ComicsVerse got to chat with Isa Dick Hackett (Philip K. Dick’s daughter and exec producer for THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE and ELECTRIC DREAMS) and Michael Dinner (ELECTRIC DREAMS) at NYCC 2017. They talk about Phillip K. Dick, ELECTRIC DREAMS and so much more!

Isa Dick Hackett: Where are you from?

Speaker 1: When Nerds Attack, sorry.

Isa Dick Hackett: I can’t see.

Speaker 1: Oh. There you go. Okay. Now I got it. [crosstalk 00:00:10] I’m a blank. I thought it was on both sides.

Isa Dick Hackett: And you?

Speaker 2-Male: I’m [inaudible 00:00:14] with Geek, Empire and FHM. The list goes on.

Isa Dick Hackett: Too much to list.

Speaker 2-Male: How strange is it for you to have all of this work going on?

Isa Dick Hackett: It’s very strange. It is wild and wonderful and something that I never ever imagined 35 years ago when he died, just before the original Bladerunner film was coming out. And it was a total failure in the theaters. Critics hated it, it lost money. I was in grief mode because my dad was dead. And I went and saw the film in the theater with my mom and they dedicated it to his memory.

At the time, when there was curtains and you know… The three of us in the theater, because nobody was going to see it, they brought the dedication up and closed the curtains before we even got to the dedication. We walked out and I just started crying, and I said to my mom “Nobody will ever make another film based on my dads work”. He really died in relative obscurity, which people do not believe when I tell them that.

35 years ago most of his books were not in print. The time the Bladerunner was in print. That was it. So, it is astounding and a huge privilege and it makes me so happy because I never imagined, 35 years later people would be reading his books and thinking about the things that he thought about.

Speaker 2-Male: That is wild. Why do you think it’s had this resurgence though because movies and tv shows and the awareness-

Isa Dick Hackett: I don’t know. I think maybe the way people see the world is changing a little bit. Because what seemed like, in his time, his paranoid thoughts or paranoid stories are kind of our reality now. So we caught up to it in a weird way. Suddenly our world is feeling more and more like a Philip K. Dick novel. I don’t know how you deny it. It really does.

So, I think that’s part of it. I also think that there are some really great and fun stories and great movies that have been made based on his works and that helps everything. Its sort of the film culture and creatives inspire more people to read the books. The books inspire- So there’s a nice synergy there. But I don’t know, I never would have expected Bladerunner would- we’d see a sequel. It sound like its fabulous. I haven’t seen it but its getting great reviews. I can’t wait. So-

Michael Dinner: Have you seen it?

Speaker 2-Male: I haven’t seen it yet, it’s just getting great reviews.

Speaker 1: So, doing anthologies is very different than doing a long run television show, like a few seasons, or doing a movie. Like how do you go about, like picking the stories and trying to decide what would be good for that anthology for one job.

Michael Dinner: You know we started with this notion of, oh, let’s do an anthology. We started with the notion of what’s, as writers we really admire, who’s work we really like. And so, some of those writers, certainly, they were attracted by Philip K. Dick. Some of those writers had a favorite story they always wanted to do.

But some of them did not, they were familiar with the writing, but familiar with what had been on the big screen and said, “I’d really like to do this, I’m not sure, can you send me some material,” so we would kind of think about who they were, and what their work was. What they might respond to if we asked them what kind of themes would you be interested in and we would send them stories, then they would respond to us.

So, some of it was kind of casting a writer to a thesis. Some of it was a writer had a story in tow. Ron Moore and I, I remember, we were kind of arm wrestling over this one story that–we wanted to do it. Turned out neither one of us did. We gave it to somebody else. Ron did another one and I did another one. So, I think the cool thing is that every writer who wrote one of these found something really personal. Their own obsession. Their themes, they are very emotional stories. I think that’s what is really cool about it, it seemed very emotional.

Speaker 2: Is an anthology harder to sell to people these days?

Michael Dinner: Five years ago, yes. Now because there’s so many venues, rather it’s streaming or rather it’s cable. The audience is hungry for stuff. We were just talking a little bit ago that streaming is a perfect place for an anthology, because I almost look at this- there’s some novels that are collections of short stories. Like Dubliners or [inaudible 00:05:02] of Ohio. That’s what this- that’s what our series is. It’s a serious of short films, chapters that I think are part of a whole part of a bigger thing.

So in a way, the fact that it goes up online, and as the audience you can say I’m gonna watch this one. I’m gonna watch them all, or I’m gonna do the first one. Then I’m gonna go to the third- it’s kind of cool in a way. It’s almost if I do my job right. It’s like reading the book.

Ida Dick Hackett: It’s easier. Yeah. It used to be really hard. Like it was always just a dirty word- then they did a masters of sci-fi [inaudible 00:05:33] or something —

Speaker 2: Right.

Ida Dick Hackett: At the time they did that. Then when they approached us, they wanted to use some of the kiddie stories. I said thank you so much, I really appreciate the interest, but I am just really interested in doing PKD anthology. Just, it was like, okay…

Michael Dinner:  Like, good luck with that.

Ida Dick Hackett: –Do you think you’re going to be able to do that? This is seven years ago. I guess it’s hard enough to get a [inaudible 00:05:55]. Let alone have fun with an author. Now we have it. It’s the golden age of television, is now giving us opportunities that we never had.

Michael Dinner: I think it’s about to get it off the ground, the development, and find the right partners. There’s framing services now, it’s whatever. I think that there are more opportunities today. The audience is now ready for new stuff. Maybe the time is right for anthologies.

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Speaker 1: One of the things I’ve always found was with Philip K. Dick’s work is that even though there’s things with technology or with Androids or alternate universes, there’s always that core about community and trying to find this real deep community soul even in the darkest places. Is there a theme to Electric Dreams? Through the- is there a true line to the anthology–

Michael Dinner: It’s–

Speaker 1: –Besides his work–

Michael Dinner: It’s all those great things.

Ida Dick Hackett: Like what you just said. Which is that through line has always inspired people, it’s not about the technology. It’s not about the sci-fi. It’s about how people react to how they’re affected and it is about what keeps us human. That’s the constant pressure we’re going back to and that is, I think, what unifies all of his work. That and the shifting realities and discussion of a global–

Michael Dinner: And in this storytelling twist at the end. Look, original BLADERUNNER, I remember when I saw that, my jaw dropped. Yeah, you respond to things flying around and the world it’s created.

You know what I remember most about BLADERUNNER? The scene at the end with Rutger Hauer when he just wants to live–

Ida Dick Hackett: “Tears in the rain.” Right. It makes sense now. It’s ridiculous.

ComicsVerse (Kay): I have a question, because we’re referencing BLADERUNNER and other sci-fi things. I think that– is there anything outside of Philip K. Dick, with all of the work that you’re doing for Electric Dreams and Man in the High Castle–Is there anything else that’s out right now in any form of media that you find is inspiring or can even compare to what you are doing, or do you think it’s just very special …

Ida Dick Hackett: I don’t have time to watch anything [laughs]. It sounds so- two shows, and twins, and doing everything. I mean, honestly, I couldn’t even really tell you, I’m not-

Michael Dinner: I get to sample because, luckily, I keep working-

Ida Dick Hackett: Yeah.

Michael Dinner: And also, I have to, because I have two younger children, so, I see the sample through my children’s eyes. I go to a lot of movie theaters with 3D glasses, and I sample through my wife’s eyes. So, I watch Game of Thrones, and I go, “Oh my God, I don’t know how they do this.”

There are a lot of shows that I watch and they can run the gamma from genre shows, to comedies, to whatever. It is interesting, there’s so many opportunities to bring work to the public that- there’s good television, there’s bad television. When it’s good, it’s really good there’s an opportunity — I mean when I was growing up, I started out in the film business and kind of people starting television work.

When I was growing up, I grew up watching movies that were made in the 70s. Those movies would never be made today. They would be made on cable television or streaming services. So, you learn from everything you watch and see, and it’s interesting.

Speaker 2: Micheal, you do it-I think I actually interviewed you many years ago for The Wonder Years-

Michael Dinner: Right.

Speaker 2: And, I’m just curious, when you look at the art of television, itself- for someone who’s been doing this for so long. Is it mind blowing at all to see-

Michael Dinner: Now I feel old.

Speaker 2: Go from a reality show. What? What was that?

Michael Dinner: Now I feel old.

Speaker 2: So, do I! I interviewed you for it, so-

Michael Dinner: Well, television’s really grown up. Look, I started in features and kind of stumbled into TV, and Wonder Years was my first show. At the time on ABC it was Wonder Years and Thirty Something. Those two shows meant something to the executive there. Look, television has gotten more grandiose, the audience expects more.

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In some ways, I think, it started with Micheal Mann, maybe Miami Vice. All of a sudden, people are running around blowing things up. Story telling has gotten more complex over the last 25, 30 years and there’s just an opportunity to do different kinds of things. I am storytelling on this show, [inaudible 00:10:31].

When I was a little kid, my parents didn’t want me watching Twilight Zone, and I would sneak around and watch it. I just remember, every week wanting to see, what are they going to do next. You can take me some place and tell a story, and have a little twist at the end. Sometimes they are funny, and sometimes they are emotional, sometimes dark.

That’s the cool thing about doing anthology, I think. So to me, it’s- but yeah, there are more opportunities, there’s- you can do riskier material than you used to be able to do, especially now that there are cable and streaming services that- you just don’t have to do the crime of the week.

Sometimes those shows are fantastic and they’re done really well, but to do something that’s more novelistic, where you arc a story over– for six seasons. Or you do an anthology, that’s very exciting.

Speaker 3: Awesome. That’s all the time. Thank you so much.

Michael Dinner: Okay, Thank you guys. [crosstalk 00:11:32]

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