Sunday, August 1, 2010

An Exclusive One-on-One with Matthew Perry!...

About seven years ago I finally got to meet Matthew Perry after years of watching him as my favorite "Friend." My then-boss in the morning news over at Fox KTTV knew how big a fan I was and brought me into the greenroom on a morning he was appearing as a guest so I could say hi. And I ended up telling him I loved him in Dance Til Dawn, which he found weird enough that someone had actually seen that made-for-TV eighties movie, let alone was bringing it up then, fifteen years later, in the height of his Friends success.

Well, tonight he was on-hand at the ABC TCA party to promote his new comedy Mr. Sunshine (but we'll get to that in a minute), and I of course again had to corner him to say hello. And of course I had to remind him of the fact that we had met before, and I was indeed the girl who loved him in Dance Til Dawn. I figured that was a good way to jog his memory of the thousands of girls he meets. And wouldn't you know it, it worked! He laughed when I told the story, and then just to throw him for a complete loop, I told him I thought that was the reunion movie they should make. Hey, if someone could bring up Fools Rush In during the stage presentation for his show, I figured this wasn't so bad; at least it was in private!
my friend Laura, Matthew Perry, and me

"We had a great cast in that movie," he acknowledged.

"And you did just hit your twentieth anniversary two years ago," I added, somehow miraculously managing to avoid telling him I wrote a reunion made-for-TV movie script around that time.

Perry shared that he gets asked about a Friends reunion about fifteen times a day in person and about eight hundred times a day on Twitter. So I spared him. After all, so many cast members are off on their own projects, it doesn't seem like a possibility any time soon just due to logistics. Perry did say that if his new show is lucky to make it to season three or four, he would consider bringing on a former Friend...but he doesn't want to lead with that gimmick right out the gate. Instead he thinks people should tune in when Mr. Sunshine premieres mid-season on ABC "because it's going to be really funny."

"Is it going to be really funny because you're in it?" My Life, Made Possible by Pop Culture countered.

"Well I hope so, but there’s also very funny people working on it with me," Perry's humbleness reared its head instead of his usual self-deprecating sense of humor. "That’s what it’s trying to be—very funny. Allison Janney is off the chart, ridiculously very funny in it. We’re trying to do a show that’s really funny all of the time and then can slow down and have a few real moments once in awhile. The real moments have to be earned."

Mr. Sunshine centers on the workers at a sports arena and all of the wacky antics they get up, including sleeping with each other (Perry's character and former Joey star Andrea Anders), pill addiction (Janney), and hiring an borderline incompetent simply because he's related to the boss. The premise reminded me of a web series about convention workers that I produced a few years back, and that, combined with Perry's star power, hooked me right in.

For Perry, the premise was fascinating, too, and he has been looking for a smart comedy for awhile now! "I think whenever you go behind the curtain with things you don’t know about—like SNL or the Sunshine Center, the arena thing—it’s interesting," he started. "What we’re trying to do is have the people at work be incredibly dysfunctional but all try to better their lives somehow. They all have to try to get it together because eighteen thousand people are coming to their workplace that night."

And of course working in an arena means a lot of cool, visually stunning events can be paraded through, including a circus with a live elephant in the pilot episode. When asked what else Perry would like to see as guest set design on future episodes, he rattles off a simple list: "Bruce Springsteen, lingerie football, like a teen concert. Stories can jump off of that. Those are some of the ones we’re talking about. Hollywood on Ice, all those things!"

Hmm, if they're doing Hollywood on Ice, I don't see why some of the stars-turned-ice dancers can't be Perry's Dawn Til Dawn co-stars Alan Thicke and Kelsey Grammer! They're good at poking fun at themselves! Mr. Sunshine won't air on ABC until mid-season-- Perry joked that he was told the exact start date and time slot but by "a mysterious man who no longer works at the network"-- so there is plenty of time for them to work on my idea! I won't even ask for a Story By credit!

1 comment:

Jim said...

Great write-up, Danielle! And glad you stalking paid off! :-)