I read that Fringe had an interesting bovine problem because you couldn't use the same cow from the pilot so you had to bring in another cow and paint it to look like the original.Read the full interview at Starwars.com: J.J. Abrams Talks Fringe, Cattle and Star Wars
I wish that had been the biggest problem on the show. [laughs] We had an issue with the cow not being able to cross the border from Canada where we shot the pilot. Apparently, cows are contraband.
Did you have any other obstacles with Fringe that you hadn't come across being a TV show veteran? How has your experience working on this show differed than that of something like Alias or Lost?
I have relatively speaking very little experience, so every time I'm involved in a movie or a TV show it always feels like a brand new set of challenges. On this show, among others, it's a question of pacing the show and how much we reveal. We are obviously taking scientific notions and pushing them into insanity so this is not a documentary or a course on science. It's supposed to be taken as Frankenstein was -- an entertaining narrative that takes the ideas that surround us and push them much farther than they are currently able to go. When Star Trek first came out with communicators and the idea of a laser shooting something, these were scientific notions that didn't exist. And now 40 years later there actually are lasers that can shoot as weapons, and there are communicators that we have in our pockets. The idea that some of the stuff we're talking about potentially could come to pass is a fascinating one, but we're not pretending that this is all real and happening now. The fun of Fringe is that it's a "what if" scenario. Every episode gets to play with the impossible idea that something might happen and how do we deal with those ramifications and consequences? What does it mean to live in a world where science has run amok?
Even TV shows that are supposed to be based in fact like C.S.I. and House aren't exactly using proper science; you can't get DNA results in two hours.
Most legal or medical shows stretch the truth. There are trials and treatments that come to resolution at hyper speed and the reality is much different, but that reality isn't always entertaining. Fringe proudly and squarely exists in the science fiction world.
You often create Web sites for fictional companies like Massive Dynamic for Fringe and The Hanso Foundation for Lost to draw the viewer online and give them another experience outside the TV show. Why is a transmedia experience important to envision in all your properties?
Doing something online, whether it's stuff we did on Lost or Alias and even on Felicity -- one of the characters, Noel Crane, had a Web site -- the idea is more that, if I was watching a show and something was mentioned I'd be able to go online and see it. This just provides another level of discovery and interaction. Often there are clues that connect to things in the story if you care to pursue those or examine them or discover them. It's something as a viewer I like to do, so it really comes from my, and the team's, desire to create entertainment that goes elsewhere than just the TV or movie screen. That elsewhere might be online or places yet to be discovered. It's not about trying to blur the line, it's about creating an experience that is more than just the narrative that you are watching in front of you.
J.J. Abrams talked to Starwars.com about Fringe (and Star Wars).