DashFUN met the creator, director and part of the cast of Schmigadoon !, a terribly joyful musical series to be discovered on AppleTV +, at the rate of one episode per week.
DashFUN: Cinco Paul, where did you get the idea for this series? What did you have in mind to accomplish with Schmigadoon! ?
Cinco Paul: Since I was little I have loved musicals. In fact, the idea of Schmigadoon! came to me while watching the horror movie, The Werewolf of London. It begins, as in my series, with two characters taking a walk in the English countryside. From there I thought it would be fun if a couple, getting lost on a walk, got stuck in an old musical.
I was also inspired by the classics created by Rodgers and Hammerstein which dominated the musical scene in the 40s and 50s as with Oklahoma !, Carousel, South Pacific and La Mélodie du Bonheur. The Music Man by Meredith Wilson also had an influence on the writing of Schmigadoon !. This series is a love letter, a tribute to all those musicals that rocked my childhood.
Tell us about your role and this original series.
Keegan-Michael Key: First of all, I have a rule that I always follow to play in this or that project: I must laugh and cry when I read the script for the first time. When my agent sent me the pilot script, I went from laughing to tears in an instant. So I had to apply for the lead role of Josh. I also loved the lyrics of the songs.
In addition, showrunner Cinco Paul and his partner Ken Daurio are known for their film Despicable Me, which is one of my favorites. So I knew this series was going to be great with them in charge. Not to mention that they hired the legendary Barry Sonnenfeld, for the direction, and to whom we owe, among other things, the Men in Black franchise. He also worked with the Coen Brothers as director of photography. So it was a 100% winning combination.
Cecily Strong: I play Dr. Melissa Gamble who tries to save her marriage to Josh and finds herself stuck in an endless musical after they get lost on a walk in the woods. Melissa has a good background but she is also a woman who always likes to control everything.
She will realize that she cannot lead her life and her relationship with her husband in this way. Especially since they must find great love to be able to get out of this “musical prison”. I really enjoyed being in this totally unusual series that reminds me of some legendary musicals like Singing in the Rain.
Ann Harada: I play the role of Florence Menlove, the wife of the mayor of Schmigadoon played by Alan Cumming. It was a pleasure for me to be part of this series especially as I love musicals. I have also acted in many of these productions. But it was a real change from the theater to a film series. You don’t project your voice in the same way and you don’t have the audience judging you every time you perform.
Sometimes it was sheer torture to watch these movies
Barry Sonnenfeld: I must admit that I have never been a fan of musicals. So I had to let myself be convinced by this opportunity. On arrival, after having directed 6 episodes, I became a real fan of this genre and I am ready to go see all the next Broadway productions.
During my research I watched all kinds of musicals and didn’t like any of them! At best I like Singing in the rain but I don’t like Carousel and Oklahoma at all !. Sometimes it was sheer torture to watch these films. That said, I also like Pennies from Heaven, Le Sens de la Vie des Monty Pythons, and Hair.
What was the biggest challenge with this series?
Keegan-Michael Key: I love to sing and I love to dance but I play the part of someone who hates musicals. So I was a little frustrated having to interpret the only character who does not dance and does not sing. At times it was stronger than me and I started dancing before hearing myself say by Barry to stop my enthusiasm immediately. I wasn’t even allowed to smile! Downright impossible!
The funny thing is Barry admitted to me that he didn’t like musicals before directing this series. Somehow my character is Barry Sonnenfeld. I even asked him why he didn’t like it, then he explained to me that he doesn’t like …