Past Life is a TV show about an unlikely pair of past-life detectives who investigate whether what is happening today is the result of who you were before. It was inspired by M.J. Rose’s book, “The Reincarnationist” and aired on Fox last night.
I had a chance to interview M.J. Rose about the Past Life TV series and the challenges of turning her book, “The Reincarnationist,” into a TV show. You can read highlights of our interview below or listen to our 15 minute interview by visiting Spiritual Media Blog’s podcast on iTunes at:
Matt Welsh: So tell us a little bit about Past Life. What’s the TV show about?
M.J. Rose: Well, the novel, The Reincarnationist, has at its heart an institute called the Phoenix Foundation where a group of reincarnationists work mostly with children helping them work with their present day crises that are based on past life problems…Warner Brothers found the book and read it. They were very interested in the idea of the foundation that studied past lives and saw that as a potential jumping off point for a TV show. So, they optioned the book and they wrote a script….They took that foundation and changed it a little so it would work for TV and added some different characters for it and that’s what the show is about. So every week…the people at the foundation work on a different case with a different person who has present day issues that really have past life roots.
Matt Welsh: What were some of the challenges of turning your book into a TV show?
M.J. Rose: The executive producer and I worked for a little while on a list of all different past life stories. In all the research I did, what were some of the great stories I heard. You know, somebody who felt like they were being suffocated in their present life and did a past life regression and found out they had been buried in a tomb in Ancient Egypt. Just like a really long list of that to show the people at Warner Brothers just how rich a field it was. Basically you could find any problem in the present and come up with a past life reason for it existing. But (Warner Brothers) was interested in focusing on crimes and crisis problems. So, we did that list and (Warner Brothers) was excited by the potential.
Then (Warner Brothers) found this brilliant writer, David Hudgins, who had been a writer for Friday Night Lights and for Everwood. They gave David the book and they said we are interested in developing this. Would this be something you would be interested in?… And, David told me the story. It was very synchronistic or karmic because he really didn’t know much about reincarnation at the time, but his wife had just seen the show on Oprah and had just become really fascinated by it. So, when he showed her the book, she was like all “…I’m really into reincarnation and that’s so interesting.” So, he read the book and saw the potential and he became the writer and the executive producer. So, he and Lou Pitt went to work on creating the show.
In general, the challenge is that you can’t turn a book into a TV show. You can turn a book into a movie more likely, but a TV show has its own requirements. It’s going to be week after week…What was exciting was that David really took the issues at the heart of the book and was really inspired by it, but turned it into something that is very much his own and his own vision.
And, I love it. It’s really a great show. The pilot episode is something that television usually isn’t. It’s fast paced and a tear jerker and very emotional. There aren’t a lot of shows on TV that are very emotional that are dramas and that have action in them. So, I think that even if viewers are not interested in reincarnation, they are going to be really excited by the format and the quality of the writing and the acting and the story.
Matt Welsh: Where can we go for more information on the show?