“I started with the idea of a kind man in a cruel world,” says “Kidding” creator Dave Holstein about his inspiration for the series. We spoke with Holstein and director Michel Gondry on the recent red carpet for an Emmy FYC event that took place at the historic Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. Watch our full interview above.
Jim Carrey stars in the series as Jeff, aka Mr. Pickles, a children’s show host whose life spirals out of control after the death of his son. The series also features Catherine Keener as his puppeteer sister, Judy Greer as his ex-wife, and Frank Langella as his producer father. Carrey earned a Golden Globe nomination as Best TV Comedy/Musical Actor for the first season, and the show was also up for Best Comedy/Musical Series.
Holstein wrote the part specifically for Carrey after watching “The Truman Show” (1998), which featured the actor as an upbeat, unsuspecting television personality. “I was thinking, I know who can strike this tonal balance I want,” he explains. “I just wrote a spec pilot with Jim Carrey in mind, and nine years later here we are.”
The show reunites Carrey with Gondry, who directed him in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004). “When I read the script, I thought that the premise was great,” Gondry recalls, but at the same time, “when you read a script, you’re always scared to do it, so you find excuses to say no,” especially when it’s something difficult to “visualize.”
However, working with Carrey again was reason enough to bring Gondry around to “yes.” “I think what makes him very unique is he doesn’t try to act,” Gondry explains. “A lot of actors you feel are aiming for the sky, so they overdo the emotions. But Jim reaches above the emotion without trying.”
Holstein previously worked as a writer and producer on “Weeds,” “The Brink,” “Raising Hope,” and “I’m Dying Up Here.” He earned a WGA nomination for writing “Weeds” in 2009 and the aforementioned Golden Globe bid for Best Comedy/Musical Series for “Kidding” earlier this year.
Gondry won an Oscar and a WGA Award for co-writing “Eternal Sunshine” with Charlie Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth. He has also helmed such films as “The Science of Sleep” (2006), “Be Kind Rewind” (2008), and “The Green Hornet” (2011).
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