|by:||Feb 5, 2007|
Vancouver's Insight Film Studios is hoping for a 24-sized hit with Painkiller Jane, a new sci-fi series that began shooting a 22-episode season in November.
The series - based on the comic book by Jimmy Palmiotti and Joe Quesada and set to air on The Sci-Fi Channel - is a grim look into the near future, where genetic mutants square off in battle against undercover agents. It stars Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3, BloodRayne) in the title role, a woman who must hunt down genetically modified human beings who possess superhuman powers.
Jane, of course, has powers of her own. She can sustain virtually any injury - even loss of limb - but still feels the pain as intensely as any other person.
Insight Film has brought Gil Grant (24, NCIS) on board to write and exec produce. "This is an addition we're extremely excited about," says Insight CEO Kirk Shaw. "Gil has a proven track record of being able to create and build great suspense. Just as with 24, with Painkiller Jane you really have no idea of what is going to happen next."
Shaw says the impetus for the show came when Insight and Sci-Fi decided they wanted to do a show together. "They had already done a Painkiller Jane pilot [which aired in 2005], but were not entirely happy with it. We came up with our own approach to the character, material and the tone of the show. We envisioned making her more the fugitive, while still being part of a team. The idea that she would always be on the run gave us a lot of possibilities," he says.
Sci-Fi liked what they saw, and greenlit the series with a budget of $1.4 million per episode. Shaw is particularly proud of the outcome. "The world in which Painkiller Jane lives is a very interesting one. We've really taken ownership of this character and moved her forward. This is not campy at all - it's played quite serious, with occasional moments of humor."
The choice of the American actress Loken for the lead came after an intense domestic search.
"We wanted to cast Canadian, but we couldn't find the person who was just right. Then someone suggested Loken to us. Now I really couldn't imagine anyone else filling the role - she's amazing in it," says Shaw.
Painkiller Jane will premiere in April on Sci-Fi in the U.S. and on Global in Canada, with Starz Media distributing outside of North America. The season's shoot wraps at the end of July. It is exec produced by Rob Word of Insight and Jason Netter and Ken F. Levin of Kickstart Comic Arts Studios. Loken also serves as co-exec producer.
Insight is also currently filming Swarm, a made-for-TV movie for the W Network, in which Antonio Sabato Jr. (Melrose Place) and Jessalyn Gilsig (Prison Break) fight a planeload full of ants. Written by Mel Frohman, the shoot began on Jan. 17 in Maple Ridge, BC and will wrap Feb. 9. It will air this summer.