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Interview with Showrunners John Requa & Glenn Ficarra About Their New Paramount Plus Thriller Series featuring Kiefer Sutherland “Rabbit Hole”

“Rabbit Hole” premieres Sunday, March 26, 2023

By Judy Shields

Pasadena, California (The Hollywood Times) 03/20/2023 – The Langham Huntington, Pasadena, California January 9, 2023

The Hollywood Times had the opportunity to interview Showrunners/Executive Producers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. Enjoy the interview:

Watch the Trailer:


For all those Jack Bauer fans, this is the show for you and anyone who loves Kiefer Sutherland.  You will have to rewind your streaming to watch some of it again to make sure what just happened on your television screen did in fact happen! So many twist and turns, which will make you wonder about our financial system.  The story has many turns and that amazing writing team of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (This is Us) takes us through the main characters life as it pertains to what is happening.  Great casting too, the cast really bring their characters to life.  You don’t want to miss this new thriller series.  It’s so cool that you have to wait until the next week to catch the next episode! The way to enjoy a show. The theme song for the show will have you downloading it as a ringtone! Judy Shields, The Hollywood Times

The first panel for the Paramount + Winter 2023 TCA Press Tour was for “Rabbit Hole.” The panel included, Kiefer Sutherland, “John Weir”, Meta Golding, “Hailey Winton”, Enid Graham, “Josephine ‘Jo’ Madi”, and Rob Yang, “Edward Homm” and
John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, Showrunners/Executive Producers.

Morgan Seal, with Paramount+ Communications started off with a thank you to all the press for joining them for the Television Critics Association presentation.  He said is was especially great to see us all there in person. He then introduced the first panel “Rabbit Hole” and welcomed the series co-showrunners Glenn Ficarra and John Requa.  Then introduced the series star and executive producer, Kiefer Sutherland and three other series stars, Meta Golding, Enid Graham and Rob Yang.

Showrunners/Executive Producer Glenn Ficarra said hello to everyone.

Morgan seal said: “John and Glenn, I’ll turn things over to you to make some introductions.”

Glenn Ficarra responded with: “All right, introductions? I’m notoriously bad at public speaking, so forgive us. I know you’ve got some episodes. We’re also excited to announce that March 26 will be our premiere date. We’re going to put the first two episodes up. And that’s the first time anyone is hearing that. And we also have a teaser trailer that we’re going to show you in a few minutes. And that’s for you guys only. It’s not going out wide yet. I guess that’s it as far as where we’re starting.”

He went on to say: “Rabbit Hole” is an eight-part series we created for Paramount+. It’s a paranoid thriller sort of akin to something you’d see in the ’70s, but it’s a little bit more, I’d say. I don’t know if anybody here has noticed, but we kind of live in a world that’s rife with conspiracy theories, some real, some imagined, mostly imagined. We’re constantly pummeled with disinformation that’s targeting us with personal data of our own that we provide. And, you know, it’s there to sell us things, and it’s there to make us believe the unbelievable. So “Rabbit Hole” exists in this world where deception and manipulation are the everyday reality. And it’s a paranoid thriller, like I said, where  nothing is what it seems. And that’s a big thing to keep in mind as you watch. And it’s told through the character of John Weir, brilliantly played by Mr. Kiefer Sutherland. Weir is a paranoid and distrustful corporate espionage operative who finds himself on the lam after he’s framed for the murder of a government official, played by that guy right there, Mr. Rob Yang. And that sounds simple, but it’s not because nothing in the show is as simple as that. And we’re going to constantly be reexamining it and investigating Mr. Weir’s past because nothing in the world of John Weir is simple, ever. And as we go through his past and through the episodes, we uncover the layers of the conspiracy that he’s up against. Weir is this brilliant tactician, but in order to kind of win, he’s going to need help. And that begs the essential question, which is can a guy who trusts no one depend on anybody?”

Behind the scenes with showrunners John Requa & Glenn Ficarra of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

John Requa added: We’re character guys, so this show presented a really fun playground for us, and it really was fun for us. I would say, at this point in our career, it was fun to tell character story in this world.  I have to say the thing that keeps striking us, we’re, like, “Wow, this show is really fun.” It’s maybe the funniest show we’ve worked on.”

Enid Graham said “Nothing is what it seems” and John Requa  followed with “Nothing is what it seems, yes. Perfect. We’re in your head.”

The first press question was: “So, you know, doing this series for Paramount+, I’m wondering, is it any different for you than doing a series for FOX? And what’s the shape of the TV industry like, from your perspective now that you have so many other options for places where you can work?

John Requa answered the question: “Well, my experience, obviously, with “24” was dynamically different in the sense that a season of “24” was a season of “Rabbit Hole” was a third of the season of “24.” So the workload was just dynamically different. Again, I had a really great relationship with the people at FOX and had an incredible experience working with them. The fundamentals of making film or television doesn’t change from company to company. Both places that I’ve had the pleasure of working with have been incredibly supportive of what we’ve been trying to do. So I’ve been very lucky in that sense. The real difference for me on a show like “Rabbit Hole” compared to kind of the different iterations that television is going through, certainly from the beginning of “24,” is that we are not as restricted in what kind of stories we can tell, and we’re not restricted about how we tell them either, whether that be language or sensuality or even violence. Those restrictions, certainly with streaming, have been lessened, which is funny because I don’t find myself running around, as this character, swearing. I don’t. But the option is there, and somehow it makes you feel different. But again, for me, the principles have always been the same about just having the opportunity to work with a cast like this, to be able to work with directors and writers like this. Those are the goals that one strives for, and this was as great an experience as I’ve ever had in my career.”

Question: “My question is for Glenn and John. Most of us have seen Kiefer in that room years after years after years. When you have someone like him who has so many TV shows, so many characters behind him and he’s so well known around the world for, of course, “24,” just talking about this one, what’s the plus and the minus to go to him and ask him to be the lead of your new TV show when you’re writers?”

Glenn Ficarra took that question with this answer: “I don’t think there’s a minus at all, but for pluses, there are many. And a lot of the show we knew, when we were writing the show, we were working with Kiefer. We had pitched him the show before we wrote it. Well, we had written the first episode, but we still had him in mind. And you are playing with someone’s history a bit, of the history of their career. And John Weir is a very tricky character. He’s oftentimes an unreliable narrator of sorts. And the great thing about someone who is basically an American hero, known around the world, they always know he’s on the right side, I think. And I think that helps you immensely when you have a character who is going into kind of murky waters and coming out. It was incredibly beneficial and important for us to be able to have a character that could kind of exist in this world and do kind of questionable things, but you’re still on his side.”

John Requa responded with this: “That’s a really good answer.” and Glenn Ficarra said “Hey, I’m a pro.” That got a laugh!

Question: “Tell me about the writing process and the performing process of giving your audience credit for their intelligence to follow your story, no matter how complex it may be, with Rabbit Hole“?

John Requa answered the question: “I’ll just speak to the writing, and then I’ll kick it to one of these people for the acting part. But writing the show was we kept saying in the writers’ room we want people to sit forward when they watch the show. We don’t want them to relax and feel comfortable. We want them to sit forward and be questioning where is the reality and drawing their own conclusions. That’s what we really wanted. We wanted people to, like, feel like they’re in front of the show. You know what I mean? So we wanted them to think, so we can potentially lure them down that road and then pull the rug out from under them. We’re just trying to and that’s the game and the fun of the show, we feel.”

Meta Golding: “Well, I think it was incredibly exciting to have everything not be spelled out. And even as an actor, when I read the first script, I didn’t know what was going to happen next. So that’s exciting, as an actor, to kind of know what’s not next. But it’s also great because you can be doing it as an actor, you can be doing a scene and just be playing the subtext, or having a secret is so delicious. And I think what’s great is it’s a smart show. And that’s really fun to be part of.”

Meta Golding as Hailey Winton of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Question for Meta Golding: “Can you talk about the physicality of the role and playing that “she’s not who she really says she is” kind of thing. Even though you know that, is that hard, is what I’m trying to ask?”

Meta Golding: “Well, first of all, hello, Pasadena. It’s so good to be in person. But yeah, I think that playing just a regular professional woman is how we meet Hailey. But also knowing that she’s got secrets and knowing that she’s a physical person and a fun person and an instinctive person.  Actually having my partner being Kiefer, and he’s sort of an icon of action, was super helpful because he’d be, like, “No, do it this way.”

Kiefer Sutherland: “One of my favorite moments when we were shooting, I wasn’t actually in the scene. I had come in to have a conversation with the director at the time. And I walked in, and Meta knocks out seven guys in a row in rehearsal and looks back and went, “Oh, that was fun.” So she means of what she speaks. The physicality did, I think, help all of us, and certainly she and I, in the role. In many ways, that brought us together.”

Question: “Enid and Rob, I was curious. Do you feel like your characters are maybe a little bit more straightforward?”

Rob Yang as Edward Homm of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Brian Bowen Smith/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Rob Yang: “Yeah. I mean, you know, the Ed Homm character is sort of — he’s the outsider, so he’s somewhat of a stand-in for the audience, so I’m not an expert in the spy game or anything. So I just had to sit there as an actor with a character and just kind of — you know, there’s a part of Ed that doesn’t believe this is happening. You know, like, I — I personally learned that I fit into a trunk. (Laughter.) Which is kind of awesome. I didn’t know that before.”

Meta Golding responded with “I didn’t know I fit into a trunk either.”

John Requa: “A lot of trunk acting in this show.”

Rob Yang: “It’s my best acting, I mean, when this was shut up and then my hands were bound. Yeah, it was fun. It was — I met everybody doing this show, so, in a way, it was like Ed and myself getting to know Kiefer and Meta in the scenes, as the character too. So it was very much of a — you know, a doe-eyed, you know, young pup trying to keep up and not get a cramp in my calf, you know.”

Glenn Ficarra added: “What about you, Enid?”

Enid Graham as Jo Madi of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Enid Graham: “Yeah. I — Jo Madi is such a great part because she’s so smart and also so ambitious, and she’s a mom, which, I think, is a really fun thing about the show. And she doesn’t take no for an answer, so then, I guess, the question is — she’s not afraid to break a few rules, so then the question is how many rules is she going to break. And so, yeah, straightforward in a way, but we’ll see. And it’s always fun to play all those layers and levels, you know, to be kind of ball busting FBI agent and to have a teenage daughter in the backseat, you know, of your cop car is a great mix and a part that you can’t turn down.”

Question: “Kiefer, why do you think we’re so fascinated by espionage shows?”

Kiefer Sutherland: “Well, it’s the world that most of us don’t know about. It’s you know, I mean, when we started talking about this, “Three Days of the Condor” was a film that was brought up. There were so many different reasons that I love that movie. But in that specific instance, the idea that the person who was in charge of knowing all their secrets was somehow having these secrets used against him, you know, is one of the great primal fears that I think we all individually have as human beings. But, also, I think we can’t help but wonder what’s going on. There has to be another world operating below or above the one that we’re just normally existing in. And whether it’s true or not, you know, we’ll be very interested in what that is. And, certainly, we will always be envious of people who seemingly have more information than we do. And so for all of those reasons, I think spy films have captured people’s imagination going all the way back to the beginning of film in the ’20s.”

Question: “So the present and even imaginary in the future technology, is that something you wrestle with in the show?”

Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kiefer Sutherland: “For me, this is actually a really interesting kind of question, because it’s at a moment where the character was as interesting to me as the overall idea. And I think we are living in a world that not since Pulitzer and Hearst went at each other over the dominance of kind of North American journalism and Hearst obviously won have we had the level of misinformation and disinformation and by disinformation, I mean misinformation on purpose in our society. And I think it is just simply it’s a common it’s a perfect storm of technology and and people working for not the best interests of maybe the greater good but for themselves and people’s willingness to want to belong. I think people have been kind of estranged from each other for so long. The pandemic didn’t help. Loneliness plays a huge part in this. And I think all of these things have converged on our society at the same time. I think they’ve gripped young people and old people alike and have created a news cycle that’s kind of catering information to what your wants are, to what you want to hear, to what your desires are. I grew up with Walter Cronkite, half an hour at 6:30, you know, and that was it and the rest country believed it. I remember that very famous line from Mrs. Nixon when she said the Vietnam War is over, and her husband, the President, said, “What are you talking about?” And she just said, “I was just watching the news. Walter Cronkite said it’s over.” And it was, you know. And now we have information coming at us from so many different areas. The idea of being able to be a part of a show that was examining that in a real way and an entertaining way was very exciting. And to be able to play the character that was using this to manipulate other people and have it finally be turned on him, you can’t ask for more as an actor. So those are the things that I was very excited about this show for.”

Charles Dance as Ben Wilson of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Brian Bowen Smith/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

RABBIT HOLE. Produced by CBS Studios, the eight-episode season will premiere Sunday, March 26 with two episodes. Following the premiere, new episodes will drop weekly on Sundays, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and Canada, and on the following day, Monday, March 27, in the U.K., Australia, Latin America, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France. The premiere date in South Korea will be announced at a later date.

In RABBIT HOLE, John Weir (Sutherland), a master of deception in the world of corporate espionage, is framed for murder by powerful forces who have the ability to influence and control populations.

Walt Klink as The Intern of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

In addition to Sutherland, RABBIT HOLE features a dynamic cast including Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) as Dr. Ben Wilson, Meta Golding (“Empire”) as Hailey Winton, Enid Graham (“Mare of Easttown”) as Josephine “Jo” Madi, Rob Yang (“Succession”) as Edward Homm, Walt Klink (“The English”) as The Intern and Jason Butler Harner (“Ozark”) as Valence.

Sutherland serves as executive producer for RABBIT HOLE, alongside writer-directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (“This Is Us,” “WeCrashed”), Charlie Gogolak (“The Sinner,” “WeCrashed”), Suzan Bymel (“Designated Survivor”) and Hunt Baldwin (“Longmire,” “The Closer”).

Kiefer Sutherland as John Weir and Jason Butler Harner as Valence of the Paramount+ series Rabbit Hole. Photo Cr: Michael Gibson/Paramount+ © 2022 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.





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