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Interview with Elijah Wood and Jason Gann of "Wilfred"
on FX 6/17/11.
It was very exciting to speak to this duo, particularly
Elijah Wood. I'm a big scifi and fantasy fan, and I loved "Lord of the
Rings", so talking to "Frodo" was awesome. He is also such a
well-respected actor, ever since he started in movies, so that was just
icing on the cake. They were both very nice and seemed "real",
especially Wood. He also has a very funny, high-pitched laugh, which
cracked me up.
The new show, "Wilfred", is really unique and
interesting. I enjoyed watching it. You can read my
FX NETWORK: Wilfred
June 17, 2011/10:00 a.m. PDT
Kristy Silvernail – FX Network
Elijah Wood – “Ryan,” Wilfred
Jason Gann – “Wilfred,” Wilfred
Moderator 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.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Miss Kristy
K. Silvernail Good morning and welcome to the Wilfred Conference call.
This is Kristy from FX, and before we get started, I just wanted to take
a moment and thank all of you for participating, and especially Elijah
Wood and Jason Gann for sharing their time with us. Because we’ve got so
many people joining us today, we ask that everybody ask only one
question at a time and then get back in queue for any follow-ups. As you
know Wilfred premiers next Thursday June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and
Pacific right before the Season Two premiere of Louie at 10:30.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Moderator Our first question comes from Amy Harrington from
A. Harrington Elijah, we imagine that you get offered a lot of TV roles
and we’re wondering why you chose this one?
E. Wood I actually don’t get offered a lot of TV roles. I read a few
scripts, mainly dramas. I was just interested in taking a look at
television because I really had never seen what was kind of available
and what people were making on television. It’s changed so much even in
the last five years. I don’t know, I read this script … the last scripts
that I was sent, and my manager sent it to me and said it was the
funniest thing that she’d ever read. I loved it and it kind of blew my
mind. It was unlike anything I’ve read or seen on television. A perfect
extreme in funny but also sort of cerebral and strange and difficult to
describe, which I think is always a good thing.
Moderator Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd.
J. Ruby Can you kind of talk to us about your characters in the show and
kind of give us a little bit on them?
E. Wood Yes, Jason, you want to chime in on it?
J. Gann Well “Wilfred” is a dog. The world sees a dog. “Ryan” sees a man
in a cheap dog suit who smokes bongs and pretty much terrorizes him. But
you know, we sort of think that after a while that maybe “Wilfred” is an
angel and a devil on his shoulder, giving him advice and trying to bring
him back into the real world. That’s “Wilfred’s” character. Elijah?
E. Wood Yes, “Ryan” is essentially a guy who had followed a path that
was ultimately not of his choosing for far too long. He listened to his
family, listened to his father, did kind of what he thought everyone
else wanted him to do as opposed to following his own interests. As a
result of that in this pilot, we find him in a place where he’s hit a
wall, essentially, and it’s made him suicidal.
He’s kind of a broken individual. He’s someone that hasn’t really busted
out of himself to live freely and to live with confidence and to define
himself, and ultimately that’s where “Wilfred” arrives. He arrives sort
of in that moment of crisis to push “Ryan” outside of the self-imposed
and sort of family-imposed boundaries that have been created around him.
Moderator Our next question comes from Andrea Towers from VoiceofTV.
A. Towers There’s a huge influx of shows from Europe that have been
brought overseas throughout the past few years. Some are successful.
Some aren’t so successful. I’m curious to know how you think your show
will be received over in the U.S. in terms of—I know it’s darker. It’s
probably a little more unconventional than what normal audiences are
J. Gann Despite the fact that the show is called Wilfred, and there’s a
dog called “Wilfred” in it, and I’m in the suit playing “Wilfred,” it’s
a really different show. Maybe the reason why some of those reboots
don’t work is because they’re trying to just translate something from
one territory into another and the only thing that’s different is sort
of some accents and stuff, whereas this is a completely new show.
David Zuckerman, the show runner, had a completely new vision for it.
When he first told me about it he said he saw a different vehicle for
this great character that he loved. So I don’t even compare the two
shows. This show really stands on its own, and so, look, I’m not worried
about any comparisons or failed reboot of the successful show because
they’re two different creatures.
Moderator Our next question comes from Kristyn Clarke from
K. Clarke I’m curious to know, this question kind of goes out to both of
you, what is your definition of a good formula for comedic TV?
E. Wood That’s a good question. Jason, you’re more well versed in this
than I am.
J. Gann A good formula—well, people are pretty quick to admit if they
can’t dance or they can’t sing, but not many people think that they have
a bad sense of humor. Everyone thinks that their sense of humor is good.
So it’s a really difficult thing to throw open to a large panel of
people’s mind, which is what happens in most television. So I think to
get something right you really have to have like a smaller nucleus of
comedic minds and then trust that small group and trust your instincts
and what you think is funny regardless of what you think what the masses
will think is funny. Because if you try and cater to an audience that
already exists, then you’ll just come out with boring old stuff. You
really need to, I think, pioneer what you think is funny and then hope
that the audience follows you.
Then there’s just truth on the actual playing of the comedy. Aside from
the writing is just trying it for truth and I think that’s hopefully
what Elijah and I bring, I think, together.
E. Wood I was going to say the same thing. From my experience, what I
think is a solid base for any comedy is just honesty and truth and it
coming from a real place. As surreal as this show gets and is,
ultimately, we’re dealing with a character that most can’t see the way
that I can see it. But outside of that, most of the scenarios, we’re
playing them for honesty and I think that that is always an important
base, and I think something truly funny will always come out of that.
Moderator Our next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue from The TV MegaSite.
S. Lanoue How many episodes have you filmed and how many will there be
J. Gann We filmed 13 and there shall be 8 …. Elijah?
E. Wood But they’re eight really good episodes.
J. Gann Yes, there’s 13.
Moderator Our next question comes from Sheldon Wiebe from
S. Wiebe I, like most of the people on the call today, have never seen
the Australian version, and I’m just wondering—now you say this is a
totally different animal, Jason. How so?
J. Gann Well originally in November of this year will have been ten
years since I wrote the seven-minute short film that won festivals
around the world and went to Sundance. So that seven-minute short was
already very popular, and so we just set up a premise in essentially a
seven-minute short. So for the Australian series, we just used the first
seven minutes in the pilot as the first seven minutes of the show.
So we didn’t go into a lot about what the psychology of the show, of the
relationship between the guy and the dog. There was no background story
for the guy. We didn’t go into his psychology at all. It was really a
love triangle between the guy, the dog, and the girl. Whereas this show
is, for starters, a buddy comedy more so than—it does have love triangle
elements in it, but each episode is about “Ryan.” “Wilfred” kind of
drives the stories and the audience is constantly left to argue with
each other or with themselves as to whether this is all happening inside
“Ryan’s” mind. Are we going crazy? What’s really going on?
In the Australian version, we just sort of said, “The guy can see the
dog.” We said it in the first minute of the show, and then we just went
on with it. The Australian show had more of a British kind of
sensibility and the style of The Young Ones or The Mighty Boosh where
things are a bit more abstract and absurdist. So this show goes into the
psychology more, and I think it’s smarter … about “Ryan” rather than
about a love triangle.
Moderator Our next question comes from Far Hossain from Far Flips.
F. Hossain I want to know what your favorite scene is that you filmed so
J. Gann Elijah? Go on.
E. Wood No, not off the top of my head. Do you have one ready already?
J. Gann Yes, well, Elijah yours is the one on the roof. … speak for
Elijah, but we had a lot of fun up on the roof in the rain. There’s a
scene we do in the rain. I think my favorite scene is in the strip club.
E. Wood The roof argument was a lot of fun. That’s true. I mean that’s
something that I was also really looking forward to from reading it on
the script and ultimately shooting it because it’s so ridiculously
heightened. I don’t know, there are so many sequences that we would
approach every day. I swear to God, like every day coming to work I
approached it with so much excitement because every day there was
something that we were excited to shoot and bring to life. We were even
… lucky to work with such wonderful scripts. I mean our writers,
everyone together, created such layered, finely layered, very
interesting, hilarious scripts that were kind of on a constant level
every day exciting to approach. So it’s difficult to pick one sequence
out in particular.
J. Gann Strip club scene.
Moderator Our next question comes from Curt Wagner from Red Eye.
C. Wagner “Wilfred” is sort of “Ryan’s” coping mechanism, I guess, …
stranger coping mechanisms. I was wondering how you guys cope with
stress and problems. Who do you see and talk to?
J. Gann I don’t know if you really want to go there. I’m sort of lucky
that in that for me, I’m a writer now. I started out as an actor but I’m
a writer, and so things like Wilfred and shows like that are where I
escape to. It’s only been the last two years that I had to sort of force
myself to go out and be more involved in the world because I can get a
bit cerebral and escape into the characters and the world of characters.
So but now, I guess I escape into stories about “Wilfred” and characters
E. Wood Coping mechanism? I don’t know. We all deal with a certain
amount of stress on a day-to-day basis. I probably smoke too many
cigarettes, which isn’t a very good thing. I don’t know. I don’t have
any extraordinary sort of coping mechanism. I certainly don’t talk to a
Moderator Our next question comes from Nick Arganbright from GBG.
N. Arganbright My question revolves—I guess is for both of you. Jason,
with the original show were there any rules that you had there and when
David Zuckerman is doing this show with you guys now, you guys have a
different set of rules with how everybody sees “Wilfred?” Like how
“Ryan” views people interacting with “Wilfred?” How does that work?
J. Gann That’s a real good question. Well for a start, I wrote in the
Australian version that I’m right until proven wrong, but in the
American version David’s right. One thing … said with the Australian
version, which I think is a similarity, is that we’re all telling one
joke and that it’s important that everyone is on board and understands
the tone of the script and is all telling the same story. And that we
don’t have any kind of renegade guest actors that are out trying to
steal the show or steal the scene or do their own comedy stick. You got
to try and slide in because we’re all telling the one joke, as far as
the comedy goes, and so I think that’s fairly similar. I think this show
is more social, like there’s more social references than the Australian
version, which is a different type to personally where I took it, but
I’m a fan of trying and I like the fact that the show’s taking on a life
of its own.
Moderator Our next question comes from Michael Gallagher from
M. Gallagher This question is for Elijah. How did your family and
friends respond to the news when you told then you’d be staring in
Wilfred? Are they looking forward to watching the show?
E. Wood Yes, my family and friends were, I think, very intrigued at the
notion of the premise of the show. I think since we started shooting and
we actually did a number—we shot a number of promos before we actually
went into production. They started to air sort of while we were
shooting, which gave people a real sense of what it is that we were
trying to do and kind of gave tonally an idea of the show we were trying
to make. Since those have come out a lot of family and friends have seen
those shorts and everyone’s looking forward to it. I’m very excited and
intrigued, as they should be.
J. Gann They said, “Elijah, we will always love you regardless of what—”
E. Wood “Listen, no matter what decision you make as an actor we’re
proud of you. We’re proud of you either way.”
J. Gann “Up to this point, it’s been great.”
E. Wood “It’s been great, and I’m sure you’ll make other great decisions
later as well should you get a second chance.”
J. Gann I wasn’t there for that conversation. It was imagined. That
question wasn’t even directed to me. I hijacked it.
E. Wood You did. You hijacked it. …
Moderator Our next question comes from Lena Lamoray from LenaLamoray.com.
L. Lamoray Now “Wilfred” and “Ryan” are both intriguing characters. What
is it like bringing them to life and have you picked up any of their bad
J. Gann Elijah, why don’t you go first?
E. Wood Intriguing characters—I certainly haven’t picked up any of
“Ryan’s” bad habits. “Ryan” and I are very different, thankfully. I
think I’m a lot more pulled together than “Ryan” is. Yes, no bad habits
have entered into my life as a result of playing him.
He’s a constantly interesting character to play. He’s sort of in
constant struggle. It’s an interesting character to play. On the surface
level, he is interacting with “Wilfred” and kind of takes that, as we as
an audience, I think, take that for granted and accept that
relationship. But throughout the show as we’re filming it, I’m
constantly thinking about what’s happening in reality and what he’s
really going through. I’m not necessarily playing that and I don’t have
to play that, but I think there’s a lot of depth to what “Ryan’s”
experience is, and he’s kind of broken and he’s constantly in the state
of trying to repair himself and he’s working really hard to sort of stay
above water, and it’s constantly interesting to play.
J. Gann And “Wilfred” actually picked up all of my bad habits. I just
kind of converted them into that character, and thankfully I don’t
really have any of those habits anymore. I smoke, but I don’t take drugs
or anything like that, but anything—I suppose I still do like to screw
anything that moves, but apart from that, if anything, “Wilfred’s”
stolen my moves.
Moderator Our next question comes from Jim Napier from GeekTyrant.com.
J. Napier So I can really tell that your chemistry on the phone call and
from what I’ve seen of the show is amazing, and I’m really excited for
the entirety of the season. One thing that sticks out to me when I first
thought of this show is the fact that it reminds me of Jimmy Stewart’s
Harvey. There’s obviously a big difference between Wilfred and that, but
did you pull from any films or life experiences, obviously probably more
life experience when crafting this show?
J. Gann Personally it is a role a lot of life experiences that poured
into the creation of the Wilfred character, but it’s interesting. The
Harvey reference has come up quite a bit. That wasn’t in our minds when
we first created the character or the Australian version. But it’s
interesting, like I just had a thought then like about like Jimmy
Stewart like just how much—what it is I love about him as an actor and
how he brings this incredible authenticity to his characters, unique
authenticity that we actually as an audience. We’re sort of prompted to
believe in him even though we can see that there’s no rabbit. We can see
what everyone else is thinking, but we believe in him.
I don’t want to embarrass Elijah, but I think that Elijah brings
something really similar and he really makes my job as playing “Wilfred”
a lot easier, because seeing through his eyes it’s easier to believe it
and so we’re ready, as an audience, hopefully ready to suspend our
E. Wood Thanks, Jason. Yes that’s interesting that reference to Harvey.
Jason and I immediately thought of that as well. I’m a huge fan of that
film. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, and it was interesting
the parallel. I mean the parallel, it’s obviously similar but it’s
extremely different, but that notion of our sort of imagined friend is
quite similar and I think there’s something kind of beautiful about
Moderator Our next question comes from Lucas High from TVGeekArmy.com.
L. High Elijah, you seem to have a knack for choosing roles in movies
that are interesting and challenging. Are there certain types of
projects that you gravitate towards or a specific thing you look for in
E. Wood I think I’m always just looking for something—I mean, look, on
the basest of levels I’m looking for something that I just respond to. I
think it’s hard enough to find quality scripts and work that you just
respond to on a gut level. But more than that I think I’m also always
looking for something really different. Something that is unlike
anything I’ve done before both in terms of the project as a whole and
also in terms of what the role would entail. To continue to challenge
myself, but also to work on projects that are unique and different.
I’m definitely attracted to things that are less easily defined, and
this is a perfect example of that. It’s never interesting, I don’t
think, to do anything truly conventional. I think convention can have
its merits, certainly, but I think it’s far more interesting to travail
roads that are less traveled and that are a bit more fascinating and
certainly more challenging. For me, with this as well, I’ve never done
comedy before and I was very interested in the notion of delving into
comedy and working within a medium that I’ve not worked in before.
Moderator Our next question comes from Daniella Stinger from Fan Girl
D. Stinger Elijah, the character of “Ryan” starts out fairly depressed.
Do you feel that he’s essentially the straight man in a comedy double
act or does he really fit that definition?
E. Wood Do I feel he’s a straight man? Yes, I think he is. I mean
ultimately I think “Ryan’s” just trying to get everything together
constantly. So he’s essentially reacting to the world around him and to
the scenarios that “Wilfred” is trying to put him into and the direction
that he’s being pulled constantly. So straight man, yes, but he’s also
just in this time of crisis in his life and he’s just trying to hold it
all together all the time. Having a genuine relationship with this man
in a dog suit and then also trying to balance that relationship with the
real people who he knows can’t see that man in a dog suit, and then in
the midst of all that trying to rebuild himself and to be the best
person that he can be.
Moderator Our next question comes from Joe Dilworth from Pop Culture
J. Dilworth In the first few episodes that we’ve seen, obviously,
“Wilfred” pushes “Ryan” into situations he would never be in just to see
what happens possibly, but is there going to be a point at all this year
where “Ryan” gets to turn the tables on “Wilfred”?
J. Gann Yes. You need to stay one-step ahead of the audience, I think,
without being two steps ahead and have them sort of lose interest. I
think that with story telling you have to play with the audience. So
just when they think they know what is coming next then you surprise
them, and David’s worked really hard and we all have worked really hard
to keep the audience on their toes and to keep them thinking. So yes, we
definitely don’t just have the same, stick to the same formula all the
time. There are many twists and turns.
Moderator Our next question comes from Lisa Macklem from Your
L. Macklem I’m curious if there’s a lot of improv going on on set or do
you stick to the scripts? How does that work out?
J. Gann … there’s this new viral ad, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it yet,
Elijah, where with the smoking one?
E. Wood I saw it earlier. It turned out really good.
J. Gann It’s really funny and we just were improvising at the end of a
very short scene and it ends up being like—the improv there is really
funnier. It’s really funny and that’s when I started to think, “Wow, me
and Elijah now have really got something working.” There hasn’t been a
great deal of improvisation in this script just because we have like 22
minutes of television and you’ve got to get a lot of story across, but
we have a bit of freedom within when we’re rehearsing the scene, like
just before we do it.
I mean if something begs to be tweaked and changed because we think it’s
really funny then it’s great to have a bit of flexibility to do that.
Also when we’re just bouncing ideas around when we’re not actually
shooting, we get a really good idea, then we can kind of, we’ve got the
bat flying straight into the writer’s room and so we can inject those
ideas as we go along.
E. Wood There’s also, to speak to the scripts as well, they’re very
finely crafted scripts. They’re incredibly detailed and layered, which
isn’t to say that there isn’t room for improv, there certainly is, but
there’s also a lot of story to tell, like Jason said, within each
episode that is important to get across and there are sort of finely
crafted joked within that as well. There probably is room to play
around, and Jason and I certainly have the conformability with each
other and within our characters to be able to do that. There’s also just
so much that we have to get through each day that there’s also just
simply not a lot of time for. We were doing, I think, eight to ten pages
a day. So we had a lot of work.
J. Gann Our time frame was really, really strict in the preparation for
this. We were shooting before when only half of the scripts were
written. You know the rest of the story had essentially been broken. The
writer’s room was still turning over. Had we had a bit more time and if
we’re lucky enough to go again, definitely I’d like to try and inject
some of that improvisation element into it in the writing stage or at
least give us a longer rehearsal period to work with the scripts
beforehand. Because as I mentioned, Elijah and I really have this great
dynamic going on and when that stuff is allowed to breath I think that
it’s … more.
E. Wood Yes, definitely.
Moderator Our next question comes from Blair Marnell from CraveOnline.
B. Marnell Are we going to meet any other people in animal suits over
the course of the season or is “Wilfred” unique?
J. Gann At this point, he’s unique. At this point, he’s unique. We don’t
E. Wood Within this iteration. I mean there were other animals present
in the Australian version, but so far in the story that we’re telling
“Wilfred” is unique.
J. Gann The art of the Australian series, which covered all outlets, two
seasons of eight, with 16 episodes in the whole series. Similar to the
British office it felt like it was complete at that, and whereas we
obviously have worked on … this American show with the mind to be able
to last longer to see the characters really breath and go somewhere new.
So we’ve still got those cards that we’re keeping to our chest at the
moment and should the show be successful and go on and we stretch out,
we may bring more animals into it, but at this point we’re still just
discovering so much about this “Ryan”/”Wilfred” relationship that hasn’t
been explored yet like in the Australian version. So as long as there
are meat and potatoes there then we’ll keep following that before we
bring in any other canines.
Moderator Our next question comes from Sean Guard from NapiersNews.com.
S. Guard I bet with this sort of concept for a show there’s a lot of fun
being had on the set. How difficult is it sometimes to get through
shooting a full episode?
E. Wood You know it was funny. I was actually at an interview the other
day where I was asked how difficult it was to get through a scene just
without busting into laughter. The funny thing is is that I think it was
only—what was it like the day before the last day or the last day,
Jason, I mean I totally lost it, but up until then I hadn’t. It was just
that one line that you had that was so weird and good, but you know—
J. Gann What was it again?
E. Wood It was when you said, “I wasn’t finished, Ryan.”
J. Gann Oh yes, yes, that’s right.
E. Wood But it’s not to say that every day I we were working on material
that I found hilarious, but I think we were all so—the atmosphere on set
was extremely fun and very funny. We were having a blast every day, but
at the same time, you know, we were also taking what we were doing
seriously. Like say in the context of that work we kind of, you know we
sort of buckled down and didn’t let ourselves lose it too much just to
focus because we had so much to get through every day. I don’t know,
what do you think, Jason?
J. Gann For years people have said to me, and I’d done a lot of comedy
at that time, and people have said to me … surprised how I can keep a
straight face, and I really rarely crack up, like really rarely, but
that’s not to say that I’m not like having a ball, like, I don’t know.
I’m good at keeping a straight face, and Elijah seems to be the same. I
mean I probably cracked up once in the whole season as well, but when
we’d be rehearsing the scenes, like when we’d do table reads, and then
in rehearsal leading up to it we laughed as hard along with everyone
else, but at the time we’re actually shooting… So we knuckle down and
get it done because we had such a tight schedule.
Moderator Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd.
J. Ruby So I know originally, obviously, this was an Australian series,
but can you both talk about how you became involved in the US version?
J. Gann Well Jeff Kwatinetz, he’s one of the producers of the show—I
came to America to try and sell some format rights to a couple of my
shows. Like I really didn’t come here as an actor. I came here as a
producer and a creator and I wanted to try and enter the market that
way, and both my agents, ICM and my managers, Jeff Kwatinetz and …, you
know, everyone just said, “Look, you’ve got to be in this stuff. This is
like, America’s waiting for you. You’re too good.” And I’m like, …
“Wilfred,” I said, I mean the truth is that one of my first things were
when they said, “I think you should play “Wilfred” again.” I said, “I’m
not getting in that fucking dog suit again.” Like I felt like that. You
know what I mean? It wasn’t a pleasurable thing to get in that suit.
Then Jeff said, “Well you know the thing is it’s like you’re only going
to get this chance once and if you don’t do it then someone else is
going to.” I thought, “Yes, whatever,” you know, like they’ll never be
as good as me type thing, and then I’m like, I said, and “Who are they
talking about?” He goes, “Well, the name Zach Galifianakis is being
mentioned.” I said, “I’ll do it. I’ll do it. If you can sell it I’ll
do.” Suddenly for the first time I imagined someone else in a dog suit
being hilarious, and I just went, “Look. If this show goes ahead, if
they can sell it, which I didn’t think they would, I’ll be in it.” And
they sold it and I was shooting my work.
I’m glad I did, by the way. It would’ve been a crazy move, looking back,
if I hadn’t done it. Elijah, do you have a story?
E. Wood Oh yes, yes, yes. My experience with this is before I read the
pilot script, I was not aware of the Australian show. But when I was
sent the script it came attached with information about the original
show and indicated that Jason, who had created the original show, was
involved in the creation of this incarnation as well as reprising, as
well as “Wilfred.” For me, immediately even before reading the script,
in fact gave me such confidence. It’s so rare, I think, for a show to be
that good from a foreign country that actually includes it’s original
creator, I knew that is was immediately going to have a sense of
integrity attached to it in whatever incarnation it was going to be from
it’s origin, and then reading it and falling in love with the pilot.
From there I met with David Zuckerman, who’s our show runner, and head
writer and he indicated for me where—we talked for about an hour. We
just talked about the possibilities for the show and where it was going
to go from the pilot and all of these ideas that he had for the
character of “Ryan” and for the relationship between him and “Wilfred,”
and I just became more and more excited about it. I loved the pilot, but
the world that opened up beyond that in talking with David was so
exciting to me. Particularly in that he was imagining and crafting a
comedy show that had darkness to it, that had a cerebral aspect to it,
that was not necessarily easy to peg, and allowed us to explore quite a
lot within the context of what could simply be described as a man and
befriending a man in a dog suit.
I don’t know, the very notion of being a part of something like that was
so exciting and interesting. So it just sort of—from there it was just a
normal process, auditioned and then I met Jason in that process, and we
kind of immediately had a blast in the room and so that’s just sort
of—we ended up doing it.
J. Gann Is that the same question? I just disappeared for a while.
E. Wood Yes, it was. I rambled on and on.
J. Gann You really did, because I was … and I went into the bathroom and
made a protein shake and—
E. Wood You did? Did you have a cuddle with your kittens as well?
J. Gann Kittens and everything while you were finishing—
E. Wood Rambling on and on.
J. Gann I’m glad I missed it.
Moderator Our next question comes from Melissa Girimonte from
M. Girimonte I really got a kick out of the online aspect of it. Like
the whole “My Dog Smokes” feature that you have. Jason, I wanted to ask
you were you involved in adding that little touch to the website, and as
the season goes on will we see anymore fun little online extensions of
J. Gann Look, I think there’s a still a few that the marketing
department have got up their sleeve, but I mean, they really have been
great in the creative element of it, separate from the show. They’ve
been true to the … of the show that we’ve been careful to create, but
they’ve also extended beyond that in a really interesting way.
I mean “Not the Tequila” online add was … after Wilfred breathed out the
smoke, that was where it ended on the script and they were good enough
to leave the cameras going and Elijah and I just played along. Like
until you hear, “Cut,” you just got to keep going, and so I was really
glad they put that bit in because I remember at the time thinking, “That
was cool,” and…—if we’re lucky enough to go again we’re going to have
time to play with those ideas. As far as doing any more beyond what
we’ve shot, I’m not sure about that.
Moderator Our next question comes from Joel Murphy from HoboTrashcan.
J. Murphy Well one thing I found really fascinating about your show is
there’s quite a bit of ambiguity about “Wilfred’s” actions, particularly
when he leaves the wallet outside of the guy’s window. I was just
curious at the end of the day do you guys ultimately see “Wilfred” as a
positive influence or a negative influence in “Ryan’s” life?
E. Wood I think that his—well to a certain degree I suppose that’s for
Jason to answer because his motivations and where he’s coming from, but
J. Gann ….
E. Wood What’s that?
J. Gann As long as “Ryan’s” not killing himself I think he’s got to be
positive because that’s where he started. You know? ….
E. Wood I think you’re right, and I think that it’s always going to
oscillate. What I think is interesting is that the results, regardless
of where it feels that the motivation is coming from, whether it’s a
negative one or a positive one, the result tends to be a positive one
for Ryan despite the fact that it may be cloaked in, you know,
“Wilfred’s” self interest for instance or sabotage. The end result tends
to be that “Ryan” does take something positive away from it, but I too
love that ambiguity. You’re never quite sure where “Wilfred” stands and
kind of what “Wilfred” really is to him, and that carries on throughout
the season. It’s always sort of oscillating. There’s a slight bit of
danger in that relationship and discomfort.
J. Gann And I think anyone that’s also had an untrained pet that really
misbehaves, they can just drive you insane. If you just step barefoot in
some … in the house or something like that and there’s times when you
go, “What am I doing with this dog? I want it gone.” But then there’s
other times where you cuddle with them and look in their eyes and just
go, “How could I get rid of you.”
I think human friends too, we have a lot of friends, people in our lives
that aren’t always a positive influence and they might be hard work, but
they’re worth it and it’s sort of fun having them around. So I think
that it’s a very real relationship like that. I mean if I kicked
everyone out of my life that wasn’t a hundred percent positive influence
I’d be pretty … Hang out with assholes is essentially what I’m saying.
Moderator Our next question comes from Andrea Towers from VoiceofTV.
A. Towers How hard or how easy it is to play to a character in a dog
suit and react to that? Is that something that comes naturally or do you
find it actually easier than other work you’ve done?
E. Wood I have to say that we have become so used to the environment
that we’re working in and for Jason and I as actors we’re playing these
characters. We’ve become used to that relationship and work within that
relationship. So honestly, I’ve almost literally forgotten that he’s in
a suit. I don’t see “Wilfred” like that. Me, personally working as an
actor against a man in a dog suit, I have ceased to see that.
It’s actually really funny. When we went to do—we went to American Idol
and sat in the audience to sort of cause of a bit of a stir and to be
sort of a strange placement. And when we were there, again because I’m
so used to seeing Jason like that and it almost sort of means nothing to
me anymore, it was really interesting for me to be in an environment
where he did stand out. Where people saw him and would look at him as a
man in a dog suit and it was a really interesting thing for me to kind
of take a step back and actually look at it from a different perspective
because I’ve become so used to it.
So acting with him, we’re literally just two guys playing these
characters. I don’t really think about the way he’s perceived or the
fact that he’s in a suit anymore. He’s become real to me.
Moderator Our next question comes from Ernie Estrella from Buzzfocus.
E. Estrella My question is I kind of saw the episode as kind of almost a
backwards fantasy where the dog is having a pet and almost training
“Ryan.” Is there a little bit of—did that go into kind of the idea and
the concept of the show kind of how people and their treatment of their
own pets how they can, you know, “Look what my dog can do. I trained him
to do this and that?”
J. Gann That’s another good question. I think that a lot of people say,
teachers say, “I learned more from my students than they learned from
me,” and we learn from the innocence of children. We learn from just
watching the primal innocence of a dog of just how to enjoy life, and as
people we can get so cerebral that we forget how to live. What
“Wilfred,” I think, brings in that pilot is this sort of pushing “Ryan”
to get out of his head and actually just sort of be sort of really
primal. So if anything, I think if there’s a flip, I think that’s it.
We’re sort of seeing “Ryan” see this dog and just go, “Yes, I’m going to
shoot him ….”
K. Silvernail Okay, I think we have time for one more question.
Moderator Our last question comes from Curt Wagner from Red Eye.
C. Wagner Easy question here, did you guys have dogs growing up and did
you have any experiences with them that were similar. Not that they wore
suits or anything, but that you learned from them? Did you feel like did
that whole pet thing where people talk to their pets and everything?
E. Wood Yes I grew up with dogs. I don’t know if I ever—I mean I think
you do talk to dogs. I never felt like I had a connection where I was
talking to my dog like a person. But I think what ends up happening, and
I think all dog owners can relate to this and cat owners as well, when
you have an animal in your home very quickly a relationship forms where
that animal ceases to be an animal to you. It feels like a member of
So I think everybody can relate to, a certain degree, relating to an
animal that you have as almost slightly personified because it ceases to
be in the context of just simply a dog or simply a cat. They’re a part
of your life and there’s a genuine relationship at play. So I definitely
can relate to that. You recognize sort of qualities that are semi-human.
You see their real personalities and their thought processes. You
definitely see those things.
J. Gann I had dogs also growing up. I’m not … I wasn’t the most
attentive dog owner and that’s why I won’t have another dog until I can
give it the love it needs and support it needs. That’s the thing about …
dogs, you know, you just don’t know what you’re going to get as far as
owning goes and I just have to put up with it. You can’t really
I was thinking the other day about—I was watching a show on, what’s that
syndrome where people fall in love with their kidnappers?
E. Wood Oh, yes, what is that?
J. Gann Something syndrome, I forget, but like when I saw it I was like,
“Is that what’s happening here?” Like because they can’t communicate
they’re like, “Well … now I sympathize with my …?” So look, yes, I think
that dogs are fascinating—
E. Wood It’s called Stockholm Syndrome.
J. Gann That’s it. Stockholm Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome. So like I
think I’ve always been fascinated by dogs who think that they are human,
and often those dogs are really confronted when they see dogs that know
they are dogs. Often the little dog that think it’s human will turn away
and try to block it out because it’s confronted with it canineness.
E. Wood Your cats are quite human aren’t they, Jason?
J. Gann They’ve been very catlike lately and they’ve been driving me
nuts. When I was at work for 15 hours a day I’d come home and there was
a lot of love in the house but now I’ve got a little bit time they’re—
E. Wood They’re giving you …? They’re like, “Well, now that you were
going for ten weeks we’re going to make your life hell.”
J. Gann Well the first few days of it was like, “Oh he’s back. This is
great. Daddy’s home.” Now it’s like, “Dude, we want to go out. What else
you got to eat.” You know, they’ve already got a buffet of food on the
ground. I’ve spoiled them so there are all these different types of food
and they’re sitting around for what, like something else. Anyway.
K. Silvernail Thanks to everybody for joining us today. As a reminder,
Wilfred premiers next Thursday June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and
Pacific. I hope everybody has a great weekend and thanks again, Elijah,
and thanks, Jason.
E. Wood Thanks, guys. It was a lot of fun.
J. Gann … we had a lot of fun. Thank you.
E. Wood Thank you. Bye.
J. Gann Bye-bye, everyone.
E. Wood Bye.
Moderator That does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for
your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference. You may
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