Emmys: On the Bloody, Gruesome Set of 'The Following' (Photos)
Ice picks, pacemakers and gallons and gallons of blood: Fox's serial-killer series, the No. 1 new show of the season, lured with gore, prestige casting and a no-one's-safe storyline.
This story first appeared in a stand-alone special Emmy issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
"Believe it or not, I do not like blood," says Kevin Williamson, the creator of the slasher franchise Scream and blood-soaked TV dramas The Vampire Diaries and The Following. But on this day -- March 14, Williamson's 48th birthday -- he and Following director/executive producer Marcos Siega are on the show's set at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, watching a scene from the ninth episode on Williamson's laptop.
They are debating the amount of sanguineous fluid that should be on the end of a harpoon after it passes through the abdomen of its victim, a woman sitting in a booth at a diner. The spear tip emerges from the back of the booth, pinning her upright in her seat.
"I'm worried we don't have enough blood," says Williamson.
"In my opinion," says Siega, "the blood is distracting from the spearhead."
Williamson admits to a sometimes "myopic" attention to detail including the amount, placement and pattern of it. On The Following -- a show with an operatic use of the red stuff and a high death toll -- such considerations are always in service of the story. Characters are not dispatched dispassionately. Explains Siega, "It's always nerve-racking any time we knife someone or shoot someone" -- or harpoon them.
Today, Siega is filming the pivotal scene in the season finale: the longtime-coming confrontation between serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and the objects of his murderous obsession, his tormented ex-wife, Claire (Natalie Zea), and FBI tracker Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) -- who also happens to have fallen in love with Claire before the season-long hunt.
Although there is an obligatory squeeze bottle of fake blood on an equipment cart, this time the bloodletting is purely emotional. As the actors take their marks, Siega calls to Purefoy: "Have fun with this one, James."