EXCLUSIVE | Anthony Horowitz previews 'Alex Rider' Season 2 and talks the future of the series
The author of the best-selling spy-fiction series also serves as one of the Executive Producers of the hit show
Anthony Horowitz was one happy man when he shared his thoughts on 'Alex Rider' Season 2. The author of the best-selling spy-fiction series also serves as one of the Executive Producers for the TV series that received positive, critical acclaim for Season 1 and is now set to premiere with a sequel.
The books were, and are, still a smashing success. Alex Rider's journey as the teen spy working for the Special Operations Division of the MI6 was supposed to end after 10 books. It didn't. He was back in action again in 'Nightshade', a novel that was released earlier in 2020. And 15 years after the movie, Alex Rider was brought back to life on the small screen. And ahead of Season 2 hitting IMDb TV, Horowitz sat down for a chat with MEAWW where he spoke about the overwhelming response for Season 1, the challenge in the latest installment, and the future of the series.
Did it ever occur to you that there will be a prequel to the Alex Rider series?
Yes, very much so, because the response to season 1 could not have been better. I mean, worldwide we had the most fantastic response and fans of the books, like yourself, who had read the books were happy with what we had done with them and the series also appealed to a whole new generation. The sales of the books have been rising which means new people are coming to Alex Rider because of the TV series. In Television, of course, you never take anything for granted, but we did think very likely there would be a second season and are hoping for a third.
How challenging was it to shape Damian Cray's character and deviate a bit from the source material?
Guy Burt who is the adaptor also works with me. We worked very closely on the script. He does all the writing, I am happy to say. I think one of the first things we agreed was that we did not want the classic bad guys stroking a cat if you like. We wanted somebody who could understand and emote with, and who had a backstory.
And I think it was Guy who began to question as to why we've been wanting to do what he's doing. "Let's give him (Damian Cray, the antagonist in Season 2) a family tragedy that sort of motivates him. So although Cray is obviously an evil individual, I hope that he's understandable because he's reacting again to personal tragedy.
On transitioning from Alex Pettyfer to Otto Farrant, and the latter as Alex Rider
I could not be happier with the casting of Otto Farrant as Alex Rider. He is more adult, he was older. Alex (Pettyfer) was only 16 when he played the character whereas Otto was around twenty for the first season. I don't know exactly how old he was and we're very careful in not mentioning his age in the series because we're very aware that there's a whole audience that's grown up with Alex Rider who is in their 20s and 30s.
Alex is obviously not 14, he's older and we've tried not to be too age-specific. I think Otto looks like Alex Rider. He fights like Alex Rider, but what's even better is he thinks like Alex Rider. His emotional depth, his thought-process particularly in the second season which starts with him in in a very dark place and having to fight his own demons about who he is, how he's got to the way he is, how his life's going to work out, this is where you need an actor like Otto to really bring more to the role.
We can't do 40 minutes of chasing and fighting and helicopters and stunts. I think the second season has got a ton of action in it, but it has to be about emotion and thought too. That's why I think Otto is so good and why I didn't make comparisons to see which I prefer between the two. Alex was great in his time, Otto is good for the series.
If season 1 could be called 'Intense', how would you describe Season 2?
Intenser. I think it's funny because the adventure in this one is bigger than it was in season 1. In his own way, Damian Cray really really has a lot in common with Dr Grief, and again he's very grounded. We're talking about real people and Guy Burt's version of the villain, you see somebody you can understand and believe in.
Do you envision a spin-off for Yassen Gregorovich?
I would love to see that happen. You know, when you talk about the casting of this show, I am very, very happy with the nuclear family of Otto and Ronke and Brenock, who are just so lovely together. Thomas Levin is my dream Yassen Gregorovich. Everything he does is just perfect because he plays the part of a cold-blooded assassin, but he doesn't do in a way with his manner, but he does bring in a lot of intense, especially in the scene where he breaks into the hotel where all the hackers are. It's really scary when he confronts Alex in the warehouse. Thomas just brings so much to the show. I'd love to adapt 'Russian Roulette', the origin story of Yassen and I'd love Thomas to be in it.
Do you see more Alex Rider boos being adapted to TV series in the future?
Very much so, and Season 1 opened the door to Season 2. The response so far has been terrific, so of course, all our are with Season 3 or 4 to happen. The book I'd love to see next is 'Scorpia' as my next choice, but it isn't my decision. But if you want to put it in your article, I want it to be 'Scorpia'.
'Alex Rider' Season 2 releases December 3 on IMDb TV.