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How Apple TV's 'Shrunk' creator caught Harrison Ford and learned from 'Ted Lasso'

Ten Episodes Making Apple TV+ Sad Comedy Shrinking, Co-CreatorBrett Goldstein insists cast and crew are still asking, “How the fuck is Harrison Ford here?” Fact On, Goldstein (aka Roy Kent of Ted Lasso ) also often wonders, does not believe that Indiana Jones star agrees to be in Comedy debut in the small-screen ensemble . But he just There, play a rough therapist with Jason Segel grieving widowed therapist in Segel, Goldstein and his ex Ty De Lasso host Bill Lawrence. The trio — Segel and Goldstein himself, Lawrence later on the phone — joined THR in late January to preview a show that could make audiences laugh or cry Show.

Like many good ideas, I read this one was hatched in a London pub. right?

Bill LawrenceFord plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series. started even before that. A few years ago, I proposed my version to Peter Roth and Susan Rovner [they ran Warner Bros. Television at the time] as something I wanted to work on. Because my neighbor, this great dad, has been on vacation and…it’s been really bleak…his parents, one of his kids, and his wife were in a car while he was with his daughter In the other car, there was an accident and [the person in the other car] died. He’s now remarried and has a new kid, but I remember bringing up the idea and getting a response, “Man, you’re a comedy writer, you can’t do shit like this. This stuff is bleak.”

BRETT GOLDSTEIN We are all researching thoughts about grief I think My version is darker.

I don’t know, Bill’s thinking sounds dark.


My idea was from that moment, then the tone became lighter, his idea started from somewhere more neutral, became darker, and we kind of smashed them together.

GOLDSTEIN We’ve been asking a lot, Like, “How hard is it to make a funny show about sadness?” But that’s how I feel every day. One of the things I hate in movies and TV is when you see something that’s grim, grim, grim, with no sense of humor. I always feel badly written. I thought, “You haven’t seen life.” Because life isn’t like that. Like, you read stories about Holocaust survivors and they talk about laughing. People in war zones, they joke.

Then you recruit Jason. How did you find him?

GOLDSTEINFord plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series. He’s the man of dreams because Jason is fucking funny, but he also has a natural weakness. Like, you just love him. I just love him. (Laughter)

Jason Cy Geer is too sweet.

GOLDSTEIN This means with this character, you can take him far to do the wrong thing or make a bad decision. So, we FaceTimed him, but I’m not sure how it went.

SEGEL I’m really listening, Then I did this, which might not be the smartest thing to do from a career standpoint, but I would take the time to think about whether I was really the best person for that part. Sometimes I get things that I’d love to do, but I tell them, “I think someone else might do it better.” Because I make stuff too, and I know people who sell you stuff want their stuff great. But this one really feels like Liam Neeson in Taken when he says, “I have a unique set of skills.” ( Laughing. )

How could this happen?


If I were to make another TV comedy, this feels like a real wheelhouse of what I’d want to do, because I did a [ old dad Mom Romance ] Nine years, really, really long. I thought, “Well, I’ve been through that.” But it’s a great mix of drama and comedy, and making people laugh through tragedy is my favorite form of comedy. Even forget about Sarah Marshall , I’m in , [about something] as dramatic as you could possibly go through at that age, and that was losing your girlfriend. The full frontal nudity was the best I could do in the original hole at the time. This is the adult version of that.

What is the appeal of therapy as a setting?


Look, we’re Hollywood, so, spoiler alert, we’re all shrunken down…

GOLDSTEIN and I recommend that anyone with access to it do so. I mean, we’re all crazy, and we’d be even crazier without it. But I also think that the relationship between therapist and patient is so unique. It’s so intimate, they know it all, and it can go on for years, yet, there are these boundaries. You really don’t know them. And you pay them. It’s a very strange relationship. Of course, they’re human too, and they have their own problems in their own lives. So, there’s an inherent drama and comedy in this relationship, and we have a lot of counselors and therapists checking everything out. We don’t want it to be a joke about therapy.

LAWRENCE One thing I noticed Thing is, therapists are always on TV as a way of expanding the main characters’ personalities. I did it on Spin City. We were like, “How are we going to understand what’s bothering Mike?” We had a therapist for two episodes.

by Apple TV+ supply Ford plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series.

You would prepare your own therapist for a program like this ?


I told my therapist when I started writing. Like, “I want you to know that in some of these sessions, I’ll be looking at you and you’ll feel a very different energy.” ( Laughter. )

So, Harrison Ford. What makes you even think you can get him?

LAWRENCE I don’t have many epiphanies anymore, but one I had recently was that people saying “no” doesn’t sting as much as it does to get used to it I used to always feel rejected so much that when you asked It hurts when people I admire or admire reach out, only to be rejected, sometimes with a “fucking no.” But I got to a point where I wish I’d tried dating as a kid and took a chance and I could say, “Hey, would you like to do this? No? Great, see you later.” Here, the only real thing for me The thing is I wasn’t ready for anything other than rejection from Harrison Ford.

GOLDSTEIN I think this is like a joke. Like, “Obviously not Harrison Ford, but someone like Harrison Ford.”

SEGEL Yeah, you offer it to people like Harrison Ford so you can say out loud for a week, “oh let’s go get Harry Senford.” Then you go to the real person. Then Bret heroically got him. I was in London and he was filming Raiders of the Lost Ark and I got a missed call out of the blue, “Hey, I’m Harrison Ford.” I was like, fuck What’s going on? I went to his apartment to discuss it. The discussion went very, very fast because he wanted to do it. I thought I’d be there to convince him. no*)

GOLDSTEIN oh yeah Yes, I’m going to meet Indiana Fucking Jones. He is so cute. There’s a line in Mike Nichols’ biography where he says Harris Ford is amazing because he says, “Tell me how you can serve this story.” He’s not a diva. When I met him, he had an idea of ​​what to wear for the character, and he wanted to talk about all the things related to his life. He’s like, “I see this, and here’s what I want to bring to it, and tell me the rest.” It’s not just “How do I shine?” You see him in it. It’s Jason Segel with an ensemble, he’s fucking awesome, but he’s in an ensemble.

SEGEL from where he arrived Right from the moment, he does one really amazing thing, which is he makes you feel like a peer. He was quick to break down the “you should be in awe” statement.

How did he do it?


He used to be a carpenter and he said something like this to me, “I was hired to build houses and all I wanted was for people to hire my people to do the house when we were done Satisfied.” That’s pretty cool. Metaphorically speaking, he was hired to help build someone’s dream home.

So now you are writing for him. Is there a place you’re not sure you can take him to comedy?


You’re doing your best at what you think someone might be good at or how they want it to go, right? Initially, you’re thinking, okay, you’re going to make Harrison Ford rough and then everybody’s going to do comedy around him and he’s going to respond to people’s antics rough. For a few episodes, you’re like, “Oh, he’s doing action.” Like, Harrison Ford is here to make comedy, not react to it.

GOLDSTEIN WHEN I LOOK READ- PASS Pilot, I could see the joy in his eyes. Like, wow, he’s fucking excited to be funny. When he was laughing across the room, I was like, “Oh, this is new to him.”

SEGEL I think we all have parts of ourselves that we think are invisible but we want to know.

Jason, what’s in it for you?


When How I Met Your Mother ended, I was like, “Oh, this is the first time I’ve picked something.” Because I started Freaks and Geeks when I was 2023 ), and then I went straight to a bunch of rom-coms. So, at the end of that run, I thought, “Am I going to keep doing what I’ve been doing until that train finally hits the wall?” Because you’ve had that experience of people sitting at dinner parties, “Okay Well, if I directed The Revenant, I would…” (laughs.) And I never wanted to be anything that person. I wonder if I can do drama. I’m trying to figure out if I can write. I’m trying to figure out if I can act. So you try them with varying degrees of success and failure, and I think that drives out some of the things that keep you up at night.

Brett, you joined as a writer Ted Lasso, 5 or so episodes in, you say you see yourself as Roy Kent and selling yourself to other writers. Do you have similar leanings towards this show?

GOLDSTEIN No, it feels like I’m writing for these people, and I’m very happy about it. I didn’t think of this. Lines you don’t have to deliver?


I really don’t think there’s much difference between writing and acting. It’s just that one of them happened behind closed doors, and one of them happened on camera. They all say, “How do I feel? What do I want to do? How do I relate to the people in this room?” You just imagine using it while you’re writing.

SEGELFord plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series. I agree. But I find writing to be so hard and so much work that I can’t imagine putting in the effort not to write it.

GOLDSTEIN Don’t get me wrong, I fucking love it when I do.

SEGEL I really want to He is involved. If we have future seasons, I really want them.

Would you like to commit, right here, now?

GOLDSTEIN Now? ( laughing .) Yes. certainly. I would love to play with these guys.

What did you learn from Ted Lasso you The room brought here?

GOLDSTEIN The main things I learned from Jason Sudeikis are about intentionality. Fun things are easy. And I don’t mean that flippantly, I’m just saying that when you find interesting people, it’s very easy to make a show funny or not funny, whatever you want. The decision is, why are you doing this? Why put this scene in? Why is this character doing this? Everything should matter.

SEGELFord plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series. Judd Apatow wrote in our Forgetting Sarah Marshall said something very similar to me. He said, “Write the script. It’s going to be fun because of the way you see the world. I promise. If not, we can joke around all day, but the only thing people care about is the drama.”

What was the biggest fight or argument in the writers room? Ford plays a therapist and Lukita Maxwell the daughter of Segel’s character on the new Apple TV+ series.


The biggest problem with this show is always the tone. The sweetest moment, when we knew we had a show, was when the crew laughed at the lines in the second episode. Michael Urie’s character says, “Everything is as I want it to be.” [Segel’s] Jimmy says to him, “It’s hard to be with someone who’s always saying ‘Everything is my way’ when your wife just died ’” Michael Urie is a great actor and he said, “I’m not saying everything will be your way.” When we’re dealing with real dark shit, this It’s how me and my friends talk to each other. If that line didn’t work, I don’t think the show would have worked.

SEGEL My most important thing is , I said this to them at the beginning because I had to write for myself sometimes, because I had to write for myself sometimes, “People would think he was a good guy. You could push him to that line. If you cross the line, I’ll let you know. But other than that, I’m pretty sure I can make him likable again. It would be more fun if we made him unlikable.”

GOLDSTEIN If you think of the first scene, you have a The guy is doing drugs by the pool, he’s hiring sex workers there and he’s sustaining his neighbors, and he’s like, that’s how you introduce him, and I don’t think for a second the audience doesn’t go, “I like this guy. “(laughter.)

SEGEL I know! “Oh, he’s going through a rough time.”

In retrospect, the high point of making the show was What, did they make it to the silver screen?

SEGEL I have one. So, when you arrive, you change your wardrobe so quickly, I’m starting to think that I don’t need to waste energy picking out an outfit to start the day. So, I started wearing jumpsuits. But I didn’t have the guts to show up [in my jumpsuit] when other people might see me, so [I planned to] show up on purpose, like, 25 Sneaked into my trailer to change a few minutes before my call. On the first day, I got there early and there was a long line of Harrison Ford waiting outside my trailer, but I didn’t see it. So, we started talking and he kept staring at my jumpsuit. He’d talk to me, but he kept looking down at it, and I said, “Are you checking my flight suit, Harrison?” He said, “Of course I am, kid.” I was really embarrassed. But the next day, I showed up, and Harrison Ford was wearing a matching jumpsuit.

Oh wow.

Siegel yeah how about ? Best friends now. ( Laughter .)

Lawrence This is very selfish, but my daughter [Charlotte Lawrence] is a successful musician and she never let me put one of her songs on my in the program. She always said, “I don’t need favors,” and she was on a lot of the soundtrack. But then I got lucky because the whole “nepo baby” thing started and once she was tagged, I was like, “Now can I put one of your songs on the show? You’ve already had a backlash ’ So, here’s my daughter’s new single in episode six.

A version of this story first appeared in January 25 Issue of The Hollywood Reporter Magazine. Click here to subscribe.



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