Interview with Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Nanrisa Lee, Raymond Lee, Mason Alexander Park, and showrunner/EP Martin Gero of “Quantum Leap” on NBC by Suzanne 9/15/23
I love this show, and I’m excited about the season. This was a TV Critics Association Virtual Panel, so there many press there.
NBC UNIVERSAL 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR
Virtual via Zoom September 15, 2022
© 2022 NBC Universal. All rights reserved.
Opening remarks: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the “Quantum Leap” panel. I know many of you are fans of the original series, and we’re excited to bring this reimagined version back to NBC. The series will premiere Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM and will be available the following day on Peacock. It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song, has been assembled to restart the project in the hopes of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it. Joining us for the panel from left to right, our executive producer and showrunner Martin Gero, Raymond Lee, and Caitlin Bassett. On the second row are Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee.
In an exciting unveiling during the NBC Universal 2022 TCA Press Tour, the reimagined version of the iconic series “Quantum Leap” was showcased, sparking a wave of nostalgia among fans of the original series while promising a fresh take on the beloved concept. The panel, hosted virtually via Zoom, featured the talent behind the new “Quantum Leap,” including Raymond Lee, Caitlin Bassett, Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, Nanrisa Lee, and the showrunner and executive producer, Martin Gero.
The introductory session began with a warm welcome from Matt Lifson of the corporate communications team, setting the stage for an insightful discussion. As fans eagerly awaited details about the upcoming series, the show’s premise and its connection to the original were teased.
A Nostalgic Revival
For fans of the original “Quantum Leap,” which aired nearly 30 years ago, the memories of Dr. Sam Beckett’s time-traveling adventures were brought back to life. The reimagined series, set to premiere on Monday, September 19th, at 10:00 PM on NBC and available the following day on Peacock, promises to revive the essence of the original while bringing new elements to the table.
The core concept remains intact: a team, led by physicist Ben Song, assembles to restart the Quantum Leap project and explore the mysteries surrounding the machine and its enigmatic creator, Dr. Sam Beckett. This fresh perspective allows for a continuation of the legacy while introducing a new set of characters and stories.
The Cast Shares Their Excitement
The panelists were eager to share their enthusiasm for the show. Raymond Lee, who plays Ben Song, acknowledged the enormous shoes to fill left by the iconic character of Sam Beckett. He highlighted the common thread that connects both characters: their commitment to doing good and their strong sense of empathy.
The cast, which also includes Ernie Hudson, Mason Alexander Park, and Nanrisa Lee, expressed their fondness for the original series. Ernie Hudson reminisced about watching the show with his children and shared his excitement about joining the new iteration, while Mason Alexander Park humorously revealed they had no one to watch the show with as a child.
Caitlin Bassett, who plays the hologram Addison, admitted to missing the original series but now relishes the opportunity to share the experience with her father, who was a devoted fan. Her portrayal of Addison adds a unique dimension to the show.
Martin Gero on the Essence of the Show
Showrunner and executive producer Martin Gero shed light on the essence of “Quantum Leap” and the character of Ben Song. He emphasized that the show centers on hope, heart, humor, and history, with Ben embodying the first three elements. Gero spoke passionately about the importance of humor, a key aspect of the original series, and how the new cast, especially Raymond Lee, continues that tradition.
Caitlin Bassett’s Remarkable Journey
One of the standout moments during the panel was Caitlin Bassett’s incredible journey to the role. A former military officer, Bassett decided to pursue acting after completing her service. She acknowledged the role as a dream come true, reflecting on the show’s ability to bring hope and positivity to viewers’ lives.
Gero praised Bassett’s performance, emphasizing her extraordinary talent, which shines through in her role as Addison despite her being relatively new to the acting world.
Time-Traveling Adventures Await
The cast and showrunner revealed their personal preferences for time periods they would like to visit if they could leap through time themselves. Nanrisa Lee expressed a desire to explore her family’s history in 1920s Korea, while Mason Alexander Park yearned for the vibrant atmosphere of 1920s Weimar Cabaret in Berlin or the opportunity to witness Judy Garland’s legendary performance at Carnegie Hall in 1961. Caitlin Bassett was drawn to the tumultuous era just before World War I as a history enthusiast.
Ernie Hudson’s choice was the 1960s, a time of significant cultural and political change, while Raymond Lee humorously mentioned a fondness for the early 2000s, complete with memories of board shorts and popular music of the time.
Continuity and the Return of “Magic” Williams
One burning question among press was how the new series would handle continuity and references to the original. Martin Gero confirmed that “Magic” Williams, a special name for “Quantum Leap” fans, would indeed return as the same character from the original series. Ernie Hudson, who portrays “Magic” Williams, expressed excitement about delving into his character’s backstory and providing answers to long-standing questions from the original show.
The panel concluded with an insightful look into the balance between the episodic nature of the series, its serialized elements, and the mystery surrounding Ben Song’s journey to leap home. Gero assured viewers that while answers would be provided, the focus would remain on the thrilling time-traveling adventures that have captivated audiences for generations.
As the premiere date of “Quantum Leap” approaches, fans can eagerly anticipate a nostalgic revival with a fresh and exciting twist. With a talented cast and creative team at the helm, “Quantum Leap” is poised to capture the hearts and imaginations of both longtime fans and a new generation of viewers.
MORE INFO: Trailer
Season Premiere Wednesday, October 4 (8-9pm ET/PT) on NBC. Streaming next day on Peacock.
It’s been nearly 30 years since Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. Now, a new team, led by physicist Ben Song (Raymond Lee), has been assembled to restart the project in the hope of understanding the mysteries behind the machine and the man who created it.
Everything changes, however, when Ben makes an unauthorized leap into the past, leaving the team behind to solve the mystery of why he did it. At Ben’s side throughout his leaps is Addison (Caitlin Bassett), who appears in the form of a hologram only Ben can see and hear. She’s a decorated Army veteran who brings level-headed precision to her job.
At the helm of the highly confidential operation is Herbert “Magic” Williams (Ernie Hudson), a no-nonsense career military man who has to answer to his bosses who won’t be happy once they learn about the breach of protocol. The rest of the team at headquarters includes Ian Wright (Mason Alexander Park), who runs the Artificial Intelligence unit “Ziggy,” and Jenn Chu (Nanrisa Lee), who heads up digital security for the project.
As Ben leaps from life to life, putting right what once went wrong, it becomes clear that he and the team are on a thrilling journey. However, Addison, Magic, Ian and Jenn know that if they are going to solve the mystery of Ben’s leaps and bring him home, they must act fast or lose him forever.
Martin Gero serves as executive producer along with Dean Georgaris, Deborah Pratt, Chris Grismer, Alex Berger, Steven Lilien and Bryan Wynbrandt.
Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, produce in association with Quinn’s House Productions.
Dr. Ben Song, “Quantum Leap”
Raymond Lee stars as Dr. Ben Song on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Ben is a brilliant quantum physicist leaping through time to put right what once went wrong.
Lee also stars on the AMC series “Kevin Can F*** Himself,” which begins its second season Aug. 22. Previously, he was a series regular on Alan Ball’s HBO series “Here and Now.” Additional recurring roles include the HBO Max series “Made for Love,” Fox’s “Prodigal Son,” Amazon’s “Mozart in the Jungle” and ABC’s “Scandal.”
On the film side, he is currently appearing in the box office smash “Top Gun: Maverick.”
Theater credits include the world premiere productions of “Vietgone” at Manhattan Theater Club, for which he was awarded the Theatre World Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Debut; “Office Hour,” opposite Sandra Oh, and “Cambodian Rock Band” at the South Coast Repertory.
Lee speaks fluent Korean and resides in Los Angeles.
Addison, “Quantum Leap”
Caitlin Bassett stars as Addison Augustine on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Addison is an ex-Army intelligence Officer who works in the Quantum Leap program. She is Ben Song’s guide in the past and, during his leaps, appears in a hologram that only he can see and hear.
“Quantum Leap” marks the professional acting debut for Bassett. A military veteran, she spent seven years in U.S. Army Intelligence and the National Security Agency, with two combat tours to Afghanistan and a third abroad. After completing her service with multiple accolades, she began studying law in New York while moonlighting in theater classes. After being asked to audition, she was accepted full time at the Stella Adler Conservatory and later trained with Bob Krakower.
In 2020 she was selected from over 40,000 applicants to join the Disney Discovers Talent Showcase cast, leading to the start of her professional career.
Mason Alexander Park
Ian Wright, “Quantum Leap”
Park is a nonbinary artist who will next be seen as Desire in Netflix’s highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman.” Previous TV roles include Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop.”
Park is also an accomplished theater actor, most notably portraying the title role on the first Broadway national tour of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
Herbert “Magic” Williams, “Quantum Leap”
Ernie Hudson stars as Herbert “Magic” Williams on the new NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Magic is the head of the Quantum Leap project and juggles taking care of his team while also answering to his bosses at the Pentagon.
Hudson recently reprised his signature character Winston Zeddemore in the new Jason Reitman movie “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and wrapped the Bobby Farrelly-directed “Champions,” opposite Woody Harrelson.
For television, Hudson executive produces and stars in the BET series “The Family Business” and will next be seen in the upcoming third season of Showtime’s “City on a Hill.” He will also appear in the Catherine Hardwicke film “Prisoner’s Daughter,” opposite Brian Cox and Kate Beckinsale. Hudson also starred on the award-winning Netflix series “Grace and Frankie.”
Jenn Chu, “Quantum Leap”
Nanrisa Lee stars as Jenn Chu on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.” Chu is the head of digital security and works alongside Magic in hopes of solving why Ben Song leaped in hopes of bringing him home.
Lee was born in Oakland, Calif., and is best known for her breakout recurring role on “Bosch.” She has also recently appeared in “CSI: Vegas,” “Westworld,” “The Morning Show” and “American Crime Story.”
Executive Producer, “Quantum Leap”
Martin Gero serves as an executive producer on the NBC drama “Quantum Leap.”
Gero is an award-winning executive producer, creator, writer and director. He recently co-created and executive produced, under his Quinn’s House production banner, the Netflix series “Keep Breathing.” The drama stars Melissa Barrera as Liv, a lawyer from New York and the lone survivor of a plane crash who battles both an unforgiving wilderness and her personal demons to survive the remote Canadian frontier.
Next up, his Hollywood Critics Association TV Award-nominated show “Kung Fu” will return this October for its third season on the CW. Gero will once again serve as executive producer. The series focuses on a young Chinese-American woman who goes through a quarter-life crisis and drops out of college to go on a life-changing journey to an isolated monastery in China.
On the film side, he wrote and directed the cult classic “Young People F—-” and the Paramount/MRC comedy “The Lovebirds,” starring Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani, which was released in 2020.
Gero created the hit drama “Blindspot” and was creator, director, and executive producer of the comedy series “Connecting.” He also created the critically acclaimed CW series “The LA Complex,” directing half of the episodes. Before that, Gero helped run all three seasons of the HBO series “Bored to Death,” which starred Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis. He also served as an executive producer on the magical drama “Deception.” Gero started out working on “Stargate Atlantis” for SYFY, eventually rising to executive producer
Gero currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda