×

Remote Controlled: ‘UnReal’ Creators on Season 3’s Suitress, Plus Bill Hader and Alec Berg on ‘Barry’

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks first with the creators of “UnReal,” Stacy Rukeyser and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, along with castmembers Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman and Genevieve Buechner, in a panel recorded at SCAD’s aTV festival in Atlanta.

The creative team behind “UnReal” said that the idea of a female “suitress” on in-show reality competition “Everlasting” had been brewing for a long time. “We wanted to look at… the smart successful woman who’s climbing the ladder at work, but the higher up she gets, the harder it is to find a man. Why is that?” says Rukeyser. “That seemed like it would be the perfect avatar for Quinn and Rachel to project all of their issues.” Adds Shapiro of Rachel, “What do you do in the third season with this character who’s been struggling with herself since the first season, and now she thinks she’s gotten away with it?” That taps into a theme of this third season, which is co-dependence.

On what she’s learned playing Madison over the past couple of seasons, Buechner said: “That I never want to be on a reality TV show. I could never do it.” And Bowyer-Chapman, in stealing Buechner’s earlier soundbite, noted: “When producing girls, you have to bully them. When producing guys, you have to flirt with them.”

As Season 4 of “UnReal” has already been shot, Shapiro and Rukeyser teased that Bowyer-Chapman will get a boyfriend coming up and that a recent “Bachelor in Paradise” producer filing a complaint to the studio “has a little more to do with the inspiration for Season 4,” said Rukeyser.

In the second part of the podcast, Birnbaum speaks with Alec Berg and Bill Hader about the inspiration behind their new hit comedy on HBO, “Barry.”

“We got matched together by our mutual agent, and then we just went to a diner in Culver City to meet once a week and talk about ideas for a possible show,” recounts Hader. “Then I said: ‘What about a hitman?’ And Alec went: ‘Ugh.'”

Their brainstorming sessions blossomed into Hader’s hitman who wants to be an actor, striking a balance between violence and humor.

“We started finding all these interesting contrasts where if you’re a professional killer, you have to numb your emotions, whereas in order to be an actor, you have to reach out and find all of your emotions and get in touch with them,” Berg said.

But Hader warns of the struggles of getting the audience to root for Barry. “Yeah, it’s two things. They can’t work together. And him doing both things is going to….people are going to get killed.”

You can listen to this week’s podcast here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

More TV

  • Quicksand Scandinavian Cinema

    Sweden Is Not on Lockdown Despite Coronavirus Threat

    While most of the world is on lockdown mode, Sweden has taken a different route, with schools, restaurants, some theaters and most public venues still open. The Swedish prime minister, Stefan Löfven, has asked people to behave like “adults” and not give in to the panic, and advised them to work from home, as well [...]

  • Fringe

    Edinburgh Festivals Called Off Due to Coronavirus Concerns

    The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the U.K.’s largest arts festival and the launchpad for countless comedy and stage acts, will be shelved this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Fringe is among five Edinburgh festivals that have been canceled in light of COVID-19 concerns. This group also includes the Edinburgh Art Festival, Edinburgh International Book [...]

  • Fidela Navarro, Richard Halliwell

    NENT Studios-Owned DRG, Mexico's Dopamine Team for English-Language Content

    DRG, a Scandinavian production banner owned by NENT Studios, has joined forces with the Mexican outfit Dopamine to co-finance, develop and produce English-language scripted content. DRG produces non-scripted, factual formats and some drama series, including “Doc Martin” which traveled to more than 100 territories and was remade in many countries. Dopamine, meanwhile, was launched in [...]

  • Laura SMET

    Series Mania: 'La Garconne' Puts Gender-Bender Spin on Period Crime Drama

    Produced by Paris-based outfit Mother Productions and sold internationally by eOne, the six-part limited series “La Garçonne” offers a playful, gender-bending spin on the period potboiler. Set during the roar of the early 1920s, the show follows a one-time war medic forced to take on not one, but two new identities after she witnesses a [...]

  • London Coronavirus

    Hazmat Suits and GoPros: How We Pulled Off a Fast Turnaround Coronavirus Doc (Guest Column)

    As the U.K.’s coronavirus crisis steadily escalated, Argonon Group-owned Britespark Films raced to complete a fast turnaround documentary on the pandemic for broadcaster Channel 4. Britespark director of programs Tom Porter details the extreme logistical hurdles involved.   For creative director Nick Godwin and I at Britespark Films, in the midst of a coronavirus-induced industry freeze, [...]

  • Series Mania: Nikola Lange on Youth-Skewing

    Series Mania: Nikola Lange on Youth-Skewing Comedy 'Derby Girl'

    Presented as part of Series Mania’s Coming Next from France showcase, the youth-skewing series “Derby Girl” offers a fast-paced, darkly comic portrait of a disgraced former-figure skater named Lola Bouvier (Chloé Jouannet), who is offered a shot at redemption when she joins a local roller derby league, the Cannibal Unicorns. Sharing tonal and thematic similarities [...]

  • UNORTHODOX

    Producer Anna Winger on Making a Diaspora Project With 'Unorthodox'

    For Berlin-based American writer-producer Anna Winger, creating the Netflix series “Unorthodox” offered a unique opportunity to tell a Jewish story in Germany. The show, which premiered March 26 on Netflix, is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots,” and follows a young woman who leaves her husband and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content