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Interview with Jason Gann of "Wilfred" on
It's always great to talk to the guys on this show.
Everyone is just so nice and friendly, like regular people
you'd want to sit and have a drink with. Especially Jason
Gann! He's awesome, and funny. I'm so sad that the
show is over this year...
FX NETWORK: Wilfred
June 20, 2014/10:00 a.m. PDT
Kristy Silvernail / Senior Manager, Media Relations, FX
Jason Gann / Executive Producer, Writer, “Wilfred,” Wilfred
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by.
Welcome to the Wilfred conference call. At this time, all
participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will
conduct a question and answer session; instructions will be
given at that time. (Operator instructions.) As a reminder,
this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to your host,
Kristy Silvernail. Please go ahead.
Kristy: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Wilfred
conference call with executive producer, writer and series
star Jason Gann, who plays the title role of “Wilfred.” We’d
like to thank everyone for joining us today, and remind you
that this call is for print purposes only; no audio may be
used. As a reminder, Wilfred debuts its fourth and final
season next Wednesday, June 25th with two brand new episodes
airing back-to-back at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific
only on FXX.
With that said, let’s go ahead and take the first question.
Moderator: (Operator instructions.) One moment, please, for
the first question. Your first question comes from the line
of Jamie Ruby from SciFiVision. Please go ahead.
Jamie: Hi, Jason. Thank you for doing the call today.
Jason: Oh, hi, Jamie.
Jamie: Hi. In the beginning episodes you could just see a lot
of other people kind of running around in the “Wilfred”
suit. What was that like for you?
Jason: It was kind of surreal, but I think everyone else on
the set was more sensitive to the preciousness of it, the
sanctity retained, the sanctity of “Wilfred.” I think the
only other person who had really been in it before then was
Elijah [Wood], once, in between scenes last year. It was
just so exciting, the whole new direction that we’re taking
with some of the mythology of “Wilfred” that it was just a
real buzz for me to be in the suit, and see some other
people in it.
There was one guy in it who, he stayed in it all day, like
it was so hot, and he didn’t take it off all day. I’m like,
“Dude, what are you doing? Take it off in between takes.”
He’s like, “No.” He said, “This is just such a gift of an
opportunity, I just want to stay in it for as long as I
can.” It was pretty funny.
Jamie: That’s great. Well, thank you so much.
Jason: Sure. Thank you.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Rebecca
Murray from ShowbizJunkies. Please go ahead.
Rebecca: Good morning. I’m wondering—
Rebecca: —the mythology of the series from the very start,
the very concept to now, has it changed or did you always
have the same idea in mind?
Jason: It’s definitely changed. Even from the pilot of the FX
series, no one knew what happened beyond that pilot, and it
just morphed into its own creature. I mean, even when we
changed show runners for Season 3…was really when the statue
came in at the end of Season 3 and we knew where we wanted
to take that.
When David Zuckerman came back onboard as a show runner this
final season, we were kind of tied into that. But at the
same time, we were really aware of doing more than one
theme, which has been probably the only thing that has been
consistent through the FX series is that there can be
different answers depending on the interpretation. There’s
no cut and dry, spoon-fed answer. Yes, I think my series
pretty much kind of worked out if you get picked up again
for another series when there’s nothing on the playing
field. When we write a season we give everything because you
never know when you’re coming back and when you’re not.
We’re so blessed to be given this last opportunity to really
have one last hurrah, and end the show on our own terms.
To answer your question, I mean, but even to go back before
FX series to when it was a short film, which was back in
2002, it was certainly a short film. It was a conversation
between two dudes, one of them happened to be a dog, and
even then people were saying, it’s a great idea, but it
would never have gone beyond the seven minutes. When we
decided to make a pilot for an Australian series, we were
like, I can’t imagine that after seven minutes I think this
idea doesn’t have legs, and I was, no, no. This idea has got
a lot of legs, and here we are. We did two seasons in
Australia; we’ve done four seasons here.
Wilfred is [indiscernible] now; the characters are for
history to judge. It’s just like [indiscernible] you never
really know where something small can take you, but I’m
tremendously proud of where we have taken it though. It’s
like now that it’s come to its proper conclusion, and it
feels like a full conclusion, all the little steps along the
way seem to make sense in a new way that they didn’t at the
time; we got to the destination.
Rebecca: Great. Thank you.
Jason: Thank you.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Suzanne
Lanoue from The TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Good morning, Jason.
Jason: Hi. How are you?
Suzanne: All right. Well, barely awake. I was wondering, did
FX make the decision to just give you one more season or was
this more your idea or is it sort of mutual?
Jason: No, it was a network decision. I don’t know too much
about the details, but I have noticed a couple other shows
have also been brought to a close. Also, FX has an enormous
amount of new shows, so it feels probably the end of an era.
We feel really lucky that there was a great show of respect
that we were given this opportunity to bring the show to its
conclusion, even though the show may not have been like a
I think that FX has been really proud of what we’ve done
creatively, and the painting has been completed and it’s
there for everyone to see now. I do believe that history
will be kind to the TV show that is Wilfred over the years,
and that’s going to be fun to watch the response grow. I
mean, even the Australian show, over two years, breaking in
between seasons because it was finished, but it just—word of
mouth, it just kept slowly growing. We’ll see what happens
Also, David and I, we did talk about—I think we’ve mentioned
it in early interviews, that we kind of saw this thing like
a four or five season show. We are really pleased with the
end result. I don’t know how many more years I could’ve
stayed in that dog suit anyway.
Rebecca: Yes. Well, I love it, I could watch it forever, but
I understand. Thank you.
Jason: Thank you for your understanding, Rebecca.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Kyle
Wilson from Nerd Repository. Please go ahead.
Kyle: Hi, Jason. Good to talk to you. The first two episodes
are extremely twisty and fascinating and very mythology
heavy. It kind of felt like there was a creative upsurge. Do
you think the fact that it is the final season that you guys
were able to let loose creatively?
Jason: Yes. Well, let loose and also be kind of restrained at
the same time. I guess the main frustration, for me
personally, with such a heavy mythology strand—part of that
show is that the first thing to go is the comedy in an edit.
I’ll always fight for the comedic moments, but when it comes
to story, story’s got to come first. We had so many loose
ends to tie up in ten episodes that certain things like…,
for instance, in the basement, we don’t have any this season
just because we just couldn’t fit them in time wise.
But having said that, yes, we really did get to do some
crazy scenes, some you don’t see in the first couple of
episodes, but towards the end of the season, I’m certain
that no one’s going to predict where we take it.
We didn’t have to worry about ratings anymore. I mean,
Season 3 we kind of thought that maybe we’d gone too
mythology heavy in Season 2, and perhaps too dark. I think
we lost a section of our audience because it wasn’t as funny
as, I think, Season 1 promised it to be, and a lot of people
did tune in for the comedy.
Season 3, we really tried to steer it back closer to where
we were Season 1, and make it really comedically satisfying.
I really felt we achieved that, but it wasn’t enough, I
guess, to extend the [indiscernible] of viewership, I guess.
This season we didn’t have to worry about trying to win back
numbers; it was just about creating a satisfying conclusion
for us as the creators, and we’ve done that.
Kyle: Thank you. Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.
Jason: Cool. Thank you.
Moderator: (Operator instructions.) Next we’ll go to the line
of Preston Barta from North Texas Daily. Please go ahead.
Preston: Hi, Jason. How are you doing?
Jason: Good, mate.
Preston: Over the years I’ve talked to a few filmmakers that
have said usually the work you do is a little bit of a
reflection of yourself. Writers try to incorporate what
they’re feeling and what they’re thinking and what they’re
experiencing in life into their work. Is this something that
you agree with? Are there any episodes that you’ve written
or contributed to that reflect who you are in any way?
Jason: Without a doubt, mate. That’s a great question, and
I’ve been a great observer of this whole symphonicity [sic]
sensation; it’s just incredible. I noticed that even though
when I was an actor in my theatre days I couldn’t believe
how the roles I was playing seemed to, not mirror
identically, but resemble greatly, what was really happening
in my life, how I was perceived. “Wilfred” is certainly a
dog on steroids, but it’s weird because some of these scenes
of parallels between “Wilfred’s” life and my own life happen
when I’m not even writing it anymore. It’s a bizarre
Last year “Wilfred” got married to “Bear,” and I got married
and these are [indiscernible]. There was a baby who was
born, and I had a baby; the [indiscernible] the literal
things, but there are many, many things that are really
close to home. When I first did the short film, and I showed
it to my friends back in [indiscernible] my friends just
said, that’s just you in a dog suit. Over the years
“Wilfred” becomes that creature, and David will say, even
though it’s you it’s not “Wilfred;” I don’t see “Wilfred”
when I’m talking to you. I’m glad that my life isn’t
literally reflective of Wilfred Season 4, for reasons that
shall be revealed, but it is definitely a very strong
Preston: Thank you, man. I appreciate it.
Jason: Thank you, brother. See you.
Moderator: Your next question comes from the line of Sabienna
Bowman from TV Equals. Please go ahead.
Sabienna: Hi, Jason. It’s so nice to speak with you.
Jason: You, too.
Sabienna: My question is, when you look back on Wilfred, is
there a particular episode or moment that you think
represents the show as a whole?
Jason: Looking back? I mean there’s so many—I mean, I
gravitate towards—personally, there’s a skit that I wrote
and [indiscernible] screened at Comic-Con, the ones where
really hit the comedic highs like, I think maybe the doggie
dancing one, “Avoidance,” where we have a really great mix
of comedy and the drama. Yes, I think the churro stuff where
we think that “Wilfred” wants a [indiscernible] from Ryan
but he really wants a shake to shiver off the churro after
eating the churro. For me, personally, those are the really
magic moments. Elijah and I just worked out ourselves those
dances. I watched the episode the other day and, to me, that
kind of captures that real comradery between “Ryan” and
Sabienna: That’s awesome. Thank you so much, Jason, and I
absolutely love the show. Pleasure to speak with you.
Jason: Oh, you’re sweet. Thank you.
Moderator: Next we’ll go to the line of Suzanne Lanoue from
the TV MegaSite. Please go ahead.
Suzanne: Hi again.
Suzanne: I was wondering what is next for Jason? What do you
have coming up after the show is over?
Jason: Well, I’ve got an animation that’s with Fox at the
moment, which is really exciting for me. I’m working with a
producer called Nicky Weinstock. I met up with him over a
year ago, and he just said to me like he just wanted to work
with me on something, and the feeling is mutual. He just
seemed to think that my imagination would work really well
in an animation platform, and I had to agree.
Since Season 1 of Wilfred and with FX, I can’t tell you how
many times I’ve thrown my arms in the air when I’ve pitched
some crazy idea and had everyone say, we can’t do that, we
can’t do that. I think the semen ants in Season 1 and I
pitch it every year, and even Season 3 they’re like, semen
ants, just get it through your head, semen ants will never
be in the show. Later on in the year someone else will be
looking for something and someone said, I think that’s semen
ants and Eli [Jorné] said, I can’t believe that semen ants
made it in the show. There’s a reference to semen ants but
it wasn’t actually the story of semen ants developed, it was
the genuine pitch.
When I was pitching the concept of the show to Fox Studio,
and now we’re like, the semen ants, that’s that show, they
were joking thankfully. This was kind of like, I don’t have
to do it anymore. For a show that’s already really crazy and
out there for ideas, the fact that I’ve had so many ideas
that have always been told was too crazy for even Wilfred, I
think there’s a sign that this is a really good area for me
to write because there are no bounds with imagination.
You’re not bound by actual logistics of shooting it, so I’m
really excited about that.
I’ve got another three live-action shows that I’ll be
pitching as soon as I enjoy a little bit more of a rest, and
come back into town and start pitching again. I’ve always
got five or six shows in development with my producing
partners I’m ready to pitch. Actually, for the last—I think
every season of Wilfred I’ve always had a loose show, which
would be a starring vehicle for me, really in case Wilfred
got canceled. That’s the one benefit of being a performer,
Suzanne: Well, thank you. I look forward to all of it.
Jason: Cool. Thank you.
Moderator: (Operator instructions.) Next we’ll go to the line
of Kyle Wilson from Nerd Repository. Please go ahead.
Kyle: Hi, Jason. Follow up to the question earlier. You said
that originally you thought the show could go about four or
five seasons. Do you feel that you’ve hit all the points you
need to hit by the end of this season, or could we by chance
maybe see Wilfred in another medium like in the movie
theatre or something like that somewhere down the road?
Jason: It’s difficult to say. Look, I definitely feel like
we’ve laid it to rest, the story has been told, but you
never say never. Both Elijah and I and several other key
players have definitely expressed a keen interest in being
involved in any future potential film [indiscernible]. I
really think that’s a little out of our hands. Personally,
it’s out of my hands, I just hand it over to
[indiscernible]. If we’re lucky enough to have continued
increasing support from our fans, over the years other shows
have come back because of people—Arrested Development, stuff
like that, that people have rediscovered after they’ve come
and gone. If something like that happens then we may come
back, but I don’t think it would ever be in the TV area
I’ve also toyed with the idea of going back and doing
another Australia season again. All of these things would
have to be in a couple of years when I really—I’d have to
have a good reason to do it because I don’t want to tarnish
what we’ve created in any way with something cheap. Elijah,
from what I’ve spoken about, would feel the same way. I’d
say it would be a couple of years before I get in the suit
Kyle: Great. Well, if you do I can’t wait to see what’s to
come. I appreciate the time.
Jason: Thank you.
Moderator: Your final question today comes from the line of
Ernie Estrella from BuzzFocus. Please go ahead.
Ernie: Hi, Jason.
Ernie: I wanted to ask about the characters in the new world
that you’re introducing in the season. Generally after the
first two episodes you’ve taken away some of the major
elements of the story, so far, with “Ryan’s” father, “Jenna”
and “Drew.” Talk about the formation of this new support
Jason: I don’t think any of them are major foundation
characters like “Jenna” or “Drew” or “Kristen” or the mum;
but they’re all there to really service the arc, the
mythology and the arc. We’ve got [indiscernible] this year
and he’s mesmerizing to watch. I felt like it was a real
pleasure to work with him, but even if for one episode.
Again, his episode, I think, is probably the craziest we’ve
done in anything, and you really see “Wilfred” in a
[indiscernible]. It’s going to blow people’s minds when they
see what we do in that episode.
I have to say that I don’t think—really this season, the new
characters that we’ve brought in, make a huge impact aside
from forwarding the story and of the mythology of Wilfred
and the history of “Wilfred” and “Ryan’s” life. Having said
that, we’re really, really excited to have everyone onboard.
They’re some brilliant actors and we’ve got Mimi Rogers who,
this season, has taken over the role of the mother, and she
really is just, I think, a revelation. I love Mary
Steenburgen, who is fantastic in the role, too, but Mimi,
she wanted to be in it from the start and she’s actually a
fan of the show and has never missed an episode. She just
took the opportunity with buttered hands and breathed new
life into it.
Also John Michael Higgins who has, up until now, played just
a certain kind of two-dimensional character, his character
just comes alive, and the scenes between him and Mimi are
just wonderful. I really miss the fact that—that probably
was the theme that mostly made us wish that the show could
go on just so we could see more of these characters. That
took [indiscernible] by surprise.
Ernie: If you have time for one more follow-up, this is a
question about “Kristen.” Do we get to explore her potential
abilities to see “Wilfred” or maybe not see “Wilfred” or
Jason: All I’ll say is that all of our recurring guest
characters are drawn to a satisfying conclusion. Yes, I
think she’s no different. I won’t go into too much detail
about what happens to her in the end.
Ernie: Okay, fair enough. Thank you again, Jason.
Jason: Yes. Pleasure.
Kristy: All right. Well, thank you so much to everybody for
joining us today, and especially, Jason, we really
appreciate your time.
Jason: I appreciate you guys, too. Thank you. Thank you,
Kristy: As a reminder, Wilfred premieres next Wednesday, June
25th at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on FXX. A complete
transcript of this call will be emailed to everyone within
approximately 72 hours. You may now disconnect. Thank you so
much again, and have a great day.
Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, that does conclude your
conference for today. Thank you for your participation and
for using AT&T Executive TeleConference. You may now
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