“This is the craziest thing I have ever been a part of,” Josh Gad declares about his role as a wildly eccentric entrepreneur on HBO’s space farce “Avenue 5.” “I remember slamming the script shut,” he admits, “and throwing my script up in the air and giving in to the insanity of what we were doing. It’s a profound moving combination of madness and joy!” Watch our exclusive video interview with Gad above.
Sci-fi comedy “Avenue 5” is the latest creation from acclaimed writer/director Armando Iannucci (“Veep,” “In the Loop,” “The Death of Stalin”). It stars Emmy nominee Hugh Laurie and Tony nominee Gad in lead roles as highly strung captain and narcissistic billionaire owner of a gaudy interplanetary cruise ship, the Avenue 5.
Gad effusively agrees that this is the most unapologetically ridiculous character he has ever played. “I think I can safely say without hesitation, yes, yes and yes! Herman Judd is a collection of individuals I call false entrepreneurs,” he explains. “He’s somebody who is clearly lacking the expertise and skill set to navigate a crisis during a time when what’s needed the most is leadership and a willingness to know what you don’t know and be honest about it.”
As is expected from any show written by Ianucci, the series is searingly funny, bitingly satirical and uncannily prescient. “I don’t think we realized, or could have realized how prescient ‘Avenue 5’ would be. Armando has his finger on the zeitgeist before the zeitgeist even knows what’s coming its way and ‘Avenue 5’ is no exception,” Gad explains.
“I can’t tell you how many emails and direct messages and tweets I’ve been bombarded with, with people telling me how insanely accurate so much of what we did on the show would end up being,” he says. “For instance, the penultimate episode, which is such masterful comedy and storytelling on Armando’s part and he creative team deals with a bunch of passengers not believing that the threat of the existential crisis that they’re faced with is real and so they make the decision, because they say it’s not real, that it’s just special effects, that they’re just going to walk out of the airlock. And even when they see fellow passengers freeze and disintegrate in space, it doesn’t ultimately lead them to make a different decision.”
Gad has already had a busy year so far with “Avenue 5” recently concluding its first season. The actor/producer has a new animated musical comedy “Central Park” premiering on Apple TV+ later this month and has been busy bringing the casts of classic 1980s films like “The Goonies” and “Back to the Future” together for popular online reunions. Gad is also developing a prequel series to the 2017 live action remake of the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast,” in which he will also reprise his role as LeFou. The actor talks at length about these projects and also shares his insights about being the voice of Olaf in “Frozen” and “Frozen II” and what it has meant to him personally and professionally to be a part of that global phenomenon.
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