With four other journalists, I had a chance to talk with Adrian Scarborough (“The King’s Speech”) and Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”), who costar with Sir Patrick Stewart in the new comedy series on Starz, “Blunt Talk.” I also chatted with the show’s creator/writer/showrunner, Jonathan Ames (“Bored to Death“).
The first episode of “Blunt Talk” airs on Starz Aug. 22, 2015 at 9pm. I have screened four episodes, and I can say that it’s an outrageous, hilarious, and often touching series. Scarborough plays Harry, the manservant/best friend to Walter Blunt, played by Patrick Stewart. Weaver plays Rosalie, Blunt’s boss at his television studio.
Read my interview with Patrick Stewart.
Other actors on the show include Richard Lewis, Ed Begley, Jr., Timm Sharp, Dolly Wells, Karan Soni, and Mary Holland. Guest stars include Moby (playing himself) and Elizabeth Shue.
Below are some of the highlights from the interviews.
Jonathan Ames on how “Blunt Talk” came about:
This was written specifically for Patrick Stewart. How that came about is that Seth MacFarlane wanted to do a comedy with Patrick Stewart, but he needed an idea for that comedy. And so, he approached writers, and I happened to be the writer that came up with the idea that Seth liked, which was to have Stewart play a cable news host.
I thought that Patrick Stewart would look fascinating and formidable behind the desk, and we could then go behind the scenes of such an environment kind of like “The Larry Sanders Show” and get to know his loony staff.
Jacki Weaver on what it’s like to spoon Patrick Stewart, which she does in at least one episode:
It was very pleasant indeed. I didn’t actually make contact with his nipple, though I got very close.
Jacki Weaver on what she loves about the writing of the show:
I like the way Jonathan Ames will show every side of the character. They’re not just one-dimensional. He creates very complex characters with all their foibles and faults and flaws. And yet, he does it in a way that is non-judgmental so that they can still be really lovable people, no matter how weird their fetishes.
Jacki Weaver on seeing Patrick Stewart play this role:
This dignified gentleman suddenly turns into a wild man – sex and drugs and shocking shenanigans. He’s impressive, Patrick, because he’s so brave. He would attempt just about anything. He’s a real risk-taker, which is so admirable in a dignified gentleman like that, to be prepared to go right out on a limb.
Adrian Scarborough on his character’s relationship with Walter Blunt:
I think they’re sort of like the fire triangle. If one bit falls down, the other doesn’t function properly. I think Harry needs Walter as much as Walter needs Harry really. You sort of find out later on, there’s a fantastic, very emotional flashback to the Falklands campaign where you find out how they got glued together the way that they did. It’s very moving.
But yes, he’s a manservant, he’s a valet, he does everything for him [Walter]. They bicker like man and wife often, particularly over the choice of car….
Every morning, he’s [Harry] there cooking him [Walter] some porridge, some fruit, or an egg or something. That all happens perfectly normally and naturally as it would in that sort of a relationship. Then, they practice their samurai routine. That sits just as comfortably, and I think what’s wonderful is that they take that as seriously as anything else that goes on in their lives. It’s what makes it such a joy to play really.
Adrian Scarborough on finally getting to play the hero:
It’s really unusual for me to play a hero because I get cast a lot as downtrodden saddies who don’t always come good, and the joy of Harry is that he’s a hero…. I’m really proud of the fact that he’s become heroic. However dubious morally he can be, it’s always done with the best intentions. I really like that because that’s innately human. We, all of us, err in our various ways. I should only drink two gins, but I frequently don’t….
It [Harry’s heroism] has done my self-confidence no end of good. I kind of strut about…. Dare one say, a little bit of it rubs off.