At the Season 2 premiere of FX’s inventive sci-fi drama “Legion,” FX CEO John Landgraf reflected on the recent passing of Steven Bochco, the man who pushed the boundaries of what viewers expected from television drama, while praising “Legion” showrunner and executive producer Noah Hawley’s continual willingness to experiment with the form and format of dramatic storytelling.
“In all my years in this business, I don’t know if I’ve ever observed anyone whose mind works quite like Noah’s,” Landgraf said. “That’s not to say I haven’t worked with ground-breaking storytellers, of course I have — that’s FX’s brand — but Noah is constantly and restlessly trying to move the medium forward, question everything we know about how television is made.”
He added, “Somehow it seems fitting to me to tonight to be introducing Noah and thanking Noah and talking about Noah’s process the day after Steven Bochco’s passing. For me personally, his inspiration is one of the main reasons I desperately wanted to be in this business, the way he took dramatic storytelling in a new direction. And lo and behold, I get to work with the Steven Bochco of our age, Noah Hawley.”
After thanking Landgraf, Hawley introduced the mind-bending show as “the answer to the question you didn’t ask” as the season opener re-immersed the audience into the mind of David Haller, played by Dan Stevens. Dressed in a bright fuchsia Paul Smith suit, Stevens talked about the challenge of portraying David’s fragile mental state in the show’s sophomore season.
“It was really on Noah and the writers,” he said. “I was wondering how they would keep that sense of play and every single episode that came in astounded me with its playfulness. The show has a cheeky sense of humor.”
Adding to “Legion’s” sense of humor and general trippy experience, Aubrey Plaza’s Lenny continues to be one of David’s main foils. Plaza said that new viewers to the show could jump into the second season without seeing the first.
“It’s almost like performance art–it’s an experience,” Plaza said. “You could just dive in and enjoy the ride.”
On the red carpet, Hawley agreed that viewers who are new to “Legion” could “jump in with both feet.”
“There’s a reset for Season 2,” Hawley said. “There’s a time jump and everything is explained as much as anything is explained in the show. There’s a clear goal in the show: It’s a race between these two characters for the same goal. Because it’s ‘Legion,’ not everyone takes off in the same direction.”
For Hawley, one of the biggest challenges of the second season was working back-to-back on “Legion” and his other FX hit “Fargo.” Hawley said the stark differences between the shows helped him. “’Legion’ (is) a show where it can be literally anything you can think of so it was easier to go to ‘Fargo,’ which has a constrained genre to it and defined rules, but we figured it out,” said Hawley. “I’m pretty proud of it.”
After the screening, guests headed to Soho House West Hollywood for dinner and cocktails.
(Pictured: Noah Hawley at the premiere of “Legion” Season 2)