Interview with Jason Gann and Elijah Wood of "Wilfred" - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Elijah Wood and Jason Gann

Interview with Jason Gann and Elijah Wood of "Wilfred" on FX 8/31/11

Final Transcript
August 31, 2011/2:00 p.m. EDT

Kristy Silvernail – FX Networks, Media Relations
Elijah Wood – “Ryan” on Wilfred
Jason Gann – “Wilfred” / Co-Executive Producer / Writer on Wilfred


Moderator Ladies and gentlemen thank you for standing by, and 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 and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder this conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Miss Kristy Silvernail. Go ahead, ma’am.

K. Silvernail Good morning everyone. Before we get started I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for participating and especially Elijah and Jason for sharing their time again with us today. Because we’ve got so many journalists on the line we ask that everyone asks only one question at a time and then get back in queue for any follow-up questions. As you know Wilfred airs Thursday nights at 10 o’clock, Eastern and Pacific, only on FX. The Season 1 finale is scheduled to air September 8th. With that, let’s open it up for Q&A.

Moderator At this time we will begin the question and answer session. Our first question comes from the line of Amy and Nancy Harrington with Pop Culture Passionistas. Go ahead, please.

A. Harrington Hi guys, thanks so much for talking to us today; we’re big fans of the show.

E. Wood Hi.

A. Harrington We wanted to know if you could talk a little bit about the recent episode that Mary Steenburgen was on. It was such a great episode and we really got to know a lot about your character, so if you could just tell us a little bit about filming that it would be great.

E. Wood Yes. That was – actually that was one of the more enjoyable experiences working on that particular episode, made, I think all the more special because of Mary. She was truly extraordinary and brought such a beautiful energy to the set. We only worked with her for four days, but we felt this great loss when she left us – it was kind of amazing.

It was four days, but she’d made such an impression on everyone. It’s a – you know it was an important episode in the sense that it gave a lot of background information for the “Ryan” character and a really interesting relationship develops also between “Wilfred” and “Ryan’s” mom, as well. Jason?

J. Gann Yes, and I got to make out with Mary and –

E. Wood You did, by the way I just recently saw that episode – damn, I forgot how much you actually made out with her.

J. Gann Yes, I was really looking forward – I was like – I was like so excited about making out with Ted Danson’s missus, it was like – it kind of overshadowed the rest of the episode for me. We shot a number of takes of that kissing scene and we thought we had it and I said, “Yes, I think we’ve got it” and I went into the room where the show runner and the director were, Randall [Einhorn] and David [Zuckerman], and I said, “Did you see my tongue go in?” They were like, “Yes, we know it went in.” “But, did you see it go in?” They were like, “You can tell it’s in.” I’m like, “But did you see it?” They said they didn’t see it go in. I said, “Give me one more.”

So I went back out and I said, “We’ll do one more.” I made it get the tongue right in there and then I said to Mary, “Look, I’m sorry about that.” She was like, “What are you sorry for, it’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.” It was a lot of fun. She was a really good sport. We have to bring her back, you know. We really want to see that character again. It was so great we got a second season and fingers crossed she’s back.

E. Wood Yes, it was a great episode, too, I think in the sense that it explored some of the psychological background to the “Ryan” character and developing his back story a little bit as well, sort of an interesting multi-layered episode that I think we’re really proud of.

J. Gann I’m not really proud of my last comment. Now that I’ve heard Elijah’s really intelligent answer to that, I mean all I talked about is making out with ... I vow to have more intelligent answers for future questions.

E. Wood But, but look, I mean ultimately the make-out is a stellar, very important piece to the puzzle that we created.

J. Gann Well, yes, yes. Thank you, thank you. It is, and it’s also like the humanizing of behavior and I’ve seen dogs just get their tongue right in the mouths of humans.

E. Wood Yes. And, and, you can also look at that as – is “Ryan” making out with his own mom? ... is he ... ?

J. Gann Yes, gee, all right.

E. Wood I didn’t mean to open a can of beans.

J. Gann Maybe it’s time we move on to the next question. Thank you, that was a great question, thank you.

Moderator The next question comes from the line of Rosa Cordero with Go ahead, please.

R. Cordero Hello boys, how are you?

J. Gann There’s no accidents here, baby.

E. Wood Accidental Sexiness?

J. Gann I love that.

R. Cordero Actually, I met you at Comic-Con, Elijah. I’m the one that ribbed you about hating Florida.

E. Wood Yes, oh, you again.

J. Gann You hate Florida?

R. Cordero He hates Florida.

E. Wood Well, we agreed that because I hadn’t been –

R. Cordero Yes, I know, I’m only teasing.

E. Wood Well, no, but we agreed because I hadn’t been to Miami that I was not able to make a fully formed comment on the state as a whole, so I reserve my comments for when I actually visit Miami.

R. Cordero Okay, I tease. I know there are a lot people holding so I wanted to know since every episode basically starts off with its own little problem and it gets tied up at the end, we have the little recurring things that happen, but for the season finale, is it going to be something like that or are you guys going to give us a cliffhanger?

J. Gann Ooooh.

E. Wood I don’t know how much we –

J. Gann ... question – yes, I don’t know how much we can say. Let’s just say that there will be more questions than answers.

E. Wood Yes.

J. Gann There will be answers – that doesn’t mean there won’t be answers.

E. Wood There will be.

J. Gann Yes, I think we – yes, it’s a lot less packaged. The last two episodes are a lot less packaged. You’re right in that the episodes do start with a problem that gets somewhat resolved by the end, but you know, now that we’re this far into the season we’re – and we’ve really created the rules and the parameters of the show we’re able to, I think, stretch those a little bit and play with the form a bit more so it’s a little less packaged.

R. Cordero Thank you.

E. Wood You’re welcome.

J. Gann That was no accident – this sexiness is no accident.

E. Wood And both episodes tend to be accidentally sexy, as well, so it just fits right in there.

J. Gann Yes.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Patrick Keenan with Lena Lamoray. Go ahead, please.

P. Keenan Hey guys, love the show.

E. Wood Oh, great, thanks.

J. Gann Thanks.

P. Keenan Question for you is – since most of the show that we’ve seen so far is through “Ryan’s” eyes, are we going to see any episodes through “Wilfred’s” eyes, like his relationship with “Bear” and “Giraffe”?

J. Gann Yes, it will be in black and white. It will be in black and white.

P. Keenan Really?

J. Gann No, look I –

P. Keenan That would be – that would be brilliant, actually.

E. Wood That’s awesome.

J. Gann ... you just gave me a great idea for an episode; thanks, Patrick. Will we see through “Wilfred’s” eyes? Well, I mean you could say that we – that part of “Wilfred” is “Ryan” in this case. We are – look, we may do that. We may do that. Right now the formula seems to be working for us. There is an ongoing ... with ... and the beginning episodes require like a trust or ... different arms. You know we’re going to run out of those eventually. There are only so many different human emotions that there are before we start repeating ourselves. It’s kind of like how long we’re good for, but I hope so.

P. Keenan Okay, there you go.

J. Gann It’s more of a question for David Zuckerman, but you know we’ll try.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Sheldon Wiebe with Go ahead, please.

S. Wiebe Hey guys, thanks for doing this.

J. Gann Hey.

E. Wood Hey, thanks.

S. Wiebe I did see the finale and it’s brilliant. I –

E. Wood Oh, excellent, thank you.

S. Wiebe I can definitely see where the new season comes along from. Jason, at the beginning of the season you talked a bit about the differences between the original series and the American take and how Wilfred, this Wilfred would be a deeper, richer show in terms of emotion and psychology. I’m just wondering in terms of what you set out to do, how do you think things went over the course of the season in terms of meeting or surpassing your expectations and hopes?

J. Gann It has surpassed my expectations. David had a really good idea for the genesis of this version of the show. I was really excited by it, but yes, I’ve got to say that I think it’s – I also think that the ending is pretty tremendous. I’m really looking forward to seeing where we can take that in Season 2.

It’s been good for the show, but it’s also been great for my character, as well. Like, I’ve had a lot of fun with “Wilfred” and I think that he has expanded and there are a lot more layers to “Wilfred” that I didn’t foresee, but I really love. It’s been great fun for me on the set.

S. Wiebe Terrific, thank you very much.

J. Gann Thanks.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Michael Gallagher with StayFamous.Net. Go ahead, please.

M. Gallagher Hi guys, thanks for taking the call.

E. Wood Yes, of course, thank you.

J. Gann Yes, sure man.

M. Gallagher My question for both of you – when the season is all over and people go out and buy the DVD of Season 1, what do you want to be on the bonus features?

E. Wood Well, there are actually some – there are deleted scenes, some of which I’m — you know, I was a real fan of. There is actually a great deleted scene that I won’t reveal because it will likely be on the DVD from the mother episode that is quite hilarious.

J. Gann Yes. There are a lot of scenes –

E. Wood I imagine – yes, I’ve got to say there has to be a fair amount of bloopers, right? I mean –

J. Gann Yes, I’m more like – I’m sort of more aware of what I really don’t want to be on there. Like I’m not – it’s funny like I watch behind the scenes – the making of movies, but at the same time I kind of wish they weren’t there because if it’s a really fantastic movie that’s kind of got a magical element to it, it’s very rare that I get transported into another realm by TV because I’m so desensitized by being on film sets all the time. So on the rare occasion that I am drawn into that world, I often don’t like seeing how different things are made.

We’re really careful to try and not have me like “Wilfred” scenes sort of half in/half out so I’m not a big fan of like behind the scenes stuff. I like interviews. I think we should do interviews. And I like bloopers and we certainly have – because our show is so precious of time we do have a lot of extra stuff that unfortunately had to be cut. Hopefully that will be in there and people can get to see some alternatives, maybe just see maybe a few scenes that are a bit more stretched out that we didn’t have the benefit of the time with.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Dan Calvisi with Go ahead, please.

D. Calvisi Hi guys, thanks for taking the call.

J. Gann Sure.

E. Wood Sure.

D. Calvisi I wanted to tell Elijah that I’m talking to you guys underneath my framed print of The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring so I’m a major nerd.

E. Wood Oh, nice. Nice. Awesome.

J. Gann Awesome.

D. Calvisi My question is for both of you – what do you look for in a script; whether it’s TV or film?

E. Wood Jason, do you want to take that one first?

J. Gann I don’t get that many scripts. Normally they’re scripts – I mean the last few years I mean I’ve pretty much back in Australia done my own shows and really no work outside of that. It’s kind of – it’s only now that I’m starting to read some like Hollywood film scripts and stuff. I’ve read some really great ones, but I mean I just like stuff that says there is a character in there that says sort of Jason Gann in it, you know? I like doing roles that I can do in my own way, so it’s pretty tough. I see something that seems like kind of standard fare that I can imagine any number of actors playing then I’m generally not interested.

E. Wood Yes, I think I’m always looking for something very different from anything I’ve done. I think – and I’m equally attracted to just simply a great script and not necessarily a great character. I mean you can find sometimes great characters in the context of a script that isn’t as interesting, but I suppose I’m almost just as interested in just being a part of an entire piece that I think is brilliant even if it’s a small part to play in that entire piece, you know.

I think, yes, I guess I’m just always looking for something that I’ve never done or something that feels unique and special. I think a lot of it is also just gut, you know, what you emotionally connect with and that can be a variety of different things, I suppose.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of April MacIntyre with Monsters and Critics. Go ahead, please.

A. MacIntyre Hey guys, thanks for your time.

J. Gann Hi.

E. Wood Yes, thank you.

A. MacIntyre I love the subtle melancholic undertone that you took this series for the American version. I wanted to kind of follow-up on Sheldon’s question to you, which was is this melancholic gut-busting humor to offset the kind of sad little undertone, is that going to continue in the second season? Can you give us some more insight into the therapy aspect of “Wilfred” and “Ryan’s” relationship?

E. Wood Hm.

J. Gann Hm, that’s a good question - how to answer. Do want to try first, Elijah?

E. Wood I mean, I think you know the foundation of the relationship is based on the recovery of “Ryan” and I think that that – for “Wilfred” to exist “Ryan” has to need him, I think, so I think that that component will always be there, but I think it will ebb and flow, you know?

I think over the course of this season we’ve seen “Ryan” start to recover. I don’t know that the foundation will always be built on a sense of melancholy necessarily, but I think that that dynamic will continue to exist. I feel like it has to exist for that relationship to play out because ultimately it’s about “Wilfred” is engaging “Ryan” in a way of life that he was unfamiliar with and ultimately trying to push “Ryan” to live a stronger, better life. I see that definitely progressing. Jason?

J. Gann Yes, I think towards the end of this season where we’ve kind of gone there first, we’re going there eventually, but we needed to set up a kind of comedic premise first. Because we’ve done that I think we’re able to afford ourselves some space to be able to deal with some heavier things. I don’t think we could do that continually throughout every episode.

I suspect, even though we haven’t blocked it out, I suspect that the second season might be somewhat similar because anyone that is in recovery in real life they don’t spend their whole 24 hours a day in recovery, otherwise they’re not recovering very well. Part of recovery is to be able to enjoy your life. So I think that there will be a lot more funny, maybe one-off episodes that don’t hit as hard on the head the whole therapeutic element, but yes, it will always be there, I would agree.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Kevin Sullivan with Go ahead, please.

K. Sullivan Hey guys.

J. Gann Hey, Kevin.

K. Sullivan Now with the season finale and how everything wraps up, did you write that and did you know how it was going to end before or after you knew that there was going to be a Season 2? Then how is that really going to play into Season 2 because it was kind of ambiguous, like you said.

J. Gann Look, we were so pressed for time with Season 1 I had to leave the writer’s room before – I mean all the stories were mostly broken, but there were still about a number of, say maybe three written and so they did change a lot. I do know that with the ending we had to – I mean we were all really excited about the way it ended.

When we heard about it we were on set and we all loved it. We had to get that – once that was approved by the network then it was – then we were all really excited. Yes, it’s, I mean there are arguments for and against having a cliffhanger and I think that it’s done really, really well; but no, I didn’t write that.

Moderator Okay, thanks.

J. Gann Okay.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Diane Morasco with Morasco Media. Go ahead, please.

D. Morasco Hi, Elijah. Hi, Jason, thank you so much for having us here today.

J. Gann Hello.

E. Wood Hey.

D. Morasco Okay here goes – it’s so intoxicating to watch the interaction between “Ryan” and “Wilfred.” Since “Ryan” is rather broken and doing his best, what struggle would you like “Ryan” to overcome and address? And what role would you like “Wilfred” to play in it?

E. Wood What struggle would I like him to overcome the most? I mean I think that he’s – well I suppose one of his larger issues is being able to socialize with other people. I think that’s something that I would like to see him overcome. We’ve addressed that – it kind of succeeded, but it kind of failed. I don’t know. How would “Wilfred” best help “Ryan” in that scenario, Jason?

J. Gann Well, look I think that ultimately if – what I’d like to see “Ryan” overcome would actually probably mean the end of the show and then I’m unemployed so I don’t really want to see it, but if I think of “Ryan” as a character then I’d like to see him kind of not need “Wilfred” anymore as this talking Australian man with this ...

E. Wood Yes.

J. Gann Then, I imagine that you’d probably see him sitting on a hill or something with a real dog and that would be kind of sad, but it’d kind of be good for the character. Whether I want to see that in the show, I don’t know.

Yes, like I guess going back to what I was saying before about recovery is I think a really strong side of recovery is when the individual is not aware that they’re recovering, that they’re actually just living their life day-to-day without thinking about it. So, I guess I’d like to see him in the meantime sort of have some periods where he’s actually doing okay and him and “Wilfred” are just kind of buddying around getting into hi-jinks.

E. Wood Yes, I’d also like to see “Ryan” get to work, you know. We’ve never really seen him – he’s a lazy ass. We’ve never seen him in a work setting and with other responsibilities. You know his responsibilities thus far have really been about himself and sorting himself out. I think to throw him into the context of a working environment where he has to answer to other people I think would be the next step for him. I would like to see that.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Curt Wagner with RedEye. Go ahead, please.

C. Wagner Hey, thanks guys.

J. Gann Hey.

C. Wagner Congrats on the success of the show.

J. Gann Thanks.

C. Wagner I was going to ask a serious question, but since we only get one I might ask a silly one. I was wondering if in Season 2 “Bear” will get a mention in the credits, and have you gotten her into any therapy since you don’t treat her very well?

J. Gann Well, how do you know it’s a her?

C. Wagner Okay.

J. Gann I mean – yes, look, I think that “Bear” is starting to, which I’d hoped he would, or she, would take on a real character of their own and it’s a great opportunity, you know, and cheap for us, too, as far as characters go to employ someone. Yes, like I don’t know whether “Bear” will go into therapy, but look, I really see “Bear” being in the show for some time. I mean hopefully you’ll see “Wilfred” maybe start to appreciate “Bear” a little bit more.

E. Wood I’d like to see her –

J. Gann I’d like “Ryan” to interact with her, as well.

E. Wood Me too, me too. I think that “Bear” has a lot more to say about “Ryan.” I don’t think “Bear” is a real fan of “Ryan” and I’m curious as to what it will have to say in the future. I’d also love to see a dream sequence of sorts where we get to see an animated Bear, maybe like an animatronic “Bear” that comes to life.

J. Gann That would be cool. I think maybe “Wilfred” needs therapy about “Bear” like that “Ryan” could maybe take “Wilfred” aside and say, “Look, you’re talking to an imaginary friend.” Yes.

E. Wood That would be fantastic. Oh, the irony.

J. Gann Or, or “Bear” should see an imaginary friend like “Wilfred” is talking to “Bear” saying, “Bear, there is no one there, you’re talking – you need help, dude.”

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Ernie Estrella with Go ahead, please.

E. Estrella Hi guys, thanks for your time.

E. Wood Yes, thank you.

E. Estrella I wonder if at the beginning of the season we kind of all talked about the mention of Matt Damon movies, but since it’s aired has Matt Damon seen this show? Has there been any talk of maybe him appearing on the show and maybe as like a gratitude of all of his help maybe “Ryan” is able to track him down and have him meet “Wilfred”?

J. Gann I’ve got some ideas if we can ever get Matt involved in an episode. I’m unaware about whether he knows about the show or seen it, but look, I think that we’d be crazy if we didn’t try and get him on, and yes we get to have “Wilfred” react with him. I doubt he’d be able to see “Wilfred” in the same form as “Ryan,” but yes, he’d be really funny in it.

E. Wood Ah, it’d be brilliant.

Moderator Our next question comes from the line of Renn Brown with Go ahead, please.

R. Brown Guys, I appreciate your time. I just –

J. Gann Hi.

R. Brown Hi and congrats on the –

E. Wood I love, by the way.

R. Brown I’m glad to hear that. That makes my day.

E. Wood Awesome.

R. Brown What I wanted to know was when you have a series like that that’s at the core of it based on such a specific concept as humanizing a dog, when you kind of look at a big wide lens of the show’s future if it runs for three seasons or ten, do you guys have any kind of instincts or openness to things like more meta-textual or wild crazy episodes? For example, like would we ever see a full musical episode or an episode that shows the same scenario in a different era of time; that kind of thing that shows use to break themselves up?

E. Wood Sure.

J. Gann Yes, we have – I mean I don’t want to shoot our load too early now in an interview, but we’ve already talked about some stuff that is I think along those lines. David Zuckerman comes from a great long history of animation, as well, and that’s something that I’d be really interested in exploring in the show.

Yes, I think – and maybe if we go through “Wilfred’s” eyes it should be black and white, you know ... yes, I think we’re going to have to do that because we like to as ... is sort of stay one step ahead of the audience and it excites me sometimes when I would read fans talking about the show on fan pages and they’re really ... nuts about it and when ... would say I’ve read it, I know what happens he does this and then “Wilfred” in the end screws him over and it’s like, it’s pretty ... people start to think they know what the show ... and know ... is coming up a few episodes later.

Moderator And our next question—

E. Wood I like the—

Moderator —Oh, I’m sorry.

E. Wood I was going to say—no that’s okay. I was just going to say I like the idea of playing with the format as well, and I think toying with the audience to a certain degree, as well. The show is about perception to a certain degree, and I think that that can also fit into various interpretations of what perception is.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Sharon Tharp with Go ahead, please.

S. Tharp Hi guys. Thanks for talking with me today.

J. Gann Hi, Sharon.

S. Tharp You answered most of my questions, but our site is all about passions and obsessions. We call them -ologies. So if I am obsessed with Wilfred, it’d be Wilfred-ology. So I guess my question is what are your personal -ologies, and what would your character’s -ologies be?

J. Gann Yes, you’re right. … hasn’t been answered. What is my personal -ology. I look—laugh-ology. Laugh-ology is my personal one. And Wilfred’s -ology is probably sex-ology because he’s sexually driven.

S. Tharp That’s a good one. That’s a good one.

J. Gann In the episodes I write anyway. Someone made a comment about that, like, because I did the “Raffi” one and the molestation one. And someone in an article said, “Why is Jason Gann always writing about sex stuff?” I’m like, “Um, I’ll try and mix it up next time.”

E. Wood And my own personal -ologies—music probably. And my character’s -ology, I don’t know. What is his obsession? I mean, I think he’s sort of—I guess his -ology is his own psyche to a certain degree through “Wilfred,” I suppose. I guess that’s a bit boring, but I think that’s probably what it is.

S. Tharp No, that makes sense. Yeah. Okay, thank you.

E. Wood Yeah. Thank you.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Linda Seide with Go ahead, please.

L. Seide Hi, Jason. Hi, ….

J. Gann Hi.

E. Wood Hello.

L. Seide I can’t believe I did that. I just want to say first off how much I truly love the show.

E. Wood Wow. Thanks.

J. Gann Thank you.

L. Seide A lot of people say that the show deals mainly with getting high—which let’s face it, “Ryan” and “Wilfred” get stoned an awful lot—but there’s a lot of morality generously peppered into each episode. Is it intentional? Are you trying to tell a moral with each episode? Or is it just coincidence that some kind of life lesson is being presented?

J. Gann Well firstly on the weed smoking, it isn’t in every episode. And the reason I know this is because fans go crazy when it’s not. It’s like, “They didn’t smoke weed!” The … people say that they, like, have a … waiting, and every time “Wilfred” and “Ryan” light up, they light up. And they make a game of it. And then so whenever—yeah—and so whenever we miss it in an episode—and it’s normally just by pure chance we just forgot to put it in, people get—they’re like, “Why didn’t—. They better smoke next week.” So I mean, some people think that it’s like a stoner comedy, and at first, like, I think it’s okay for people to hang their hat on. … some people need to go to relax or something before they ….

But as far as morality goes, yeah, I think that … possibility is to create an atmosphere to try and put out something that’s, like, morally nutritious for the world. There’s enough chaos and blood and craziness for anyone. So yeah, … with anything I do, I’m likely to put some … moral in there.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Hunter Walker with The Daily. Go ahead, please.

H. Walker Yeah well, it’s funny, we were actually just talking about how it is sort of a stoner comedy because I was wondering with all of those scenes of pot smoking, how did you guys research that to realistically portray being stoned?

J. Gann Well, I’ll say—otherwise I don’t know if you are aware of this, but we don’t—we haven’t been clearing the chamber, is this term. Clearing the chamber, which means that we’re not finishing our bongs.

E. Wood I know we haven’t been.

J. Gann And because we have only a very small amount of time to shoot a scene, we generally usually take a big hit of it, and then put the bong down and continue the conversation. But people, like, getting really frustrated at us because we aren’t—we’re not clearing the bongs. So I guess in that … we didn’t research—we should’ve researched that better. And I vow to try and remedy that for Season 2. And maybe we just need to pack smaller …. Because we all had to do that. We just packed … just pack the … as full as it can, so we can just keep it going … So it does mean we have to make smaller … and have them reset them before we do each take, then so be it. But yes, we need to remedy that.

E. Wood Yes, we do need to remedy that. It’s very important. I love the fact that people are getting stoned watching the show and that if we don’t smoke, it ruins their high.

J. Gann Yeah, I mean, David [Zuckerman] and I laugh sometimes because, I mean, there is irony of—and I guess it’s a hole in the plot where most of them are saying, “Ryan’s going to recover from this mental illness that is … on the script.” And “Wilfred’s” answer is, “Smoke more weed.” I mean, there’s arguments for and against whether that actually will be helpful for any sort of emotional or mental …. So we laugh often and we say, “Hey, get high. The answer to mental illness: Smoke weed.” You know? So, we’re just having a bit of fun as well. We don’t want to take the show too seriously. We’re not trying to heal people from mental illness. We’re just ….

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Lesley Goldberg with Hollywood Reporter. Go ahead, please.

L. Goldberg Hi guys. Congratulations again on the second season.

E. Wood Hi.

J. Gann Hi. Thank you.

L. Goldberg So the finale sets up a number of cliffhangers. Have you thought about how Season 2 will pick up? Are we going to see a time jump, anything like that? How soon will we know what “Wilfred’s” status is? Not to give away too many spoilers.

J. Gann Look, to be honest about the cliffhanger—how that’s going to resolve itself—I mean, I’m just leaving that in David’s hands, you know what I mean? He’s the brainiac who sets up those cliffhangers—like the wallet at the end of Episode 1, which became just a nightmare to try and solve once the show got picked up. I just noticed he would already have some great ideas … experience and we’d just—if I spent any time thinking about Season 2 … like individual stories or “Wilfred”-isms like a dog is— stuff like that that we can blend in. Because we do try and do a lot … We cram a lot of things in … TV.

Moderator And our next question is a follow up question from the line of Rosa Cordero with Go ahead, please.

E. Wood Welcome back.

J. Gann She’s going to laugh. She’s going to laugh.

R. Cordero You guys are laughing every time. I have to say I really enjoyed meeting the character, “Bruce.” Because up until that moment, I thought that “Ryan” was the only person who was ever able to see “Wilfred.” So are there any others? Will we be finding that out in future episodes?

E. Wood Well it really depends on what “Bruce” is, I suppose. I mean, look, I think the expansion of the world that they’re in is going to be something that we’ll continue to play with, I think. You know? Because right now, like, we’ve traversed this world very much in the confines of “Ryan’s” environment. But I think we’ll start to expound upon the outer limits and reaches of that in the second season and sort of play with it a little bit more.

J. Gann

E. Wood I love that episode. I love that episode.

J. Gann I love “Wilfred’s” punch. Like, suddenly “Wilfred” can, like, just punch like an action hero.

R. Cordero Yeah.

J. Gann A full-man punch, but it does look like a TV punch. It’s ridiculous.

E. Wood Yeah.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Jason Mathews with Screen Junkies. Go ahead, please.

J. Gann Hey.

J. Mathews Hi. How are you guys doing? And I apologize if this question has already been asked, please feel free to tell me because I was a little late to the call. But I was just wondering, you guys seem to get away with a lot of jokes that are very off-color and very funny, but you don’t normally see—you never see on network TV. And I know you can get away with a little bit more on basic cable, but has there ever been anything that they’ve pushed back with and told you, “No, you can’t make this joke,” or, “That crosses the line,” or anything that … comfortable with to let you go through?

J. Gann They’re pretty open. They’re pretty open I’ve got to say. You know, there was—look I don’t want. There was one idea we loved. It got push back, but we’re going to try and repackage it and try to get it across the line.

E. Wood Oh, I know the idea you’re talking about. Yeah.

J. Gann So I better not explain what it is. But I mean, look, yeah, we do push the envelope, and it’s interesting for me because there is a lot of stuff that I could get away with in Australia that we just couldn’t get away with here. And yet, there’s also stuff that we can get away with here that I just think, “Are you serious?” You know? Like there’s sort of some—like there’s racist jokes we’ve made. Well, as soon as they’re pitched, I’m like, “Whoa. We can’t do that.” And they’re going in and saying, “No, we do that over here.” And I’m like, “Really?” And I’m like, “We would never go there, like, in Australia.” But I guess there’s a lot to—as long as we’re poking fun at everyone, then there’s some sort of, I guess racial jokes, that certainly pepper it a bit.

I mean, I’m really careful. I’m really aware of hurting people. I really don’t like hurting people. And so if ever—and there was a joke in one of the episodes about—just slipped past my radar. I didn’t even consider it that I was hurting anyone, and it did upset some people. And I took it very personally, and I felt really bad about that.

So I personally am very aware of, like, upsetting people. And I like pushing the envelope and doing adventurous comedy and new types of comedy, but I don’t think we need to necessarily hurt people to do that. I mean, I want it to be in this philosophy that people get to laugh and pull fun. But I don’t think it should go to that. But I kind of took that question in another direction, but—

E. Wood Well, look, I agree with that. I concur. I mean, with the things that we’ve gotten away with I have been kind of surprised—some of the more sexual aspects of the show.

J. Gann I—yeah.

E. Wood Particularly the sexual montage between “Wilfred” and the giraffe was—I honestly thought that Standards and Practices were going to cut some of that down. But they did not, much to our surprise and appreciation.

J. Gann Yeah. It’s funny though that, like, what I can get away with in a dog suit and what I can’t. I mean, there have been things where I’ve said, where we’ve debated in the writer’s room, and I’ve said, “We can do this.” And David [Zuckerman] said, “There’s no way. We aren’t going to be able to do that.” He said if it was animation, he’d do it. But he can’t do it with live people. So there are certain things you can get away with with animation that you can’t get away with live-action.

But when I’m in that dog suit, it’s somewhere in the middle. I am actually able to get away with a lot more things than if I wasn’t in that dog suit. And I guess that’s kind of something that we’re able to particularly get away with. I mean, you could … and say that my black nose is animation, because it is animated. It’s drawn on. And early animation was all done with pencils.

E. Wood Yeah, I love that. It’s a total stretch, but I love it. “Jason Gann says that we have animation in the show,” says the quote. Oh, it’s beautiful.

J. Gann Yeah. My nose.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Sheldon Wiebe—a follow up question. And he is with Go ahead, please.

S. Wiebe This time, I have a question for Elijah. And this goes back again to the beginning of the season when we spoke, and you mentioned that one of the things that you hadn’t really done before and were looking forward to trying on Wilfred was the challenge of developing a character over many episodes. And I was just wondering, what have you learned from the process, and what may or may not have surprised you.

E. Wood That’s a very astute, good question. Well, I don’t know if there was anything that surprised me. I mean, I think the process of television is much faster, so the pace—I don’t know if I would say I wasn’t prepared, but in some ways I suppose I wasn’t. I’d never worked at that kind of pace before. Just simply trying to get six to eight pages of dialogue prepared for each day of work became complicated.

But outside of that, the idea of developing a character over the course of a season—even a show like this, which a lot of our episodes are stand-alone episodes—there is a through-line, and there is a growth and a progression. And it was very enjoyable to keep an eye on where the character was going—the fact that we are ultimately making a comedy series, but we are also looking to how that character is developing and growing or progressing over the course of the show. And I found it not unlike that of a film, but definitely more expansive because we’re dealing with a much larger piece of time. And I found that as an actor, I could pay attention to the character emotionally and psychologically while also paying attention to what was happening comedically. I found that balance really fun.

And I think it speaks to the kind of show that we’re making as well, which I’m really proud of. I think it’s a really multi-layered show, and these are real characters. I mean, even “Wilfred” has his own growth, as well. He is very much rooted in his own reality.

Moderator And we have another follow up question from Curt Wagner with RedEye. Go ahead, please.

C. Wagner Alright. Hi guys, again. I met this drunk Australian at Lollapalooza this year who was very shocked and surprised that my friends and I knew about Wilfred because he didn’t know it was on TV here—that you guys had done a new show.

E. Wood Oh, right.

C. Wagner And I was wondering if you guys could talk—and then when he found out, he was like all flipped out and happy because he loved the Australian one, and he couldn’t wait to see the American one.

E. Wood He woke up the next day hung over, and he was like, “Wait, it’s here, too?”

C. Wagner And there was a dog licking his face. But I was wondering if you guys were surprised by how successful the show has been here and elsewhere too?

J. Gann Look, I don’t want to sound arrogant, but no, I’m not surprised. Because, like, you spend years making shows, and you think that they all should be like that. And all of a sudden one is, and you just kind of go, “Well, great. People are starting to get it.” I mean, it’s always difficult when you want to do something really new and you also want it to reach it the masses because generally the majority of people want to see what they’ve already seen before or they’re already familiar with. To open the majority of peoples’ minds to something new is difficult.

I always think that if it’s funny—as long as it’s funny underneath, then you can argue that it’s a teaspoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. You can maybe be artistic and really original and creative, but as long as it’s got that funniness at the root of it, then certain people are going to love it just because they need a laugh. Most people like to laugh.

E. Wood Yeah, I think for us too. You work in a bubble on something, you lose perspective as to what other people are going to think about it, and you have your own perspective as to what it is. And we were working in the bubble making this, and we were really excited about what we were doing. It felt like we were doing something unique and different and a bit strange. But I think we were—at least I was initially—surprised that people seemed to get it so quickly. I think we felt—maybe wrongfully so—but we were just in the middle of it, so we didn’t have any perspective as to what an outsider would think. We kind of thought, “Wow, it’s really strange,” and, “It’s really weird,” and, “Will people get it?” “Will it register with people?

And I remember when we first spoke to some press who had seen the pilot, and they kind of immediately got it. And I think that was extremely gratifying. And the fact that it’s really found an audience quite quickly and that not only are people enjoying it on a comedic level—which I think it’s very easy to do because I think it is really funny—but people are also seeming to really get what else it is, and the multiple layers that it has. And people are asking questions and theorizing. And I think that’s one of the most exciting aspects of its success is that people are kind of watching it for all of the different things that it embodies. And that, to me, is the most gratifying.

Moderator And our next question comes from the line of Hunter Walker with The Daily. Go ahead, please.

H. Walker Hi. I was wondering where you guys were when you found out you were renewed?

J. Gann The night before, I was at a FOX event, and I was having a conversation with Peter Rice and Seth MacFarlane. And Peter Rice says to Seth that he has to get in an animal suit next season. And I was like—at first laughed. And then afterwards thought, “… next season, say next season.” And so I went home that night thinking, “I think we’re going to get another season.” And so the next day, I was in bed and got a text message from .… people … co-stars. She knew before me. She was like, “Congratulations. They picked up.” And I’m like, “Great.”

E. Wood Yeah. I was in New York at the time. I was doing some press for Wilfred when I found out. I think I had gotten an e-mail, maybe from Randall [Einhorn] or David [Zuckerman], telling us that we’d gotten picked up. So that’s how I found out.

J. Gann It was a good day.

E. Wood It was a good day. It was a great day. I’m very excited to get back into it. I think that where the show has gone and where we’ve taken it over the course of this season is very interesting and exciting. And I feel like we’ll continue to do that in the second season. And more than anything, I just want to get back to it with the same group of people because we had a lot of fun making it, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun doing another season.

J. Gann With the Australian version, I always felt like, when it was Season 1. I knew it was going to be a good show when it was Season 1. It was unknown, and people were kind of like, “Aw, gee, this is a big risk. I hope you know what you’re doing.” But then when Season 2 came along, I could do it with confidence.

And I sort of feel that way about this time. The Australian one felt like a real experiment, and it was like, “I hope people like it. I hope I work again in this town after they see it.” And then now, with the response that we’ve got, it’s kind of like, “Oh, great.” We can really go into it with some confidence and enjoy it and be less trepidatious.

E. Wood Yeah. And I think this time around, it’s going to be interesting because we can actually take the audience into account. I think we have a certain fan base that appreciates what we’re doing with the show. And that’s been exciting as well, to sort of include them in this process—knowing that there are people that kind of know what it is that we’re doing.

But yeah, I agree with Jason also, that sense of freedom that now we’re not trying to prove anything. We’ve kind of made it. We’ve made the statement of what the show is, and we can kind of take it from there and play.

J. Gann Yeah. And we can take into consideration about clearing the chamber.

E. Wood Yeah, right. Exactly. Smoke weed like professionals then.

J. Gann Yeah.

K. Silvernail I think we’ve got time for one more question.

Moderator Our final question comes from the line of Ernie Estrella with Go ahead, please.

E. Estrella Hi guys.

E. Wood Hello.

J. Gann Hey.

E. Estrella So looking at the episode of “Compassion” where we see his mother also having a vision with Rhea Perlman and the cat, how much are we to believe—or maybe you guys can put your own theories out there as far as how much is “Wilfred” tied to his genetics to his mom, or is it more the drugs? Or is it something even far darker or some other element we haven’t seen yet?

J. Gann You mean “Ryan”? How much is he tied to his mum? Well, I think that—we met the mom in Season 1and we’re really excited about going into the dad in 2 because it’s been touched on a number of times that “Ryan” was kind of pushed into a certain direction by his father. And we’ve alluded to that. But I think that once we get to know the dad, it may shed new light on the mother and …

E. Wood Yeah, I don’t know that I want to believe that that moment at the end of the “mother” episode answers all of the questions, either. I think if anything, it indicates that “Ryan” and his mother are certainly cut from the same cloth. And potentially it indicates that there’s a history of mental illness that may have been passed down.

But I don’t know. I think it provides yet another question. But it certainly indicates that there’s a similarity between the two. I love that moment. I thought that was really quite brilliant, including another vision. I thought that was wonderful.

J. Gann Incidentally, just as a fun note, I was watching an episode of Greenberg on TV again last night, and there was a thing … she goes, “Sometimes I think they need a person in a dog suit.” …

E. Wood In Being There? Wait, Jason, in Being There?

J. Gann No, in Greenberg.

E. Wood Oh, Greenberg. Oh. That’s funny. That’s awesome.

K. Silvernail Alright guys. Well, I think we’re done, so thanks again everybody for joining us today. And as a reminder, Wilfred airs Thursday nights at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific on FX, and the Season 1 finale is scheduled for September 8th. If anyone has any remaining questions, I can be reached at (310) 369-3699. And I hope everybody has a great day. So thanks, and you may now disconnect.

E. Wood Thank you. Thank you all so much.

J. Gann Thank you very much everyone, some great questions and …

K. Silvernail Bye, you guys.

E. Wood Thanks, Jason. Bye Jason.

J. Gann Okay, Elijah. Bye-bye.

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