Reboot creator Steven Levitan admits that a cast of Hollywood veterans including Keegan-Michael Key, Judy Greer, Johnny Knoxville, Rachel Bloom and Paul Reiser was almost like a second writer’s room when it came to wartime stories, according to The Inside -Hollywood view of the show about the reboot of a beloved 20-year-old sitcom.
“We just sat around and talked and then someone said, ‘Oh, that reminds me of the time this happened,’ and then [the writers] honed it in next week’s script,” laughed the Modern Family co-creator at the premiere of his new Hulu series, which took place on the Fox lot that also serves as the show’s backdrop.
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Levitan tells diversity He doesn’t think the show bites the hand of the industry that feeds it too hard. “I didn’t feel like I was being mean because I wasn’t trying to be, I wasn’t trying to put anyone down. We all have to sit around in this business at times and say and do ridiculous things,” he explained. “So to elaborate on that, I figured it was all fair game.”
“But if there’s a situation that requires pointing out hypocrisy or whatever, I’m not afraid to do it,” he added. “But right now I love this business, I’ve been very fortunate to be in this business and I wanted … let’s call it a friendly roast of this business.”
Key says he not only knows actors like his character, “I might have been a little bit of him when I was younger.” Key’s Reed Sterling is more talented than the show-in-the-show deserves and matches his insecurities by checking his name from Harvard acting school. “I wasn’t that actor, but I met those actors when sometimes you’re like, ‘Would you like to tell me again where you went to school? Because I couldn’t remember the first six times?’” he laughed.
“If I see it or experience it, you have to know that Steve Levitan saw it and experienced it threefold,” Greer said. “It’s pretty accurate sometimes. Frighteningly accurate.”
Greer says she recognized the fear and loneliness that drives her character, Brie, and returned to acting after several years away from the stage, a vulnerability that offsets her narcissistic foibles. “You want to root for her, so if there’s nothing to root for, then I don’t know people will keep tuning in. And I think with the characters that Steve created, he gave everyone something to root for.”
As an aspiring showrunner reviving the sitcom to exorcise old personal demons, Bloom has a very direct connection to her role. “The way Hannah recreates her trauma in her art is very consistent with what I do,” revealed the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star and creator. “I have a theory that she came up with this show in therapy and then said, ‘Wait — should I actually put this show on?’ This specificity of her perspective as an artist really won me over.”
As the star and creator of his own television classic, Mad About You, Reiser has seen and heard his own share of Hollywood absurdity throughout his career, and admitted that Reboot’s knowing dialogue suited him just fine.
“The line that killed me is when the young exec at Hulu says, ‘I’m new to humor.’ ‘How are you?’ “I’m head of comedy.” I said, ‘I had this conversation!'” he revealed. “I remember meeting a new head of comedy at a network who was head of drama two months earlier. I said, ‘What happened in July? Did you make fun of the summer? Because I don’t see it.’”
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