Project Blue Book: History explores real UFO encounters — with a healthy dose of open-minded curiosity

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Jan 7, 2019, 4:00 PM EST (Updated)

The History Channel presented their Project Blue Book cast and creators at the Television Critics Association (TCAs) press tour, to shed some light on how the scripted series will explore the work of Dr. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen) and covert government investigations into UFO sightings from 1952 to 1969.

Executive producers Sean Jablonski and David O’Leary said the core of the show is about exploring real cases from among the 12,000 that were reported and investigated during that time span.

O’Leary said of their research that inspired the first 10 episodes featured in the first season, “There are files where it’s just a photograph and everything else is redacted. I was struck by the sheer number and how credible the witnesses were, the totality of the reports as a whole.”

Those real experiences also trickle down to their own team, including Aiden Gillen, who admitted he had his own unexplained encounter. The actor said that in his youth he saw something in the sky. “It could have been a helicopter, but I don’t think it was. As it is with most people, they are afraid of being ridiculed [if they report it]. That was the case with me and my friends. We just left it.”

But in reading, and in playing out these cases, Gillen said, “Truth is stranger than fiction, so having the [episodes] based in reality take twists and turns you couldn’t make up. It’s important to bring up that for the audience. And for someone like Hynek, who questions and questions, what’s interesting to them and to me is, if [these things] didn’t happen, why are they doing this? What’s behind it? There are questions [in the series] that go beyond sci-fi, asking why this volume of people would make things up.”

O’Leary added that part of what makes the Project Blue Book series so different is that it’s not just about proving, or disproving, UFOs. It’s about exploring the scientific hypotheses that Hynek worked through, including alternate explanations. “It’s hard because we are looking at it through our our limited human experience. Hynek looked at interdimensional options, or that it could be mankind in the future. The more we learn about science, the more fascinating it all becomes.”

Project Blue Book will debut on the History Channel in winter of 2019.

with Benjamin Bullard

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