Joe Lynch Talks Holliston and More - Part 1
If you've been following along with our "Holliston" interview series, you've read our conversations with Adam Green, Corri English and Laura Ortiz. Today we bring you an exclusive, and very personal, interview with the hilarious Joe Lynch.
You can follow these links to check out our previous interviews with Adam Green (Part 1 here and Part 2 here) and Corri English and Laura Ortiz. Now enjoy Joe Lynch as he talks about "Holliston" and his upcoming project Everly along with few other tasty tidbits.
We asked Joe about the increased confidence the cast of "Holliston" seems to have gained in Season 2. "That seems to be the word of the day for our season: confidence," Lynch said. "Since we've been promoting it in March, Adam's brought it up, I've brought it up. People who have seen the episodes so far, including the Christmas Episode, have mentioned confidence, and we didn't see that at the time because we shot the Christmas Episode kind of in the middle of all the other episodes for Season 2 so that was in the middle of the schedule. It wasn't done in between Seasons 1 and 2, it was kind of glommed on with Season 2. So, at the time, I don't think any of us were like, 'Is your confidence great? Wow, mine's doing great!' It was just a level of comfortability that all of us had."
And that confidence has led to a series of episodes that is even more impressive than the wildly entertaining Season 1. "We knew it was working," Lynch said. "Obviously it was working because we got a Season 2… or there was a major clerical error on someone's part at FEARnet. When we got Season 2, I was like, 'Oh God, please don't let this be a moment like when Marisa Tomei was named Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards by Jack Palance, mistakenly. Like, 'Oh yeah, you guys got a Season 2… Oh wait, that was "Todd and the Book of Pure Evil"…ooohhh noooo!' We were hoping that wouldn't happen, but then we were on that set again after the first season, and we were told from the beginning for the second season that they wanted the episodes to be shorter so they could fill ad space because the difference between last season and this season was that they actually have commercials they could put on, instead of infomercial type shows with old ladies falling down."
And getting back into the "Holliston" world was simply the best feeling for this cast and crew. It proved that this experimental program was working. "There just was this level of relaxed comfortability without worrying about, 'Is this going to work?'" Lynch said. "But the fact that we were back for Season 2, and that pressure was off us, I think was a testament that it was working. Pressure is always a good thing. It's always good not to be sitting on our laurels with a lobster roll and a cup of tea going, 'Oh this stuff just writes and acts itself out!' No, it's a lot of hard work, but we just knew it worked and it paid off. And in the new season we're just comfortable in our characters' skin, and I think that resonates."
Even though "Holliston" feels like it's shot completely off the cuff, Lynch credits the long hours of rehearsals to the show's flow. "Most productions, whether it be film or television or web series, even if you're a musician, you don't always get a lot of time to be in the same room with each other because everyone's got conflicting schedules. But the fact is Adam's been able to wrangle us all together over the past two summers and say, 'Guys, if we're going to do this, we've got to come prepared and get up on that stage guns blazing.' The only way we were going to be able to do that is rehearse practically every day. We rehearsed like it was a stage play. Most TV shows, most movies, never get rehearsals at all. I had to fight for rehearsal time for my last movie…fight for it! And they were like, 'You don't need rehearsal time. It can be discovered on the day.' And I was like, 'That's the reason we don't make our dates, because we're discovering it on the day!' These same producers come and ask you, 'Why aren't we done yet?' Because we didn't have rehearsal time, schmuck! Because we have that rehearsal time, we are literally able to walk on that stage and bang out 11 pages at once."
The rehearsal schedule was indeed rigorous, but effective. "By doing these rehearsal days that were sometimes three days a week, sometimes four, sometimes even five days a week, we would either have a get-together during the day or a get-together at night and rehearse these scenes," Lynch said. "But also, Adam would take us to dinner one night or we'd get sushi or we'd go to the movies. We'd just hang out. And there was a comfortability because we weren't just actors on a set; we're friends. It's all for one and one for all, and we all knew that. The more we can have this family environment, the better the show is going to be."
So the obvious question is, since "Holliston" seems so natural and partially ad-libbed but is rigorously rehearsed, how much of what we're seeing is actually on-the-fly humor and how much is prepared? "The rehearsal process, that's where some of the funniest jokes come from," Lynch said. "There would be no Market Basket joke [otherwise] because that was a joke that was born completely out of rehearsals. And that happened a lot. We were always coming up with 'What if I say this?' or 'What if I did this?' That comfortability with Adam and the whole group. There was never a moment of 'Should I tell him? Shouldn't I tell him?' There was a fearlessness to it and the environment Adam created was a completely collaborative process. But also on the set, because we knew our lines, because we move so fast, because we were comfortable in our characters, everybody got moments of ad-libbing in there. Because the rhythms were so organic and they weren't forced and there wasn't this David Mamet-esque need to fit every 'um' and 'uh' and every beat. It was very loose."
Lynch brings up a specific ad-lib moment from Season 2 that resonated with him. "We always had something like Laura saying the smallest little thing between the lines or, for example, this season Adam and I go to the hospital to find out if the person who bit Corri is actually a werewolf. It's our werewolf episode, our homage to An American Werewolf in London. And, of course, who ends up being the guy, but David Naughton from An American Werewolf in London. So we're trying to figure him out, and at one point he kinda gets the drop on us and goes, 'Hey guys, look! Doctor Giggles is over there.' We look over and, of course, that's the moment he gets to run away. And Adam goes, 'No, he's not' and I go, 'The doctor is not insane.' Now if you know Doctor Giggles and you know the movie poster, you would get the joke. It was just one of those things that came out of my mouth, and when it did I went, 'That is something Joe would totally say.' It was easy for us to be able to throw out moments like that all the time, mostly because Adam and I, all four of us actually, were always trying to crack each other up. We know the lines so well that whenever we were able to do something a little different it was a gift. But that's also not to say that everything wasn't rigorously scripted by Adam."
Fans of "Holliston" are certainly drawn to the show, not only for the humor and the story, but the realism of the environment. That's a strange statement for a show that regularly features a toy cat and closet-dwelling alien, but the way the cast interacts with each other certainly rings true. "I think that comes down to two factors," Lynch said. "One is that we're obviously playing variants of ourselves. Although what's weird is Adam wrote these characters who are variations of who we are, or gross amalgamations of who we are. Like, I was never this cheap, but since I've been playing Joe, I've become increasingly cheaper. I'm the one who's watering down the milk now and saying to my wife, 'Do you really need that side of pie?' Or Laura, who's this beautiful, petite little thing... since Laura has this insatiable hunger on the show, she's eating all the time now. She's just devouring everything. I don't know where it goes. Her constitution must be immaculate. But all of us have started to take on traits of our characters. I think that's just part of the fact that we are who our characters are and our characters are becoming us."
Look for Part 2 of our interview with Lynch tomorrow!
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