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Wilfred Conference Call
FX NETWORK: Wilfred|
Conference Call (Transcript)
June 17, 2011/10:00 a.m. PDT
Kristy Silvernail Ė FX Network
Elijah Wood Ė "Ryan," Wilfred
Jason Gann Ė "Wilfred," Wilfred
Moderator: Welcome to the Wilfred Conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session. Instructions will be given at that time. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Miss Kristy Silvernail.
K. Silvernail: Good morning and welcome to the Wilfred Conference call. This is Kristy from FX, and before we get started, I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for participating, and especially Elijah Wood and Jason Gann for sharing their time with us. Because weíve got so many people joining us today, we ask that everybody ask only one question at a time and then get back in queue for any follow-ups. As you know Wilfred premiers next Thursday June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right before the Season Two premiere of Louie at 10:30. So without further ado, letís get started.
Moderator: Our first question comes from Amy Harrington from PopCulturePassionistas.
A. Harrington - Elijah, we imagine that you get offered a lot of TV roles and weíre wondering why you chose this one?
Elijah Wood: I actually donít get offered a lot of TV roles. I read a few scripts, mainly dramas. I was just interested in taking a look at television because I really had never seen what was kind of available and what people were making on television. Itís changed so much even in the last five years. I donít know, I read this script Ö the last scripts that I was sent, and my manager sent it to me and said it was the funniest thing that sheíd ever read. I loved it and it kind of blew my mind. It was unlike anything Iíve read or seen on television. A perfect extreme in funny but also sort of cerebral and strange and difficult to describe, which I think is always a good thing.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd.
J. Ruby - Can you kind of talk to us about your characters in the show and kind of give us a little bit on them?
E. Wood: Yes, Jason, you want to chime in on it?
Jason Gann: Well Wilfred is a dog. The world sees a dog. Ryan sees a man in a cheap dog suit who smokes bongs and pretty much terrorizes him. But you know, we sort of think that after a while that maybe "Wilfred" is an angel and a devil on his shoulder, giving him advice and trying to bring him back into the real world. Thatís Wilfredís character. Elijah?
E. Wood: Yes, Ryan is essentially a guy who had followed a path that was ultimately not of his choosing for far too long. He listened to his family, listened to his father, did kind of what he thought everyone else wanted him to do as opposed to following his own interests. As a result of that in this pilot, we find him in a place where heís hit a wall, essentially, and itís made him suicidal.
Heís kind of a broken individual. Heís someone that hasnít really busted out of himself to live freely and to live with confidence and to define himself, and ultimately thatís where Wilfre arrives. He arrives sort of in that moment of crisis to push Ryan outside of the self-imposed and sort of family-imposed boundaries that have been created around him.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Andrea Towers from VoiceofTV.
A. Towers - Thereís a huge influx of shows from Europe that have been brought overseas throughout the past few years. Some are successful. Some arenít so successful. Iím curious to know how you think your show will be received over in the U.S. in terms ofóI know itís darker. Itís probably a little more unconventional than what normal audiences are used to.
J. Gann: Despite the fact that the show is called Wilfred, and thereís a dog called Wilfred in it, and Iím in the suit playing Wilfred, itís a really different show. Maybe the reason why some of those reboots donít work is because theyíre trying to just translate something from one territory into another and the only thing thatís different is sort of some accents and stuff, whereas this is a completely new show.
David Zuckerman, the show runner, had a completely new vision for it. When he first told me about it he said he saw a different vehicle for this great character that he loved. So I donít even compare the two shows. This show really stands on its own, and so, look, Iím not worried about any comparisons or failed reboot of the successful show because theyíre two different creatures.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Kristyn Clarke from PopCultureMadness.Com.
K. Clarke - Iím curious to know, this question kind of goes out to both of you, what is your definition of a good formula for comedic TV?
E. Wood: Thatís a good question. Jason, youíre more well versed in this than I am.
J. Gann: A good formulaówell, people are pretty quick to admit if they canít dance or they canít sing, but not many people think that they have a bad sense of humor. Everyone thinks that their sense of humor is good. So itís a really difficult thing to throw open to a large panel of peopleís mind, which is what happens in most television. So I think to get something right you really have to have like a smaller nucleus of comedic minds and then trust that small group and trust your instincts and what you think is funny regardless of what you think what the masses will think is funny. Because if you try and cater to an audience that already exists, then youíll just come out with boring old stuff. You really need to, I think, pioneer what you think is funny and then hope that the audience follows you.
Then thereís just truth on the actual playing of the comedy. Aside from the writing is just trying it for truth and I think thatís hopefully what Elijah and I bring, I think, together.
E. Wood: I was going to say the same thing. From my experience, what I think is a solid base for any comedy is just honesty and truth and it coming from a real place. As surreal as this show gets and is, ultimately, weíre dealing with a character that most canít see the way that I can see it. But outside of that, most of the scenarios, weíre playing them for honesty and I think that that is always an important base, and I think something truly funny will always come out of that.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Suzanne Lanoue from TheTVMegasite.
S. Lanoue - How many episodes have you filmed and how many will there be this year?
J. Gann: We filmed 13 and there shall be 8 Ö. Elijah?
E. Wood: But theyíre eight really good episodes.
J. Gann: Yes, thereís 13.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Sheldon Wiebe from EclipseMagazine.com
S. Wiebe - I, like most of the people on the call today, have never seen the Australian version, and Iím just wonderingónow you say this is a totally different animal, Jason. How so?
J. Gann: Well originally in November of this year will have been ten years since I wrote the seven-minute short film that won festivals around the world and went to Sundance. So that seven-minute short was already very popular, and so we just set up a premise in essentially a seven-minute short. So for the Australian series, we just used the first seven minutes in the pilot as the first seven minutes of the show.
So we didnít go into a lot about what the psychology of the show, of the relationship between the guy and the dog. There was no background story for the guy. We didnít go into his psychology at all. It was really a love triangle between the guy, the dog, and the girl. Whereas this show is, for starters, a buddy comedy more so thanóit does have love triangle elements in it, but each episode is about Ryan. Wilfred kind of drives the stories and the audience is constantly left to argue with each other or with themselves as to whether this is all happening inside Ryanís mind. Are we going crazy? Whatís really going on?
In the Australian version, we just sort of said, "The guy can see the dog." We said it in the first minute of the show, and then we just went on with it. The Australian show had more of a British kind of sensibility and the style of The Young Ones or The Mighty Boosh where things are a bit more abstract and absurdist. So this show goes into the psychology more, and I think itís smarter Ö about Ryan rather than about a love triangle.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Far Hossain from Far Flips.
F. Hossain - I want to know what your favorite scene is that you filmed so far.
J. Gann: Elijah? Go on.
E. Wood: No, not off the top of my head. Do you have one ready already?
J. Gann: Yes, well, Elijah yours is the one on the roof. Ö speak for Elijah, but we had a lot of fun up on the roof in the rain. Thereís a scene we do in the rain. I think my favorite scene is in the strip club.
E. Wood: The roof argument was a lot of fun. Thatís true. I mean thatís something that I was also really looking forward to from reading it on the script and ultimately shooting it because itís so ridiculously heightened. I donít know, there are so many sequences that we would approach every day. I swear to God, like every day coming to work I approached it with so much excitement because every day there was something that we were excited to shoot and bring to life. We were even Ö lucky to work with such wonderful scripts. I mean our writers, everyone together, created such layered, finely layered, very interesting, hilarious scripts that were kind of on a constant level every day exciting to approach. So itís difficult to pick one sequence out in particular.
J. Gann: Strip club scene.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Curt Wagner from Red Eye.
C. Wagner - Wilfred is sort of Ryanís coping mechanism, I guess, Ö stranger coping mechanisms. I was wondering how you guys cope with stress and problems. Who do you see and talk to?
J. Gann: I donít know if you really want to go there. Iím sort of lucky that in that for me, Iím a writer now. I started out as an actor but Iím a writer, and so things like Wilfred and shows like that are where I escape to. Itís only been the last two years that I had to sort of force myself to go out and be more involved in the world because I can get a bit cerebral and escape into the characters and the world of characters. So but now, I guess I escape into stories about ďWilfredĒ and characters like Wilfred.
E. Wood: Coping mechanism? I donít know. We all deal with a certain amount of stress on a day-to-day basis. I probably smoke too many cigarettes, which isnít a very good thing. I donít know. I donít have any extraordinary sort of coping mechanism. I certainly donít talk to a dog.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Nick Arganbright from GBG.
N. Arganbright - My question revolvesóI guess is for both of you. Jason, with the original show were there any rules that you had there and when David Zuckerman is doing this show with you guys now, you guys have a different set of rules with how everybody sees Wilfred? Like how Ryan views people interacting with Wilfred? How does that work?
J. Gann: Thatís a real good question. Well for a start, I wrote in the Australian version that Iím right until proven wrong, but in the American version Davidís right. One thing Ö said with the Australian version, which I think is a similarity, is that weíre all telling one joke and that itís important that everyone is on board and understands the tone of the script and is all telling the same story. And that we donít have any kind of renegade guest actors that are out trying to steal the show or steal the scene or do their own comedy stick. You got to try and slide in because weíre all telling the one joke, as far as the comedy goes, and so I think thatís fairly similar. I think this show is more social, like thereís more social references than the Australian version, which is a different type to personally where I took it, but Iím a fan of trying and I like the fact that the showís taking on a life of its own.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Michael Gallagher from StayFamous.net.
M. Gallagher - This question is for Elijah. How did your family and friends respond to the news when you told then youíd be staring in Wilfred? Are they looking forward to watching the show?
E. Wood: Yes, my family and friends were, I think, very intrigued at the notion of the premise of the show. I think since we started shooting and we actually did a numberówe shot a number of promos before we actually went into production. They started to air sort of while we were shooting, which gave people a real sense of what it is that we were trying to do and kind of gave tonally an idea of the show we were trying to make. Since those have come out a lot of family and friends have seen those shorts and everyoneís looking forward to it. Iím very excited and intrigued, as they should be.
J. Gann: They said, "Elijah, we will always love you regardless of wható"
E. Wood: "Listen, no matter what decision you make as an actor weíre proud of you. Weíre proud of you either way."
J. Gann: "Up to this point, itís been great."
E. Wood: "Itís been great, and Iím sure youíll make other great decisions later as well should you get a second chance."
J. Gann: I wasnít there for that conversation. It was imagined. That question wasnít even directed to me. I hijacked it.
E. Wood: You did. You hijacked it. ...
Moderator - Our next question comes from Lena Lamoray from LenaLamoray.com.
L. Lamoray - Now Wilfred and Ryan are both intriguing characters. What is it like bringing them to life and have you picked up any of their bad habits?
J. Gann: Elijah, why donít you go first?
E. Wood: Intriguing charactersóI certainly havenít picked up any of Ryan's bad habits. Ryan and I are very different, thankfully. I think Iím a lot more pulled together than Ryan is. Yes, no bad habits have entered into my life as a result of playing him.
Heís a constantly interesting character to play. Heís sort of in constant struggle. Itís an interesting character to play. On the surface level, he is interacting with Wilfred and kind of takes that, as we as an audience, I think, take that for granted and accept that relationship. But throughout the show as weíre filming it, Iím constantly thinking about whatís happening in reality and what heís really going through. Iím not necessarily playing that and I donít have to play that, but I think thereís a lot of depth to what Ryanís experience is, and heís kind of broken and heís constantly in the state of trying to repair himself and heís working really hard to sort of stay above water, and itís constantly interesting to play.
J. Gann: And Wilfred actually picked up all of my bad habits. I just kind of converted them into that character, and thankfully I donít really have any of those habits anymore. I smoke, but I donít take drugs or anything like that, but anythingóI suppose I still do like to screw anything that moves, but apart from that, if anything, Wilfredís stolen my moves.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Jim Napier from GeekTyrant.com.
J. Napier - So I can really tell that your chemistry on the phone call and from what Iíve seen of the show is amazing, and Iím really excited for the entirety of the season. One thing that sticks out to me when I first thought of this show is the fact that it reminds me of Jimmy Stewartís Harvey. Thereís obviously a big difference between Wilfred and that, but did you pull from any films or life experiences, obviously probably more life experience when crafting this show?
J. Gann: Personally it is a role a lot of life experiences that poured into the creation of the Wilfred character, but itís interesting. The Harvey reference has come up quite a bit. That wasnít in our minds when we first created the character or the Australian version. But itís interesting, like I just had a thought then like about like Jimmy Stewart like just how muchówhat it is I love about him as an actor and how he brings this incredible authenticity to his characters, unique authenticity that we actually as an audience. Weíre sort of prompted to believe in him even though we can see that thereís no rabbit. We can see what everyone else is thinking, but we believe in him.
I donít want to embarrass Elijah, but I think that Elijah brings something really similar and he really makes my job as playing Wilfred a lot easier, because seeing through his eyes itís easier to believe it and so weíre ready, as an audience, hopefully ready to suspend our disbelief.
E. Wood: Thanks, Jason. Yes thatís interesting that reference to Harvey. Jason and I immediately thought of that as well. Iím a huge fan of that film. I donít know how many times Iíve seen it, and it was interesting the parallel. I mean the parallel, itís obviously similar but itís extremely different, but that notion of our sort of imagined friend is quite similar and I think thereís something kind of beautiful about that.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Lucas High from TVGeekArmy.com.
L. High - Elijah, you seem to have a knack for choosing roles in movies that are interesting and challenging. Are there certain types of projects that you gravitate towards or a specific thing you look for in a script?
E. Wood: I think Iím always just looking for somethingóI mean, look, on the basest of levels Iím looking for something that I just respond to. I think itís hard enough to find quality scripts and work that you just respond to on a gut level. But more than that I think Iím also always looking for something really different. Something that is unlike anything Iíve done before both in terms of the project as a whole and also in terms of what the role would entail. To continue to challenge myself, but also to work on projects that are unique and different.
Iím definitely attracted to things that are less easily defined, and this is a perfect example of that. Itís never interesting, I donít think, to do anything truly conventional. I think convention can have its merits, certainly, but I think itís far more interesting to travail roads that are less traveled and that are a bit more fascinating and certainly more challenging. For me, with this as well, Iíve never done comedy before and I was very interested in the notion of delving into comedy and working within a medium that Iíve not worked in before.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Daniella Stinger from Fan Girl Magazine.
D. Stinger - Elijah, the character of Ryan starts out fairly depressed. Do you feel that heís essentially the straight man in a comedy double act or does he really fit that definition?
E. Wood: Do I feel heís a straight man? Yes, I think he is. I mean ultimately I think Ryanís just trying to get everything together constantly. So heís essentially reacting to the world around him and to the scenarios that Wilfred is trying to put him into and the direction that heís being pulled constantly. So straight man, yes, but heís also just in this time of crisis in his life and heís just trying to hold it all together all the time. Having a genuine relationship with this man in a dog suit and then also trying to balance that relationship with the real people who he knows canít see that man in a dog suit, and then in the midst of all that trying to rebuild himself and to be the best person that he can be.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Joe Dilworth from Pop Culture Zoo.
J. Dilworth - In the first few episodes that weíve seen, obviously, Wilfred pushes Ryan into situations he would never be in just to see what happens possibly, but is there going to be a point at all this year where Ryan gets to turn the tables on Wilfred?
J. Gann: Yes. You need to stay one-step ahead of the audience, I think, without being two steps ahead and have them sort of lose interest. I think that with story telling you have to play with the audience. So just when they think they know what is coming next then you surprise them, and Davidís worked really hard and we all have worked really hard to keep the audience on their toes and to keep them thinking. So yes, we definitely donít just have the same, stick to the same formula all the time. There are many twists and turns.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Lisa Macklem from Your Entertainment Corner.
L. Macklem - Iím curious if thereís a lot of improv going on on set or do you stick to the scripts? How does that work out?
J. Gann:... thereís this new viral ad, Iím not sure if youíve seen it yet, Elijah, where with the smoking one?
E. Wood: I saw it earlier. It turned out really good.
J. Gann: Itís really funny and we just were improvising at the end of a very short scene and it ends up being likeóthe improv there is really funnier. Itís really funny and thatís when I started to think, "Wow, me and Elijah now have really got something working." There hasnít been a great deal of improvisation in this script just because we have like 22 minutes of television and youíve got to get a lot of story across, but we have a bit of freedom within when weíre rehearsing the scene, like just before we do it.
I mean if something begs to be tweaked and changed because we think itís really funny then itís great to have a bit of flexibility to do that. Also when weíre just bouncing ideas around when weíre not actually shooting, we get a really good idea, then we can kind of, weíve got the bat flying straight into the writerís room and so we can inject those ideas as we go along.
E. Wood: Thereís also, to speak to the scripts as well, theyíre very finely crafted scripts. Theyíre incredibly detailed and layered, which isnít to say that there isnít room for improv, there certainly is, but thereís also a lot of story to tell, like Jason said, within each episode that is important to get across and there are sort of finely crafted joked within that as well. There probably is room to play around, and Jason and I certainly have the conformability with each other and within our characters to be able to do that. Thereís also just so much that we have to get through each day that thereís also just simply not a lot of time for. We were doing, I think, eight to ten pages a day. So we had a lot of work.
J. Gann: Our time frame was really, really strict in the preparation for this. We were shooting before when only half of the scripts were written. You know the rest of the story had essentially been broken. The writerís room was still turning over. Had we had a bit more time and if weíre lucky enough to go again, definitely Iíd like to try and inject some of that improvisation element into it in the writing stage or at least give us a longer rehearsal period to work with the scripts beforehand. Because as I mentioned, Elijah and I really have this great dynamic going on and when that stuff is allowed to breath I think that itís... more.
E. Wood: Yes, definitely.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Blair Marnell from CraveOnline.
B. Marnell - Are we going to meet any other people in animal suits over the course of the season or is Wilfred unique?
J. Gann: At this point, heís unique. We donít know.
E. Wood: Within this iteration. I mean there were other animals present in the Australian version, but so far in the story that weíre telling Wilfred is unique.
J. Gann: The art of the Australian series, which covered all outlets, two seasons of eight, with 16 episodes in the whole series. Similar to the British office it felt like it was complete at that, and whereas we obviously have worked on Ö this American show with the mind to be able to last longer to see the characters really breath and go somewhere new. So weíve still got those cards that weíre keeping to our chest at the moment and should the show be successful and go on and we stretch out, we may bring more animals into it, but at this point weíre still just discovering so much about this Ryan/Wilfred relationship that hasnít been explored yet like in the Australian version. So as long as there are meat and potatoes there then weíll keep following that before we bring in any other canines.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Sean Guard from NapiersNews.com.
S. Guard - I bet with this sort of concept for a show thereís a lot of fun being had on the set. How difficult is it sometimes to get through shooting a full episode?
E. Wood: You know it was funny. I was actually at an interview the other day where I was asked how difficult it was to get through a scene just without busting into laughter. The funny thing is that I think it was onlyówhat was it like the day before the last day or the last day, Jason, I mean I totally lost it, but up until then I hadnít. It was just that one line that you had that was so weird and good, but you knowó
J. Gann: What was it again?
E. Wood: It was when you said, "I wasnít finished, Ryan."
J. Gann: Oh yes, yes, thatís right.
E. Wood: But itís not to say that every day I we were working on material that I found hilarious, but I think we were all soóthe atmosphere on set was extremely fun and very funny. We were having a blast every day, but at the same time, you know, we were also taking what we were doing seriously. Like say in the context of that work we kind of, you know we sort of buckled down and didnít let ourselves lose it too much just to focus because we had so much to get through every day. I donít know, what do you think, Jason?
J. Gann: For years people have said to me, and Iíd done a lot of comedy at that time, and people have said to me Ö surprised how I can keep a straight face, and I really rarely crack up, like really rarely, but thatís not to say that Iím not like having a ball, like, I donít know. Iím good at keeping a straight face, and Elijah seems to be the same. I mean I probably cracked up once in the whole season as well, but when weíd be rehearsing the scenes, like when weíd do table reads, and then in rehearsal leading up to it we laughed as hard along with everyone else, but at the time weíre actually shootingÖ So we knuckle down and get it done because we had such a tight schedule.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Jamie Ruby from Media Blvd.
J. Ruby - So I know originally, obviously, this was an Australian series, but can you both talk about how you became involved in the US version?
J. Gann: Well Jeff Kwatinetz, heís one of the producers of the showóI came to America to try and sell some format rights to a couple of my shows. Like I really didnít come here as an actor. I came here as a producer and a creator and I wanted to try and enter the market that way, and both my agents, ICM and my managers, Jeff Kwatinetz and Ö, you know, everyone just said, "Look, youíve got to be in this stuff. This is like, Americaís waiting for you. Youíre too good." And Iím like, Wilfred, I said, I mean the truth is that one of my first things were when they said, "I think you should play Wilfred again." I said, "Iím not getting in that fucking dog suit again." Like I felt like that. You know what I mean? It wasnít a pleasurable thing to get in that suit.
Then Jeff said, "Well you know the thing is itís like youíre only going to get this chance once and if you donít do it then someone else is going to." I thought, Yes, whatever, you know, like theyíll never be as good as me type thing, and then Iím like, I said, and "Who are they talking about?" He goes, "Well, the name Zach Galifianakis is being mentioned." I said, "Iíll do it. Iíll do it. If you can sell it Iíll do it." Suddenly for the first time I imagined someone else in a dog suit being hilarious, and I just went, "Look. If this show goes ahead, if they can sell it, which I didnít think they would, Iíll be in it." And they sold it and I was shooting my work.
Iím glad I did, by the way. It wouldíve been a crazy move, looking back, if I hadnít done it. Elijah, do you have a story?
E. Wood: Oh yes, yes, yes. My experience with this is before I read the pilot script, I was not aware of the Australian show. But when I was sent the script it came attached with information about the original show and indicated that Jason, who had created the original show, was involved in the creation of this incarnation as well as reprising, as well as Wilfred. For me, immediately even before reading the script, in fact gave me such confidence. Itís so rare, I think, for a show to be that good from a foreign country that actually includes itís original creator, I knew that is was immediately going to have a sense of integrity attached to it in whatever incarnation it was going to be from itís origin, and then reading it and falling in love with the pilot.
From there I met with David Zuckerman, whoís our show runner, and head writer and he indicated for me whereówe talked for about an hour. We just talked about the possibilities for the show and where it was going to go from the pilot and all of these ideas that he had for the character of Ryan and for the relationship between him and Wilfred, and I just became more and more excited about it. I loved the pilot, but the world that opened up beyond that in talking with David was so exciting to me. Particularly in that he was imagining and crafting a comedy show that had darkness to it, that had a cerebral aspect to it, that was not necessarily easy to peg, and allowed us to explore quite a lot within the context of what could simply be described as a man and befriending a man in a dog suit.
I donít know, the very notion of being a part of something like that was so exciting and interesting. So it just sort ofófrom there it was just a normal process, auditioned and then I met Jason in that process, and we kind of immediately had a blast in the room and so thatís just sort ofówe ended up doing it.
J. Gann: Is that the same question? I just disappeared for a while.
E. Wood: Yes, it was. I rambled on and on.
J. Gann: You really did, because I was... and I went into the bathroom and made a protein shake andó
E. Wood: You did? Did you have a cuddle with your kittens as well?
J. Gann: Kittens and everything while you were finishingó
E Wood: Rambling on and on.
J. Gann: Iím glad I missed it.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Melissa Girimonte from TheTelevixon.com.
M. Girimonte - I really got a kick out of the online aspect of it. Like the whole "My Dog Smokes" feature that you have. Jason, I wanted to ask you were you involved in adding that little touch to the website, and as the season goes on will we see anymore fun little online extensions of the show?
J. Gann: Look, I think thereís a still a few that the marketing department have got up their sleeve, but I mean, they really have been great in the creative element of it, separate from the show. Theyíve been true to the... of the show that weíve been careful to create, but theyíve also extended beyond that in a really interesting way.
I mean "Not the Tequila" online add was... after Wilfred breathed out the smoke, that was where it ended on the script and they were good enough to leave the cameras going and Elijah and I just played along. Like until you hear, "Cut," you just got to keep going, and so I was really glad they put that bit in because I remember at the time thinking, "That was cool," andÖóif weíre lucky enough to go again weíre going to have time to play with those ideas. As far as doing any more beyond what weíve shot, Iím not sure about that.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Joel Murphy from HoboTrashcan.
J. Murphy - Well one thing I found really fascinating about your show is thereís quite a bit of ambiguity about Wilfredís actions, particularly when he leaves the wallet outside of the guyís window. I was just curious at the end of the day do you guys ultimately see Wilfred as a positive influence or a negative influence in Ryanís life?
E. Wood: I think that hisówell to a certain degree I suppose thatís for Jason to answer because his motivations and where heís coming from, but I thinkó
J. Gann: ...
E. Wood: Whatís that?
J. Gann: As long as Ryanís not killing himself I think heís got to be positive because thatís where he started. You know?
E. Wood: I think youíre right, and I think that itís always going to oscillate. What I think is interesting is that the results, regardless of where it feels that the motivation is coming from, whether itís a negative one or a positive one, the result tends to be a positive one for Ryan despite the fact that it may be cloaked in, you know, Wilfredís self interest for instance or sabotage. The end result tends to be that ďRyanĒ does take something positive away from it, but I too love that ambiguity. Youíre never quite sure where Wilfred stands and kind of what Wilfred really is to him, and that carries on throughout the season. Itís always sort of oscillating. Thereís a slight bit of danger in that relationship and discomfort.
J. Gann: And I think anyone thatís also had an untrained pet that really misbehaves, they can just drive you insane. If you just step barefoot in some Ö in the house or something like that and thereís times when you go, "What am I doing with this dog? I want it gone." But then thereís other times where you cuddle with them and look in their eyes and just go, "How could I get rid of you."
I think human friends too, we have a lot of friends, people in our lives that arenít always a positive influence and they might be hard work, but theyíre worth it and itís sort of fun having them around. So I think that itís a very real relationship like that. I mean if I kicked everyone out of my life that wasnít a hundred percent positive influence Iíd be pretty Ö Hang out with assholes is essentially what Iím saying.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Andrea Towers from VoiceofTV.
A. Towers - How hard or how easy it is to play to a character in a dog suit and react to that? Is that something that comes naturally or do you find it actually easier than other work youíve done?
E. Wood: I have to say that we have become so used to the environment that weíre working in and for Jason and I as actors weíre playing these characters. Weíve become used to that relationship and work within that relationship. So honestly, Iíve almost literally forgotten that heís in a suit. I donít see Wilfred like that. Me, personally working as an actor against a man in a dog suit, I have ceased to see that.
Itís actually really funny. When we went to doówe went to American Idol and sat in the audience to sort of cause of a bit of a stir and to be sort of a strange placement. And when we were there, again because Iím so used to seeing Jason like that and it almost sort of means nothing to me anymore, it was really interesting for me to be in an environment where he did stand out. Where people saw him and would look at him as a man in a dog suit and it was a really interesting thing for me to kind of take a step back and actually look at it from a different perspective because Iíve become so used to it.
So acting with him, weíre literally just two guys playing these characters. I donít really think about the way heís perceived or the fact that heís in a suit anymore. Heís become real to me.
Moderator - Our next question comes from Ernie Estrella from Buzzfocus.
E. Estrella - My question is I kind of saw the episode as kind of almost a backwards fantasy where the dog is having a pet and almost training ďRyan.Ē Is there a little bit ofódid that go into kind of the idea and the concept of the show kind of how people and their treatment of their own pets how they can, you know, "Look what my dog can do. I trained him to do this and that?"
J. Gann: Thatís another good question. I think that a lot of people say, teachers say, "I learned more from my students than they learned from me," and we learn from the innocence of children. We learn from just watching the primal innocence of a dog of just how to enjoy life, and as people we can get so cerebral that we forget how to live. What Wilfred, I think, brings in that pilot is this sort of pushing Ryan to get out of his head and actually just sort of be sort of really primal. So if anything, I think if thereís a flip, I think thatís it. Weíre sort of seeing Ryan see this dog and just go, "Yes, Iím going to shoot him...Ē
K. Silvernail - Okay, I think we have time for one more question.
Moderator - Our last question comes from Curt Wagner from Red Eye.
C. Wagner - Easy question here, did you guys have dogs growing up and did you have any experiences with them that were similar. Not that they wore suits or anything, but that you learned from them? Did you feel like did that whole pet thing where people talk to their pets and everything?
E. Wood: Yes I grew up with dogs. I donít know if I everóI mean I think you do talk to dogs. I never felt like I had a connection where I was talking to my dog like a person. But I think what ends up happening, and I think all dog owners can relate to this and cat owners as well, when you have an animal in your home very quickly a relationship forms where that animal ceases to be an animal to you. It feels like a member of your family.
So I think everybody can relate to, a certain degree, relating to an animal that you have as almost slightly personified because it ceases to be in the context of just simply a dog or simply a cat. Theyíre a part of your life and thereís a genuine relationship at play. So I definitely can relate to that. You recognize sort of qualities that are semi-human. You see their real personalities and their thought processes. You definitely see those things.
J. Gann: I had dogs also growing up. Iím no... I wasnít the most attentive dog owner and thatís why I wonít have another dog until I can give it the love it needs and support it needs. Thatís the thing about Ö dogs, you know, you just donít know what youíre going to get as far as owning goes and I just have to put up with it. You canít really complain.
I was thinking the other day aboutóI was watching a show on, whatís that syndrome where people fall in love with their kidnappers?
E. Wood: Oh, yes, what is that?
J. Gann: Something syndrome, I forget, but like when I saw it I was like, "Is that whatís happening here?" Like because they canít communicate theyíre like, "Well Ö now I sympathize with my Ö?" So look, yes, I think that dogs are fascinatingó
E. Wood: Itís called Stockholm Syndrome.
J. Gann: Thatís it. Stockholm Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome. So like I think Iíve always been fascinated by dogs who think that they are human, and often those dogs are really confronted when they see dogs that know they are dogs. Often the little dog that think itís human will turn away and try to block it out because itís confronted with it canineness.
E. Wood: Your cats are quite human arenít they, Jason?
J. Gann: Theyíve been very catlike lately and theyíve been driving me nuts. When I was at work for 15 hours a day Iíd come home and there was a lot of love in the house but now Iíve got a little bit time theyíreó
E. Wood: Theyíre giving you Ö? Theyíre like, "Well, now that you were going for ten weeks weíre going to make your life hell."
J. Gann: Well the first few days of it was like, "Oh heís back. This is great. Daddyís home." Now itís like, "Dude, we want to go out. What else you got to eat." You know, theyíve already got a buffet of food on the ground. Iíve spoiled them so there are all these different types of food and theyíre sitting around for what, like something else. Anyway.
K. Silvernail - Thanks to everybody for joining us today. As a reminder, Wilfred premiers next Thursday June 23rd at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. I hope everybody has a great weekend and thanks again, Elijah, and thanks, Jason.
E. Wood: Thanks, guys. It was a lot of fun.
J. Gann: Ö We had a lot of fun. Thank you.
E. Wood: Thank you. Bye.
J. Gann: Bye-bye, everyone.
E. Wood: Bye.
Moderator - That does conclude our conference for today. Thank you for your participation and for using AT&T Executive Teleconference. You may now disconnect.
**Many thanks to Kristy at FX Networks for provding this transcript.