and Will Arnett combine comedy forces in NBC’s show , returning for a second season starting Sept. 20. Over the summer, NBC invited the Television Critics Association to tour the set at the lot here in Studio City.
While looking around the Brinkley’s house set, Applegate and Arnett came in to greet the reporters, and started taking questions and making jokes right away. We got the stars joking about Studio City, and giving us some real answers about shooting locally (Applegate says she lives only 12 minutes away) and the upcoming new season of the show.
Q: Do all the remotes on the coffee table actually work?
Will Arnett: No, and I don’t want to spoiler alert, but that’s something that we cover.
Christina Applegate: I have like six remotes at home.
WA: How often do you do this, like, “Don’t worry I’ve got it.” Wait, no.
CA: It’s not that one, it’s not that one. So we cover that.
Q: There’s no universal remote?
WA: No. My parents have it to the point that if you go to their house, you’re not allowed to touch the remote because they’re so nervous that if you touch something, that the system breaks forever. It’s like, “Don’t touch that! Your father knows.” Then he’s like… that’s kind of what it’s like here.
CA: So there’s that and we’re doing that thing where we’re redoing a bathroom so that’s exciting for us.
Q: Exciting for you or for your characters, the Brinkleys?
CA: It’s exciting for us but it’s not [for the Brinkleys] because the person who’s doing the bathroom is, I can say, is my brother and he’s not as reliable as Reagan. Or as me for that matter.
Q: Have you contributed personal things to the set, like the pictures we see in the frames?
CA: Not personal but we’ve taken photos.
WA: Don’t look at those photos. Most of those photos were taken during the pilot.
CA: I had just had a baby so I weighed about 600 pounds.
WA: And I had just eaten a baby.
Q: In the opening credits, did you actually have a party and take the photos we see?
CA: No, it was all water. Keep it professional. We like to, at work, not be drunk. That’s kind of our motto: We’re not sh*t faced.
Q: Do you contribute ideas to the writers?
CA: Well, we just started up so we haven’t even. We will for sure but this is day two so I don’t have my thoughts together yet. I’m sure we will.
Q: Is there a plan to bring a lot of family in this year?
CA: I think so. Family’s in again.
Q: What do you like about working on this lot in this area in Studio City?
CA: 12 minutes door to door. 12 minutes door to door.
WA: For me it's the people. It's the people.
CA: For me it's the people. It's the people of Studio City.
WA: This world is all about connection with people.
CA: People. People.
Q: Well, it’s also a historic lot and - -
WA: Oh, it's historic. Oh, my God. It's been here upwards of 40 years.
CA: I've actually worked here before on another show, and I said, "Please, can we shoot at Radford?" when we started talking about this. Really because I love this lot. I love that we have great restaurants.
WA: Where are they?
CA: And the people.
Q: Will, any thoughts on the Radford lot?
WA: I don’t really know. I guess they’re really good. I have no idea because I just come to work here, but I know we frequent a lot of the restaurants here. I was kind of joking but it’s also kind of true. Everybody seems really nice and this area, we shoot in the neighborhoods and everybody’s very open to us. It’s good for us and I’m sure it’s good for the local economy so we’re happy to shoot here. It’s a great place to shoot.
Q: Which restaurants?
WA: Oh, everywhere. is a good one. I don't know, there’s so many.
Q: Christina, where do you like to go, maybe with your daughter?
CA: Well, I don’t go anywhere. Anywhere with ducks. Like where are the ducks? There’s lots of places that have ducks. There really are. I have no idea.
Q: Will, was there ever a point in your life where you were the one home with the kids like Chris is?
WA: I mean, sure. Any time you are at home with your kids, it is ‑‑
CA: You're home with your kids, pretty much.
WA: Yeah. There's that, and it's filled with unexpected things that happen, and a lot of comedy comes out of that, and I think that the show draws on the experiences of everybody who is a part of this show. A lot of the writers on our show have kids, so everybody can kind of identify with that, and that makes its way into the show. And sure, I spent a lot of time when my eldest son was quite young at home with him, so I got to be a part of a lot of those kind of life mile‑marker moments walking, crawling, those things, because I was there.
Q: Does it change you when you’re the sole person in charge of them while your wife’s at work?
WA: Yeah, it definitely changes you. I mean having kids changes you, but for me personally, yes. It was the most life‑changing experience ever. It completely changed my priorities, to be honest, and I realized that having kids and having a family was much more important than all of this, to be perfectly honest. Not to bring the room down. But it put everything in perspective.
Q: Will, we’re excited about the new Arrested Development season. How are you going to juggle this show and returning to that one?
WA: Currently the plan is to shoot on hiatuses and weekends. That's the current plan. Saturdays. It's gonna be insane.
CA: That's gonna be crazy.
WA: It's super well‑organized.
Q: We’re meeting Luka Jones for the first time as he joins the cast as Reagan’s brother. Is that her only brother?
CA: News to me, brother. No. I think this is it in the siblings department. I'm sure there are cousins.
WA: I'm sure until we need another one.
Q: Does Will’s character have any more siblings?
CA: He has a brother who came on the show before, Dean Winters, the very talented.
WA: I think Chris is an orphan, right?
WA: Did we decide on that?
Q: How do you like the changes to your characters this season, like losing her job on the “Ava” show?
CA: I think that for me I always enjoyed Reagan when Reagan had a mission and an obstacle, and that's where you can really see her personality come out and how she deals with things. I'm looking forward to how we've going to do that in the home life with her not having a job, so it's kind of like a whole new thing, and I'm happy about the change. I think that we did the Ava show, and we always felt that these characters were at their best when they were kind of away from these hallways. For us shooting, too, it just felt sometimes like a vortex in there, and I think now we get to see them and get to explore these relationships, and really the more of the inner workings of these people. Now that you know who we are, now we really get to show you who we are.
WA: For me, no comment.
Q: Will Chris remain a stay at home dad?
WA: No. We have some plans for the character and where he goes. I think it’s going to be interesting.
Q: What jobs is he going to apply for?
WA: He’s a former lawyer so we get back into that a little bit and then we go from there. Spoiler alert.
Q: How does it feel to be settled into a second season of a show?
WA: It’s good. I haven’t been on a second season of a show since Arrested Development and we only did three on that, three sort of weird seasons. It feels good. I think that now we have a chance to take it a little bit further.
Q: Some mommy questions for Christina, can you complete this sentence: You know you’re in the baby zone when…?
CA: When there’s breast milk on the floor? I don't know, I’m not really sure.
Q: When you’re in your most exhausted phase, what gets you through it?
CA: Oh, when I’m in my tired phase? In the morning when I’m holding her and we’re reading. She snuggles up really nicely in the morning. She doesn’t snuggle the rest of the day but in the morning she gets really snuggly. Those are those moments, or when she just out of nowhere leans over and kisses you. It’s heartbreaking.
Q: Is there one piece of gear you couldn’t live without?
CA: Gosh, gear. We don’t use any gear anymore. She’s a toddler. You know what was great for a while was those saucers for her to jump around. She really liked those when she was younger. Now she’s too old for that but that was a great thing for her. You could go do something for a minute, you could cook some food.
(Check back for more of Fred Topel's exclusive on-the-set interview with the cast of Up All Night, which kicks off Sept. 20)
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