Adam Brody (“The O.C.”) and Lisa Joyce (“Wallflowers,” “Boardwalk Empire”) play stepsiblings who most inconveniently fall for each other in DirecTV’s new romantic comedy series “Billy & Billie” — which was created by Neil LaBute, and celebrated with a pilot-episode screening and candlelit after-party at the Lot in West Hollywood on Wednesday night.
“You may have come in feeling one way, and you walk out feeling another way,” warned LaBute, whose series about the family members’ incestuous and clandestine relationship will debut March 3 at 8 p.m. on DirecTV’s Audience network on channel 239.
Also the show’s writer, LaBute thought it would be interesting to explore an obstacle that society deems taboo in a rom-com format, and said that he wants to address love’s limits and societal acceptance.
Brody, who worked with LaBute in “Some Girl(s),” said he’s a big fan of the writer and that he’ll work with him any chance he gets.
“It was really fun, and I think, therapeutic creatively,” said the 35-year-old who’s already dabbled in the digital television world, recently wrapping a pilot for Amazon Studios’ dramedy “The Cosmopolitan.” The show was “so much work. It’s so much dialogue. We did it so fast, and it was so nice, just for six weeks, to have nothing but fat, fat, big scenes all day long. It was so indulgent as an actor. And hard — but, like I said, really, really good. I felt really satiated after.”
Just don’t mistake his character’s views for his own. “It’s not that I’m doing a character, if you will, it’s just some of his life choices aren’t mine,” said Brody, who just celebrated his one-year wedding anniversary with actress Leighton Meester. (“[Marriage, as in] any experience you have, is going to give you an outlook and add to your world view,” he said of the occasion.)
“As for this particular role, even though my character is still relatively selfish, it was a surprisingly sweet role coming from him and a sweet nature coming from both of these characters,” Brody noted. “I think you root for them, in a way. You don’t root for most people in most of this stuff.”
In addition to experimenting with an unconventional relationship, the actors had the freedom to build upon LaBute’s characters.
“I got to play kind of a rebellious, fun person who has a lot of bad behavior, and that was great,” said Joyce. When asked if her personality resembles her character in the show, the actress, who doesn’t have such a stepbrother, said with a laugh, “Only when provoked.”
LaBute also credited Brody and Joyce for developing his characters and contributing ideas that enhanced the end product.
“I think it’s always important that you collaborate, that you create a really good blueprint with what you’re doing, and then give people room to grow,” LaBute said. “In the end, even after 10 episodes, I think they know those characters better than I do. You’ll ask them a question, and they’ll fill in the history that you haven’t written.”
LaBute hopes viewers’ open-mindedness grows too, and wants the audience to root for the nontraditional couple. “This one, I think, is on the border that people are weirdly uncomfortable with,” he said. “But ultimately, if they think about it, they go, ‘Oh yeah, I guess that’s true. It’s not really wrong, it just feels wrong.'”