March 13, 2024


Quantum Leap | Pamela Romanowsky

Quantum Leap | Pamela Romanowsky
Fate's Wide Wheel: A Quantum Leap Podcast
Quantum Leap | Pamela Romanowsky

Mar 13 2024 | 01:11:21


Show Notes

Pamela Romanowsky discusses her experience directing episodes of Quantum Leap, including "As the World Burns", "Leap. Die. Repeat", and "Secret History". Head over to! and be sure to visit to pick up the season 2 posters and much more! Thank you, Patrons! Al’s Place Leap Fan Site, Bourbon and Boardgames, Carolyn, Cosplay Dad, Joanne Bartlett, Dana Bius, Rich Bourque, Kevin, Carol Davis, Deckslower, Dermot Devlin, Barry Donovan, Brian Dreadful, Troy Evers, Larry Ganni, Jason Geis, Sophie Gilbert, Christina Gist, James Gould, Kelly M, Michelle Hoffman, Amy Holtcamp, Laurie Johnson, Bess A Korey, Lady Eternal, Max the Mental Health Warrior from Madison Wisconsin, MercuryBeat, Oddly Specific with Audra, The Quantum Leap Podcast, Christopher Redmon, Adrian Sal, Karyn Saxon, Jerry Seward, Mike Stoufer, Heather Strbiak, Damon Sugameli, Larry Trujillo, Stuart Williams, Jill Wilson, Our Anonymous Patrons Become a patron or donor yourself: Monthly: Fate’s Wide Wheel on Patreon ( Feedback? Send us an email: [email protected] #quantumleap #scifi #tv #television Takeaways Attention to detail in production design is crucial for creating a cohesive and immersive world. Surprising the audience with multidimensional characters adds depth and complexity to the story. Bringing a character's story to a satisfying conclusion can be a rewarding experience for both the director and the actor. Balancing storytelling between different locations and perspectives adds depth and richness to the narrative. Collaboration and creative friendships are a great source of inspiration and joy in the filmmaking process. Chapters 00:00 Introduction and Background 02:45 Directing Leap Die Repeat 06:05 Collaboration and Communication 09:04 Working During the Strike 13:09 Directing As the World Burns 22:48 The Emotional Core of Secret History 25:48 The Visual Style of Secret History 37:30 Attention to Detail in Production Design 39:02 Creating Multidimensional Characters 40:20 Highlighting the Character of Tom 42:25 Exploring Peter's Character in the Imaging Chamber 44:16 Humanizing Tom and Peter 46:21 Bringing Hannah's Story to a Conclusion 50:42 The Magical Realism Scene with Addison and Hannah 54:26 Balancing the Storytelling between HQ and the Leap 57:43 Working with Fire and Special Effects 01:01:06 Wyatt Parker's Performance as Jeffrey Dally 01:08:11 The Inspiration of Creative Friendship

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Episode Transcript

Sam Fain (they/them) (00:00) Welcome fellow travelers of Fates of Wide Wheel. I'm your host Sam and I am thrilled to be joined on this episode by Pamela Romanowski. She's the director of Leap Die Repeat, Secret History, and the penultimate episode of season two, As the World Burns. Really looking forward to this conversation. Pamela, how are you? Pamela Romanowsky (00:18) Great. Um, I'm excited to be here. Your love for the show is obvious and wonderful. Um, thank you so much for doing all these great interviews and posting about it. Um, it's, it's just been such a joy to be a part of the show. So I'm always happy to talk about it. Sam Fain (they/them) (00:35) Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I'm so glad that you're here and definitely have a lot of great stuff to talk about. Let's go ahead and just kind of start at the beginning for you. Leap Die Repeat was the first episode that you directed on the series in season one. Were you at all familiar with Quantum Leap before the revival series came along? Pamela Romanowsky (00:56) little bit. So my um, fill in origin story here is that my parents did not let me watch TV as a kid. I was a Montessori kid and they were you know like the en vogue thing at the time was like TV will rot your brain and so I read a lot and I watched a lot of TV at other people's houses. But you know so I have these huge swaths of like 80s and 90s pop culture that are just missing entirely. But I did get to see Sam Fain (they/them) (01:03) Yeah Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (01:25) at other people's houses. And so I knew a little bit about the show. And at the time, you know, it was like, I think my agent had set up and I was really excited. And at the time, met with like the original showrunners. And then when I got there, it was Martin who is now the showrunner. And I know him well. I worked for him on Blind Spot. He's one of my favorite bosses ever, favorite people to work for. So that was a really fun surprise. And Sam Fain (they/them) (01:26) Hahaha. Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (01:55) You know, I was so, I wasn't allowed to see very much before that and now in retrospect, because there are all these sort of recalculations going about the show. So I was so curious, like, you know, would the reflection shots still be playing and what even, you know, would you still be seeing the host only in the reflection shot? And it was just so cool to see how the original was both preserved and interpreted and you know, how they've evolved it. And it's been really cool, you know, befriending Deborah and you know, getting Sam Fain (they/them) (02:02) Sure. Pamela Romanowsky (02:25) to hear, sometimes she'll be on set and just in passing mention some really cool thing about like the original concept of the show or you know how people react to holograms. It's really cool to have the combination of the you know sort of the legacy and the history and then also the permission to interpret it in a new way. Sam Fain (they/them) (02:35) Hehehe Yeah, absolutely. It's funny, you mentioned about Martin, who I've not yet had the pleasure to speak to, but everyone says similar things about him being an amazing person to work for and just a great show runner. Yeah, of course, it's worth mentioning that you don't just start your existence as a director of Quantum Leap. There's a lot of other television on your belt, including Blind Spot, Riverside, Dash and Lily. There's other stuff. You know, you were prepared to kind of step into a show like Quantum Leap, which is obviously very different from a lot of other television programs, just in the conceit that every week kind of almost feels like a mini movie because they're going somewhere new, some when new. And with your first episode in particular being something that was so different from anything that had been done before, not only on the revival, but even the classic series. Was it challenging, exciting, a little bit of both? Pamela Romanowsky (03:43) Exciting. I started my film life as an indie filmmaker and went to NYU to get my MFA into the Sundance Labs. And the first thing I made was an indie film that A24 released. So I grew up in a tour zone where, you care about the sound design and you care about which lens you're picking for everything. You care about everything. So I care about everything way too much. I'm a meticulous over-preparer. Sam Fain (they/them) (03:44) Hehehe Hehehe Hehehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (04:13) I don't always share my opinion, but I have an opinion about everything. And, you know, it's interesting that scares people a little bit in the episodic space. Like that was the difficulty in transferring the currency of indie film auteur to working episodic director was like, you're gonna be cool, right? You're gonna shoot a show that, you know, you're gonna match the style and you're not gonna like make waves or do anything crazy. And it's like, no, absolutely not. My job here is to like, is to serve the show and deliver you the best episode that I can of the show that we know and love. So in some ways, Quantum Leap is no different. You come in, it's a massive moving machine. There are already characters. They have already made choices. In that way, it's very much the episodic deal. What's super cool about it is that every episode gives you the opportunity for an additional style. Part of the reason I love working for Martin and for Dean is they're really clear on what they want to need and then they're very flexible or they give a lot of trust in after you have these three things I need. Like go nuts. And I'm super communicative. I'll say, Hey, I'm thinking about doing this, this and this. And they'll say like, yes, no. You know, I'm all about communication and transparency. I don't want anyone to ever be surprised. And I want everyone to be yes ending. Sam Fain (they/them) (05:28) Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (05:36) And, you know, I'm there with a team of experts, everyone there is absolute top of their game, top of their craft. So I always wanna know what other people advise. What do you think? Here's what I think. And I feel that it's my job, no matter what the visual style is, and no matter what I'm doing, whether it's my own vision, an existing show's vision, a little bit of both, you know, it's my job to lead the ship, and I'm the only one holding the map of the scene and of the episode. Everybody knows where we are that day, but there's no one else tracking moment to moment how all these decisions are informing the feeling of tension or the feeling of home. So that is the great privilege and the great pressure of being a director is that you're the one who is looking at all of those things at the same time. I find that thrilling. I love holding the map and I love when people wanna see the map. Sam Fain (they/them) (06:05) Yeah. Yeah, you know how there's a number of things that I would have followed up on but the first one I guess that I'll ask about is you know that spirit of collaboration which seems to be so strong on the show and it's something that you know I've heard repeated time and again by writers, producers, or directors is that there is such a strong sense of collaboration and that everyone is so invested in making you know the best show possible and you know frankly I've heard from some people that it's like it's not always like that you know on TV sets and stuff so you know for you especially being the one that's holding the map How do you remain open to that spirit of collaboration and keep that kind of the ideas flowing back and forth as opposed to just trying to control everything? Pamela Romanowsky (07:14) Oh, interesting. I definitely don't think of it as the job being to control everything. It's more of like a coordinator, a diplomat. You know, the best compliment I can get at the end of an episode is, I'm really proud of what we did together and I had a good time. Like I feel good. So I'm not at all in that camp of like being a tyrant and control things. I'm more trying to figure out like, how does this person's engine work and how can I give them like the very best tools to have that thing running? Sam Fain (they/them) (07:29) Yeah. Hehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (07:43) the best it can. And of course, everybody's got the challenge of time and money and weird restrictions and all of that. But I think the best collaborations come from giving a lot of trust that like Genevieve has amazing ideas about costumes. And I love to weigh in. I love to go look at fabrics. Like she's amazingly collaborative. That's always yes and it's that, you know, like Sam Fain (they/them) (07:44) Yeah. Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (08:08) she's never defensive, she's never, it's just like, what's in your head and what's in my head and ooh, that's cool and what about this? Everyone on the show is like that, it's amazing. And it's very true, it's not usually like that. There's always someone who's got a little bit of an ego or defensive or something. So it is kind of a magical workplace in that sense. And it is very collaborative. I came up, again, like NYU is a conservatory program. So it's like every. Sam Fain (they/them) (08:27) Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (08:36) Every single hour I spent learning directing and writing, it was also camera, sound, editing, producing, aesthetics, acting. So I think of myself as very multilingual. I speak the languages of all these departments, but I'm not an expert in any of those things. Like Raymond and Caitlin are the experts at acting. I'm just there to be like, I do speak this language and have some thoughts. Sam Fain (they/them) (09:04) Yeah, I mean, I think that that's such an incredibly important trait to have to be able to communicate in everyone else's language, because they are like different languages, you know, and to be able to have that experience. I mean, I know, you know, for me personally, like, you know, going to theater school and those the first year just being, you know, on set crew on, you know, on light crew on, you know, doing all of these things. And how it not only I think does it make you more well-rounded artist, but it also gives you a deep appreciation for the people that are doing those jobs once you may no longer be doing that job. Which is which I think is so, so important to be able to respect everyone else's efforts. You know, you mentioned A24 and of course, the film, I think you're speaking of, was The Adderall Diaries, which, you know, great film based on a great book. And, you know, just such a I think. Pamela Romanowsky (09:49) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (09:57) in some ways, unfortunately, incredibly timely and important story. 824 is such a fascinating company to me, both as, you know, as a production company and also as a distributor. And one of the things that I really appreciated is that they were one of the first, you know, companies to really, you know, kind of meet the requests of SAG after in order to keep things going. And, you know, with the, with the strike going on, I'm just kind of curious. Pamela Romanowsky (10:19) Mm-hmm. Sam Fain (they/them) (10:23) What was it like for you during that period of time when nothing was happening? And then of course there were some of these smaller companies like A24 that came along and said like, hey, we can do this. We can make these agreements and keep things going. Pamela Romanowsky (10:35) Mm-hmm. That was a tricky time. I think everybody was so stressed financially and practically, it was, you know, I can't say I enjoyed it, but for me, that was a very creatively fertile time. It aligned with some big changes in my own life. And so it was a moment of just being like, fuck it. And sort of working on things that I wanted to work on, passion projects. Sam Fain (they/them) (10:39) Hmph. Hehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (11:05) And so I spent a lot of time writing, which was great. I felt like in contrast, I know this wasn't true for a lot of people. It was not a creatively fertile time for many. That was true for me during COVID, like the quarantine with unlimited time in which to write, I was so, the existential dread was just like, there was no competing with it. And so I certainly made a lot of gluten-free pizzas. Sam Fain (they/them) (11:33) Hahahaha Pamela Romanowsky (11:33) But I did not write anything good. I did write, I wrote, I worked on like, generated a first draft of a feature that I still really love the idea of and have since revisited. But I remember like just getting through it and reading that draft at the end of it. And I was like, what? 12 drunk people wrote this? This is insane. Like, I just could not focus. And man, that was a hard time. So yeah, the strike ended up being very fruitful for me. And I also, you know, traveled and just did stuff that I wanted to do. I think for me, it felt like it had an end date. I didn't know when it was gonna be. It was certainly longer than anyone wanted it to be. But it wasn't like COVID where I was just like, do workplaces exist? Is this talking to other people? Am I gonna be on a plane again? Like I still lived in New York technically when that started but I was in LA and I was like, where do I live? What's happening? So yeah, all things considered like strike. Sam Fain (they/them) (12:13) Yeah. Hmm. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (12:33) Uh, not great, but, um, Wow. The bar, the bar was reset by COVID and I will never, never complain about time off where I'm not thinking about death all the time. Sam Fain (they/them) (12:45) Right, yeah, when you can kind of, you know, sidestep the existential dread for something else. That's, you know, it makes it all okay. Pamela Romanowsky (12:50) Yes. Yeah. So I went to France, ate so much cheese. I wrote, worked on a feature, worked on a pilot, saw my friends, um, picketed a whole bunch, ran into all kinds of people there. Um, yeah, I think I used that time well. Sam Fain (they/them) (13:09) Yeah. And then, you know, coming back from it, and when did you find out that you would be directing the penultimate episode of the season? Pamela Romanowsky (13:19) Hmm. I think I was, it was around Thanksgiving. I think it was at Thanksgiving. Yeah. So. Sam Fain (they/them) (13:26) Okay. So basically right after things ended, it was like, you're gonna you're gonna do this. Pamela Romanowsky (13:31) Yeah, interestingly, the last thing I did before the strike started was, um, secret history, like my last day was the day the strike started. And then the first thing I worked on backup was, um, was this one as the world burns. And it was, um, and especially long shooting period because the air date had gotten so close to the production date that all of the VFX heavy sequences had to be shoppers. So ended up doing like. a prep and then a shoot and then a prep for the rest of the episode and a shoot for the rest of the episode. Sam Fain (they/them) (14:07) Interesting, interesting. I definitely want to come back to that. But before we do, I definitely want to spend a little time with leap, die, repeat, you know, the conceit of the episode and seeing Ben kind of reset, you know, and go through these leaps, this leap multiple times just in different leap hosts. You know, what was it? What was it like for you, you know, figuring out ways to, you know, keep the story from being like, I mean, obviously, the perspective changed. might just be enough, but as a director, how did you approach that story in order to keep it from being the same thing every single time? Pamela Romanowsky (14:41) Okay, so I love Groundhog Day and obviously there's a lot of parallels there. One of the things I love is the use of detail and pattern and rhythm to sort of put you in the same brain space as the main character. So Margarita had written it, who's an amazing writer, she'd written in a couple of kind of like insert-y detail shots that ended up not being integral to the plot, like the clock ticks over. Sam Fain (they/them) (15:00) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (15:10) Um, and those who have seen it know why those things are important later on, but I really latched onto that and I was like, oh, okay, cool. This episode is like musical and rhythmic and it's about this pattern that we need to recognize enough to see when something changes and see how that's different. So the first time we shot, I mean, that whole episode was inside that one room, which I think previously was like Ben and Addison's Lost and then Loft. It had just been something. Sam Fain (they/them) (15:31) Hehehehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (15:38) as I was finishing, they were turning it into the battleship. It was like, I'll work out. So that one room, you know, once we had, like day one of shooting, the first thing I did was walked everybody through what happens in what order with every detail, like the Colonel lights his cigar, Eugene hits this button, you know, what is everyone doing in what order? And so we just rehearsed that a bunch and hit all the dialogue and all the beats that have to happen. Sam Fain (they/them) (15:41) Oh my gosh, wow. Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (16:08) And then after we'd established that, then you go in and scene by scene, it's like, okay, but in this one, there's this detour to the television where they're gonna watch the speech. And in this one, Eugene does something different. But it was really cool to establish almost like a play, like this is the scene we're gonna see over and over again, and the repetition is important, and the recognition is important. Sam Fain (they/them) (16:32) Yeah, absolutely. You know, you mentioned rehearsal, and I'm just curious, like, do you, I mean, I know it's not something that time always gives you the luxury for, but is that something that you like to do in general with your actors is give them the opportunity to rehearse scenes? Because I know sometimes that can't happen. But, you know, with this episode, obviously, it seemed like it was very important. But is that something that you try to always do? Pamela Romanowsky (16:55) No, it very rarely happens to be honest. By rehearsal, I mean the three minutes in which you walk through the scene and decide the blocking before you lock it in and show the crew and start lighting. So yes, there's always rehearsal, but it's between one and three minutes. And everyone's like waiting at the door to come in and start working. So you can take rehearsal time. I've seen other directors take longer to do, that's called the private rehearsal. Sam Fain (they/them) (17:14) Hahaha Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (17:24) I've seen other people take longer to do it. I would always rather have that time on camera. Like I'd rather have more takes than more rehearsal time, unless there's a reason. And in this case, there was a reason. So to me, it's worth seven minutes of rehearsal time, which cost me a take later to just walk through this and make sure we have it right and make sure we've memorized it, like it kind of sets the tone for the day and it's like the, the point of this episode is precision. And so. Sam Fain (they/them) (17:33) Mmm. Pamela Romanowsky (17:53) That's what I'm going to devote the time to. But often that's not the case. And it's more about discovery. And you just kind of. Rehearse on camera. Sam Fain (they/them) (18:01) Yeah, oh no, I love that. I think that that's fantastic. I mean, it's just there's so much, there's so much that can always, you know, just happen during the work. And I think it's like, one of those things with my background in theater, there are times when I know for a fact, like I've seen it happen with other actors, I know it's happened with myself, where something amazing happens in rehearsal, and then it never happens again, which is fine, you know, that's just the way it goes. But to have the opportunity to, you know, to capture some of that stuff, as opposed to, you know, waiting for opening night when there's an audience or whatever, I think is really cool. Pamela Romanowsky (18:28) Yeah, of course. Sam Fain (they/them) (18:29) Had you worked with any of the cast before you did Leap Die Repeat, whether it's the guest cast or the main cast? You know speaking of kind of the language and talking to actors Can you think of it? I'm thinking of Caitlin in particular because I know that there are were a number of moments in this episode for her that I think were difficult because you know she's having to react to something that Pamela Romanowsky (18:36) Mm-mm. No. Sam Fain (they/them) (18:57) Caitlin, the actor, can't necessarily see, whereas Addison is experiencing this in the moment, in particular thinking that Ben has died. What were the conversations like to kind of get to that moment, or was it like you were just saying, more a case of let's just shoot it and see what happens? Pamela Romanowsky (19:15) I mean, the wild thing about TV is that unlike a film, you don't meet the director. Like if you're the cast, you don't meet the director until they walk in. I always try to stop by during the previous episode while I'm in prep and just say hi. So they're not like, who the fuck is this woman? But yeah, you don't really get to have those conversations so much. So what I like to do in general is like, the first thing that happens is you just stand with the actors and the writers. Sam Fain (they/them) (19:31) Hahaha. Pamela Romanowsky (19:43) and just read the words. And for me, the writers thinking about other things, the actors are thinking about their questions. For me, I'm just watching with no input so far. How is everyone, what decisions are being made? And is there anything that I interpreted about the scene that's like wildly different from whatever else is doing? That never happened. It's never wildly different. Like actors are amazing. Sam Fain (they/them) (20:08) Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (20:09) And it's mostly just me saying like, oh, this is terrific. They're all, we're all thinking the same thing. And so in general, most of my directing is like, I love this choice, do it more. Or this choice is interesting, but we can't see it yet. So where can we put that? Or like, yes, it's this, but you're also realizing a betrayal here. So you're right, Caitlin does. She has this unique pressure. Um, to like, like Ben is constantly about to die and in trouble. And so she has to modulate like what her reaction is and. How, you know, this is a, this is a character who lives in this, like tense, fast paced environment. And she is particularly personally sensitive to it in a way, like, you know, Jen has her sort of. Vineyard of like being cool, calm and collected, like Addison's kind of the. the proxy for the audience here. And so we do need to like see her react as if she isn't like surrounded by the risk of death all the time and can sort of let these things out, but she's also got this background that that's part of it. So a lot of the conversations in that episode with Caitlin were about of the five times we're gonna see Ben die, like. What is the tone of this one? What does it mean? And they change so much. Like that was the most interesting thing about the episode is like the first one, it's like, oh, it's a real death. This is like a truck full of grief to your gut. And it's real. And then there are ones that are like, well, this is an annoying detour. Sam Fain (they/them) (21:45) Rame. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (22:01) It's they're so wildly different. Like there are deaths that are like, oh, what a drag. And that's it. So that was really cool to work through with her and with Ray. Like, what is the tone of each one of these deaths? And how do how do we chart that over that visit? Sam Fain (they/them) (22:19) That's fascinating. I appreciate that. And I think that, you know, one of the things that makes the episode so successful is that, you know, not just with that particular element, but there are so many moments that and I think, in a way, it provides, you know, an outlet for the show sense of humor in general, because there are those moments has been as traveling through like each iteration that you start to see. Yeah, that that's sort of like, okay, this again, you know, it's like, what, you know, how am I going to figure this out? How am I going to figure this out? Um, and then of course we get to the, to the end of the episode and, and it kind of, you know, it's, it's interesting because it kind of turns into it's gone from being sort of this sort of like, you know, concept, sci-fi story, groundhog day sort of thing to now being kind of just mystery. Like it's like all of a sudden Ben is, you know, the detective having to put all the pieces together. Um, for you kind of looking at the whole of the episode, you know, w was there anything that stood out to you immediately that you gravitated towards is like, you know, this is, this is my way in to help tell the story. Pamela Romanowsky (23:18) Hmm. Um, I think, I mean, the elevator device I thought was really cool. And the reality of like the practical way that we ended up shooting that. To me is, is like the dilemma of being Ben where it was like, wait, now I'm who, what's happening, what am I wearing? Where am I? Um, so we thought, I mean, this is just like a silly like trivia thing, but. Sam Fain (they/them) (23:41) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (23:46) Initially, I was going to shoot Ben in each costume from, you know, whatever angles needed to be shot, because the way that we built this elevator is like, oh, the walls will pull instantly at, you know, five minutes, whatever. And so we were like, okay, well, to make things easier for everyone, let's just like have him be the Colonel and do the two shots and the mirror shot that we need. And then we'll be out of there. And some needed more than others, obviously, like not everything at a wide shot. And then on the day, It was like, oh no, this wall is gonna take an hour to pull. And so you have to shoot every direction. So poor Raymond, who is like the most wonderful optimist and just makes everything fun, he changed like 40 times. Cause it was, it was like, okay, now we're going to do this like wide shot with the doors open and so like, you're going to do Mallory and then you're going to do the Colonel and that, you know, like you just had to do all five people for a lot of. Sam Fain (they/them) (24:18) Oh no... Wow. Hehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (24:44) different angles. And it was one of those things that was last minute. And so it was just like, it was just my shot list that I was like, well, I know exactly which lines and moments we need in each shot, but like, there's no way for me to explain this to anyone else in time. Like you just here's like, I have to trust my shot list. So, you know, I just like sat down and took my laptop and was like, reoriented it per direction. Sam Fain (they/them) (25:10) Mm-hmm Pamela Romanowsky (25:11) So it was like, okay, now you're the Colonel. I need you to, you know, like pull out the lighter but not light it. You're gonna turn to this guy, he's gonna say this. And everyone was so cool and just trusted that I knew what I was doing. Thankfully I did. But it was really fun. Like that could be a stressful situation, but everyone is wonderful. And the spirit of the show is like, where are we now? Okay, let's figure it out. So it was... Sam Fain (they/them) (25:36) Ha ha Pamela Romanowsky (25:40) Yeah, I just thought that was like a great experience to have with Raymond. That kind of gets at what it might be like to be men. Sam Fain (they/them) (25:48) Absolutely. Yeah, that's really cool. So I moved away from leap die repeat, because obviously I want to talk about the other episodes as well. You know, Secret History is a fan favorite. It's one of my favorite episodes, you know, not just of the season, but the show as a whole. And, you know, I think Drew's script is so much fun. You know, one of the things I remarked to him is it's like, this is what I would have played in my backyard, you know, it's like, this is like, just so cool. And of course, you know, one of the other big elements is that Pamela Romanowsky (26:14) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (26:19) It's the first episode where we really get to know Hannah. You know, when we saw her prior, it was just for a couple of short scenes in the third episode of season two. So, you know, coming into this episode, already having one under your belt and knowing that the direction, I think, of season two was in a lot of ways very different than what season one had been. And that it's very much about these human beings, the connections that they're making. There's not really that big meta plot like there was in season one. Did that alter your approach to the episode at all? Pamela Romanowsky (26:51) Interestingly, I didn't shoot this episode that far in time from Leap Die Repeat because there is no hiatus between seasons. So yes, to some extent, I'm always aware of what has evolved since the last episode and I've read the scripts and I've watched any cuts. But for me, the key to any episode, yes, there's what exists and I'm maintaining that. It's always my first conversation with the writer. Sam Fain (they/them) (26:57) Of course. Pamela Romanowsky (27:19) I'm just trying to like see inside their brain. And it's like, in your wildest dreams, what does this look like and feel like? And how can I get as many of those nuggets as possible and make your dreams come true? Like that's always what I want more than anything else. So I met Drew, you know, before we started prep just for lunch and to talk about the script and like, I loved the script and of course had my, you know, kind of like mental shot list going and pulling references and stuff. Sam Fain (they/them) (27:30) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (27:47) But Drew really, really knows what's in his head. It's super clear. He's really good at communicating it. And so one of the first things he said was, this is Indiana Jones, but it starts a Hitchcock plot. And I was like, yes, here we go. Like music's my ears. I love that. It's just so specific. And then everyone understands totally all the time what's happening. And so that informed the production design and making that stained-glass window, which I spent way too much time doing. Sam Fain (they/them) (28:00) No! Hmm. Hmm hmm hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (28:16) It was like it needs to be more amber and it looked like this reference. And so it informed to me the sort of central conflict the characters are facing, their inner life, the dilemma of the episode, to me that informs the visual style. There are things I personally like, like I have my own taste. I kind of throw that away for what lets you inside these characters. So the whole point of directing is to see inner life. Like it's all I'm doing all the time is like, how do I bring that out in every design choice, camera choice, performance choice? So to me, I mean, every scene in this episode I loved and for the record, it's one of the things I've made that I'm the proudest of. I truly, truly love this episode. It was an absolute joy to work with Drew. So there were a lot of scenes that I loved. One was like the sort of passage from you know, the, the cool fake claw or the clock secret door and going into the room. I was like, Oh my God, I can see this shot. It's like Harry pottery almost like I just wanted to go through that wall so badly and have this dramatic color temperature shift and have her holding that lighter. Um, and it's so, it's great to have those ideas early because you can build this up for that shot. Um, so it was really wonderful to like, to have so much visual specificity. Sam Fain (they/them) (29:18) Yeah. Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (29:42) and to know exactly what the blocking was gonna be and what was gonna happen in order to design those sets and make them all work together. So that was really fun and informed kind of the way I was gonna shoot all of the action adventure part of it. And then the goodbye scene with Ben and Hannah right before he leaps, like I can't read that or watch it without crying, it just moves me so much. And there's a really specific way I wanted to shoot that with like... Sam Fain (they/them) (30:04) Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (30:10) you know, this golden light in the 360 steady camera shot. And I was like, this needs to feel like, you know, before sunrise kind of like, I think it's so romantic and so bittersweet. And for me, that was such a critical character scene because Ben is an eternal optimist. He never complains. He always does the right thing. He always gets the job done. And it's really hard for people like that to show vulnerability. It's really hard for men to show vulnerability. It's hard for everyone to show vulnerability. So to me, that scene where he was willing to like, in his action, let his guard down and sort of let someone see the dilemma that he's in, going leap to leap and knowing that he'll never see these people again. Like he has no foundation, he has no home, he has no safety. And so to... Sam Fain (they/them) (30:54) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (31:06) let that out a little bit, I thought was really profound. And of course her, I mean, her one question where, she could know anything and she wants to know his name. I was like, that is the most beautiful expression of love. It's like with everything on the line and everything at stake, what you want is to know someone. That's beautiful. That blew me away. So to me, it was like... Sam Fain (they/them) (31:13) Yeah. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (31:32) this wonderful scene about the nature of true love. And so I just wanted it to be as like. sincere and open-hearted and beautiful as the sentiment behind it. Sam Fain (they/them) (31:48) I'm mission accomplished. I mean, honestly, like I've loved that scene since the moment I saw it. And it's something that I talked with Drew about when he was on the show for that episode and, and Dean as well, he, uh, Dean and Drew were both guests for that episode. And so, um, I, I think that moment is, is so incredibly special for all the reasons that you just mentioned. I mean, you know, the asking of the question and, um, you know, I think that both Eliza and Ray are just so fantastic in, in the scene. Um, you know, I'm curious, were there any conversations beforehand with the actors about that, you know, that inner kind of life that you were talking about in the emotional core of the scene? Or again, is it just an opportunity to say like, you know, let's go, let's see what happens. Pamela Romanowsky (32:34) Honestly, it's just a let's go see what happens. Again, you get, when you read the scene, like you kind of know whether everybody's got the same interpretation of this. And Ray and Eliza are some of the best actors I've ever worked with. Like had their take on it been wildly different, I probably would have said, oh, let me look at what I thought was gonna happen and rethink that because I trust them implicitly. But everything that I saw Sam Fain (they/them) (32:49) Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (33:04) in the words and between the words they also saw. So I never remember exactly what I say between takes. And sometimes people ask me and I'm like, oh my God, I'm like a goldfish. I just like go in there and you know, I like scrawl like a serial killer in my margins through the whole take and then I run in and do my thing. But I do remember talking to them about, you know, before sunrise and the desire to make time stop. It's like the one. Sam Fain (they/them) (33:12) Ha ha ha. Um... Mm. Pamela Romanowsky (33:34) thing that you can't have is more time. So enjoy it. Like that's the way that we try to slow down time is by savoring it. I do remember having that conversation and I do remember asking for vulnerability and just talking about the, you know, the beauty of wanting to be seen and like really let her see you and look at her. And, um, yeah, I don't remember. Sam Fain (they/them) (33:43) Yeah. the Pamela Romanowsky (34:04) They're so wonderful. I love directing conversations, but they are so private and they're so kind of instinct based. And so I don't always remember what I say. Sam Fain (they/them) (34:14) No, that's why it sounds a lot like, you know, like, like flow state where like, ingenuity and instinct meet experience and preparation. And you're not really thinking and you're not, you know, it is one of those things where after the fact is just sort of like, what did I just do there? I mean, it worked, but what was it? Well, you know, what exactly happened? So I, I totally get that. Um, you know, Pamela Romanowsky (34:19) Mm-hmm. There's this phrase a friend of mine uses a lot, listen to understand, not to reply, which I think is a wonderful piece of advice for life. But I sometimes find that in directing that I was just watching the take to watch it and like be in it. And if you're not sort of plotting what you're gonna say next, it takes me a second. Like I'm just present and then I call cut and then I'm like, oh, should I have to say things now? Sam Fain (they/them) (34:42) Hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (35:03) So then I have to kind of catch up with like, what did I want to change? And that only happens when the scene is already great, obviously when it's just working. But it's kind of a fun thing to experience where you're just like, oh, I was just watching the movie. It was great, good job. I certainly felt that, you know, the take that we used in the cut of that kiss, that was one where I was just, you know, I walked over there and it was like. Sam Fain (they/them) (35:03) Ha ha! hahahaha Pamela Romanowsky (35:30) I don't have any notes. That was fantastic. I was just watching the movie. Do you guys, do you need anything else? And everyone was like, no, it was great. Let's go home. Sam Fain (they/them) (35:40) I love that, listen to understand, not to reply. Georgina Riley was on the show like the week after Christmas and when she and I were talking, we kind of were talking about a similar thing, you know, about like really listening and, you know, not just waiting for your turn to talk sort of stuff. So I get that. And it's difficult sometimes, you do have to work at it, but it's incredibly important. And I think, especially for artists, it's something that you have to have because Pamela Romanowsky (35:47) Great. Sam Fain (they/them) (36:08) you know, if you're not really listening, there's no hope of any sort of scene partner, whatnot. One of the things that's so remarkable about the episode two, in addition to that emotional core, and obviously reanalyses performances, but is the visual style of the episode. There's something so beautiful about it. And being in the era that you're in, and it's the 50s and everything, I'm very curious as to what you did and how you worked with getting the effect, the visual effect, because there's something about it that just feels like, oh yeah, that looks right. And not just the costumes and the cars or whatever, but just in general, the overall look. Can you talk a little bit about that? Pamela Romanowsky (36:54) Yeah, I love to pull references. Ana is such a brilliant DP. And so we each pulled references and that's such an amazing time during prep where you're just developing the look of the episode. I also really like the DP to be with me all the time during prep. So, you know, if they can't be there, don't wanna be there, that's fine. But I would never make a costume decision without their opinion. Sam Fain (they/them) (37:21) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (37:22) I would definitely never pick a location without their opinion. So, you know, during prep, like I'm glued to the DP, and the AD, like, here are my people, this marriage didn't even happen. Once I get to set, I hope that everyone is so aware of what we're doing, that I can sort of let it go. Everyone's got the shot list, we all know what we're gonna do, and I can really focus on being present with actors and, you know, putting most of my energy there. But yeah, I think... Sam Fain (they/them) (37:30) Hehe Pamela Romanowsky (37:51) I think that I like to do is to zero in on a detail and like really nail that in with each department. So for this one, that's the stained glass window and the drawing and the clock and then the reflection on the clock. Like that was so obviously the thing to solve that we spent a ton of time on it. And so, you know, we like look at 10 different clocks and we pick one and we're looking at we're opening the doors and they're like, okay, well, what if we put it in the wall like this? And it's actually opening here. And like But we have to change this because the hands moving is part of it. So, okay, now, now we've picked the glass shape. Now let's put the bevels like this so that it goes with the window. And then I did like, I don't know, 20 drawings of stained glass windows to be like this, this color palette and this sort of thing, and it's the physics library. So it has the sort of these themes to it. Um, and like. You know, there's a Indiana Jones still that has like that exact color palette. So I wanted the ambers and oranges and reds. Um, so once you nail in details like that, and what does this drawing look like? And are we doing the full like parchmenty Indiana Jones thing? Yes, we are. Um, then everyone gets it. And then it's easy to pick paint colors and do the rest of the sets. Um, same thing for like picking Hannah's dress. And again, Genevieve so wonderful and brings. Sam Fain (they/them) (39:02) Hehehehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (39:15) brings you fabric samples, you can touch them and gets everything made. And so figuring out what these costumes look like, then all the background costumes make sense and all the styling and getting the hair and makeup right. So yeah, I think it's like telling everyone like this is Indiana Jones with the Hitchcock blonde and everyone's like, oh shit, that's cool. And then you nail it one detail. And once you have that perfect, it's like, okay, go forth, extrapolate. Sam Fain (they/them) (39:39) Hehehehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (39:44) To me, that's kind of the best way to focus the many, many conversations that all have to happen simultaneously. Sam Fain (they/them) (39:52) that's really cool. I like that. It sounds like a really wonderful way to work and it gives you the opportunity to really kind of like, yeah, kind of put the stamp on like this thing and then, you know, and then allow, you know, that just everyone else to kind of create based off of that and it makes perfect sense. One of the things too that's remarkable about Secret History, in my opinion, is that, you know, yes, you have this incredible story. you know, this beautiful look, Eliza and Ray are just fantastic and you carry the story so well. But we also get some really wonderful performances from our guests, including Colin Douglas, who plays the professor. One of the things that I really loved about his performance is that I, I feel like a lot of times with a character like that, a role like that, it would have been telegraphed from like moment one, that this is you know, that this is the heavy, right? And you don't do that, that doesn't happen. And I think it's, you know, I think it's partly Cullen, like I think he does some really wonderful stuff with it. But also I imagine like from your perspective that was something that you probably wanted as well. Is that true? Pamela Romanowsky (40:57) Mm-hmm, absolutely. And he, Colin's magic and his audition tape was so clearly the guy because of that surprise. Like I know what's scripted and I was like, oh, I did not see that coming. Yeah, he is wonderful and knew exactly how to disarm and make his body language and mannerisms like, you know, Sam Fain (they/them) (41:03) Hehehe... Mmm... Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (41:25) diffuse things. You'd never suspect that guy. He's like a, you know, kind of timid nerd. And then like, no, he's not. He's not gonna sort by you. Sam Fain (they/them) (41:30) Right. He's a Nazi. I just I what I just love that so much because it's again, you know, oftentimes it is something that gets telegraphed and it takes away I think some of the power that reveal and oftentimes what you know what I'm thinking is like, well, if that person was really trying to fool everybody, they'd really be trying to fool everybody, you know, and so that was one of the things that was so successful about it for me is it's like, Oh, yeah, I was fooled. Um, you know, another thing that stands out is I feel like with Tom with Peter, you know, we hadn't had the opportunity to really get to know Tom very well up until this point. And he'd had a few scenes here and there, but most of it had been with Addison. Pamela Romanowsky (41:57) Mm-hmm. Sam Fain (they/them) (42:19) And now, of course, we get the really unique opportunity that he's in the imaging chamber, he's the hologram. And so we get these scenes with Ben, which are awesome. I'm just curious about what was your approach to that? I mean, obviously, again, Drew had written some wonderful stuff, but you're the one that's gotta kind of put it all together. So yeah, what was your approach to kind of highlighting that character a little bit and giving those scenes the opportunity that they needed to breathe and to help? Pamela Romanowsky (42:25) you Sam Fain (they/them) (42:46) really give us a better picture into who this person was, because we hadn't had that at that point. Pamela Romanowsky (42:52) Yeah. Amber alert. Sam Fain (they/them) (42:55) Uh, no, apparently we have a tornado in February. Yeah. Uh, unreal. I think so. Yeah. I just need to double check something. I mean, I'm, I'm in a basement area anyway, but my goodness. It's February. Oh yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (43:01) Oh my God. Are you safe and okay? God. Yeah, I grew up in the Midwest. I remember that particular fear. Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (43:25) Yeah, I think it's just fine here. Just a thunderstorm. Let me check in here. They certainly wanted to make sure I didn't miss it. Pamela Romanowsky (43:48) Exactly. Sam Fain (they/them) (43:49) All right, yeah, I think everything's fine. OK. So. Pamela Romanowsky (43:54) we were talking about Peter and Tom. I also loved the opportunity to learn all kinds of new things about Tom and give Peter the opportunity to have these multidimensional things about him. I think Tom is there to be a specific guy and he has no cracks in the exterior ever. So it was really fun to put him in the situation where he's always on the back foot. This is a guy who's like his whole thing is Sam Fain (they/them) (44:16) Hehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (44:24) competence, you know, so to throw him into a situation where he is not good at what he's doing and then to see that he has like a sense of humor about it and that, you know, and that he is like trying to problem solve in a really sincere way. You also find out that like he has this whole ass life. He has he went to college and experimented and had fun and then had tragedy and had this other love in his life. Sam Fain (they/them) (44:26) Hmm. Yeah! Pamela Romanowsky (44:52) Um, so I thought it humanized him so much and changed him from like Tom, the guy who's there to do a thing and have a plot and be a romantic foil to like a really interesting multidimensional person. Um, and I know it was cool for Peter to let all these things out. And it also, because that was happening, gave Ray an opportunity to explore the side of Ben that we also don't get to see because it's not perfect. It's not optimistic. Like. Sam Fain (they/them) (44:54) Yeah. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (45:18) He gets jealous and he loses his temper and he wants to fuck with him. So we had a great time doing those moments, like the little, like the fuck up with the handshake and Ben's just like withering look. Like we all cracked up after every take of that. And it was so much fun. And it was Peter's idea to do the repeat of the handshake at the end. Sam Fain (they/them) (45:22) Yeah! Mmm. Pamela Romanowsky (45:41) which was not scripted and I thought was so cool. And we shot that scene first. So always, you always shoot the end scene first. I don't know why it just happens that way. But he did the handshake thing and I was like, oh, that's cool. I like that. It's like an echo of this thing. And the way that he reacted to it, which was sweet and humble and like he had this humility and it connected them. To me, that was a key to like how Peter saw this. Sam Fain (they/them) (45:45) Oh well. Hahaha. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (46:09) sort of dissolution of the Tom exterior being a positive and humanizing thing. And so that was really fun to run with. I was like, this guy's really open to letting this character breathe and evolve. And that's great. Sam Fain (they/them) (46:21) Yeah, and it really felt like, you know, especially by the end of the episode, when he like comes out of the imaging chamber and he and Addison have that, you know, little scene where, you know, she's like, it's OK if you talk about your, you know, your wife. And I it just provided him, you know, within the context of that episode alone and even what had come before this really nice kind of arc that I felt like going forward. You know, I obviously there was a large portion of the fandom that still thought that he was going to be a bad guy or something. It was going to happen. But for me, Pamela Romanowsky (46:30) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (46:51) You know, I never really thought that. I just wasn't necessarily 100% sold on the character until Secret History. And then it was just sort of like, oh yeah, okay, I get it now. I get it. And I'm looking forward to see where this goes. You know, one of the things that's really interesting to me is that through Secret History and as the world burns, you had the opportunity to direct two, you know, Hanna-centric episodes, which other than, you know, Chris Grismer, I mean, nobody really had the chance to do that. And... Pamela Romanowsky (46:58) Thank you. Sam Fain (they/them) (47:20) So when you got the chance to revisit Hannah in As the World Burns, and really, in some ways As the World Burns might be the most important Hannah episode. Yeah, what did that feel like? And just kind of again being given kind of the, in my humble opinion, kind of like the honor of being able to kind of really bring that character home on this journey that we'd been on since the beginning of the season. Pamela Romanowsky (47:42) Yeah. It was incredible. When we finished Secret History, Drew and I were both like, we should have made a movie. Like, this is a love story, man. We should have made the other half of it. So I feel like I got to. It was so wonderful. I got the story area for it and had talked to Drew and I was like, oh my God, it's the chance to finish the Hannah story. Obviously with Chris and Drew in their episode, but. Sam Fain (they/them) (47:52) Hehehehehehe Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (48:14) I was so excited and also Eliza is the goat and she's so great to work with, like in many ways. But for example, the scene where she has to like write the equation in the dirt, like simple scene sort of on the page, there's a lot going on there for her. Like she is trapped under rubble that's made of foam and has to make it look like it's not. So she has to turn in a specific way that she's like not dislodging that. And then she's writing with not her dominant hand. Sam Fain (they/them) (48:20) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (48:44) an equation that she has memorized. And doing like a monologue that was much longer in the script about covalent and ionic bonds and then having to do that all at an American accent, which is like the least of her worries and she makes it all look so easy. Um, but watching her like, I mean, I guess there were two times where I saw Eliza write out a really long equation. She is so smart. Sam Fain (they/them) (49:03) Yeah. Hehehehehehe Pamela Romanowsky (49:17) Like memorizing an equation that had like, you know, I was pre-med in college and I took physics and I don't know what any of that means. Like it is hard to memorize something in a different language. It's hard to memorize the string of symbols. And she was like, I had no problem. Could you do it the other hand? And can you do it laying in the dirt? Also, you can't make eye contact with the accent. Also, you know, like I can see the rubble moving. Like she's just such a champ. I just love her and I'm so impressed. Sam Fain (they/them) (49:25) Ha ha Yeah. Yeah, I- Pamela Romanowsky (49:46) Yeah, it's like, what a gift to get a Hanna-centric script. Sam Fain (they/them) (49:52) Yeah, I, you know, I have had the good fortune of being able to speak with her a couple of times for the show. And I just love her work so much, you know, on Quantum Leap. And I hadn't been super familiar because I hadn't seen 100 before. And so I was kind of like, you know, coming to her fresh and just immediately, you know, from the moment she's on screen and close your encounters until, you know, the end of against time. It was just sort of like this is this is perfect. You know, I love everything about this. Pamela Romanowsky (50:19) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (50:21) You mentioned, you know, one of the things, the components of that scene, which it's one of my favorite scenes, probably the season to be honest with you, much less the episode is the scene between Addison and Hannah. And it's incredible because like you said, you know, Eliza can't or Hannah rather can't hear or see Addison. And yet, Pamela Romanowsky (50:29) Thank you. Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (50:42) There's this wonderful, and part of that, of course, is the writing, right? Like Ben and Derek, I think, wrote this really, I mean, it's my favorite script that they've written, quite frankly. But part of that also is the actors and the directing. Yeah, how do you direct a scene like that, where you've got these two people sharing a scene and they are scene partners and there is an engagement going on there, and yet it's not traditional by any means? Pamela Romanowsky (50:49) Yeah. Yeah, I love, you know, like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And to me that was a magical realism scene. And I was like, let's lean into it. So, you know, I usually don't like push back on writing at all. And in this scene, there was like this beautiful stage direction that said, you know, across space and time these two women connect in a way that, you know, only quantum leap can make them. And I was like, you have to put that in the scene. We have to see that. Like, when can we see them, you know, Eliza respond in a way that it feels like she's heard Addison? And how, like, is there like a word that can be repeated? And it ended up being bonds and bonded. And, you know, It was really interesting how that scene developed and how everybody leaned into sort of magical or realist moment of it. And Dean shared with me something that he'd written that was like, you know, outside of the script that kind of began the season. Maybe he told you about it because he had a letter. He showed me the letter and I was like, Dean, are you trying to kill me? Oh, this is so beautiful. But I really got it there and I was like, okay, that's what we need to do. Sam Fain (they/them) (52:16) letter yeah I know. Pamela Romanowsky (52:31) and it needs to feel like they are in conversation. Like it can't literally be that. And so Hannah cannot know where she is in the room and like have an eye line with her, but everything else, like Hannah is so beyond our understanding of space and time. I believe that there is some way, and she's just so smart and good at people. Like there's some way she could predict like what the muted half of this phone call would be and answer those questions or speak to it. Sam Fain (they/them) (52:58) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (53:00) Um, and it was, it was to me an opportunity to show that these women are like two sides of the same coin and almost soulmates. It like, it's supposed to be a love triangle, but it's actually about how these women are so similar and have so many of the same gifts and are, because of that are able to help Ben and be there for Ben in a way that no one else can. So to see them be mirrors of each other in that way, I thought was so beautiful. And again, like an amazing commentary about love and what real love is. Sam Fain (they/them) (53:34) I love much of like the season storyline and the arcs of both of these characters as well. I mean, both of these women, everything that they've been through throughout the course of the season. And at this point, you know, I think we have a better idea maybe of where Addison's headed. Although certainly no clue as to where she's specifically headed by the end of the season. But you know, it's her journey over the last few episodes in particular, I think, has brought her to a place where, you know, when Hannah's talking about There's the callback to quantum entanglement and the idea that this bond that they share, it can be stretched to the limit, but they'll always come back together. You really start to see exactly what's been at stake here for Addison in so many ways. One of the other things that's really remarkable about that scene is the way that we cut back to HQ a couple of times and we see the reactions of Ian and Jen. Pamela Romanowsky (54:41) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (54:55) There's joy over the fact that, you know, oh my goodness, we're, you know, it's Hannah's code and we can fix this. And yet at the same time, there's no denying the stakes of what's happening, you know, on the leap. So what's it like to, when you're putting together, you know, your shot list, and when you're, you know, you're seeing that story, then to actually go in and edit, for instance, to be able to weave those two sides of the story together? Because it's one of the things that I feel like in season two, especially, Pamela Romanowsky (55:19) Mm-hmm. Sam Fain (they/them) (55:24) The show has done exceedingly well, you know, not just like the actual storytelling elements, but literally the just the editing of like, you know, this is where we go to HQ, this is where we cut back to the leap and that sort of stuff. So I'm curious what that looks like from your perspective. Pamela Romanowsky (55:27) Mm-hmm. HQ is always an interesting day because it's always one. So you shoot everything really fast. And that's one of those times where having the map be really detailed is important. And so I write out my daily plan. I call it includes the shot list, of course, but it's also like, where's everyone coming from? Where are they going? And especially for those overlaps, it's like, what's happening in the leap while you're in here? What, if anything, are they seeing on the screen? Sam Fain (they/them) (55:45) Wow. Pamela Romanowsky (56:08) Um, so that those things overlap and make sense and the decisions about, you know, what the camera is doing. Like there are transitions to help bridge those things. And, um, there's either energy that is in contrast or matches, depending on how connected you want to feel. Um, so that is a day I think it's most important to know, like exactly where in time you are and what the tone of it is and what, you know, what is happening other than the words on the page? There's a lot of dialogue to get out and there's a lot of techie stuff, but it's like, okay, but what's the emotion under this? And I think that scene is interesting because they do know the stakes. I mean, like you know in advance what you're gonna put on the monitors and what they'll be seeing. So, we know they're gonna see Hannah lying there in like dire straits, but. Sam Fain (they/them) (56:48) Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (57:07) they cannot help this sort of like jubilance over, you know, like small cog in a really big wheel. And so for the choice for that was to like a little bit ignore Hannah's dire straits and let that ramp up during the, you know, half with her and with Addison and to for Ian and Jen, it's about this discovery and about the massive change in fortune that is about to air. Sam Fain (they/them) (57:16) Yeah. Yeah, right, because they're excited about the possibility of having their friend back, you know. You get to play with fire in this episode. You get to blow some stuff up. What's that like? Pamela Romanowsky (57:43) Sure did, yes. Yeah. Oh, it's so fun. I'm a total pyromaniac, so like music to my ears. Like I read the script and I was like, oh yeah, this is gonna be great. So it's always really fun. And this was like, again, showing off sort of the expertise and skill of the people on the show. This was an episode that really did that because there are challenges about where you can really put fire, of course. And so- Sam Fain (they/them) (57:50) hahahaha Uh, huh huh. Mm-hmm. Pamela Romanowsky (58:11) It was a lot of coordination between stunts and special effects and VFX and lighting. And so we had to really plan like what kind of fire could be on each set and decide which moments. Initially, we're going to have like a whole hallway outside that we were going to light up and burn. And like for a number of reasons that did not happen. And so in the hallway, which like we had one hallway that was all of the hallways and we had one. Sam Fain (they/them) (58:33) Hehehe Pamela Romanowsky (58:40) apartment, those all of the apartments. So there was a lot of like creative, make this building look like a real building and not this tiny set, but we also couldn't put any fire all the way. So all of the fire that you see had to be some combination, like it couldn't be special effects, couldn't be real fire there. And so, but we had limited time for VFX to happen and Trent did certainly make some spectacular VFX happen. Um, but a lot of that is like smoke and light and then Alicia, the brilliant TP on this episode early on was like, I have an idea. I think I could invent something and showed me this little like aroma therapy mister on like Tmoo or Amazon or something. And it was like meant to look like a tiny fireplace and so I had this little steam, but it was lit. So it looked like a fire and she's like, make it big, right? And so she worked with Ryan Amber and the special effects guy and like created several of these sort of like, Sam Fain (they/them) (59:20) Oh cool. Pamela Romanowsky (59:38) light and smoke bars and then figured out the timing and like how slow to make the light. We did all these cool tests. We called it spa fire because it was originally a roma therapy thing and so we were always joking about like, this scene will be lavender. But it was, I mean, it was just so cool. Like she's an incredibly innovative person and at every phase it's like, okay, we need fire here. And it's like problem one, we can't. Problem two, there's no money. Sam Fain (they/them) (59:52) Hahaha! Pamela Romanowsky (1:00:06) Probably there was no time. And so we tried all kinds of things. We were working with like Todd Marks, who does the graphics on projection. Like there was a while where we explored that. We went down all kinds of avenues, um, to find like the best creative solution. And you know, in the stairwell scene, that was another place where we couldn't have fire, but we also couldn't have smoke. And so it was like, huh, but there has to be an explosion in there. And so we had, Ryan made this really cool air mortar that had, you know, chunks of debris, but also had a bunch of this sort of like. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:00:26) Oh my gosh. Pamela Romanowsky (1:00:36) chalk dust in it. And so it was that with lighting and it makes that whole explosion happen. Like there's no there's no VFX there. That's just what we shot practically. So it was really fun. They're like film nerd in me loves doing things practically. And I love VFX. So it was all the set extensions we did were so cool. You know, Trent just generating an entire building and making these massive flames. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:00:43) Yeah. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:01:06) And the cool, you know, the most fun piece to shoot because I had the biggest explosion was that exterior, the sequence where they're on the ledge. We just really built a small version and blew the windows out. And it was the best night of my life. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:01:12) Hmm. That's so cool. Just a couple more questions because I don't want to take too much of your time, but I have to ask about Wyatt Parker who plays Jeffrey Dally. Yeah, he does such a wonderful job, not only in this episode, but in Against Time as well. But in this episode, there's one moment in particular that just stood out to me, and it's the moment when he reads the letter from Ben. That moment is so incredible because, you know, again, it's something that I really appreciate. Pamela Romanowsky (1:01:28) Oh, thank God. Yes. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:01:46) He has no lines. He's not necessarily like the focus of the scene because Ben and Hannah are having that scene kind of but you know You choose wisely to spend time on him and on his face And he just tells such a wonderful story you talk a little bit about working with him and that moment in particular Pamela Romanowsky (1:02:03) Yeah, I'm so glad you asked Wyatt is a legend. Like if he wants to be and chooses to be, that guy is a movie star. The first thing I shot with him in the first day he had on quantum leap was that ledge sequence where he's, you know, like about to die is like just throw him into that. Yeah, exactly. He's just brilliant. He's so prepared. He can pop into something immediately. It's like emotionally resident. It's authentic. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:02:07) Hahaha Yeah, who's gonna catch you? Pamela Romanowsky (1:02:31) He can ground even these really big things. He's just a wonderful, wonderful actor, so talented. And that scene with the letter was really cool. We shot it a few different ways, meaning those pieces also went into the next episode. And when you see them in the next episode, it means something different because it's like, in mine, he's putting it together and he's like, you know, looking at that letter and it's like, oh, my love, Ben. Who the fuck is Ben? And then he looks at this guy whose behavior suddenly changes and she says, Ben, and he like, he puts it together. So in that moment, it was like... Sam Fain (they/them) (1:03:03) Heh heh. Pamela Romanowsky (1:03:15) He knew something was up with this guy and he does not trust him. And he doesn't like something about the interaction with his dad, like the memory of his dad and this guy, you know, his dad is like a mountain in his life. And there's something about this firefighter that's like a threat to that. And so in that moment, I was like, I just want you to realize he's a threat and step up to it. Like it is a threat you're going to attack. That's what we need to know here. And so seeing him put it together, experience sort of that surprise and then the turn of like, I accept this fight. You know, like he's going to be a competitor. So that was the sort of tone and it was really fun to play with and he's wonderful. And then I was like, okay, now it's the next episode. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:03:58) Mm. Pamela Romanowsky (1:04:11) this is not just I'm ready for the fight. It's like, I will dedicate my life to finding and ending this man. And that's a totally different thing in the villain origin story. And I don't think Wyatt had even gotten that script and he was like, wait, what's happening? And, you know, he's just so, he's so ready to make a big choice and do it in a really grounded way. It really impresses me. And that's such a hard thing to do as an actor. I definitely see in that scene. The other thing is that in the, Sam Fain (they/them) (1:04:16) Yeah. Hahaha Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:04:40) in the apartment before they go on the ledge and Jeffrey's getting that box, to me that's also showcases what Wyatt can do in this wonderful way. So in the script he comes in, he gets the box, they have this argument, both of them, both Ben and Wyatt, or both Ray and Wyatt really wanted that to be a real fight and for it to escalate quickly and it's... it's a hard thing to do because it's an adult and a child, but they have to be peers enough for this to be like a real fight and for him to be Ben's kind of toughest case so far. And I think that works because Jeffrey has adultified himself so much, he's sort of, you know, like the parentification and it's gonna like cause all this like anxiety and resentment later. So you see that happening. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:05:11) RAM. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:05:33) Um, so I just treated it like a fight between two adults and they did too. And I thought that was wonderful. Um, but the, he did the coolest thing, like in rehearsal, he was, he was like, well, wouldn't I be trying to leave with the box? Like I came for the box. There's no way to put it down. And I was like, absolutely you should. And so it turned into this thing where at some point then he had to get rid of the box and it became this beautiful moment where, cause he can't go out in the ledge with it, like practically. So he has to do this. Like. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:05:51) Hehehehehe Hmm. Great. Pamela Romanowsky (1:06:02) amazing silent coming of age moment where he's like, I have to let this go. The kid in me wants so badly to keep this stuff and I can't, like I have to do something now. I have to like survive. And so he indulges in this one moment of like making it a moment and saying goodbye to his childhood kind of saying goodbye to like that hope that his dad will somehow like Sam Fain (they/them) (1:06:09) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:06:31) hold on. And so he's just putting a box on a table. That's all that's happening. But he made it mean goodbye. And he made it mean, after like over my childhood. And it was just wonderful. It was this beautiful moment. I'm so glad it ended up in the final cut. It was a hundred percent Wired. And it also, I was so proud of him for advocating for that instinct. Cause I think, especially for young or new actors like, Sam Fain (they/them) (1:06:54) Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:06:59) There's a lot happening, there's a lot of time pressure and you just wanna like make everyone happy and be in focus and hit your mark and stuff. And he does all that, of course, but just have him say like, hey, whoa, I came for the box. That's my objective, right? I would have the box. It was so cool. And I was like, why, yes, thank you for advocating for yourself and thank you for sharing this amazing instinct because that was kind of the key to the scene for me and how it is that he can come out on that ledge with this dilemma of like, am I a child or am I a man? Sam Fain (they/them) (1:07:11) Hahaha. Yeah. Pamela Romanowsky (1:07:30) It was so beautiful. He, yeah, he really impressed me. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:07:34) Yeah, I think something else that I really like about that moment too is that there's a simplicity to it, you know, it's like it conveys everything that you just said. And yet it's not too much, you know, there is really just a simplicity and an honesty to it that is fantastic. And I'm glad you brought that moment up because it was something that wasn't necessarily in my head at the time. So, you know, we're of course, as always happens on the show a little over time. I know that you have things to do. But I do have one last question. You know, this community this fandom lost a member back in December. Pamela Romanowsky (1:08:11) Yeah. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:08:13) And in the wake of Matt's passing, there's been a lot of stuff that has kind of gone through my head and certainly as it pertains to this podcast and everything. And I look at Matt as a great source of inspiration. And there are many things in my life that inspire me, obviously, my family and just art in general. And getting to do this and getting to talk to people like you is a great source of that inspiration. So my final question for you, which is something I've been asking everybody lately, kind of in light of that, is what inspires you? Pamela Romanowsky (1:08:47) Hmm. Man, Matt is a wonderful guy and is missed. And that's a great question. I find creative friendship to be the most exciting and satisfying thing in life. Of course, my love, my family, there are all kinds of love that are wonderful. A dear friend of mine said, I believe in true love, but I think it takes a lot of people to achieve that. And so one... specific kind of love is creative friendship. And the friendships that I have with Caitlin and Ray and Eliza and Martin and Dean, that's the juice for me. Like that, you know, I love the mechanisms of it. It's so cool to drive into Universal Studios and drive it in soundstage and make something, but it's like you're playing imagination with your friends. It's the most pure, like childlike joy to just... remember that's like, we're gonna imagine this spectacular thing, and then we're gonna make it real, and we're gonna get all our props and our costumes, we're gonna act it out, and we're gonna do it, and it's just on this grand scale, and then you get to share it with people who watch it and have opinions and connect with it and say, hey me too. And so you get to have these like creative friendships with people you might not even meet. That kind of connection I think is the most inspiring thing in my life. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:10:17) Damn, I fucking love that. That is fantastic. I will never get tired of hearing answers to that question, but that's gotta be one of my favorites, sincerely. Pamela, thank you so, so much. I really appreciate you coming on and I hope you'll do it again sometime because I wanna ask you about music. I wanna ask you about other stuff. I definitely wanna have you back sometime. So if you're game, let me know. But yeah, thank you so much for coming on and talking about your work on the show. Pamela Romanowsky (1:10:35) Hello! Sam Fain (they/them) (1:10:45) And I can't wait to see what's next from you, be it quantum leap or anything else. So thank you so much for your time. Pamela Romanowsky (1:10:51) Yeah, awesome. Thank you. That was a great conversation. And like I just said, it makes me so happy to have this kind of discussion with people. So thank you for connecting with being asking great questions and being such a thoughtful, insightful person. Sam Fain (they/them) (1:11:05) Thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right, fellow travelers, we're going to get out of here. Thank you so much for joining us. Remember, as usual, take care of yourselves, take care of one another. Stay safe out there and always, always leap responsibly.

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