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Q&A chat session from January 26th 2006

Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:52 pm

Thanks for your time answering my questions (wich can only fome from a very devoted Avonlea fan!)

1. What exactly does Mr. Potts do for a living?
2. Does Felix get married? If so, is its after "Happy Christmas Miss King"?
3. How exactly did the King parents die? (There is a small contridiction in the series: In "Hearth and Home", Alec stated how he remembers his parents getting old and sick while in "Momento Mori", Hetty's memories represent her mother's early death).
4. Why don't Gus and Jasper appear in " Happy Christmas Miss King"?
5. Why did Elvira Lawson and Abner Jefferies leave the show?
6. What happened to Sarah after season 7? Does she marry? And why didn't she appear in " Happy Christmas King"?
7. What is your favorite espisode?
8. Finally, in a previous chat session you stated that season 6 would be released during the Christmas season. Is there a new estimate for the release date?

I don't actually have answers for 1-3. Gus, Sarah and Jasper (the performers) were not professionally available for "HCMK". As for #5, the actors didn't actually leave the show as much as script developments inspired our imaginations as writers and other characters and events took priority. My favorite episode is Momento Mori (please see the Souvenir Script package that is available in our boutique with Season 5 DVDs- it will provide background on my favorite episode). Season 6 needed to be held back and will be available this year. I'm sorry I jumped the gun. I was operating from incorrect information.

I would like to know why you decided in Anne 3 to make a film that didn't talk about the rest of Lucy Maud Montgomery novels? Well, I love the story of Anne and Gilbert in the first World War!! Are in the first movies(1 and 2) that. if you can, you would like to change now?? Any part of the novel of LM Montgomery that you would like to change??(for change the story)

I have answered some of your questions in previous chat sessions. Please see the archives. However just to recap, by producing Road to Avonlea and inventing so much of the world of Avonlea from that series, Montgomery's later books no longer applied to the fictional world I've created. Even Anne 2 is pretty much an invented story with many original characters. I've found Montgomery's later books after the original Anne to be difficult in adapting successfully. However, I always like the atmosphere and romance of PEI as a setting so it was easy for me to invent and alernate reality for Anne and her community.

Have you considered making an extended version of your movies such as Gearge Lucas did with the Star Wars Trilogy? I just saw Anne1 again but with the Director's commentary. How enjoyable that was. You mentioned your niece as "Minnie Mae", will we see your daughters on film? You've obviously enjoyed tremedous success and recogniton, yet your are so king and humble. How do you maintain such a balance in your life? As I stated in November, I really enjoyed the relationship between Anne and Gilbert in Anne3. Will we ever see these two lovely actors together again in a Kevin Sullivan production? Are you familiar with LMM's Blue Castle? Would you film it?

Like lots of busy people, real balance in life comes from being happy in your own skin. However, children, familly and close friends contribute to that balance. There are no inmmediate plans to see Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie in productions outside of their Green Gables roles. I am familiar with Blue Castle, however. I have adapted so many of LM Montgomery's works that I feel like I have done my bit in bringing the author's work to the screen.

On the latest DVD release of the movie Anne of Green Gables, there was an extra feature showing Megan Follows' auditon tape (wich was interesting and a lot of fun to watch!).  Do you have the auditions for some of the other actors stored anywhere, and is there any chance that we might see them in the future?

We are planning a new trilogy release that will include more interviews and auditions and behind the scenes. Thank for your interest.

I wish to ask you Mr. Sullivan what there was you childhood? Your children's dreams became a reality or not?

I had a very artistic childhood. My grandmother was an artist and she had a very open art studio for grandchildren so we all learned to paint at a very young age. Painting and art were an inspiration growing up because we were all well-versed as children in everything from ancient Rome to old masters impressionism to post modern. That art basis and the love of reading gave me a very solid base in coceptualizing ideas for storytelling and cimema.

I was wondering what is the atmosphere of the set for the new project you will work on?

I really like working on ensemble pieces with a very collaborative cast. Right now I am working on a film that completley digital and entirely shot in studio. That's very different for me since many of my films have been done on location.

First of all congratulation for you brand new book called "Beyond Green Gables". I love it, especially because of the gorgeous photos. But I aslo enjoyed your thoughts. The bool contains some pictures about "King Farm" and the area surrounded it. Most of them are from RTA but there ar some photos wich are illustrations for your thoughts regarding some subject. Did you take these photos during shooting RTA or did you take them later? I mean when I watched the photo illustrating "Picnic at the pond", I had the feeling that this onge was taken in 2005 because it was soooo familiar. I visited King Farm and its pond with Dan during AvCon2005 and noticed there were corns on the fields of Avonlea instead of grass. On the picture I am talking about one can notice cornfields in the background. I'm just curious if you took some photos on King Farm while writing this book.

Your are extremely observant. More than 50% of the photography in the book was taken last summer. The corn fields were abit of a shock for me as well! However, the atmosphere for this beautiful location still persists which is one of the reason why I returned there to shooe the designscape book. I'm glad you enoyed it. It was a good opportunity for me to explain to fans how I create atmosphere for my films.

During the last chat, you said, "Right now I have four films in development and you will probably see something new from me in 2006/07". I was wondering if you could tell us more about these four films.

Right now, I am about to begin filming a movie version of Mozart's The Magic FLute for the 250th Anniversary. It will be released later this year. The other films will be announced shortly.

Only a very few things are known about this event currently. As far as I know it is not organized by Sullivan Entertainment. Am I right? Do you support this event with helping them in organizing or do you a guest speaker "only"? Do you know why this event for? I mean it's interesting and cool that for example Sarah Polley is interested in this kind of reunion and interaction with RTA fans. The schedule of the event is also interesting. It's May. What you think?

The event was being organized by Mag Ruffman (Olivia King). Attendees are myself, Sarah Polley, Jackie Burroughs and Mag. We were invited to the ROM to discuss historical details about the series both in terms of production design and accurate portrayal of period characters. I think all four of us are really looking forward to seeing each other again and to collaborate on the whimsical and inventive invitation. More information will be posted soon.

1. How many children do you have? How old are they? What are their names? What do they do (study, work etc)? Are they RTA and Anne fans?
2. What kind of music do you like?
3. What is your favorite book?
4. When do you think the complete soundtrack CD to Road to Avonlea including John Welsman's music will be released?
5. When do you think the Road to Avonlea DVDs with English subtitles will be released?

My favorite composer is Aaron Copeland (American). My favorite book is Dr. Zhivago. We hope to finally find a way of distribuing John's soundtrack- TBA. Unfortunately, we don't have any plans for closed captioning on RTA as we do not have CC available in PAL.

Were there any long term plans/storylines for Sara Stanley in Road to Avonlea that were changed or discarded due to Sarah Polley's eventual departure from the series? Were there any exciting or interesting storylines/plots that may have been considered but were not used in Road to Avonlea?

Actually, many fans and press always wanted to know what direction we would be taking series when we began production on it from year to year. My answer was always "I have absolutely no idea." That is because we made all the stories up as we went. The characters came to life for us on the page and we often didn't worry about having a significant direction to the series. Each episode was produced more like a feature film so each stroy was really quite autonomous. The challenges for me wre stretching the visual direction of the series and the magnificent talents of a fantastic cast and guest stars. Sara's eventual departure from the series was accomodated in due course as she had other professional opportunities she wanted to pursue after six years. Because it was such a great ensemble cast, her departure offered many opportunities. I have eighteen boxes full of stories that we were never used! The writers were very prolific.

1. There is talk of Anne of Green Gables being made into a film for the big screen. As the director of a mini-series that has been loved by many the world over, how do you feel about a new version? Would you be interested in seeing what someone else can do? Do you think would lend well to a 2 hour film format?
2. How does it make you feel to see these fans converging in the one place? When your started out on your journey to make the mini-series, did you have any idea that it would become this popular?
3. And on the subject of this palce, the internet has become such a valuable tool, hasn't! How did you market the mini-series and your other productions before the days of websites, internet forums, and online boutiques?
4. Do you have much time to write for pleasure these days? What sorts of things do you like to write about?
5. I've never seen RTA as it doesn't air in Australia. Would you consider selling the series to an Australian channel?

I love the fact that there has been a community of people congregating over the internet. It's a fantastic way of connecting with people. I don't have too much time for writing for pleasure as all my commitments are professional. I believe RTA may have aired in Australia on Channed 10.

1. Do you regret making "An Avonlea Christmas" after the disapointment from fans, and if so would you have done it differently?
2. Would you ever do another Avonlea series with perhaps Felicity, Gus, Felix and Izzy?
3. What is your reaction towards all of the negative comments that have been said recently on the forum by fans about Anne3?

I'm sorry to disappoint you, I love An Avonlea Christmas. I really enjoyed director, Stefan Scaini's fresh approach. I aslo found the script by Rraymong Storey t obe very moving. I don't care to listen to the negative comments about Anne 3 as i have expained beofre it's my favorite of the three films and if people don't get it, for the 18th time, that's fine. However, it does make one reconsider going back to recreate Anne's world when everyone complains about it so much.

I told you at your last chat session that I felt SE seems as a "dying giant", because no plans, no new movies, no new projects... At least I could see that from far away. And now you have just launched, redesigned your websites (Anne3, RTA, WAMB), released your book and an "official cast reunion" is being under organization. It seems SE is getting into the showbiz again, it seems its getting reborn. May I ask you waht made you and SE to get into the biz again? You might answer you have been in the showbiz for long years but you closed your RTA site a few years ago after the show run out, then open it again about 2 years ago, then now you redesigned it and started a brand new website for fresh content and interaction with fans, this is SullivanMovies. Have you realized that Avonlea and your work is still alive and fans still need them...?

I'm glad it's your last question. I didn't think we were being reborn! FYI the movie buisness has its ebbs and flows as it's intensely creative. Sometimes you just need to be able to recharge you batteries. When you  don't see someting every six months, it doesn't mean we're not really busy. One decision I have made not to produce long-running series as the time commitments are exhausting and I am more of a storyteller. This where I'm focusing all of my current energy.

1. During the last chat, you mentioned that the "Road to Avonlea" actors were "begging" to reprise their roles. Are they really interested in a reunion? Are YOU interested in a reunion? If so, are their any current plans for one?
2. When will season 6 of Road to Avonlea come out on DVD? We had a tentative date of the beginning of this year, but haven't heard anything since.
3. How far in advance did you film the episodes for "Road To Avonlea"?
4. Do you, personally, have a favorite episode?

Alot of RTA actors have asked me about a reunion movie as many of them are really keen to reprise their roles. Maybe after I meet with Mag Ruffman, Jackie Burroughs ans Sarah in May, I'll have more to say on the subject. RTA Season 6 release date will be annouced shortly. The RTA episodes were usually two weeks after a script was complete on a very tight schedule.

1.Why did you never do any Christmas episodes in the RTA series? Most family programs like Dr. Quinn, Little House, Waltons, etc. usually had holiday episodes and I always wished there were Halloween and Christmas episodes in RTA.
2. If you could go back in time and do a Christmas episode during the RTA series (not counting the movie about Hetty) what would the episode be like? Would there be tress in the homes of the Kings?
3. What time of the year did you film RTA episodes? They seem to start in the late summer and end in the winter. What times of the year did the shooting take place and what months did the cast have off?

CBC and Disney always specifically requested we not develop seasonal episodes like Christmas as it restricred their scheduling. Different seasons of RTA filmed at very different times of the year. Either summer, fall or fall, winter. Wich is why you see such a seasonal spread over course of the episodes. The cast usually had off February to May.

Anne of Green Gables and Road to Avonlea are very popular series in my country. I think these series are populat in other countries too. Why do you NOT continue with them? Why do you not make another Anne movie?

RTA did not continue primarily because I felt after we had produced 91 episodes that the writers and myself were begining to get exhausted. So I decided to conclude the series on a peak as opposed to letting it disintegrate. However, after so many years maybe it would be nice to see some of the characters on screen again. Who knows?

Thanks eveyone for a great set of questions. Sorry I couldn't answer everything on time and in full. Best wishes!

Kevin Sullivan
Last edited by felicity18 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Yes, but your not one of those persons are you? Courage Gus Pike. Take your strength from those who love you. We'll survive all this. I promise you." Hetty King to Gus Pike

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