Brian Downey and Paul Donovan begin shooting a new project.

Science Fiction TV Show Guides Forums Cult Sci Fi Series Lexx Brian Downey and Paul Donovan begin shooting a new project.

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    Renee .S

    Here’s what Brian Downey posted on his site today:

    I am currently shooting a new project with Paul Donovan, which has at its center Rodrigo Borgia who became Pope Alexander 6th, in 1492. He was the father of the infamous Lucrezia Borgia and Cesare Borgia. We are now in the first part of what Paul plans to be a 4 part series. This part is titled “The Conclave”. We have a very , very strong international cast…. actors from Italy, Spain, Germany, England, and Canada…. Paul says I am the only Canadian with a significant role.
    The script is brilliant. The sets are WAY beyond amazing. People who walk on to the sets gasp… and I ain’t kidding folks…. you’d swear you had walked back 600 years into an amazing series of beautifully painted series of elegant and imposing chapels… check out Renaissance Italy to get an idea of the kind of elaborate art work and decoration that existed inside the churches of the time… anyway, here are some of the other cast members… Brian Blessed, who has been in all sorts of things, including playing Kevin Costner’s father in that awful “Robin Hood ” film, James Faulkner who has done many things , including being one of the 4 producers on a movie called “Zulu Dawn” shot in about the mid 70’s, and (for this shoot) our version of Kai who’sname is Manuel Fullola from Barcelona…. the ladies willLOVE this guy…he is our Rodrigo Borgia. Peter Guiness ( who played Van Helsing in “Walpurgis Night) is with us and so is Rolf (President Priest) and so is Holgar Kunkel ( (Mantrid’s minion in “Mantrid”) and Nicholas Irons….. These are all very good guys and very good actors….
    I’ll write more soon…. for now, let me say that it is an amazing shoot, and will be as unlike anything on TV as LEXX was for SciFi.

    Got to go bye-bye for now…



    I am going right to his site to find out what is up! 😀


    With the Donovan talent this is sure to be a winner. I wonder what role Brian is playing. It will be interesting to see him in a darker role. The only thing I really enjoyed about “The Net/The Web” thing was watching loveable Stan become so scary looking and evil. I bet Brian would be unrecognizable as some kind of evil church guy.


    With the Donovan talent this is sure to be a winner. I wonder what role Brian is playing. It will be interesting to see him in a darker role. The only thing I really enjoyed about “The Net/The Web” thing was watching loveable Stan become so scary looking and evil. I bet Brian would be unrecognizable as some kind of evil church guy.

    He said he would be playing a very pious man, Cardinal de Mella…. who was quite different from Stanley


    ENTERING THE VAST expanse of the Electropolis Studios soundstage in Halifax these days is like stepping into a time machine.

    At least four elaborate sets have been erected to evoke Rome in 1458 for the purpose of shooting The Conclave.

    Cameras started rolling Monday on the ambitious 90-minute television project about the notorious Borgia family.

    The 21st century intrudes haphazardly, such as when a visitor comes upon a sign stating “NO FOOD OR COFFEE ON SET” or is directed to the Grotto, the designated room for smokers.

    The dozens of crew members and actors populating the bustling complex also tilt the calendar back to the present.

    But The Conclave, a Canadian-German co-production, centers around Rodrigo Borgia, who became Pope Alexander VI.

    Thus the waterfront soundstage has been transformed into several lavish rooms in the Vatican to tell a story of electing a controversial Pope.

    “It is fiction, but it’s pretty historically accurate,” said producer Bill Niven.

    The project, which has been in the works for about five years, is drawing on the complete range of entertainment crafts.

    Over a hundred costumes are being assembled, many with large hand-stitched components.

    Complicated insignias and accessories have been fashioned from linens and velvet.

    Seemingly insignificant props such as a ladder have been assembled from solid ash.

    All this effort is being put into a story involving a historical clan often characterized by an unquenchable thirst for power, greed and accusations of murder.

    “They were wheeler-dealers,” Niven said. “At the same time, they basically allowed the Renaissance to happen.”

    Bruno Robotti, a veteran scenic artist in the film industry, has ensured that the walls of the large Sala Regia set are adorned with suitably elaborate frescoes.

    “All of the artists we have working on this, whether traditional or digital, are just amazing,” Niven said.

    Production designer Emanuel Jannasch said that The Conclave represents a high mark for him.

    “First of all, it’s a bit mind-blowing for us, too. It’s very rare that you build a set that big and that rich,” Jannasch said.

    “We’ve built sets that big before. The sets for Shattered City were probably bigger in dimension but the depth of the finishes and the details and the painting and the gilding and all that kind of stuff is at another level.”

    None of this could have been accomplished without a lot of research. Jannasch has a workspace at Electropolis dominated by a large bookcase filled with thick art volumes.

    “I went to Rome in February (2004). Then in June I was at the Metropolitan Museum looking at armor. Officially, I started in October. It was in segments,” he said.

    Robotti, who often works on blockbusters such as the remake of The Manchurian Candidate, said that The Conclave holds a special appeal for him.

    “For me, I’ve been waiting for this one for years,” he said during a short break from working on a set.

    “I’m interested in that period. When I paint, I paint in that style.”

    Robotti also came up with an innovative technique to simulate old marble floors in the Vatican. The effect was achieved by silk-screening paint onto the reverse side of rolls of linoleum.

    “It’s a good surface to work on,” he said. “It’s problem solving, that’s all.”

    Producers say the cast is split about evenly between Nova Scotians and Europeans, but most of the lead roles have gone overseas.

    Locals in the production include Brian Downey, John Dunsworth and Stacy Smith.

    If the cast seems worried about being overwhelmed by the visual splendour, they have a good way of hiding it.

    Downey could be seen in the Electropolis halls Tuesday showing off his breezy period haircut.

    “I’m saving a lot on shampoo and conditioner, as well as time,” he said. “It’s like sending my hair out for drycleaning.”

    Niven said that the five-week shoot has about a $3-million budget.

    The project has been a particular passion of Halifax filmmaker Paul Donovan, a co-founder of Salter Street Films with his higher-profile brother Michael. Paul Donovan, who wrote the script for The Conclave, declined to be interviewed.

    The Conclave is being directed by Christoph Schrewe. He also helmed six episodes of Lexx: The Dark Zone, the old Salter Street sci-fi series.

    The Conclave should be ready for showing by the fall. Niven said the potentially lush look of the project may even grace the big screen.

    “We’re also planning on doing a theatrical release, as well. We don’t have a distributor yet for Canada. We have to start looking,” he said.

    “We’re shooting it in high definition with this amazing camera. What we did was we took the high definition and we sent it to Toronto to the lab and they transferred it on to film and we rented the Oxford (Theatre) for an hour and showed the four-minute clip and it looked fantastic.”

    And this may only be the beginning of the story. The production team has hopes that The Conclave could ultimately be expanded to a series of seven television films.

    Currently, sales to Chum City in Canada and ARD in Germany have solidified financing for the first installment, which is also designed to stand on its own.

    Renee .S

    Here’s another link from Brian’s website posted by Goblin:

    Under features, there’s a video clip called Filming the Renaissance – get a look at costumes, sets, Brian’s new haircut…


    Did you love the mention of selling the set on ebay? 😀 *Grin*

    Perhaps if no one wants all the panels, they will break it up and sell them individually. 8)


    Hang it all! I cant get the little movie clip to play! I don’t know what application to use.

    Selling the set on ebay during the premiere of the show is an interesting fundraising notion. Kinda like watching a show and the shopping channel at the same time!

    Maybe it’ll show in the U.S. on a cable channel. I did manage to see Ellen “gigoratta” in a wrinkle in time on PAX last year.


    The only application I could get it to play in was Realplayer. It worked fine, if a bit blurry in patches, in that appy.


    Heard that Mr. Downey has finished filming his part. The hair style (fringe with a smooth shaven crown) was his, and not a wig.

    Hummm, this is not the kind of hair style you want to roam around with… what to do when your part is done filming….. Memo to self, next time WAIT until the hairdresser can wield the clippers. Who knew that trying to give ones self a buzz cut could be so fraught with disaster. 😥 Kids, don’t try this at home!

    Fortunately with the cold weather he can wear a hat until it grows in enough to be evened up. 😉


    does any one know yet when/where this show will be seen??? I wonder if any of the cable stations in the US will pick it up. Sometimes PAX shows canadian shows, and BBC america used to show a fake reality comedy from nova scotia.

    It would be interesting to see this new show, sounds really fun.


    Rolf sent two pictures from the Donovan Mini-series ‘The Conclave.’ One is with Brian Blessed, after he had become Pope. The other is a painted picture of Rolf’s Cardinal Bessarion character. Paul Donnovan wanted Rolf painted as this Cardinal and a portrait artist from Halifax, who was also working on the show did it.


    It’s almost as good as when giggy was pope!! Heh! 😀


    I didn’t realize that Til furman did worked on this also. I wonder if he did costumes or set peices?

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