‘Severance’ Creator, Stars Talk Challenges of Creating an Apple Series – Comic-Con – Deadline

When the creatives behind Apple TV+’s singular sci-fi drama Breakup Shut down by Comic-Con on Thursday, they offered few clues about the story of Season 2. Instead, they focused on the varied challenges of bringing the breakout series to life.

The first challenge – both on the page and on set – was that of tone. During the conversation moderated by Patton Oswalt, creator-writer Dan Erickson noted that as singularly odd as Breakup In the end, the original pilot script was even “more trip-y acid”. It featured, for example, a pair of disembodied legs running down one of the show’s long white hallways. And it’s things like this that should eventually be scaled back.

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A major challenge for BreakupThe actors of had to carefully calibrate their performances with the tone in mind – properly tackling, for starters, with the world-building show’s strange dialogue. “Dan’s writing is so specific,” director-EP Ben Stiller admitted, “that it was hard to get it right at times.” But of course, the main performance challenge stemmed from the show’s premise, which called for most cast members to find a way to play two subtly distinct versions of the same character.

Breakup is a workplace thriller set in an enigmatic, if clearly sinister, tech company known as Lumon Industries. The employees underwent a separation procedure to surgically divide their memories between their work and personal lives. Its protagonist is Mark (Adam Scott), the “macro data refinement” team leader, who begins to question this audacious “work-life balance” experiment as he uncovers a web of conspiracies spanning Lumon and the outside world.

Britt Lower Ben Stiller's Comic-Con

Britt Lower and Ben Stiller on Thursday’s “Severance” Panel at Comic-Con
Michael Buckner/GI

Those who joined Erickson, Stiller and Scott for today’s conversation included cast members Britt Lower, Dichen Lachman, Jen Tullock and Tramell Tillman, who spoke about the experimentation that informed their performances, also evoking the challenge of maintaining various types of continuity over nearly a year of block shooting.

Another notable challenge in creating Breakup was the physical disorientation that came from filming in the “separate floor” setting where Mark and his colleagues work – a maze-like set of white hallways, with a visually peculiar office at its center.

70% of the time trying to get to the office, I had to walk the hallways on set, and they moved them around, so you were at a dead end after about three minutes of walking,” Scott said. . “You just have to stop and say, ‘It’s Adam!’ And someone had to come find me.

“It was like you were immersed in an art installation,” added Lower, who plays estranged employee Helly. “There was inspiration everywhere, and everything was scary.”

Adam Scott's Severance Pay Comic-Con

Adam Scott at the “Severance” panel on Thursday
Michael Buckner/GI

The Breakup the creatives spoke later in the panel about how excited they were to be at Comic-Con and seeing how well the show resonated after doing Season 1 in a Covid bubble. Erickson noted at the same time that the show’s fandom and accompanying fan theories are both rewarding and part of the challenge as he began writing Season 2. [Reddit] every day for a while because it’s kinda addicting. It’s really interesting to see what [fans’] theories are. But in the end, I had to back off a bit,” he said. “It’s just this thing of endless options, and at some point you have to commit to what you’re doing. There’s an endless amount of paths we could take, so I really enjoyed it, but I ‘ve had to backtrack for the past few weeks.

Breakup also stars Patricia Arquette, Zach Cherry, John Turturro and Christopher Walken. The series, renewed for a second season in April, was recently nominated for 14 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series. Erickson exec produces alongside Mark Friedman, Chris Black, John Cameron, Andrew Colville and the trio of Stiller, Nicky Weinstock and Jackie Cohn for Red Hour Productions. Arquette and Adam Scott serve as producers, with Endeavor Content serving as studio.

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