Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Interview: The cast and creators of Party Down

Illustration for article titled Interview: The cast and creators of Party Down

Even in this apparent golden age of television, many vaunted, low-rated series never die. In the cases of cult favorites like Arrested Development and Party Down, they live on in the cruel, teasing limbo of the hypothetical movie spinoff. Party Down would seem to have the advantage over Arrested Development in that regard, as the cast and creators of the show—which focuses on a group of aspiring Hollywood types who spend more time making drinks and prepping appetizers than attending auditions—have managed to gather in the same room several times since its unceremonious 2010 cancellation. Most recently, they were in Austin, Texas, attending a daylong marathon of all 20 Party Down episodes presented by the Alamo Drafthouse. During one of two audience Q&As during the event, showrunner Rob Thomas revealed a further leg up on Arrested Development: A real, legitimate Party Down movie is in development, and could shoot as early as the spring of 2012. During the marathon, The A.V. Club met with Thomas, his co-creators John Enbom and Dan Etheridge, and stars Lizzy Caplan, Ryan Hansen, Ken Marino, Megan Mullally, Adam Scott, and Martin Starr for a brief, laugh-punctuated discussion of what aspects of Party Down would work best in 3D, where the movie might take the characters (physically and emotionally), and the sage advice of one Steve Guttenberg.


The A.V. Club: Is a potential Party Down movie spinoff anywhere close to being a reality?

Lizzy Caplan: [To Enbom, Etheridge, and Thomas] Fellas?

Megan Mullally: My rate is $20 million a picture, so that might be a slight stumbling block.

Adam Scott: So the budget for the movie is $20.5 million.

AVC: So what direction would you all like to see the movie go?

MM: I want to get laid. Right?

Martin Starr: You deserve it.

AS: I think that Roman should blow up the world.

John Enbom: Just goofing around. Just being a dick.

MM: Maybe we could do it in space, like [Enbom] wanted to do.

AS: We’re catering a space shuttle launch.

LC: That’s a really good idea.

Ken Marino: Americans and Russians, a lot of shit goes down.

Rob Thomas: What I’m excited about is the opportunity to work in 3D. Great shots of, like, reaching in for a roll of paper towels.

AS: Some canapés.

KM: Cutting a lime.

AVC: Possibly Ken’s giant, fake dick from “Sin Say Shun Awards Afterparty” coming off of the screen.


KM: Fake?

JE: Like a 17-minute sequence where he’s fighting an animal, naked.

RT: The vision we have for it would be, rather than one, big party, we think we’d do four—like a Four Weddings And A Funeral-style quartet spread throughout the year, where we get to track our characters over the last year of the—


Dan Etheridge: Of the world.

RT: Answering the all-important questions of Henry and Casey finding out what happens for them.


AVC: Because at the end of the series, their roles have been reversed: Casey has become disenchanted by her experience with “the Apatow film,” while Henry was becoming interested about acting again.

RT: We think Henry would get a foothold back in acting—that would be one of the ideas.


AVC: And how does the cast feel about getting the bow ties back on for the movie—or for that episode of Childrens Hospital?

MS: That would be weird, wouldn’t it?

AVC: Have you shot that yet?

MM: Yes, and it was so surreal.

KM: And no, we can’t divulge anything.

MM: But I think everybody’s extremely excited at the prospect of a Party Down movie.


AVC: Obviously there are some scheduling pitfalls that will need to be navigated.

KM: Well, Adam, you’ve given your two-weeks at Parks And Recreation

AS: Yeah, I just quit. Because we heard that there was maybe a possibility of them maybe, perhaps at some point making the movie, so I just put in my notice.


MM: Just to be on the safe side.

KM: I put in my two-weeks at Shakey’s Pizza.

RT: In a perfect world, the ideal thing would be to shoot it during the next television hiatus. So sometime next spring is what we would hope to happen.


MM: [To The A.V. Club] You have such a cute look.

KM: You really do. Seriously well put together.

MM: He’s like a ’40s reporter.

AVC: I left my fedora with the “Press” tag at the door.

JE: After this, are you going to run out to make a payphone call?

MS: [Laughs.] Put that in your article—how good you look today.

KM: I think you have a nice head of hair.

AVC: Thanks. That’s a high compliment, considering the heads of hair on the male members of the cast.


RT: That was our number one criteria.

JE: You don’t see Ed Harris in the show—he was desperate to get on. We were like, “Ed, take off the hat and you can do it.”


AS: Also if Yul Brynner was alive, we would not have him on the show.

AVC: Which is why you didn’t let Ryan shave his head completely in “Willow Canyon Homeowners Annual Party”—you only let him lose one eyebrow.


DE: Wasn’t it originally shaved head in the script?

Ryan Hansen: It looked awesome—it was right down the middle in the original pilot that we shot.


DE: Why did we do that?

RT: Because we didn’t want to do an episode where we shave Ryan’s head.

AVC: But the show has such a commitment to continuity that you could’ve pulled it off—the eyebrow’s still missing in the next episode.


JE: Like Megan’s broken arm in season two.

MM: I broke my wrist on the morning of the second day of shooting, on my way there.


JE: And in the script it says “She has a broken arm,” and she was like, “Well, to the craft.”

MM: I got blindsided by this lady—first car accident I’ve ever been in. I’m in the hospital, so we sent word to them that I broke my wrist and I was getting a cast put on. And then I heard after the fact that Dan and John were convinced that I had not been in a car accident, that I was fine, that it was just a ploy so that I could get out of being on the show.


JE: All we heard the first time was “Megan’s been in a car accident, you might need to do some rewrites.”

AVC: That sounds terrifying.

RT: I know, it was terrifying—rewriting?

JE: So we had to rewrite that script for four different scenarios, based on [Megan’s] state of health.


AVC: The “no risk, no reward” credo introduced in “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday”—do you see that as a mission statement for the entire series?

JE: I think that’s true, along with its corollary—Adam’s character, his response to that in the Guttenberg episode is, “No risk, no risk.” So that was the two sides of that coin that we were always dwelling on for these people who had all taken the risk and might not be reaping any reward.


DE: The financial motto for the show was, “High risk, no reward.”

AVC: Which is definitely what the company that’s developing the movie wants to hear.


RT: “We love it!”

JE: “This is a new idea we hadn’t thought of!”