Article by Kerry Harvey April 9, 2020 (stuff.co.nz)
• The second season of History Channel’s “Project Blue Book” opens with a two-part episode involving the Roswell, New Mexico “crashes” in 1947, which many are convinced the US government covered up. Then it delves deeper. Laura Mennell, the actor who plays Dr. Hynek’s wife, Mimi, says, “We’re even dealing with the issue of the CIA mind-control program that was going on at the time.” “There’s some really crazy stuff that I loved reading about and finding more about and I think the audience will too.”
• Project Blue Book is a fact-based historical drama revolving around secret US Air Force investigations into UFO encounters and unexplained phenomena, undertaken by astrophysics professor and Project Blue Book head, Dr J Allen Hynek (played by Aiden Gillen, Littlefinger in Game Of Thrones) in the 1950s and 1960s.
• “It’s one of the biggest mysteries of all time,” said Mennell who plays Mimi Hynek. “I think it would be pretty ignorant to dismiss everything. I think there is something to the mystery of UFOs. What that is exactly I don’t know. Will we fully know during our lifetime? Who knows? But it’s pretty exciting.”
• The Hyneks were indeed real people. Their sons are now heavily involved in the series’ production. Hynek’s Blue Book partner in the show, Captain Michael Quinn, is inspired by USAF Captain Edward J Ruppelt, the first director of the real-life Project Blue Book and other characters are similarly based on historical figures.
• “We’re not making a documentary but, yeah, we’re definitely infusing some real-life aspects into the show, particularly the cases,” Mennell says, adding she is amazed how much was kept from the American public – and the world – in the 50s and 60s.
• “Project Blue Book was one of the first versions of fake news in a way. It misinformed the public to quell any possible mass hysteria that could have happened,” says Mennell. These were real-life cases. There were over 12,000 of them and a little over 700 are still unresolved to this day.
• Mennell’s character Mimi has a revelation in PBB season 2, transforming from a typical 50s domestic housewife into a UFO hunter herself. Her friend, Suzi (Ksenia Solo) is revealed to be a KGB spy. Says Mennell, “Even if we could prove one of those cases – and I think there’s some pretty great evidence in our show – we’d have the quintessential truth of one of the greatest mysteries of all time.” “… [B]ut for people who love Mimi and Susi, give it a bit of time … they will reconnect and when they do some pretty crazy things will definitely happen.”
• [Editor’s Note] Project Blue Book has become one of my favorite shows. It is well written, superbly directed and acted, and doesn’t sugar-coat the UFO subject matter. It is a great series. And it appears that season 3 will take Dr. Hynek and Captain Quinn to Antarctica. I can’t wait! (see deep dive discussion of Project Blue Book Season 2 by cast and writers in Hollywood Reporter YouTube video below). Also, I’ll bet you didn’t know that Michael Malarkey, who plays Captain Quinn, was once an alt rock singer. (see one of Malarkey’s music videos below)
Canadian Laura Mennell has no trouble going where few actors have gone before in Project Blue Book.
The fact-based historical drama revolves around secret US Air Force investigations into supposed UFO encounters
and unexplained phenomena, undertaken by astrophysics professor – and Project Blue Book head – Dr J Allen Hynek (Aiden Gillen, Littlefinger in Game Of Thrones) in the 1950s and 1960s.
Mennell didn’t know much about UFOs, alien sightings and the like when she was cast as Hynek’s wife Mimi but she quickly became fascinated by the subject.
“It’s one of the biggest mysteries of all time,” says the 39-year-old actor, admitting she is now open to the possibility that humans are not the universe’s only inhabitants.
“I think it would be pretty ignorant to dismiss everything. I think there is something to the mystery of UFOs. What that is exactly I don’t know. Will we fully know during our lifetime? Who knows? But it’s pretty exciting.
“There was some infrared footage released in the last couple of years of this 40-foot-long Tic Tac-shaped craft up in the sky. Stuff like that is bizarre and fascinating. I don’t know how that can’t stir up more questions in the general public.”
Although Project Blue Book is based on fact, it is still a drama.
34:44 minute round table discussion of Project Blue Book Season 2 (The Hollywood Reporter YouTube)
4:00 minute Michael Malarkey music video “Captain Solitaire” (Michael Malarkey YouTube)
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