: Being a first year show is always a challenge. Basically everything you’re doing, you’re doing for the very first time. So you’re constantly problem solving and figuring out creative solutions that you never could have imagined when you woke up that day, which is both exhilarating and exhausting. And you hope that as you move through the process and you get more episodes under your belt, that you can smooth out the edges and refine the process so that, uh…you get more sleep! For more information on QUANTICO and images, please visit BellMediaPR.ca. For interview requests, please contact Tonia Addison at 416.384.2194 or tonia.addison@bellmedia.ca. Joshua Safran, Executive Producer Prior to QUANTICO, Josh was Executive Producer and Showrunner for Season 2 of SMASH, and an Executive Producer on GOSSIP GIRL. He is currently developing a new series based on the film Fame. A native New Yorker who has worked in the industry since he was 12, Josh graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Jake Coburn, Executive Producer A co-executive producer on the hit show ARROW, Jake Coburn began his television writing career on the critically-acclaimed drama DIRTY SEXY MONEY before joining the team at GOSSIP GIRL where he quickly rose to the position of supervising producer. In addition to television writing, Jake has published two award-winning teen novels. A graduate of Brown University, he currently lives in Brooklyn.  

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