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The Mentalist Opinion Article

|INTERVIEW| Bruno Heller: Teresa Lisbon is essential (2010)

Opinion by simovska posted over a year ago
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Translation of a French Interview to Bruno Heller, The Mentalist Creator- 2010.

Teresa Lisbon is essential
Bruno Heller, the series' creator...

Every week, between 8 and 9 million viewers hang on this story of a fake medium who helps the police. We've spoken to Bruno Heller, the brain of The Mentalist, who talks about his heroes: the seductive Patrick Jane and the irresistible Teresa Lisbon.


Very busy with the shooting of the third season, Bruno Heller, The Mentalist creator, has accepted to talk to us on the phone. A nice voice, with an English accent, who enamel his answers with some French idioms. This screenwriter has become a master, finding great success with the series "Rome" and "The Mentalist".

Q: Can you tell us why The Mentalist's name is Patrick Jane?
BH: Hello! This is the first time that someone asks me this question, and this needs to be developed. Primarily, Patrick is a good old Irish name and I adore it. Moreover, his surname -Jane- is a woman's name, an aspect that I wanted to sneak in his identity, because his personality is gracious and seductive. Lastly, in English, Jane is pronounced "jaine", like an ascetic religion that extol the virtues of the
nonviolence. The Mentalist likes better other tools to reach his goals.

Q: While writing the first draft, were you already thinking about Simon Baker?
BH: No, I didn't know him. During the casting, he arrived with a list of five-six actors submitted by CBS. He had the grace I was looking for. But I had an hard time to persuade him to sign on for six years.

Q: What did win him? The number of zeros on his check?
BH: Oh no! Paradoxically, Simon loved the idea of devoloping and refining the character in the course of the series.

Q: The fact that you're English and he's Australian, did it have an impact?
BH: Without a doubt, during the shooting. English and Australian people have the same kind of humor, which is also one of the series' trade mark.

Q: And what if Simon was French?
BH: Well, it would have worked the same way, your sense of humor is very close to our humor. I think I should hire also a French actor!

Q: The Mentalist will last until the sixth season, as initially planned?
BH: You see, everything's fragile in the show-business...

Q: Does Simon know the conclusion?
BH: Yes. Just a small circle knows. I try to reveal just the essential.

Q: The arrest or the death of Red John will determine the end of the series?
BH: For me, yes. There will be no follow-up or spin-off.

Q: Robin Tunney, who plays Teresa Lisbon, Patrick Jane's boss, will be on the series until the end?
BH: It would be difficult without her. My wife and Simon Baker's wife adore her! This character, who is often understimated, is essential to balance the series. She enbodies the normality, she is down-to-earth. She is nice, while having her flaws. She is torn between her role of boss, who has to straighten out Jane's behaviour, and her admiration, her affection, even her love for him.

Q: Internet has different theories regarding Red John's identity. Do you take them into consideration for future episodes?
BH: I prefer not to read fans' websites. But the writers and me, we take inspiration from "l'air du temps" (what trends). It can be something we talk about with our friends, or even with the media, like you...

Q: Are you spreading clues about Red John's indentity?
BH: Yes. But we're also sneaking in some false clues. Fans will have enough elements to find the solution before the end of the last episode.

Q: Is it true that you took inspiration for the idea behind the series from your wife Miranda, who is obsessed with mediums?
BH: Obsessed is a bit too much. She likes to consult them, since you can find these people everywhere. To me, it's just deception, but Miranda has pulled me into this secret universe, and I'm interested to explore it during the series.

Q: You don't believe in mediums' psychic powers?
BH: No. I think those are all con artists. And Patrick Jane should be the first of them all. He doesen't have any superhuman power.

Q: Have you ever been contacted by a medium willing to prove his abilities?
BH: Never. I think they're afraid to be unmasked.

Q: Yet in the US, local police often uses mediums for the investigations...
BH: Yes, but just because they feel the pressure of the public opinion. When they aren't able to find a missing person, it's difficult for the sheriff of a small town to refuse help, wherever this help is coming from. But there's no certificated example of a medium or mentalist helping the FBI or national police.

Q: In the series "Lie To Me", a psychiatrist is able to detecte the suspects' lies. Who would win, between him and Patrick Jane?
BH: Jane, without a doubt! I adore Tim Roth, but his character has a limited capacity in detecting lies. Jane is able to do that, and he's also a master liar himself. He constantly manipulates suspects and his CBI collegues.

Q: Is it true that you found inspiration in Charlot for his character?
BH: Charlot, Buster Keaton... That came most from Simon. His game resides on gestuality. He took as example two geniuses of this genre. And you can see this on screen, right?



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