Sources:Interview with Michael R. Joyce, October 18, 2003
Michael R. Joyce: The Man Who Sought Change
Michael R. Joyce is a very well respected producer in the industry who produced shows such as Attila and Raising Cain. When asked about his involvement in Battlestar Galactica, he answered," I was the original Producer on the show and had been involved with it for about 9 months."
Joyce was very open about his involvement in the production. Some fans have targeted Ronald D. Moore and David Eick for the many cosmetic changes in sets, costumes, Cylon robots, and spaceships. Not so was the case in pre-production. A third of the way through the pre-production, the sets, costumes, Cylon robots, and spaceships were simple updates of the original series. Producer Michael R. Joyce is the man who sought change when he began his job as producer for the Battlestar Galactica miniseries. When asked about the early pre-production stage, Joyce answered," When I came on board, I worked with Ron Moore and David Eick figuring out the best approach for mounting the production. We had some very early design work done and then things went into a hold pattern while Sci-Fi approved revisions in the script..."
During the time the Sci Fi Channel was approving revisions to Moore's script, Joyce went off on another project. Joyce says," I proceeded up to Vancouver to produce the pilot for the series Peacemakers; all the while bringing together the crew members for Battlestar (Galactica) while the Studio was looking for a Director."
This time was very important during pre-production as Joyce sought to bring in people who shared his vision of a brave new approach to conceptual designs for Battlestar Galactica. When asked why he sought change to a vastly different look with little influence from the original Battlestar Galactica costumes and sets, he answered," I must also say that although I was involved at Fox on the first Star Wars, I did not have much interest in the original series of Battlestar (Galactica) and again my viewpoint to this production is possible more as the Line Producer "gun for hire" than a "fan" of the series."
Joyce having never being a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica and someone associated with the Star Wars production sought to separate Battlestar Galactica from Star Wars. To him, the original look of the original series represented Star Wars and the changes had to be made. When returning to the production, Joyce says," Once completing Peacemakers I covered Battlestar (Galactica) on the last schedule changes, the final budgeting, the hiring of the Visual Effects Supervisor (Gary Hutzel) and the hiring of the Production Designer (Richard Hudolin)."
With Hutzel and Hudolin in place, Joyce once again pushed for change in the production's conceptual look. His persistence paid off as Ronald D. Moore and David Eick bought his philosophy and scrapped the updated designs for a new original look for Battlestar Galactica. Joyce says," I was around for the concept approvals and what really amounted to having everything in place before we started to build sets. In fact the week I left the show, the Costume Designer (Deborah Everton) and the Director of Photography (Joel Ransom) were hired as was the Editor (Dany Cooper). The sound stages were walked for set construction planning and the locations were being surveyed for the first time by the Director (Michael Rymer). My real involvement ends there."
Once Joyce accomplished his goal in creating a new look and direction for Battlestar Galactica, he left the production. Joyce says," Unfortunately in February I had to pull out of the show due to spinal surgery required. So the term consulting basically is a nod to my work in the set up and prep of the show. It was about 6 weeks from shooting by the time I had to return to L.A. for surgery. And apart from the project still being made through my company, from that time on I did not participate in the production of the show."
Michael R. Joyce set out a tall order in pushing for change and his vision for change has come to fruition. Although some fans have been upset with these changes, Joyce believes he did the right thing in ensuring Battlestar Galactica's future.