In anticipation of tonight’s sneak peak of THE GOOD GUYS (8PM FOX, Global TV in Canada), we recently had the chance to take part in a conference call with stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks. Needless to see hilarity ensued, as you’ll very quickly find out by reading the ensuing interview.
Firstly Bradley, is your character not too old for this sh**t?
Bradley Whitford: Yes, absolutely
Colin, your father [Tom Hanks] did a very famous buddy TV series [Bosom Buddies]. Did he give you any advice for doing your own?
Colin Hanks: No, because I’m not wearing a dress. I’m carrying a gun, so there really wasn’t a lot of TV advice he gave. It’s sort of a different spectrum.
Bradley, your moustache deserves billing all to itself in the credits. Is there a story behind that big old thing being in the show?
BW: The big old thing. No, I am, I guess more proud than anything – whether it’s anything that’s done professionally, my children, anything – really my ability to grow facial hair. Look, a cop with a moustache, a cop with a bright future behind him with a moustache – it just seems like an absolute requirement going into this and the attention it’s getting – I’m jealous of the moustache.
Bradley, can you just delve into that a little more – how much fun you’re having?
BW: Yes, this guy is operating from his kind of reptilian brain … This is kind of a – I hope it’s not a pretentious analogy or comparison but – there was a playwright I worked with that said the most interesting people were people who’d given up on actually attaining what they thought they were going to attain in life. And when you have a guy who sort of has realized he loves what he does but Plan A is definitely not going to work – he’s really sort of open to … It’s just a lot of fun. It’s a blast.
Bradley your character, he could have easily become kind of a caricature because he’s kind of so out there in a way. How do you kind of keep him balanced and keep him rooted and keep him real, like make sure he doesn’t become too much of a caricature?
BW: Oh, God, I have no idea. With material like this, which is a kind of material that I love, that kind of aspires to a sort of Elmore-Leonard – one of my favorite movies of all time, Raising Arizona kind of- you’re constantly worried about, although I generally burst out laughing when somebody says: Do you think that’s a little too much?
CH: I don’t think there is something as too much with Bradley’s character, to be quite honest.
BW: But you are kind of playing around with somebody who’s out there and yet trying to keep it real, and you’re trying to make the stakes really huge but mostly you’re just kind of having fun.
What is it about your characters that attracted you to take the role?
CH: Brad, do you want me to buy you some time?
BW: No, I was just going to say lusty, unhinged, post alcoholism. …
CH: Okay. For me, it was more of a chance to – so much of the stuff that I end up sort of reading for or people want me for is the sort of same guy surrounded by a bunch of crazy people, and this was not necessarily that dynamic. This was much more of a two hander between two guys who are both equally flawed in very, very different reasons, for very different reasons. And more importantly, Jack was the guy that spoke back. He talked back to people. It wasn’t just him reacting all the time to, “Why are you so crazy? Why can’t you be normal?” Jack actually has an attitude toward Dan sometimes, and he lets Dan know when he’s not happy. I like being able to read a character that actually stood up for himself.
What did you both find to be the most challenging aspect of these characters for you?
CH: I think trying to find the balance between the realism and the comedy. I think sometimes we find ourselves kind of – or at least I do – find myself hitting my head a little bit trying to find out exactly what it is I’m trying to serve and what is the best way to do that. Am I trying to serve a sense of reality in which something funny happens or am I trying to serve the comedy in which reality sort of goes out the window, and it’s just fun and zany and a good time. And that can be a hard thing to over the course of a show when the characters are evolving and you’re going into new places and the character is growing and you maybe are resisting that change or you’re looking forward to it. Trying to chart that can be a little bit different and can be difficult. But it’s also, I think, just a fun show, and so you just try not to worry about it too much and you just sort of, as Dan would say, you just sort of trust your gut and hopefully things turn out pretty funny. We’ve been trusting our guts and it’s been turning out pretty funny.
BW: I would agree that the trickiest thing is – we’re not making Naked Gun. We are doing – but it needs to be funny. But all … I woke up in the middle of the night when we were doing the pilot and I thought, “Oh my God, I jumped the shark in the teaser of the pilot.” So, it’s – that is the scariest thing. And there is a part of me that – you do want to be generous with the laughs. An audience would rather laugh than …
CH: Than find out how we’re going to catch the killer who does the special thing that he does that lets people know that he’s the killer.
Well, comedic timing is great from both of you. Is it something you’ve each found to be a natural thing for you or had you to …
BW: Well, I work with Colin on that every day.
CH: Yes, I help Bradley with his problems and I teach him comedic timing. I’m mentoring him. No, I think – luckily the writing is so good that there’s stuff that we’re – I think the stuff that Brad and I are able to bring is sort of our own senses of humor that fall under the greater umbrella of the same sense of humor that Matt Nix has. So I think from the very, very early stages once we got past that initial pilot and into the other episodes, our sense of humor fit very well for the pilot and as the show’s progressed, it’s gotten even better as we’ve all gotten to know each other. Matt’s a very smart guy and he’s got a very specific writing style and he specifically looked for people that could deliver his dialogue in the way that he likes. And so knowing that how smart he is and that that’s what he was going for, you start seeing things sort of formatted a little bit more to not just the two of us but really sort of all the sort of characters at large. It really sort of helps.
BW: I have to chime in that a lot of this is a reflection of Matt Nix’s kind of funky aesthetic and partially, by necessity, because of …. picked up Burn Notice and I don’t know if you saw that … for an unprecedented twenty-five years. But he’s incredibly collaborative and wants everybody – his writers, the prop guy – he really is remarkably comfortable and it seems to be his sort of his only criteria is: “Does that make me laugh?” And if somebody else comes up with it, he’s thrilled.
Are you two having as much fun off camera as on?
BW: I always joke that the television I’ve done I feel like truly the cameras are pointed the wrong way and that it’s really, it’s certainly true in this situation that we have really a lovely, fun group of people working on this. I can’t function in a – I don’t think anybody really can, creatively in sort of a hostile, gruesome situation. And I felt with Colin the moment he walked in the room with the audition – I said, “Oh God, I know this guy.” I felt totally comfortable with this guy and he felt like an old friend. So that part of it has always been there but I think we would both re-emphasize and we’re not kidding that the crew makes a huge difference for the show.
CH: And between that and just the day in and day out of shooting a comedy – we’re laughing a lot throughout the course of the day. Even on the long 16-hour days like we’ve just had, there’s still going to be a big laugh somewhere throughout the course of the day and that really helps when you’re making a comedy.
Since the show is coming on in the summer and everybody’s going to be outside and having a good time, could give us your pitch for why we need to come inside and watch this show?
CH: Air conditioning is nice. Ain’t nothing wrong with – it’s a Monday because let’s face it – Mondays even in summer – it’s not that big of a deal, so you can spend one night in and Mondays would probably be your best night.
BW: I would just say there’s nothing more important than for families to stop talking to each other and stare at television.
CH: I take back everything I said. I’m with Brad on that one.
BW: Yes, there’s way too much connecting going on out there. Watch some TV, America.