TCA press tour: Fox’s ‘Sleepy Hollow’ has many modern twists

Tom Mison in Fox's "Sleepy Hollow."
Tom Mison in Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow.”
(Brownie Harris / AP)

Fox’s new drama “Sleepy Hollow” is a mix of horror, humor, detective story and love story that producers hope viewers get their head around.

“Our mission is fun, to be fun and entertaining,” said Len Wiseman, a co-creator and executive producer of the show. “We really want to find the right balance of horror and fun.”

The drama is a modern twist on the Washington Irving classic about the infamous Headless Horseman who terrorizes Sleepy Hollow. Its high-powered creative base includes co-creators/executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (“Star Trek” and “Transformers” franchises, “Fringe”).

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In this “Sleepy Hollow,” Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”) and the Headless Horseman are resurrected and doing battle in modern times. Crane teams with Det. Abbie Mills (Nicole Beharie) in present-day Sleepy Hollow as they fight the Horseman’s rampage, which might mean the end of the world if he succeeds.

Naturally, the most visually jarring and frightening character is the Headless Horseman, with his baleful ax. He also is pretty deadly with a shotgun or automatic weapon.

Said Wiseman: “One of the most exciting things about this is presenting the Headless Horseman in a new light. We see how he operates when he’s confronted with modern-day weapons and how he would adapt to that. When he comes back, he’s a man -- we want how much perspective he can show without expression.”

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Kurtzman added, “What would an interrogation scene look like if the Headless Horseman was in the room?”

Another executive producer, Mark Goffman, added that the Headless Horseman is only “the tip of the iceberg in terms of evil. There are higher powers at work.”

Ichabod Crane will have other challenges besides his otherworldly nemesis to worry about. He’s grappling with modern technology and coming to grips with the fact that Abbie, who is African American, is not a slave.

“He’s a wonderful lens through which we can see our world,” said Kurtzman.

Added Mison: “He thinks he’s the only sane person in the room, and everyone else is a maniac.”


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