'Believe': J.J. Abrams was 'desperate' to work with Alfonso Cuaron
"Believe" has two powerhouses behind it: J.J. Abrams and "Gravity" Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuaron. The NBC drama, which tells the story of a young girl with powers (Johnny Sequoyah) who has an unlikely partnership with an ex-con (Jake McLaughlin), will follow Abrams' formula of balancing procedural elements with a richer mythology, but will infuse the cinematic skill of Cuaron into its episodes.
There will be concerted effort to bring Cuaron's style into the TV series, even though he isn't directing every episode. They'll be shooting on a wider lens than usual, but Cuaron says the technical elements of the show aren't what is going to make it engaging.
"At the end of the day, it's not only about the cinematic approach. It's the emotional core of the show," Cuaron says. "I think that what is really, really the core of the show is the emotional one. Pretty much it's a story of the family."
Cuaron directs the pilot episode, and showrunner Jonas Pate helms episode 2. Pate admits to reporters at the TCA 2014 winter press tour that it was a lot of pressure to follow in Cuaron's footsteps. "I wasn't happy about that," he jokes.
Check out the clip shown at the TCA press tour below:
Abrams has wanted to work with Cuaron "desperately" for years, and says he's a huge fan of "every movie he's ever made." When Cuaron, who had some downtime while waiting for the visual effects on "Gravity" to be finished, called him up with the idea for "Believe," Abrams was immediately on board.
"It was an opportunity that was too great -- too exciting -- to pass up," Abrams admits.
"Believe" went through two other showrunners before finally landing on Pate -- all before the series ever made it to air. Abrams says it was simply a matter of finding someone who would be able to effectively follow through on the style and premise that Cuaron presents in the pilot.
"This is not a cookie-cutter show," he says. "This is not a typical procedural. ... It's a very unique thing."
"Believe" will preview Monday, March 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT after "The Voice" before moving to its regular time period on Sunday, March 16 at 9 p.m.