Oscar-nominated Reitman teamed with series creator and writer Zander Lehmann for this 10-episode straight-to-series comedy that kicks off Oct. 7 on Hulu. The series, produced by Lionsgate Television, follows newly divorced Valerie (Watkins) and her bachelor brother (Dewey) living under one roof as they hilariously navigate the world of dating while simultaneously raising Valerie’s wild teenage daughter (Tara Lynne Barr).
Dewey and Watkins were able to draw from family life and hilarious dating mishaps for their roles. “None of my siblings would ever take dating advice from me,” Dewey, who has a whopping seven step and half siblings, said.
“In terms of talking openly about sex and dating, we don’t do that in my house. Not even a little bit,” said Watkins, who has two older sisters.
Dewey’s dating track record has given him great material to work with, recalling a date which he hadn’t realized was a date. “About halfway through, the woman who I was pitching a show to reached across the table and grabbed my hand,” Dewey said. “My hand immediately clenched and became clammy.”
“Casual” marks Reitman’s first television series. “I had to hand the baton over to another director at some point and that was very strange,” said Reitman, who worked alongside other directors including Fred Savage and Max Winkler.
Lehmann looks at “Casual” as an opportunity for Hulu to cultivate their original series repertoire. “They took a risk on us, and I think we will hopefully deliver something that’ll help define the network,” the writer said.
Lehmann’s script and Reitman’s directing drew actors to the project. “The character definitely has to speak to you, but when I saw that Jason and Helen Estabrook, his producing partner, were involved, I was like ‘please, please let me get this role,’” Barr said.
“[Reitman] has his own aesthetic, his own sensibility, his own way of handling us, both emotionally and technically. I’ve never met a director who’s so adept at both in such a huge way,” Watkins explained.
Dewey added, “[Reitman is] a guy that combines style and substance.”
After the audience watched the first two episodes of “Casual,” stars and guests made their way to West Hollywood’s Gracias Madre for the after-party. The vegan hot spot served up veggie-based, bite-sized treats, including fruit skewers with chili pepper and empanadas topped with a dollop of sour cream.
(Pictured: Tommy Dewey, Michaela Watkins and Tara Lynne Barr)