While Maggie goes grave digging to confirm Rickman’s death, Wade is fighting through her grief the old fashioned way — with alcohol and rock and roll. She starts hanging out with a rock group called Stoker, which is secretly comprised of vampires. The lead singer sees a potential end to their centuries of persecution through sliding, and enlists Wade to get him the timer. As she falls under their spell. Quinn teams with a vampire hunter to put a stake in the matter once and for all. The main plot criss-crosses with Maggie’s continued pursuit of Rickman, who has contracted with the band’s blood drive organization for a list of suitable brain fluid victims. Rickman escapes, but Stoker has a date with Quinn’s pointy spear.
Kill a person, let their soul freak out and stay in the body, and you’ve got a vampire on this world.
While passing stakes from the back of his truck to Jerry O’Connell’s hand, Tommy Chong lets slip his Canadian roots with the line “Smart, eh?” Chong was born and lives in Vancouver.
On Vampire World, Dracula was never written by Bram Stoker (even though the band derives its name from him). According to Van Elsinger, “The best blood-sucker around here is named Nixon” (which either means that Richard Nixon was a tax-happy president or a vampire himself). On this world, vampires exist though it has been a felony to practice vampirism since 1897. Bob Dylan doesn’t exist on this world but Janice Joplin does and she is alive and well (and a health nut). The Rolling Stones exist, the Grateful Dead and Santana are all prominent artists here as well.
Morgan and his band of vampires have inhabited this world for centuries, always on the music scene as a way of getting victims. In 1957, Morgan and his band were in a shoo-bop band called “The Goodtones” then in the late 1970s, it was called “The Bloody Punks.” Van Elsinger made sure that The Goodtones and Stoker were the same band by having their music digitally matched. Van Elsinger has found pictures of the group dating back to the Civil War.
“It is going to be a terrific show,” he says. “It is sort of a rock and roll vampire type thing. It is going to involve a lot of real techno and industrial music. It will have a veryNine Inch Nails look and feel to it. The show is about these vampires who have been around for centuries — for eternity really — as musicians. They travel from country to country. They could be described as travelling musicians. They used to be gypsies thousands of years ago, they were a doo-wop band in the fifties, and now they are this techno/industrial type band. They use that disguise to travel from town to town on tour.
“Wade Welles gets wrapped up in their scene. It’s going to have a nice German expressionistic look to it — very industrial and very monochromatic. It’s going to be a lot like Fritz Lang movies such as Metropolis.”
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What prompted O’Connell, a graduate of NYU Film school, to consider directing?
“I always had the idea I wanted to direct and what better way than in such a familiar setting,” he explains. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
O’Connell added that there are certain advantages to being both the actor performing in a scene and being the director observing the scene.
“The nice thing about acting is you’re right there in the middle of the set. It’s a pretty comfortable place to direct from. You can see all the action happening around you and you can correct any mistakes.”
“It’s a lot of fun directing myself,” he adds. “I get to take as many takes as I want as an actor. I think of anyone on our crew, including [Cleavant and Sabrina] we have a really good idea of the show and we know exactly what it takes to be a Slider and to tell the story of sliding.”
“It’s actually a lot easier directing my fellow Sliders than directing the actors who [guest star] because I don’t have to tip toe around the Sliders. I can just scream out directions at Sabrina, Cleavant and Kari and they’ll do it and they’ll know I’m not being insulting in any way. And they’re such pros, I mean, we’ve been through this for three seasons, they don’t really need much directing and they’ve been really helpful with me. They’ve made it really easy.”
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Yeah, maybe to his face. During a candid interview, however, they make their true feelings known (wink).
“Working with Jerry as the director has been fun … for me. For a lot of the other actors, I don’t believe they’re having such a great time,” Cleavant Derricks says with stern seriousness. “Jerry has been having a hard time dealing with the actors, controlling his actors. He’s bringing in roaches, I keep telling him ‘that was another movie, you can’t do that here, this is Sliders.’ But other than that we’re having a pretty good time.” Then, in true Rembrandt style, Derricks breaks into a wide grin and giggles.
Sabrina Lloyd is a little more serious: “Having Jerry direct is pretty insane,” she says. “I think it’s more insane for him because he’s constantly running back and forth: he’s in front of the camera, he’s behind the camera, and you don’t know whether to call him Jerry or Mr. O’Connell. But it’s great because he’s brought so much enthusiasm to the show. You know, it’s his first time directing and he’s been on the show for so long and he knows it so well. I mean the first few days he was so pumped and he had everybody pumped and the scenes were going so fast and it was good because … it’s nice to have that energy come in and that fresh blood and it’s kind of gotten everybody excited about the show again.”
“[Jerry also] brought a lot of spontaneity and he’s seen the characters grow so much and now we have a new character on board and so he’s able to say ‘All right, let’s try this’ and ‘let’s take it in this direction and let’s have a little fun,'” Sabrina adds. “I think that it’s brought a lot of energy and fun back to where everyone was getting a little tired.”
“Jerry directing this episode … you’re not going to tell anybody this, right? He’s so bossy, so intimidating,” Kari Wuhrer says with furrowed brow. “No, just kidding. He’s so funny and so charming and has such a clear vision and, first of all, he’s my idol — I worship Jerry O’Connell. I think he’s so smart and I just love being around him, period. And him directing, first of all it’s an actor’s dream to have another actor direct the show because all the things we complain about all the time he knows how to fix. It’s just been really fun. He’s just a smart kid, you know?”
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A common question that fans ask after watching this episode is: “Is that really Sabrina Lloyd singing?”
“It is me singing,” she says. “I do sing. It’s been a passion of mine ever since I was younger. I grew up in musical theater and I’ve actually been talking to the producers about it for a really long time and we just wanted to wait until the right story came along and we felt that it would work with the character. It’s going to be really good. I got to go into a studio and record the song — it was a dream come true. Definitely.”
Lloyd sings the Suckerpunch songs “Falling Behind” and “Deadbeat” during the episode.
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“You have to direct the script that you’re given and I’m very fortunate that I got this one,” Jerry says of Josef Anderson’s screenplay. “It’s a really good time playing with all the double entendres. We put together a [great cast], Duff McKagan was perfect for it. We got a guy Ryan Alosio, who’s a terrific actor, he plays the lead vampire.
“Getting Tommy Chong to do this episode was my real biggest victory in directing this,” O’Connell adds. “I mean, I’m a huge Tommy Chong fan and when I first read the script I was trying to think of who could play the character of Van Helsinger and Tommy Chong popped into my head and I said ‘is it possible, can we possibly do this?’ And our casting people immediately started talking to his and bang, he was here.”
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When Quinn and Van Elsinger are talking in the van, Van Elsinger asks “Or maybe you prefer to call them hematologically challenged.” In reality, Tommy Chong had a lot of trouble saying the word ‘hematological’ and muffled it in the final cut. As such, Chong was brought in to re-say the word (just the word) with correct enunciation and it was dubbed into the conversation later. If you’ll notice on screen, Chong took a bit of a pause before saying the word.
|Written by||Josef Anderson|
|Directed by||Jerry O'Connell|
|Music by||Danny Lux|
|Edited by||Michael B. Hoggan, A.C.E.|
I reserve my contempt for writer Josef Anderson, who has to be one of the laziest hacks to ever put pen to paper. The entire story is just one stopgap measure leading to another pointless scene, each with an even less credible back-story.
Wade falls under the spell of a gothic-rock band's charismatic lead singer, who — unbeknownst to Wade — is also a full-blooded vampire with a taste for young groupies.