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Shut Your Pie Hole: Televisionary Sits Down with "Pushing Daisies" Creator Bryan Fuller

Can I just say how huge a fan I am of writer/producer Bryan Fuller?

After all, he's the creative genius behind such groundbreaking and original series as Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls. Next season, he's giving the American public a chance to fall in love with the breathtaking, resplendent, and whimsical drama series Pushing Daisies, which ABC describes as a "forensic fairy tale."

Following my Q&A sessions with Pushing Daisies' adorable and talented cast, I rendezvoused with creator Bryan Fuller in an extremely rickety private room, perched high atop the Warner Bros. Television booth, minutes after the mass hysteria that was the cast signing.

I was armed with a few questions and intended to catch up with Fuller, a quick witted writer whom I consider to be the next Joss Whedon. (Yes, there, I've just said it.) High praise indeed, but if you've seen the gorgeous and touching pilot for Pushing Daisies, you know exactly what I mean.

Q: How is Pushing Daisies different than your previous series, Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me?

Fuller: It's a more romantic story. Both Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me had protagonists running from romance and engaging life in that way. Here, there are characters willing to take that leap into a more romantic life.

Q: You told me last time I saw you that you wrote the character of Ned with Lee Pace in mind. Can you talk a little about why you were thinking about him for Pushing Daisies?

Fuller: Lee was so great on Wonderfalls and had this amazing cadence in his dialogue. He gets the cadence and gets me; I naturally go back to people who get me. In my head, when I was writing the script, I imagined Ned as Lee. The same was true for Chuck, who I imagined being played by Caroline Dhavernas [who starred in Fuller's Wonderfalls]. I have to have an archetype in my head when I write. I got Lee. Originally, his manager said no, that Lee wasn't doing TV anymore. I sent him the script and called him and told him that I wrote it with him in mind. He is Ned.

Q: So any chance then of Caroline Dhavernas turning up on Pushing Daisies?

Fuller: I'd love to work together with Caroline and any chance to do so would be fantastic. I was worried about the practicality of casting two people as lovers who had played--and will always be in my mind--siblings. But Anna [Friel] literally just fell into our laps.

Q: I'm hoping Pushing Daisies stays with us for a long time. What do you envision for the second season of the series?

Fuller: The story arcs for Season One and Season Two are in my head. Hopefully the storyline for Season Three will come to me sometime during Season Two. At the heart of the show is Chuck and Ned's relationship, which informs Emerson and the aunts' characters. The Season One arc deals with Ned's secrets: What happens with Chuck realizes that Ned caused someone to die for her to come back to life? Or when she learns that he killed her father? Or when Olive discovers that Chuck is supposed to be dead? Will she rat Chuck out to her aunts? Season Two will be about the threats to Chuck and Ned's relationship and Ned's abilities as he deals with the consequences of being exposed.

Q: How many episodes will you take the lead in writing? And who else have you hired on the writing staff?

Fuller: I'll probably write two to three [of the initial 13-episode order] but we break all the scripts together as a team and they all come through my computer. My work's been greatly reduced by the amazing staff I've assembled. Pete Ocko, who created 3 Lbs., is on board, as is Rina Mimoun [from Gilmore Girls]; they're my right and left hands. Also, Jack Monaco, who did Amazing Screw-On Head with me, and Kath Lingenfelter, who I hired based on this amazing script she wrote about a man with pork chops for hands, but it was still completely grounded. I like to find people who go outside the box (yes, it's a cliché but I just said it) and aren't afraid to take some risks.

Q: While much of the plot twists are obviously firmly under wraps, what tidbits can you give the Televisionary readers about what's coming up on Pushing Daisies?

Fuller: In Episode Three, the aunts [played by Swoosie Kurtz and Ellen Greene] will be folded back into the story. Chuck holds true to the threat she made in the pilot by baking anti-depressants into her aunt's food--in the form of Ned's pies. Olive delivers one to them and stumbles onto Chuck's secret. Now that she has dirt on Chuck--that her aunts think she's dead--will Olive use it against her to get Ned?

Olive and Chuck will form both a grudging friendship AND become adversaries. Both of them have learned from their pasts and have more in common than they realize as they're pushed into this love triangle.

Q: So what's with the monkeys, which pop up both in Wonderfalls and here in Pushing Daisies?

Fuller: I love monkeys. They are cute and fun. Monkeys just give me endless fun.

Q: Hmmm. What can you say to people who are on the fence about tuning in to Pushing Daisies this fall?

Fuller: Embrace the fun for a few episodes. We just want to take people on a ride that doesn't force them to worry about things. It's all about having fun.

And there you have it. Tune in, have fun, and fall in love with what I believe to be the most unique television series in recent memory. You'll thank me in the morning.

Pushing Daisies airs Wednesday nights at 8 pm, beginning October 3rd, on ABC.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Can I please be you? Just for one day? I am so jealous that you got to meet and sit down with Bryan Fuller. I second your notion that he is the next Joss Whedon!
Anonymous said…
That was a great interview and it's good to see more information coming out about what's planned for PD. Fuller seems to have really opened up to you, Jace!
Anonymous said…
Great interview and some very intrepid reporting getting Fuller to open up about what he has planned. Did you know him before the interview or is he just that friendly and down to earth?
Anonymous said…
I like Lee Pace a lot, and I really liked Wonderfalls, but I have to say, I thought Pushing Daisies was idiotic. From the overexposed computer generated colors of the town, to the aggressively quirky Aunts, to the grating narration. I hope it gets canceled quickly so that Chenoweth and Pace can go do something better.
Anonymous said…
sj, you are seriously on crack. get a grip and get a clue. pushing daisies is the single best new series for the fall. go watch cavemen or something similarly idiotic.
DAVID BISHOP said…
Watched the pilot last night and loved it. Quirky tales of thwarted love that endures? I'm so there. And a crackerjack cast, too.

Fingers crossed it finds an audience.
Anonymous said…
Maggie
You're kind of a bitch. I'm not on crack. I will not be watching cavemen, or anything remotely like it.
Thanks for the great interview! I was a huge "Wonderfalls" fan and am so happy to see that Bryan Fuller is doing more brilliant work. This is by far one of the best new shows this season. I just hope that people are able to embrace something that's truly original.

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