Another reminder that the new NBC 1-hour drama “Awake” debuts tonight at 10PM Eastern / Pacific. Here is a THR feature on series creator Kyle Killen. An excerpt:
Raised in a small town outside Dallas by a graphic artist mother and a stock broker-turned-photographer father, a young Killen fancied himself a movie junkie. He was as enthralled by such blockbusters as Back to the Future as he was by small-budget films like Before Sunrise. That his passion could double as a career only became apparent when Killen discovered USC’s film school. But after a series of Hollywood internships at such companies as Disney and Douglas Wick‘s Red Wagon — along with an overnight shift pulling newswire tape at a stock brokerage to pay the bills — Killen soured on Los Angeles and packed up his car.
“It was really hard to want to be a writer in Los Angeles, because every time you opened your laptop anywhere you were aware that every other laptop was potentially generating the world’s most brilliant screenplay,” he says. “You were face to face with your competition in a way that in Texas, or anywhere else, I was the only idiot writing a screenplay, so I just had to beat myself.”
On the advice of a professor, who told him, “Writing is like a heroin addiction — if you can quit, you totally should,” Killen tried to get out. He dabbled in everything from tech support to constructing prison laundry rooms, but with each new gig he’d find a way to write about it, a clear sign quitting wasn’t an option.
An early screenplay titled Taste of a Tuesday, about a severe sleepwalker who is anti-social by day and gifted by night, got him representation; trips to the major agencies disguised as a courier got the script read. (His reps at WME and Anonymous Content are still hopeful the film will get made. In addition to the buddy comedy Scenic Route, starring Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler, other Killen films in the works include an untitled Daredevil reboot.) A well-received but ultimately passed-over TV pitch about a brilliant 16-year-old college student came next, but it was The Beaver script that in 2008 landed Killen on the industry’s coveted Black List, the annual collection of the best unproduced screenplays.
Here is an interview with Killen and “Awake” co-executive producer Howard Gordon (“24,” “Homeland”).
Here is the series trailer:
TheWrap calls “Awake” “the best new show of the season”.
“Awake”: Thursdays, 10PM on NBC.
You may follow Kyle on Twitter: @killen8.