Exclusive: Executive Producer Chris Grismer Talks Season Two of Quantum Leap

Quantum LeapLast night, Quantum Leap returned to NBC for all-new episodes of season two. The series, which takes place thirty years after the original on which it was based, follows physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee) as he “leaps” into different bodies in different time periods to right things that have gone wrong. At the end of last season, for the first time, Ben had leapt into the future, into the 2050s where it was nuclear winter and Project Quantum Leap had been shut down. With the help of the team, Ben was able to change that future and leapt once again, expecting to return to his fiancé Addison (Caitlin Bassett) and his own time, which is where season two picks up. However, instead of where and when he hopes, Ben leaps into 1978 and is unable to contact anyone from PQL and must move forward with the leap on his own. Eventually he is contacted by Ian (Mason Alexander Park)’s hologram who reveals to him that three years have passed and believing he was dead, PQL was shut down. 

Recently, SciFi Vision spoke with executive producer Chris Grismer about the new season, including the time jump, filming in Egypt for season two, and much more.

Read the full transcript below and be sure to watch all-new episodes every Monday on NBC.

SCIFI VISION:   Can you talk about where the idea to have the time jump came from and when that was decided?

Quantum LeapCHRIS GRISMER:   I can speak to it came from our amazing showrunners Martin Gero and Dean Georgaris, and I don't know exactly when they thought of it, but I know they pitched it to me about a month before we started in on the next season. And I was very excited about it. My jaw dropped. 

Yeah, I was definitely definitely surprised about that too. Now, obviously, since this is going up after the first episode, they won't know kind of what else has happened. But let me without spoiling the stuff coming after that. Can you tease a bit about how it's going to affect Ben and the leaps? 

I mean, obviously, everything's changed for Ben. He's experienced time differently than everyone else, and obviously, that's had a pretty devastating effect on their relationship. So, those kinds of conflicts are going to have to be dealt with and explored, and it's going to bring a new dynamic to the show. 

We see Ian at the at the leap at the end of the episode, and obviously we've seen Jen on the leap before. Is that going to continue? Will we see maybe some other characters again, joining leaps, because I know I really enjoyed that last season to make it a little different? 

That is something we explore a little bit more, and all the characters, all the the HQ characters are so unique and so interesting, and the actors are so great, that they all offer different perspectives during the leaps. So, it's definitely a device that we explore. 

In the first episode, and it's not obviously it's not a huge jet or anything, but you have a plane crash. Can you talk about creating that? I mean, obviously, a lot of it's going to be digital, but can talk about some of the difficulties in bringing that part of it to life? 

Well, definitely moving that plane around was fairly difficult. [laughs] There's a kind of a plane graveyard [where] we found it. I think it's the only one. You have to put it together and make it look like it works. It was in pieces, and we had to transport it to Universal somehow and then move it to a crash site. And there're a lot of talented people bringing their A game to make that work. That was one of the challenges. Also Martin Gero and the director John Terlesky worked really, really well together [and] explored new kinds of effects for our show. You know, they use visual effects, but there’re also miniatures and things that you don't necessarily see on television shows especially anymore, or in movies, really, but I think it all kind of came together and created a really unique episode. 

What are some of the other big things, effects and otherwise coming up this season that people can look forward to maybe that caused you difficulties? 

Every episode has difficulties to some extent, but there are some - I mean, this this season is even bigger, and more challenging than the first season and it's got a lot of really big ideas in it and big moments. We go back all the way to the 1600s. We have UFOs that we had to create. We shot in Egypt. So, it's been really, really challenging, but a really, really exciting season. 

Now I have to ask about that! You mean you actually shot in Egypt, not just used Egypt for the episode? 


That had to be quite an experience you usually don't do for a show like this. Can you talk a bit about that? 

Our show runners, Martin and Dean, are so interested in authentic storytelling to some extent, like not just faking it, not just being on a volume stage, like “what's it like to actually go there and shoot this?” And it’s something you could shoot on a volume [stage] like the way they shoot Marvel movies, but we worked collaboratively together with our line producer at the time, Marc Bienstock, and came up with a way to get over to Egypt. We had Rhett Giles as a international producer who kind of just goes and figures out how to shoot in different parts of the world. You bring a crew from that area, and you save a lot of money that way, and you bring in just who you need to: the actors, hair, makeup, wardrobe. And being on the ground in Egypt was just really, really life changing, and it was a really great experience for everybody. 

I'm excited to see that. Now, I know you directed the season finale and some episodes last season. Are you doing any directing for this season? 

I directed episode three, which I think you've seen, and I directed the Egypt episode as well. 

Speaking of the finale, obviously, that was where we learned the whole big thing with what happened in the future and everything. Is that going to be something that's going to be brought up again, if you can tell me? 

I feel like, I think that they've wrapped that up. I think they wrapped up the Leaper X [story] very well and it's allowed us to have bigger, more emotional leaps this season that we can spend a little bit more time inside and [not have] our hands too tied with having to tell that other story, the Leaper X story. So, I think you'd have to wait if you want to hear more of it, but I think it's pretty much tied up as far as I can tell, but you'd have to ask Martin and Dean. 

Fair enough. Any guest stars that you're allowed to tease that are coming for people look forward to? 

Well, we have the first first episode with Melissa Roxburgh, François Arnaud, Aaron Abrams, and PJ Byrne, who are all amazing. Then, we have two new series regulars. We have Eliza Taylor, who's playing Hannah Carson, and we have Peter Gadiot, who is playing Tom Westfall, and they're both amazing additions to the cast. 

Since I can’t ask you specifics about this season, how about from last season? What has been one of your favorite scenes or pieces or whatever that came out of last season, whether it's one that you particularly worked on, or just story-wise? What's been one of your favorite? 

I loved directing the stuff with Ben and Addison and her directing him how to seduce her in the season finale, how to bring her on the date and just had to get it right. I loved all that stuff, directing, you know, two of Addison in the scene and figuring out how to do that, and directing the future as well, creating what the future looks like was really exciting to me. 

We’re about out of time, quickly, is there anything else that you haven't mentioned that's coming that you're allowed to tease? 

We [have] Project Sign, we have an Indiana Jones like hunt for atomic energy secrets. Yeah, I think this new season is even bigger and more exciting and more emotional even then the first season.

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