Alan Tudyk and his old friend, Nathan Fillion have gotten together again to bring us a new series, Con Man. Tudyk writes, directs and stars as Wray Nerely, a former pilot on a former sci-fi show called Spectrum. Fillion plays Jack Moore, Wray’s best friend and former captain on the same show. Spectrum gets cancelled fairly quickly, leaving Wray wandering the sci-fi convention circuit and Jack becoming incredibly successful. It’s a very familiar story to the Firefly fans, and I feel like it’s part of the allure of the show. Instead of going to a network—Tudyk still has “trust issues” after Firefly—they’ve decided to turn to us fans to fund their adventure through the convention world. They went with Indiegogo for the funding and the campaign is going spectacularly well. I loved the idea so much that I immediately threw money at the campaign and am now impatiently awaiting the show. I had the opportunity to talk with Tudyk for a bit about the show and now I’m even more stoked.
SLUG: Now that you’ve hit the funding for all 12 episodes, are there any more special guests you can announce?
Alan Tudyk: We are getting more, and we will be announcing them as we can. Really there isn’t a role I wouldn’t love to see in Con Man. People have started to show interest now that Indiegogo has been successful. William Shatner was tweeting [about the show] just over the weekend. He was at some convention and people were asking if he was going to be in it since he was tweeting support for it. He said ‘They haven’t asked me.’ *Laughs* I tweeted back saying, ‘You can have any role in this you want. Just leave me mine, you can have Nathan’s.’ I don’t really mean he can have Nathan’s, but there isn’t much that he couldn’t come and say ‘I want that.’ There’s a lot of people that I would love to have in it. I can say this about Amy Acker, who has been announced. She is going to be one of the former cast members of Spectrum so we’ll meet her back then and today. She’s also Wray’s former onset romance, so there’s some tension there.
SLUG: Can you talk about how often any of the other special guests will be on the show, will they just be fleeting cameos?
Tudyk: There is a role, [we haven’t confirmed] the actress’ name yet, that is as big as Nathan’s role. She’s Wray’s booker and she is my favorite character in the show. She’s a former sci-fi actress that has now turned into a booker. She represents the “carnie” aspect of the conventions—someone who is very money-centric. She takes 15% of everything she can get her hands on. She’ll use 15% of his closet space in the hotel room and she’ll eat 15% of his food. She’ll compete in cosplay contests because there’s a chance to win a Subway sandwich. She uses every advantage, she’s very sexually active, she’s in her late 70s and she sees herself as this glamorous woman. So do many people. Other than that, a lot of it will be people you meet at conventions that will be in and out. There aren’t too many recurring characters besides Nathan and the booker.
SLUG: Do you have a favorite convention story that you can tell us without spoiling anything in the show?
Tudyk: They’re just parties. For me personally, they’re going from room to room, meeting people to suddenly someone appearing out of the crowd with a trashcan full of lobsters asking, ‘Where the hell are the elevators?’ and then they’re gone and you’re asking, ‘Did that really just happen?’ There’s stuff like that that happens at conventions that are sprinkled all the way through. There was one convention where wrestling was going on the entire time. There’s a lot of that in Australia, they do amateur wrestling, and I mean amateur. They don’t even have their characters down yet, some will be in costume, others won’t. Some people are just large. They don’t really have any skill level in the wrestling world, they just have a lot of weight on their side. Sometimes, it’s not even the convention itself, it’s the hotel, where you have to move rooms four times for different reasons—which happens in an episode, and that’s a fun thing that keeps happening in the show. The hotels themselves become characters within the show. If you have a convention that is in a weird, screwy, run-down hotel, that’s a big part of your experience.
SLUG: With all 12 episodes funded, why should we keep donating?
Tudyk: One of the things above the 1.75 that money will go to is making the world better [within the show] in the twelve episodes. I really need a fat suit. I was told I probably couldn’t have one. Since there’s 10 years difference between when Spectrum was on television and when Con Man takes place, when you meet some of the other cast members from Spectrum, one of them will have experienced some weight gain. This will be a great way to do that without having to cast two different actresses. Also, anything with Spectrum that involves effects, because there are aliens in that world, so there’s makeup effects and digital effects that we need to do. We had it budgeted to do them, but digital effects are the kinds of things that, the more money you have, the better they look. We’re happy with what we know we can do, but now that people have continued to give, it’s getting better and better.
SLUG: Will there be any new stretch goals after 2 million?
Tudyk: The idea of Spectrum within Con Man was a book that got made into a TV show. The book itself is being written right now. PJ Haarsma, our other co-producer and doing a lot of things behind the scenes, is actually a novelist and wrote four sci-fi books called the Softwire series. We’re borrowing some of his galaxies that he already created in these four books. He filled out this whole world with all these amazing aliens and theology that Spectrum is going to bump against in the book. The first chapter is written and I think it’s going to become a perk or stretch goal at some point. We also want to make comic books out of that at some point, because it would be a great way to tell that story. The novel is something that is going to take longer, obviously. Comic books get read by more people and it’s a quicker way to get the story out there, which I think would be interesting to people. There are more neat things coming. I wish I could tell you about them, but just stay tuned.
SLUG: Can you tell us a little about the show Spectrum itself?
Tudyk: What we know now is that Nathan’s the captain and I’m the pilot and [we know] what the ship looks like, but not what the ship is. Spectrum is a special spaceship that has a spectrum engine that runs off of dark matter that can bend space and time and jump through space. The characters come from Earth, but earth has been destroyed and a small group of people are the only ones that escape. I guess that’s all I can probably say right now, I’m the type of guy that would sit there and tell you everything. I’ll leave it there, but there is more to that story that we’re going to start to fill out as we can continue to fill out these goals. I will say that in episodes 10 11 and 12 you’re gonna get to see some of it. What’s interesting is that it’s the “lost spisode” so you’ll see towards the end of the series, not the pilot.
Check out Con Man’s indiegogo campaign! All of the videos are god damned hilarious and worth a view, even if you can’t donate. There’s plenty of rewards to choose from. The $25 dollar perks are perfect for those of us that don’t have a lot of expendable income. The $100 and under perks account for over half the funding, so donate what you can by April 10th. It’s filming in June and due out in July on Vimeo on Demand with the Blu-ray/DVDs out in December, should you choose that perk.