Doug Liman, who has produced and directed some of the most successful action movies of the last few years, was part of the team assembled by NBC to bring Knight Rider back late last year. He’s been talking to CanMag about his role as executive producer and his thoughts on K.I.T.T.’s development as a character.
“I try to just give the people who are working on the show the confidence to take chances,” he says, “because I’ve always been rewarded personally in my own career by taking chances. So I try to just create an environment where the directors we’ve hired and the editors we’ve hired feel some sense of the freedom that I’ve personally given myself to just go for it.”
Liman thinks that this K.I.T.T., voiced by Val Kilmer, is becoming a full, three-dimensional character, and compares what Gary Scott Thompson is doing with the high-level characterisations found in many of today’s animated movies. “When you watch what Gary’s doing, he’s made K.I.T.T. into such a complete character,” Liman says, “as complete as a character would be in an animated movie that you actually forget that he’s a car. I’m telling you, you forget it. I honestly think that of all the characters, K.I.T.T. actually has probably the biggest arc, is in a way the most complete character. I guess it makes sense because the car is at the center of the show. Unlike the TV movie, he’s built an arc that will run over the course of the series because he’s really embraced the fact that okay, if this is artificial intelligence, K.I.T.T. is going to be learning.”
CanMag suggest that it is that learning curve that forms K.I.T.T.’s story arc for the series. Liman elaborates, “K.I.T.T. is actually going through all the stages of youth and adolescence so it’s actually incredibly entertaining and it’s incredibly interesting because this character is going through all the stages that a human being might go through. I don’t know when you stop growing. I certainly feel like I’m still growing but this character is going through all those stages of a lifetime in the course of a year or two years.”