Syfy’s New Series ‘Hunters’ Debuts April 11, Produced By ‘Walking Dead’ EP Gale Ann Hurd

Syfy debuts another original series, Hunters, April 11, with The Walking Dead‘s Gale Ann Hurd as one of the executive producers. Instead of zombies, it’s aliens being hunted this time around for Hurd, who made a name for herself on such films as Aliens, as well as her work in the groundbreaking science fiction films in the Terminator series. Hunters showrunner and executive producer Natalie Chaidez and two of the show’s stars, Britne Oldford and Julian McMahon, discuss the upcoming series in a media conference call.

Chaidez talked about what it was like to essentially build a world from scratch for the television series, even though it’s based on Whitley Streiber’s book Alien Hunter, which she said served as just a “jumping off point.”

“[T]his is the big joy of this project… We started from the ground up. We started by talking about their planet, what kind of gravity it would have, how that would affect their anatomy, how that anatomy moves through space… I wanted to do an alien world that was different from other alien worlds that we’ve seen.”

hunters on syfy [Photo by Narelle Portanier/Syfy]During the 2-year process of building the alien world for Hunters, Chaidez looked to old conspiracy movies of the 70s and how they emphasized creatures that were very sound-based and lived in more of an auditory world, which influenced the choice of weaponry as well as language.

“That led to the development of our sonic weaponry, and the idea that the aliens, the hunters themselves are communicating their, you know… they have a language that’s like dolphin’s or like a bat’s. And that their click language… (is being used through) social media much like the bad guys and terrorists of our time.”

The connections between aliens and political regimes or terrorism are nothing new, including another recent alien television series named Colony on USA Network. Unfortunately, the connections between alien invaders and terrorism seem to become more relevant every day, which has not been lost on the cast and creators of Hunters. Chaidez noted that the last couple of weeks had proven the continued relevance of fictionalized versions of terrorism, and actor Julian McMahon agreed.

“This is a difficult time that we’re in, and terrorism is the new monster. And it — the launch of the show — coincides with something that has happened that is horrific. So your concern immediately goes to people that have been affected by this and your heart goes out for them, and your prayers go to them. As a television show… that is an opportunity to express our fears and to be able to do that through an alien world I think.”

Dealing with alien worlds also affords the opportunity to develop strong characters, and Oldford relished getting the role of Regan in Hunters.

“I love her because she was a strong character. She’s a strong woman and I’ve been very fortunate in the five years that I’ve been acting to have played, you know, a string of fairly strong female characters. And I think that’s a great representation as well of the people behind the production… Natalie and Gale Ann Hurd.”

Britne Oldford in Hunters Britne Oldford as Allison Regan in ‘Hunters.'[Photo by Ben King/Syfy]While Oldford gets to play strong characters now, she hinted that she wasn’t quite so confident during her school years; although, in retrospect, she feels being a loner helped develop a part of her she taps into to play her character in Hunters.

“[I]n school I was definitely an outcast. I was definitely just a big old nerd and kind of a loner, and I kept to myself a lot and I would observe people. Because I felt like a little weirdo — which now, once you finally get out of your academic career, you realized it’s awesome and the place to be, really — but I think that observing of human behavior, of vast numbers of different types of people doing the same thing… it’s fascinating. That’s a huge reason why I’m an actor, and so I really touched upon that, that awkwardness and that weirdness, and sort of not knowing where I belong, and kind of floating from group to group and always feeling restless.”

Hunters debuts on Syfy Monday, April 16 at 10 p.m. ET.

[Photo by Peter Brew-Bevan/Syfy]