Getting Personal with the Cast of ABC’s The Family
I’m a television fanatic, and thanks to Disney and ABC Television I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few sets, and talk to some of the cast and crew of shows that I love. And with my most recent trip to Los Angles for the Captain America Event our group had that opportunity again. Last Sunday we sat down with cast members; Zach Gilford, Alison Pill, and Floriana Lima, along with executive producers Jenna Bans and Laura Zaks.
Honestly I was very nervous about the family dinner, because we had no idea of how the cast and producers would be, that feeling however when right away on the elevator ride up to the screen room. Zach Gilford, who plays Danny on the show, rode up with us and he was very excited and down to earth. He was making jokes and talking to all the ladies about the show, his hometown, and his wife. Shortly after Floriana Lima and Alison Pill arrived and it was time to watch live and tweet with the cast and fans.
Everyone was very comfortable with us, Alison even took a seat on one of the couches talking to about four of the bloggers in the room and tweeting with them the entire hour. During commercial breaks Zach would get on to read comments and share his reactions via Florianna’s Twitter page, since he’s not on social media at all. It was a jaw dropping episode since we learned that Adam is dead and Willa (Alison Pill) set up the whole “Return of Adam” scenario. If you’ve never live tweeted with them before, I suggest you give it a try. After live tweeting we screened the next episode “Sweet Jane” which premieres tonight at 9/8c on ABC. The screening was followed with Q&A with the cast and producers. Here’s a summary of some of the things they shared with us.
How was the show created?
Executive Producer Jenna Bans was living across the street from a sex offender, it freaked her out and made her really scared when she found out, since ABC was looking for an impostor sort of show, she married both ideas and came up with a mystery thriller. Giving us the dark and twisty show “The Family”.
Zach Gilford who plays Danny on the show as the first person to be cast. Jenna recalls his audition, saying he was really good. Zach had to shave for his audition, according to Jenna. He was appearing on video that the President of the network would see, so they felt he needed to shave. Oddly enough they ended up making his character Danny scruffy on the show.
If you’ve seen the show before you know that Willa is probably one of the most complex and emotional characters on the show, especially after last week’s episode, we wanted to know how she got into her character.
Alison Pill : First of all, we have really good writers, and it really makes sense to me. And then I think of how touchstone for me is the moment, for example, when me and Madeline Arthur switch places on the bed in the motel. And she’s fully frozen at thirteen. Like, she is somebody who will do anything to keep her family together. Everything else that is built up- all of this armor is only to get to her ultimate goal, which is having her entire family under one roof again. Everything else is driven by that, so when anything threatens that, that is like, the worst thing that can happen in the world. All of the emotion just comes from that thought of being thirteen and trying to keep your family together, um, and I was a very emotional thirteen year old, as most are.
According to the EPs Alison knew since the beginning that “Adam” wasn’t her brother. By the time the pilot was filmed she knew it wasn’t her brother. All the scenes were we saw how she did it play out in last week’s episode she filmed before fully knowing how they would interpret her deception.
Alison Pill : When Jenna and I sat down for a glass of wine after he had been picked up and she told me all of the things that the writer’s room had come up with, I was like, no, [LAUGHS]. Noooo. Bridey, what? All of it, all of it. It’s amazing.
Andrew McCarthy who plays Hank Asher on the show. We asked the cast how it was working with Andrew as a director and as an actor on the show.
Floriana Lima : It’s weird that he’s a director and also playing Hank which is this intense character, and he’s just so present as a director, so you’re like, whoa, you’re doing that, too, at the same time?
Alison Pill : He also knows the show so well, like, he’ll call me on things being, like, in this script you said this, but in that, you said that, [LAUGHS]. He’s everywhere, like in the writer’s room, like he knows everything about the show.
What’s it like for working with different directors for each episode?
Alison Pill: It’s the hardest thing about TV. It really is because it’s not the director’s medium, and I love to act mostly because I love working with directors, and getting cool notes. And how I could do things different. With this we don’t have as much time, and then there’s suddenly, the next day, there’s somebody new who doesn’t know your set, doesn’t know your crew, doesn’t know your camera guy’s name…
Jenna Bans : Doesn’t know your show as well as they should or whatever.
AP: Because often the bad and the sort of annoying part is, by the time you’re done eight days of shooting, you finally know this person and their vibe, and then they’re gone, [LAUGHS].
JB : But that’s something I’ve noticed just being on shows. It gets so much easier because then you have your staple of people that then come back, and you know, you make sure everybody likes them, and ideally, you get, like, five or six people who you love, and you just keep rotating them in.
After a few hours with these guys you could really tell they loved their television family. They spent a couple of minutes talking to us about their co-star Joan Allen and how good she is as an actor, and a set mother as well.
Alison Pill : You guys, Joan Allen is so good at acting.
Floriana Lima : She is. She’s really nice, too.
AP : She made cookies from her grandmother’s recipe; she made a hundred and fifty cookies on her day off and brought them in before our holiday break. They were like cakey, amazing cookies with delicious icing.
One of the final things we asked was how long do they thing the show could run. Jenna Bans quickly shared about three seasons.
Jenna Bans : Definitely three. Beyond that who knows what happens. I was on Scandal, too, and we were like, this can only go, like, a season. What are we gonna do? And then you get to the end of the first season, and you’re like, oh, that’s a second season, and then in second season, you’re like, that’s obviously the third season. So somehow it always works itself out.
Who knows how long The Family will be on air, but I’ll be watching every episode and if you’re not watching you’re seriously missing out. Don’t forget to tune in tonight on ABC at 9 PM/ET to see the newest episode of The Family. Check out a sneak peak of this week’s episode.
The Family airs on Sundays at 9/8c on ABC Television. Live tweet with the cast during episodes on Twitter by following their handles @TheFamily, @MsAlisonPill, @FlorianaLima, @JennaBans, @LZaksHorn & the hashtag #TheFamily.
Disclosure: I attend an all expenses paid press trip with Disney and ABC Television, any opinions expressed are my own. All photos were taken and provided by Coralie Seright of LoveBugsAndPostcards.com