John Hoffman interview: ‘Only Murders in the Building’ producer
When an opportunity comes along to work with comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short, it can be an intimidating and daunting proposition. That was the feeling “Only Murders in the Building” co-creator, executive producer and writer John Hoffman had. The mystery-comedy series premiered on Hulu last August and follows three strangers who share an obsession with a true crime podcast. Watch the full interview with the PGA Awards nominee above.
“It’s been the most welcoming experience,” Hoffman tells Gold Derby in our “Meet the Experts” panel. “The greatest part of this has been the support. That started with Dan Fogelman, who is our great shepherd on this, producing-wise, and Jess Rosenthal, his producing partner.” Rosenthal called Hoffman and asked him to be a showrunner for a series based on an idea Martin had. “You don’t say no,” Hoffman says with a smile. “You immediately cross your fingers, dive in and hope that they all like your ideas.”
Hoffman has also worked with two other Hollywood icons, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, on their comedy series “Grace and Frankie.” “I only will work with legends,” Hoffman jokes. “I genuinely can’t believe it. It’s shocking to me. It’s natural in some way too because I just love the people that I’ve gotten the chance to work with in the last 10 years. That collection taught me so much about producing, about directing, about writing, about the way you work as professionals. The obvious thing is the talent, but the joy is watching, at a time in their lives, something happen for them that’s very unexpected to them. And helping to introduce them to an entire generation of people that the other half of the audience we have knows in their bones. That marriage of watching a generation awaken to these incredible talents and also to hopefully show a new side, push forward and just give work to the people who should be working. That’s the thrill of these opportunities that are now happening in streaming television”
Hoffman admits it can be a challenge to work on a genre-bending show that incorporates comedy, mystery, murder and suspense. “That was a real leap of faith,” he reveals. “It was born out of big discussions with Dan Fogelman, Jess Rosenthal and Steve Martin. Steve’s work, comedically over the years, has taken leaps off normal comedies and reached for something a little bit higher. When he came with this idea, he was a real true crime aficionado. He loves mysteries. The mix of how do you take these two guys, plus Selena Gomez, and imagine what that comedy pocket that they might find could be, and then land in a very grounded, real and connected story about isolation and loneliness.”
Watch the full interview above. “Only Murders in the Building” is available to watch on Hulu and has been renewed for a second season.