Welcome to our second season of "On the Futon With...," a semi-weekly feature where I sit down and talk TV with some of my favorite people in the industry, all the while trying to give the impression I'm not some overgrown fanboy.
Our first wave of interviews this season come from our time spent at the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer. We hope you enjoy!
THIS WEEK'S GUEST: "Pushing Daisies" executive producers Bryan Fuller, Barry Sonnenfeld, Dan Jinks & Bruce Cohen
Brian Ford Sullivan: [To Bryan] How did you and Barry get together for this project?
Bryan Fuller: Barry and I sort of had a similar experience. We were both developing feature projects with Bruce and Dan. And Dan and Bruce had a deal at Warner Bros. so I [decided to develop] a pilot with them as well. I had a really great experience with them so I figured why not continue it.
Bruce Cohen: When Bryan, Dan and I started talking about directors, it was a very short conversation because the minute we thought "director" we thought Barry Sonnenfeld. We thought he was the perfect person tonally for this piece. And so we slipped him the script and said see what do you think of this? And he loved it fortunately.
Barry Sonnenfeld: I loved it.
Bryan Fuller: We actually approached Barry Sonnenfeld in November...
Bruce Cohen: ...Bryan was actually still writing the script. We sent Barry an outline initially and his agents didn't want him to do it. They never read it. They had a whole other agenda. The studio had another agenda. Fortunately Barry loved it.
Bryan Fuller: Do you think [they'll] read this interview? [Laughs.]
Bruce Cohen: [Laughs.] Now everybody's embraced it, loving the idea, thinking nobody in the world was better for it. So that's nice.
Bryan Fuller: I was listening to the "Addams Family Values" soundtrack while writing this script before I even knew [Barry would be involved] because I loved his tone, his sensibility. The music reminded me of that. I just had it on while I was working.
Barry Sonnenfeld: You know, it's both romantic and fanciful and real. And that's sort of the tone we all embraced. And the music from the "Addams Family" is like that.
Brian Ford Sullivan: The show obviously has a very unique look and feel. Was that something you came up with together or was it always in the script?
Barry Sonnenfeld: So much is in the script. So, so much.
Bryan Fuller: So much is in the script but so much isn't so it's kind of a great collaboration. I love watching the pilot and seeing all the things that were not in the script. And how well they're executed - like the squirrel falling - and just the visual details and the sumptuous palate. That's not in the script.
Bruce Cohen: We're also very fortunate to have a really sensational production designer named Michael Wylie. We kind of thought - "Oh we have this superstar, he's only going to be able to do the pilot." And he so much fell in love with this show and Bryan's vision that he's staying on and doing all the episodes of the show, which is very, very fortunate.
Dan Jinks: It was really exciting because Barry, when he was putting his team together - production designer, cinematographer, costume designer - and starting showing Bryan and us the plans it was what we imagined and then some. And Bryan kept saying, "Yes, that's perfect! That's perfect!"
Barry Sonnenfeld: Actually he said, "That's almost perfect! That's almost perfect!" [Laughs.] "Could you make this pie shape 8,000 times bigger?" [Laughs.] But no it's exactly what he should have said.
Brian Ford Sullivan: In terms of your vision specifically, was doing a show "like this" always the intention or did the look and feel develop as you were writing?
Bryan Fuller: It came out of a spin-off idea for "Dead Like Me." And then when I left that show to do "Wonderfalls," I just put it in my back pocket where it was gestating. And when I went into Warner Bros. to talk about pilot ideas, I pitched out six or seven ideas and this is the one that [they] actually championed.
Brian Ford Sullivan: Could you expand on that a little? How was the spin-off going to be set up?
Bryan Fuller: We would have set it up so in season two George would have met this guy, discovered what he could do and touched her, she would get her life back, go back to her family for an arc of episodes. And then he would touch her again because she would have left all of her responsibilities behind. [It designed as] part of her growing up in the series. And he would have gone off to his own show. That was the plan. It kind of worked out that way. But not exactly as planned. [Laughs.]