'Gravity' director Alfonso Cuaron breaks onto TV with sci-fi show 'Believe'

Johnny Sequoyah and Jamie Chung in

Johnny Sequoyah and Jamie Chung in "Believe." (SCREENSHOT)

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:02 PM ET

Just a week after being crowned Best Director at the Oscars, Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron's next adventure hits the small screen Monday.

The pilot episode of Believe - about a superpowered-young-girl-on-the-run - was written and directed by Cuaron, for J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions. After Monday night's debut, the series moves to its regular timeslot of 9 p.m. Sunday.

"I've never done TV before. It's very exciting," Cuaron told us in a phone interview prior to the Oscars. His window of opportunity for the project occurred during the hurry-up-and-wait post-production period of Gravity, when FX were being added.

"That window was longer than maybe I thought it would be, and J.J. said, 'Let's do something together.' So I wrote the pilot and directed it, and we did it and it was picked up."

And then events pulled Believe from his hands. "After the network said yes, and when everything started going into production, the whole craziness of finishing Gravity, and its release, and all of this (awards and publicity) started happening. It's very much taken over my life.

"So after the pilot, I wasn't as close as I wished. At the same time, I'm very happy with what Bad Robot has been doing with it."

In Believe, newcomer actress Johnny Sequoyah plays Bo, a girl with abilities she can barely control, to see the future and control nature. Shadowy figures are hunting her down over those very same abilities. At her side are her guardian Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo) and an escaped, wrongly-convicted death-row inmate (Jake McLaughlin) who finds himself with a renewed sense of purpose in Bo.

"It was a complete change for me, from what I was doing," Cuaron says. "After this complete spiritual-existence experience in space with one character in Gravity, I moved to doing this thing, exciting, action-oriented, but at the same time also very emotional.

"For all the action, at the center of it is a girl, and at the core of the story, there is a father-daughter relationship."

It's been a decade since Cuaron most famously worked with child actors - a Hogwart's full of them in Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban. So he comes to Believe with experience.

The Oscars now past, Cuaron is expected to re-establish his creative contribution to Believe. "When the smoke clears, I will be much more involved, and I am looking forward to it."

"TV is very exciting to me. In movies, once you are done, you are done. In TV, you keep tweaking from show-to-show. It's a very educational experience. You learn a lot about the story you are telling as you are telling it."

"And nobody is floating," he says with a chuckle.

 


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