Weird, Disney Channel's new half-our live-action drama,
explores paranormal phenomena - ghosts, UFOs, ESP, you
name it. Using actual reported phenomena as a launching
point, the series follows the exploits of 14-year- old
Fiona "Fi" Phillips (Cara DeLizia), a computer-loving
kid with an obsession for all things weird. She travels
the country with her 15-year-old brother, Jack (Patrick Levis),
and their rock star mom, Molly (Mackenzie Phillips). Also along
for the trip are Fi and Jack's friend, Clu Bell ( Erik von
Detten), whose dad, Ned (Dave "Squatch" Ward), is a
roadie and whose mom, Irene (Belinda Metz), is the band's stage
manager. Henry Winkler, Tom Astle, Michelle Davis and Alec
Griffith serve as executive producers. The series is produced by
concept for So Weird came about when Henry Winkler
worked with Michelle Davis and Alec Griffith on the 1991
documentary The UFO Report: Sightings (and subsequent
series) for the Fox Television Network - which proved to be the
highest rated Friday night show since Fox's inception.
Winkler mentioned to them his interest in developing a show for
children centering around the paranormal.
and Griffith liked the idea and it was shopped around for the
next two years. it was eventually brought to Disney
Channel, where the series found a home.
reason the show works," states executive producer and
show runner Jon Cooksey, "is that it's humorous, it's scary
- though not enough to frighten children - and very eerie.
I think it's hard to put that together without short-changing
any of the elements. We have a cast that can play things
very real. When they're funny, you laugh with them. When they're
scared, you're scared with them. Every episode has a
Phillips returns to television as a series regular for the first
time since starring in the popular CBS sitcom, One Day At A
Time, in the mid-'70s. Her role as teenager Julie Cooper
lasted seven years. "You dream about getting a series
again, " says Phillips. "Often you can find
yourself in some place where you say, 'this isn't exactly what I
thought it would be.' But on So Weird we have an
incredible ensemble cast and great relationships."
love these kids a lot," continues Phillips. "we
have a family here. I think that if we were shooting at home we
wouldn't have this much of a feeling of family, because you
would be getting those needs met at home. Here we have each
will also have the opportunity to utilize another of her talents
on the show - singing. In her 20s, Phillips spent three
years touring the world with her father, John Phillips, when he
re-created his legendary group The Mamas and the Papas.
DeLizia was thrilled at the opportunity to star in the series.
"Fi and I both march to the beat of our own drum,"
says DeLizia, "which is one of the reasons I was really
attracted to the role. We don't really care if people turn
us down. We do our own thing. If someone tells us 'no',
then we think that's okay because that's only one persons
both do what we feel is right." continues DeLizia. "Fi
and I have a lot if similarities. We both love the computer, for
instance. I take over my dad's office whenever I can. Playing Fi
isn't a big stretch for me - except that in real life I don't
live on a bus," she laughs.
Patrick Levis arrived for his audition, he already knew that
Cara had gotten the part of Fi Phillips. "We were
sitting there, " recalls Levis, "and my dad started
talking to Cara's mom and she mentioned they were from
Maryland. When we said we were from Maryland, she asked us
where exactly and we replied, 'Silver Springs.' It was 'so
weird,'," laughs Levis, "because it ended up that we
lived about twenty minutes from each other. Mrs. DeLizia
even taught my younger brother in kindergarten. It's a
character of Clu is totally different from all my other
roles," remarks Erik von Detten. "it was a challenge
to define this character, but now that I've figured him out, he
is a totally fun character to play."
Weird is shot entirely on location in Vancouver, British
Columbia. The abundant variety of diverse locations makes
Vancouver an ideal place to shoot the series. "We are
trying to put across that we are in a different city each
week," explains Cooksey. "We can do 52 states in
52 episodes and Vancouver doubles for anywhere. That
authenticity is so important to this show."