In LA I recently had the chance to screen two super breath taking episodes of Mech-4x and interview the producers and cast along with 24 other amazing Bloggers. The producers were a solid book of knowledge and the cast was inspirational, hilarious, and amazing.
Details About The Show:
When high school student Ryan Walker discovers he has the ability to control technology with his mind, he awakens 150-foot robot MECH-X4 and is able to control every move the android makes. The situation gets to be too much for Ryan to handle on his own, though, when another monster starts attacking the school.
That’s when Ryan recruits older brother Mark and friends Harris and Pearce to help operate MECH-X4’s defense system while he pilots the robot. Together, the haphazardly assembled team of heroes must quickly learn to work together in order to save the school and, ultimately, the world from being destroyed. That’s a lot of pressure to put on some teenagers.
Meet the Producers of Mech-X4
Is there a reason for a male team versus that there’s no girls on the team? Is there a reason why or not?
STEVE MARMEL: I would say we we’re a serialized show. That’s the sort of the engine of the show the two brothers and the friendships but keep watching.
ANUPAM NIGAM NIGAM: We can’t give away too much.
STEVE MARMEL: It wasn’t a conscious choice to or not to, as much as we know where the season is going to go, and we know who the characters are, and the universe widens like this, and it is inclusive.
How did the idea of MECH-X4 come about?
ANUPAM NIGAM NIGAM: It’s really the brainchild of this gentleman.
STEVE MARMEL: It started with wouldn’t it be fun to do a show about, four kids that just happen to have to work together with a giant monster fighting robot. And then every step of the way through development, it sorts of evolved. Like, wouldn’t be fun to actually have great special effects? Wouldn’t it be great to do it single camera and make it look like a movie? Then wouldn’t it be great in this, in this day and age where, uh, storytelling is binge and serialized, wouldn’t it be cool if we could do a long story over a season? So it started with an idea, Disney went for it, and then all of a sudden, this great team started coming together and bringing everything to it.
ANUPAM NIGAM comes from a world of serialized storytelling and the director, Zach, has a passion for the nostalgic Goonies, ET vibe, that’s sort of an Amblin feel of it all. And it all just became this thing through collaboration and really talented people. I love the core qualities that the characters bring, and that it’s not just fighting the robots, but they’re all working together.
Tell me about the production schedule and also about the special effects, like CGI.
STEVE MARMEL: Yeah, it’s, it’s ambitious. We do two half-hour episodes every night, over nine days. We’re in the Robot set three to four days, and then we’re just out in Vancouver, doing movie stuff for five days – whether it’s sunny or rainy, or, whatever it is. There’s a crew up there that just deals with it, and makes it great every day in; day out, episode after episode.
ANUPAM NIGAM: And we shoot two episodes at once.
STEVE MARMEL: Yeah the schedule can hop from episode to another over eight days. Then literally between when it’s finished and when it’s done, there’s about four to five months of special effects- CG, like all the drone shots that are done during the nine day period. They have some people sort of play acting out exactly what the fight will be, and then they lay in the robot and the monster in those shots. It takes a really long time, but they challenge us.
Meet the Cast Behind the Scene’s
In what ways are you guys like your characters?
PEARCE JOZA: All right. I like to say I’m like my character and not like my character. Spyder’s very crazy and he likes to do a lot of daredevil stuff type things. I lived in Colorado for a long time so I like to go out back and, play in the pond and climb trees or whatever. I also love school. I’m taking college level courses and Sypder’s not very good at school.
NATHANIEL POTVIN: I’m kind of like my character because, Ryan is always rising to the occasion. Whenever he has to fight a monster or even stand up to his brother I’m kind of like that in some ways. Also, I have two older brothers so I know exactly what Ryan goes through on a daily basis. Ryan loves to skateboard I love to skateboard so there’s some similarities between us there.
KAMRAN LUCAS: Harris and I are pretty similar in like book smart terms. But not so much. More of like we both dress really nice and we’re both ladies’ men.
NATHANIEL POTVIN: That’s right.
RAYMOND CHAM: Oh, how do you follow that? I’m kind of like my character in a way. When it comes to family I’m very protective and you’ll see that later because right now you’ve just pretty much seen me crank my brother. I care for my family and I’ll do anything to protect them and make sure that they’re okay. I’ve also dabbled in sports a bit. When I was around eight or nine, I used to play basketball. But, other than that, yeah, I’m not too similar.
If you had any super power in life what would it be?
RAYMOND CHAM: Shape shifting!
KAMRAN LUCAS: I kind of want to have the ability to stop and turn back time because in case I want to change something like when I was younger I was at LEGOLAND and this girl pushed me. I was really mad ‘because she did it for no reason and I just want to go back and say ‘hey, I’m on Disney Channel now. I’m not like that in real life. Just to that one person.
NATHANIEL POTVIN: If I had a super power it would probably be teleportation because who wants to pay for airline tickets? No one. Also, it would just be really convenient if I got locked out of my house I could just teleport inside my house.
PEARCE JOZA: Telekinetic powers.
Your moment with Disney, how did it change your life?
NATHANIEL POTVIN: I would say that it’s actually pretty much the same because I have great friends a great family, and I love them so much. When I told them that I was going to be on Disney with Steve they were like ‘oh, that’s cool. So, I’m really blessed to have friends who don’t really care about what I’m doing, but they would love to support me and they’re just great.
RAYMOND CHAM: Would say it didn’t change too much just because the show is not out yet. I would say every once in a while, I’ll get an Instagram notification from a kid and they’ll say, ‘I can’t wait for your show’ or something like that and it’s really, really exciting. It makes you really happy, you know. It’s inspiring or just seeing kids excited for something that I’ve worked really hard on; you know what I mean? That’s really cool. I didn’t really experience that before.
KAMRAN LUCAS: For me, I’d say I’m still the same person, but the feelings are a lot different because ever since I was five years old I’ve always wanted to be on Disney Channel and do the wand thing that I’ve seen all my heroes do, especially Selena Gomez, God bless her soul. First of all, I just I love her we have a connection. It’s just all surreal I never thought I’d be in the position that I am. Honestly, I’m just so thankful because I have great friends who are there to support me. And you know, being in Canada – I love being with these guys. But sometimes I’m away from the friends that I’ve grown up with my whole life. And it’s great to know that even when I can’t see them, they’re still there.
PEARCE JOZA: As I said before, I’m from Colorado. You know, of course this has changed my life with all the, you know, things that are happening, and this is crazy, right? But, I think what really, really changed my life in the whole broad spectrum is just moving out to LA when I was eleven. Like I was- since I was nine I was trying to convince my parents to let me go out and, uh, act in movies and TV and whatever. For two years I worked at it. And then finally I got out there and I- and I don’t get to see my friends from Colorado that often, but it- but, you know, everybody from there is still- still really cool with me. It’s nice.
What got you guys interested in acting?
NATHANIEL POTVIN: Personally, for me, I got into acting because my dad and my mom were kind of in the industry. I loved watching movies. I think there’s a lot of stuff I can learn from movies. initially when I started watching movies I was thought wow I want to be like them. I want to change people’s emotions just by pretending to be someone else or becoming someone else. So I thought just the art of becoming an actor is really interesting to me so that’s what motivated me to become an actor.
PEARCE JOZA: When I was four my mom took me to see this stage play, Frog and Toad. I was sitting out in the audience going ‘why am I out here and not up there?’ So, for a very long I was on stage, and then I started watching Jim Carrey. He’s my comedic mentor, he’s great. I’ve done a bunch of his stand up. I thought he was hilarious. And it was like hey, I should do that. That would be awesome. So yeah, that’s how I got started.
RAYMOND CHAM: I started when I was eight I loved performing that was my thing I loved because I’m also a dancer. And just being on stage and performing for other people is really fun for me. But when I first started, it wasn’t really because I really wanted to become an actor. It was really just like filling a void of performing, you know. Then eventually I started watching more and more movies and every time I would watch a movie especially with teens I remember when I would see Harry Potter with my mom, we’d go to midnight showings. I would always have this feeling I still don’t even know how to explain it really. It was a mixture of jealousy and want like I was hungry for it. For some reason, I just would leave the theater like that was amazing and I want to do that. I would be not upset, but I would just think why am I not doing that? It’s kind of weird because all those people worked their butts off to get there I was just really intrigued and really wanted to do it. So around ten or eleven I thought this is what I want to do. I started taking acting classes and then just watching movies because I think that’s the best thing you can do as well. Just because there are so many great movies and great stories being told. And just seeing how people play certain things. It’s like how would I do something different? Just like wow everything he did was just flawless I think it’s great and then working on set is the greatest school. That’s what got me into it.
KAMRAN LUCAS: So I was always a great liar I would break a plate and I’d be like the maid did it. We didn’t have a maid I look back and I think wow that was really mean. I could probably incorporate this into something I could do and you know we all have our heroes. Mine being Selena Gomez on “Wizards of Waverly Place” on Disney Channel. A friend of mine had taken me to an acting class I went and it was just really interesting. It was kind of like, forgetting everything that you’re doing at the moment not being your blank slate. You’re being totally someone else and you’re pretending and acting like anything else. And it was just really interesting to see that, and I was thought, I want to do this so it eventually became a profession and now I’m here, and I’m really grateful that I get to do that.
What is your favorite thing to do off set on your day off?
PEARCE JOZA: Snowboard I was on the Junior Olympic team in Colorado.
NATHANIEL POTVIN: My favorite thing to do off set is go rock climbing.
KAMRAN LUCAS: I like to sleep so late I like to be in my bed and just not do anything sleep is great. Everyone should have a lot of sleep I got a solid twelve hours one day.
RAYMOND CHAM: I want to say something crazy like skydiving or something like that, but really I just sit home and watch movies. That’s all I really do. I mean sometimes we’ll go go-carting, which I really love doing. But yeah, it goes back to the acting question, I love watching movies just to study. That’s pretty much what I love to do.
The series debut will be presented in an expanded premiere weekend with four back-to-back episodes on Disney Channel the Disney Channel App and Disney Channel VOD, Friday, November 11 through Sunday, November 13.