Western episode “Quantum Leap” added $150,000 to the budget just for dirt
NBC explores the past in quantum leap. The revival of the hit series sends Dr. Ben Song (Raymond Lee) back in time, just like Sam Beckett (Scott Bakula) before him. The first episode dated back to 1985, but quantum leap has more in store for fans. It’s not always easy either. Showrunner Martin Gero said a western episode cost an extra $150,000 just for dirt.
Gero was on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel for quantum leap September 15. Previewing some of the past eras that Ben will visit, Gero explained why dirt is so expensive. quantum leap airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.
‘Quantum Leap’ found out the price of dirt the hard way
Sam stayed in the 50s and 80s. The new quantum leap can go back even further, but Gero learned the hard way that making a western in 2022 wasn’t easy.
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“The learning curve you have on a regular show is so different on this one because we basically do a pilot every episode,” Gero said. “Like, a perfect example is we’re doing a western in Episode 5, and I was, like, oh great. We’ve got a western backlot. Like, we can just go shoot over there. And then you find out, like, oh, it’s gonna cost about $150,000 to, like, put some dirt in.
The first western is always the hardest
Gero acknowledged that if he was working on a full western series, concerns like dirt would be written off week after week. make a special quantum leap the west made it harder.
“And you’re like, ‘$150,000 in dirt? That can’t be true,'” Gero said. “And then you try to cut the dirt budget. And then you get there and you’re like, oh, no. It’s a lot of dirt. Like, it’s a lot of dirt. And then we have to then pick up the dirt and then dust off the dirt. There’s so much and so much like that where every episode, you’re like s “There was a real narcotic, and it’s like, oh, okay, sure. If we’d done 100, we’d know. But each episode is kind of a pilot for us.
“Quantum Leap” is the best of all genres
So far we know that the first episode of quantum leap was a bank heist and the preview for episode 2 shows him in space. Five will be a western so there’s already a lot of variety in the first season alone.
“It’s a writer’s dream for the same reason,” Gero said. “It’s not like we solve a different murder every week. The show is really like a 52 TV van. It’s just like, what are the shows that we’ve always wanted to write? What movies do we like? What are the stories we want to tell? Everything has its place here in a show like this. It’s great creatively.
Dirt is just one of the problems quantum leap the crew must resolve to bring Gero’s vision to life.
“Production-wise, I mean, I can’t say enough about our incredible team,” Gero said. “We’re shooting the show here in Los Angeles, California on the Universal backlot, where you can edit the films. And it’s very exciting for us to be able to shoot on these [sets].”
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