Exclusive: An In-depth Interview with Adam Green and Joe Lynch on All Things Holliston
The past month or so has been incredibly eventful for Adam Green's "Holliston." The show tragically lost one cast member, released Season 2 on Blu-ray, and then got the news that the network it airs on is shutting down...
Creator Adam Green and co-star Joe Lynch sat down with Dread Central recently for a massive interview all about "Holliston."
Show creator and star Adam Green talked about his love for the "Holliston" series. "It's my favorite thing I've ever done," Green said. "It's my best work to date, and I think a lot of the people involved in the show would say the same thing. If you like Season 1, I think Season 2 really blows it away. I think with any sitcom the second season is usually considered to be funnier and better than the first, mainly because you know the characters, you know the world, you know the tone. And as the writer of the show, I don't need to spend any time setting up characters or explaining relationships. We sort of just get to hit the ground running this time."
Of course there has been plenty to shake up the "Holliston Nation" lately, and the death of one of the show's stars, GWAR frontman Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus), was the biggest blow. Green discussed how Brockie's death has affected "Holliston." "I don't know yet," Green said. "It's still so fresh that none of us have been able to think about that yet. It's much more personal grief. What I can say is there obviously will be a way to go on without that character. No matter what, I'm not going to replace him. I actually saw something in the press that said, 'They could technically just put another actor in that costume.' That's never going to happen. There was something planned in the third season where Oderus was going to be taken away anyway. He wasn't going to permanently leave the show, but he was building up to a specific arc so all that's going to have to change."
Green discussed how much being a part of "Holliston" meant to Brockie. "There's a behind-the-scenes feature on the Blu-ray where Oderus…Dave…actually breaks character for a second to the EPK camera and says, 'This show is the greatest thing that's ever happened to me.' And he always told us that every day. He loved the show so much. So obviously I struggled with, 'Do I just end it at this point?' That's one of the first lines of defense of grief. It's like, 'Fuck it. I'm done. I can't do this anymore.' But he'd kill me if I did that. So eventually we'll get around to figuring that out more concretely."
The beauty of Dave Brockie on "Holliston" was the man would say anything. Anything. From the infamous Kurt Cobain line to telling Adam to picture a hot chick pooping before sex, he always had great lines, and although some of the show is improvised, all of Oderus' lines were written by Green. A fact he's very proud of. "Every single thing he said was scripted, and one of the great honors of working with him was that I'm the only other person he trusted to write that character," Green said. "It was a little weird at first for him going into it because I wasn't writing a character Dave Brockie is playing, but a character he's been playing for three decades. So I think he was wary at first when he got the scripts for Season 1, thinking he was going to have to do a Brockie polish on all of them; but I remember after he read the scripts, he called me and was really excited. He was like, 'This is great! I don't need to change anything.'"
The loss of Brockie is a tremendous one for the "Holliston" family, both personally and professionally as he'll be incredibly missed by the fans. "I was in the process of writing the first few episodes, and we were already starting to workshop those where the cast would get together at ArieScope and anybody in the main cast can say whatever they want or pitch jokes, etc. So we were already really starting to get into it. But now, unfortunately, this sort of puts me back to the drawing board with a lot of stuff. Not all of it, but there's a very special thing that was happening with Oderus' character in Season 3 where, in the end, he actually ends up getting taken away and brought back to his home planet and I learn he wasn't in my closet because he was my friend; he's in my closet because he has a death sentence on his home planet and he's been hiding there for all these years. But they end up finding him and they take him away and kill him."
"So that was the end of Season 3, and in Season 4 I actually go to his planet to try to save him. It sounds pretty huge and epic, but we knew how we were going to do it. What sucks is I never got to tell Dave how he gets rescued. He knew how the season was going to end and I never tell the cast what's going to happen because I think it's more fun for everyone if they have to wait, but he really wanted to know how I was going to save him. Unfortunately that's not going to happen."
Green continued, "The good thing is this isn't an NBC show where the president of the network would call me and say, 'I'm really sorry for your loss…Where's the next episode?' This is an independently made show and we do it when I want to do it. So I'll take however long it takes to grieve and then I'll come back to it when I feel like it and when the time is right. I think the earliest the cast would come together and start focusing on a third season would be the end of the year."
In another sad piece of news, the original network home for "Holliston," FEARnet, has shut its doors. Green discusses just what that means to the show. "FEARnet being closed down due to yet another Hollywood merger is a crying shame, and my heart breaks for all of my friends and family there whom I have had the privilege to work and create with, from the network executive team to the amazing team of talented writers who made their site such a unique and special place for horror," Green said. "The promise was so obvious and we always imagined that in just a few short years FEARnet would have been an amazing source for all things horror if only they had been given some kind of resources to do their thing. Without FEARnet a show like 'Holliston' never would have gotten a chance, and in my 13 years of trying to get the show made this exact way, at some point in the development process it had always come down to removing the horror elements 'to make it more mainstream' whenever I had tried to develop the series elsewhere… a total deal-breaker for me."
Green continued, "The sheer fact that FEARnet believed in what I was trying to do as far as portraying horror fans as real people with heart, compassion, and love for each other as opposed to cliché stereotypes, supporting characters, or mere sight gags proved to me that they really were one of us and not just a company trying to cash in on the profits that genre fare can statistically churn out. I mean, they helped make it possible for a sit-com about horror fans to exist. In what other universe does that happen? Never did they force my hand out of personal ego or the need to 'put their stamp' on my individual voice like what can happen all too often at so many other networks. They only supported me, my cast, and my crew as best as they could, even if it meant people like network president Peter Block putting his own neck on the line just to make the show possible against the incredible odds we faced."
Green discussed one of the more disappointing aspects of working in television. "The saddest reality of this business is that the phrase 'We're not here to make friends; we're here to make money' is actually true in so many cases, which is the reason why ArieScope and I have stayed loyal to so many of the same artists over our 16 years in the business creating films and television shows," Green said. "There actually is a way to do both. There actually is a way to operate in this insane business and still love going to work every day, even when everything seems to be going wrong or bad luck and bad circumstances just seem to plague whatever it is you're trying so hard to do. I am incredibly honored and proud for 'Holliston' to have been FEARnet's first (and now only) original series. I only regret not getting the chance to see what would have been next in line to air alongside my creation as I bet it would have been something I'd have adored and become a huge fan of."
However, Green sees a silver lining to this cloud. "On a positive note, the amount of talent and heart in FEARnet's team is undeniable, and I have not a shred of doubt that each and every friend of mine there will land on his or her feet and only rise to the challenge they are now facing with this unfortunate turn of events," Green said. "For the 'Holliston Nation' that quickly began messaging us upon reading the news, asking what this means for the show's future, the fact that 'Holliston' is an independently produced and owned property means that this sad turn of events in no way signifies the end of the series or the possibility for future seasons. We have always been free to go wherever we want, though we took great pride in calling FEARnet our home and being the flagship program for what we believed would have been an incredibly successful network over time."
But even with all this upheaval, Green did manage to talk about the actual show for a bit, some of the differences between the two current seasons, what fans will see on the Season 2 Blu-ray (review here), and what's up next. First was the inclusion of true emotion and feeling in the episodes. "A big difference with Seasons 1 and 2 is that with Season 1… it's a weird show in that it's a sitcom tailor-made for horror fans, and we had no idea what the reaction was going to be and if people were going to be into it," Green said. "So having gotten through Season 1 and doing the conventions and reading all the fan mail and all the reviews and seeing why people love the show, it gave me the confidence to make the show I wanted to make. In Season 1 I kind of held back a little on some of the more sentimental and emotional moments, mainly because I didn't know if people would roll with that, but that was the aspect of the show that people always write to us about. The fan mail that we get, it's crazy. It's not like when you do a movie where you'll get a two-page, handwritten letter about why they love the movie; instead it's like prolonged thank you letters and people telling their own stories about struggling or not fitting in or feeling like a loser. A lot of personal stories of people telling about the girl they can't get over or the guy they can't get over. This time around I didn't hold back on any of that, and I think the Christmas episode, which was sort of the in-between episode between Seasons 1 and 2, that's the one I'm most proud of because I feel like that's where the show really became the show that it is."
"There's a scene at the end of that, a scene in the hallway between Corri English and myself…" Green continued. "I had written lines for it but decided the night before that I was just going to throw that out. I told Corri I was just going to kind of improv whatever was going to come out so that way it was 100 percent real and she wasn't going to know what I was going to say or be prepared for it [and] I wouldn't be prepared for her reaction. I think that's one of the best scenes so far in 'Holliston' because of that. But when we screened it for the network, that was a big problem for them. They kind of wanted to remove it from the episode. I can understand that; it was FEARnet, they were a horror network, and it's already weird enough that they're doing a sitcom as their first original show, but nobody expected to be that emotionally overwhelmed, and they didn't think that would work for them. So the version that aired on television was missing not only that scene but a few other sentimental scenes that really make the episode. So I'm excited that now everyone who gets the Blu-ray [will] get to see the full version, which is much, much stronger than the version that aired on television."