Jason Sudeikis and Kathryn Hahn are doing sitcoms differently.
The respective stars of “Ted Lasso” and “WandaVision” are featured in the latest edition of Variety‘s “Actors on Actors” series, talking about their hit shows.
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“For ‘WandaVision’, we had a sitcom boot camp,” Hahn says of prepping for her Marvel series. “We were able to go deep on how comedy has changed, and culturally, how we’ve changed. The sitcom has always been so aspirational, especially a family sitcom. The first episode was shot in front of a live audience. We rehearsed it like a play so that by the time we got to the real meat of it, we had this juicy ensemble feeling.”
She adds, “These were the guys that were used to blowing stuff up for ‘Avengers’; we’re using wires to make magic happen. There was like period lights… the crew was dressed in period clothing. The audience was dressed. We ran it straight through.”
Sudeikis, meanwhile, talks about how his hit Apple TV+ series originated from a series of commercials.
“Me and two of my buddies — Brendan Hunt, who plays Coach Beard on the show, and Joe Kelly, who’s one of the producers and writers on the show. And we’ve all been friends for 20 years. NBC Sports was going to start showing Premier League soccer on their channel. How do we get Americans to watch it?” he recalls. “They’re like, ‘We should have someone play an American football coach.’ I was like, ‘I know who that is. I know how I’d like to do it.’ I knew very little, and I still know very little. There is this very complex, beautiful game that’s been around for hundreds of years.”
He continues, “Those commercials were received well, and it was Olivia [Wilde] who was like, ‘You should do it as a TV show or movie.’ 2015, we sat down to write the pilot, and it wasn’t until about 2018 that we came back […] To think it was February 2015 when we sat down to write the pilot. That was pre-Ferguson, pre-Time’s Up, pre-Trump coming down the escalator.”
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The actor also talks about playing a character with such a constant, positive attitude towards life and other people.
“Even down to the glasses that I picked as the character. They make greens greener and blues bluer. That’s an element of why I continue to wear those orange-tinted glasses as the character,” Sudeikis says. “I haven’t done them in years, but a big impetus for the character and for the point of view of the show is magic mushrooms.”
Hahn tells him, “As the mom of a teenager now, to see a lead of a show be unafraid of being vulnerable — I’m glad you exist for these young men because there’s so many things culturally that tell us that we can’t have our hearts on the outside.”
Asked how the show has changed him, Sudeikis says, “I was glib about it early on, sort of not being able to appreciate that question or what people were getting out of it. I used to say, ‘Oh, he’s the best version of me. He’s me on a beer and a half on an empty stomach. On a friend’s boat. Doing mushrooms.’ I think it’s the best version of me, but it might be a version of me I don’t realize I’m more capable of being. It might be a way to truly go about doing this gig called life.”
“It’s a beautiful thing that you made,” Hahn says.
Sudeikis, on the upcoming second season, says, “For once, I hope we don’t blow it.”