When Bill Lawrence was growing his new Apple TV+ comedy ”Shrinking,” he launched one character in the pilot script as a “Harrison Ford-type” — however by no means dreamed he would get the actual deal.
Although the showrunner has had comedy success working with huge names and executive-producing hits like “Scrubs,” “Cougar Town” and “Ted Lasso,” nabbing an enormous film star like Ford appeared unrealistic. But he determined to take a shot and ship Ford the script.
He was gobsmacked when the “Indiana Jones” actor favored the story and ultimately agreed to play the a part of a tricky therapist who works with star Jason Segel in a psychological well being apply.
“If he had not proven up on set, I’d not have been shocked,” Lawrence mentioned in a current interview. “But he confirmed up. He’s pretty, he’s inspiring. He’s 80 years previous and nonetheless difficult himself.”
For “Shrinking” — which begins streaming Friday — Lawrence teamed with Segel and author Brett Goldstein (additionally Roy Kent in “Ted Lasso” ) to assist create and write the present. They had the lofty aim of constructing a comedy about grief, set it in an workplace shared by therapists and starring Segel, Ford, Jessica Williams, and Christa Miller.
Segel performs a personality whose spouse dies all of the sudden, leaving the daddy of a teen daughter misplaced and keen to disregard his ethics to begin telling his sufferers what he actually thinks. Ford’s character is a curmudgeonly colleague and mentor who delivers zingers with restrained glee.
Lawrence calls working with Ford a “profession spotlight,” and says there’s just one draw back.
“Everybody’s petrified of … telling him to do something,” Lawrence mentioned with fun. “But he’s a lot enjoyable to work with. Every scene will get ruined — no less than one take — by me or one of many actors in the center of it going ‘It’s Harrison Ford!’ It’s loopy.”
Goldstein — who is not performing in this present however serves as one other government producer — describes Ford as “dream casting” and says they nonetheless don’t understand how they received him.
“He actually cherished the scripts and associated to plenty of the points of the character,” Goldstein mentioned. “We talked to him loads about character, and it was really easy that … I really feel like I ought to have needed to full a collection of Herculean duties to get him, you realize what I imply?”
Segel appreciated how Ford “breaks by the awe actually rapidly as a way to get right down to work.”
“One of the issues that’s actually cool about Harrison Ford is that he considers himself a tradesman, like a craftsman. He was a carpenter and now he’s an actor,” Segel mentioned. “His job is to return in and construct these scenes and also you’re his accomplice in that.”
Williams — who performs one other therapist — shares witty banter with Ford in many scenes and says it was “surreal” to work with the performing legend she watched in motion pictures as a child. She says it took a few week to stay current and get used to his face looking at her.
“He is pleasant, charming, good, giving. And he’s magic to look at, actually.” Williams mentioned. “You simply watch him do some takes and … he’s received the glimmer in his eye. He’s received the factor. And it’s actually inspiring to see somebody that’s like over 80 hitting his marks and staying so sharp whereas additionally, you realize, actually caring concerning the work.”
Goldstein agrees that Ford by no means made the cast really feel like he wanted particular remedy.
“He’s as fantastic and wonderful as ever,” Goldstein mentioned. “But he’s additionally a really beneficiant actor and he’s a part of this ensemble. It’s not like he takes over. He matches into this world. He performs the character, he disappears into it. He’s an excellent actor.”
Williams says engaged on the present was enjoyable due to the cast chemistry, and the license to advert lib at instances to make scenes funnier felt “very fulfilling.”
One of the secrets and techniques to a profitable present, particularly in comedy — in response to Lawrence — is that if the cast will get alongside and is pleasant, even outdoors of the present: “We attempt to put collectively teams of people who have comparable voices and that work together very well,” Lawrence mentioned.
“If you see an absence of chemistry behind the digicam, even when the cameras aren’t rolling,” he mentioned, “if it’s a present a few household or a dysfunctional household or people who find themselves presupposed to care about one another, it received’t work.”