Choreographer Mandy Moore both faced new challenges and challenged her cast for Season 2 of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” Filming throughout the pandemic meant figuring out safety protocols at a time where there wasn’t as much in place for dancers compared to other departments. “As soon as we ended up coming back, it was immediately chaos mode of ‘How are we gonna do it?'” says Moore in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “It seemed so insurmountable for people.” Watch the video interview above.
Strict protocols were indeed put in place, with cast and crew tested for COVID every other day and HEPA filters installed in the dance studio. “Believe me, it’s never fun to wear a mask 14 hours a day but if that’s what we have to do to work, that’s what we do,” states Moore. She also felt more comfortable instructing the cast to pull off more advanced choreography than they were used to in Season 1. “If you practice something long enough and you’ve got the confidence and you’ve got the foundational elements to do it, really, the sky’s the limit.” The elaborate “Shake It Off” sequence in the Season 2 finale is proof of how far the cast has come, with Moore admitting she got emotional watching them pull it off.
Additionally, Moore got to add another credit to her resume this season by directing Episode 11, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Double Date.” This was her first time directing an episode of TV, and Moore reveals that it had been in discussions for her to direct since Season 1 but she didn’t quite feel ready yet. Episode 11 features numerous complex performances, including an epic “Don’t Stop Me Now” cover out in the street with hundreds of dancers.
While the task may have been daunting, the Emmy winner did have the benefit of staging another big outdoor musical sequence in recent years. “I will say that I was set up for success because I did a little movie called ‘La La Land’ and I somehow made it through ‘Another Day of Sun,'” she quips. For her, executing a huge sequence like “Don’t Stop Me Now” with a lot of moving parts requires both left-brain and right-brain thinking. “It’s not only the creation and making sure the storytelling’s right but it’s also the logistics.” She was thrilled by the experience of stepping into a new role on set and being able to work on the non-performance scenes. “To be in there with the scene work and figuring out how we’re gonna shoot the coverage and which one we should shoot first and is that wardrobe ready, I loved it. It was so much fun.”
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