×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph on the ‘Simmering Secret’ of ‘Forever’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Forever,” streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.

The word “forever” is often used flippantly, but as the title of Matt Hubbard and Alan Yang’s new Amazon series, it proves to be the actual amount of time its characters will spend together — because they’re both deceased and navigating a mysterious afterlife world.

Oscar (Fred Armisen) and June (Maya Rudolph) are first introduced to viewers as a married couple who easily slip into a routine. She started dating him, we’re told, because he was “nice” to her.

“Seeing their courtship is something that people can identify with because that’s how I think people imagine courtship looks like — that steady rhythm all the way through,” Armisen tells Variety.

As the show continues, though, both characters are “keeping a lot on the inside,” reveals Rudolph. “There’s so much that June doesn’t say in her life, and it’s about not being sure about yourself, about the choices that you’ve made. Is this person right for me and am I happy? Or this person’s lovely, but do I love myself? All of those questions she’s not really saying out loud…you feel like you have this simmering secret.”

But she enjoyed that challenge, she says, adding, “I love playing knowing that there’s something brewing but you’re uncomfortable talking about it and you’re skirting around it.”

June’s internal concerns over the “monotony and the day to day mundane” grow, but when they attempt a vacation at a ski resort, Oscar dies in a ski accident. And then, after falling into a new routine of mourning, she decides to go on another trip, but chokes on the plane — and dies as well. They’re reunited in the afterlife, where they can fall back into a comfortable pattern, or branch out with new friends and experiences.

“They were presented with a situation that was unlike anything they could have expected, so they were understandably unprepared,” Armisen says. “To be presented with something like that, it’s like [being] sideswiped, in a way.”

Oscar, for his part, never felt that their marriage was in a rut, but June is a bit more shaken up.

“It’s one thing to wish that your life was different, but it’s another thing to manifest that or to actually carry that out,” she says. “I don’t think June would have been the type of person to carry any of these wishes out, unless she was forced into a situation. And so, this is kind of this gift to her.”

While Oscar is initially content to help his teenage neighbor Mark (Noah Robbins) try to make a romantic connection with his old high school crush, rather than try to rekindle a spark of his own with June, June begins to bond with new neighbor Kase (Catherine Keener) and explore other options for her life.

Both Oscar and June end up making some bold moves, and he finally unloads some of his repressed emotions on her. “I think both characters, the stuff that came out of their mouths, they were surprised at themselves. That filter just disappeared,” Armisen says.

And both have to finally make the decision about whether or not to change their lives more drastically. “It’s that fight or flight,” Rudolph points out.

But while ultimately they decide to try to weather whatever is next together, there is still a sense of ambiguity about what that means for them individually, which Rudolph feels is crucial to their storytelling.

“I just like that there’s any and all possibility in this in that it’s not saying relationships are good or bad,” she says. “We all experience them in different ways, and they all take turns.”

Given that both she and Armisen also served as executive producers of the show, Rudolph admits that “there is an element of Fred and Maya already mixed into Oscar and June,” which helped them understand their characters immediately. But their storylines ended up diverging in ways they didn’t expect, as well. “There was a lot of time spent doing that stuff separate [from Fred], which was strange because the whole point was to do this together,” she says.

More TV

  • Jeff Goldblum performs in a sketch

    Inside the High-Pressure World of Late-Night Talk-Show Prop Demands

    Television production is an area where “Hurry up and wait” is a common refrain. However, for the prop teams that work on late-night talk shows like “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” that’s not an option. They typically have only a matter of hours to deliver what’s necessary. Lou A. [...]

  • Series Mania Marks 10th Anniversary with

    Series Mania Marks 10th Anniversary With Star-Studded Return to Lille

    Series Mania will present a starry tableau for its 10th anniversary, as it returns to Lille for the second time at the end of March. Ava DuVernay and Greg Berlanti’s CBS anthology series “The Red Line” is set to open the French TV festival, and Amazon’s “Hanna,” featuring “The Killing” stars Joel Kinnaman and Mireille [...]

  • Gabrielle Union

    10 Things We Learned at Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit

    Variety’s 2019 Entertainment Marketing Summit, which brought top execs to Hollywood’s NeueHouse on Thursday, covered considerable ground. From cutting through the noise in an oversaturated media landscape to welcoming exciting technology like virtual reality, industry veterans offered insight into what to expect from the marketing world in coming years. Here are 10 things we learned [...]

  • H. Michael Croner

    H. Michael Croner Cast in Fox Comedy Pilot 'Patty's Auto' (EXCLUSIVE)

    H. Michael Croner has joined Fox’s multi-cam comedy pilot “Patty’s Auto,” Variety has learned exclusively. Inspired by Patrice Banks’ Girls Auto Clinic – an auto repair shop with all female mechanics – the project is described as an ensemble comedy centering on Patty (Carra Patterson) and the eclectic women who work for her. Croner will appear [...]

  • THE CONNERS - "Keep on TruckinÕ"

    'The Conners' Renewed for Season 2 at ABC

    ABC has renewed its highest-rated new show, “The Conners,” for a second season, Variety has learned. The show’s stars, including John Goodman, Sara Gilbert, Lecy Goranson, Ames McNamara and Laurie Metcalf, are all set to return to Lanford, after several of them signed a new deal with the network on Thursday. “We are proud to be continuing [...]

  • Series Mania: Laurence Herszberg, Frederic Lavigne

    Series Mania: Laurence Herszberg, Frederic Lavigne on the 2019 Edition

    LILLE, France — Few festival heads are so ready to plunge into questions such as what their lineup suggests about contemporary drama series production as Series Mania’s director general Laurence Herszberg and Frédéric Lavigne. Series Mania was one of Europe’s first TV festivals to push drama series an art-form. Ten years later, it’s still a [...]

  • 10 Takes on Series Mania: Netflixmania,

    Series Mania 2019: 10 First Takes - Netflixmania, Big Trends, Buzz Titles

    LILLE, France – The 10th Series Mania kicks off in Lille, north-east France, on Friday March 22. Here are 10 down-to-the-wire takes on the banner European TV Festival: 1.NETFLIXMANIA Many Series Mania screenings are fully booked. But some sold out in the hour: “Osmosis,” and “The OA” Season 2, for instance. “Chambers” with Uma Thurman [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content