RAJQ Behind the Scenes No. 8
Hi folks, here's the scoop on "Diamonds & Jade." This idea was pitched to me
by Shaun McLaughlin, a fellow W B. Employee. Shaun did a stint of writing for DC
comics which includes a dozen terrific Aquamans and a Hawkman. Shaun currently serves
as a Production Big-Wig on the "Superman/Batman" shows. (I don't know his title,
but he has an office which I never did there!)
I loved his Wayang shadow puppet come to life idea. It had a real "classic JQ feel
to it. Intrigue, suspense, an exotic locale, a GREAT monster with a link to a real
cultural mythology. Add "Jezebel" Jade to the mix and the show is a "Must Do". (One
of only two outside story pitches we used for our 26. The other was Bob Goodman's
smart-blob idea "DNA Doomsday").
Shaun turned in his work in record time (pretty good, considering his lovely wife,
Patricia had their first kid (Hi Lauren!) during the assignment.) For complex reasons,
we decided to rework certain plot elements. (this happens all the time, yes, even
to me!) Since Shaun had done all the work required of him, I was given the task
of doing another draft. (Probably because the classic-type shows are my forte. I
wanted to do a Jade show too.)
It ended up using a lot of Shaun's concepts but the plot spun off into another direction.
Because of the time crunch, I called in "Chip Baloo" to help me crack some of the
new ideas. "Chip" is also a real devotee of the Classic shows and a much needed
fresh eye. The good news for Shaun is that he was able to parlay his JQ asssignment
into some JQ comic writing. He wrote several of the issues, including his almost
sold Vostok story "Countdown to Chaos". Check 'em out. They're great.
I hope Shaun likes what I did with his idea, he's a good friend. My only problem
with this episode is it's "anime-ish" look. Probably my least favorite animation
of our season. (Though "General Winter" which was my next show, came out perfect.
as you'll see when they run it.)
You want Factoids? You got 'em......
1. This was my most research-intensive episode. I had to do a lot of reading on
Jakarta and even went to a local College where there was a two-hour Wayang Kulit
show. "Chip" and I videoed the whole thing and he interviewed the puppeteer afterwards.
It was VERY cool.
2. I took the Jade from the Classic series. (Ignore the TV movie Jade. IT IS WRONG
ABOUT HER). Jade's new voice was Tasia Valenzia. She knocked out all us poor, helpless
males by exuding feminine grace. Kris Zimmerman, our fantastic voice director noticed
this and kept teasing us about it through the recording ("Getting a little warm
in here boys? You're all sweating") Tasia was incredibly good and we were happy
to bring her back as Jade for "The Robot Spies".
3. All the names are authentic from that part of the world. (D'jalong [which actually
kind of means "puppeteer"], Mohasson, Kumar Mukharno, Mantjur, N'Joman [the bodyguard
4. There was a cut line about Jade having some old run in with the local law. (That's
why Mantjur is a bit rude with her at first.) A cut bit where Jonny and Jessie manipulate
Race and Jade into taking along to the theater: I'll recreate it here because I
like it. (though it WAS expendable for time)
Right before we chased that scarfaced creep, we ended up in a theater. There was
this guy there, a puppeteer...
CLOSER ON RACE. He keeps his eyes on the road.
ON JONNIE AND JESSIE:
(winks at Jessie)
WIDER ON GROUP. Race has a frown on his face. He sighs.
Okay, okay. You can tag along. I know better than to argue with the two of you.
Race spares a look at Jade. Jonny gives Jessie a thumbs-up.
(shrugs to Jade)
5. Our great music composer, Gary Lionelli used our video tape reference to do some
authentic-type wayang music. You can hear it mostly as Jonny and Jessie walk across
the courtyard to the theater. Gary's the best. I LOVE his "Outer Limits" stuff for
6. A related note. The puppets and shadow stage were somewhat simplified from the
same Video tape reference, but mostly accurate. (The creature aspect is made up
however.) D'jalong's speech to Jonny is nearly word for word from an old National
Geographic article on the puppets.
7. Jade was NEVER engaged to Race. She was lying to Jessie as a way of tricking
the girl into liking her and into doing the job at hand. Jessie's very smart, but
Jade is a master manipulator. Race's line at the end "Stepdad?" confirms this, but
it's rather subtle.
8. A bit cut for violence. At the police investigation, Inspector Mantjur was supposed
to point out some chalk line drawings of the shadow victims. They were in sections.
Too gruesome I guess (Hey, I think it would have been funny! but that's me).
9. The mirror had special properties. That's how it was able to affect the Shadow
Warrior (I think a cut line explained this).
10. This might be the first-ever chase scene with a whole house! (though I sort
of got the idea from "Lethal Weapon II")
11. I take a bit of heat for my Jessie's cattiness, but in Jade's case, I think
it is very understandable. The Jade/Jessie Dragonfly hold scene is one of my best,
I think. Jennifer and Tasia LOVED playing it. Nailed it in one take, I recall.
12. Not a factoid exactly, but it was sure fun to do a Classic style JQ after the
two VR ones
I think that's it. If I think of anything else, I'll post it.
"General Winter" is the next Behind the Scenes feature, but I won't do it 'till