Cast and executive produced by comedian and singer Bridget Everett, HBO’s original seven-part comedy series Someone somewhere is a beautiful human gaze on small town life and the struggle not to know what comes next. Sam (Everett) experiences a loss that she apparently can not get on the same emotional side with her family about, and she tries to find her voice in a hometown where she is unsure where she fits in, but just lives every day will help her find herself.
During this interview with Collider, Everett was joined by creators and executive producers Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen (authors on HBOs High maintenance) to talk about what brought them together in this series, The Bridgetization of History, find out the most authentic way to wake someone up from their lives, find interesting ways to make use of Sam’s music, the beauty of Sam Joel (Jeff Hiller) dynamic, by using humor as a healer, and why they would be happy to go for 10 or 20 seasons.
Collider: This show made me laugh and cry and I absolutely loved everything about it. Are you already thinking about another season? Are you thinking of 10 seasons? I just need my whole life for these characters.
HANNAH BOS: We’re thinking of 10 or 20 seasons. That’s where we’re right now.
BRIDGET EVERETT: We are hopeful. You never know. We’re at the phone waiting to get that call.
Have you had conversations about where these characters go from, where you leave them, at the end of the season? Have you thought about what happens to them from there?
EVERETT: We kicked around a bit with the ball for safety, just so we could be ahead of the game.
BOS: The fun thing about this show is figuring out what the bridgetization of it is. We always try to see how far we want to go into what Bridget does so beautifully on stage, in that world, for Sam. We always think ahead of Sam and how far she will go and how she will use her superpower to sing in the real world.
One thing is that I have an idea for a show, but it’s another thing to actually have a show and people who populate it. How did it all come about? Where did it start? How did it come to what we see now?
EVERETT: Well, I got a deal on HBO, and then I reached out to Carolyn Strauss, who’s a mega-TV no matter what. To me, she’s a mega good person. She’s shitty, and she’s had her name on some of the best TV in TV history. I called her and she said, “Well, I’m about to finish Game of Thrones. I think that seems like a logical next step.” And then we needed writers, so we reached out to Paul and Hannah.
PAUL THUREEN: We came up in the New York performance world, admired Bridget and watched her shows and admired her from a distance and were big fans. The first TV thing we ever did was adapt one of our plays and we were working on Carolyn so I think Carolyn was thinking of us because Hannah and I are both from the Midwest and we thought it was would have that taste. So when Carolyn and Bridget came to us, it was just a dream, the idea that we should find out what our version of that story would be.
BOS: And then we also made this version for Duplass’. We worked with them and we got the idea for this pilot and then it went from there.
THUREEN: And then the world shut down, so we spent a year and a half on Zoom every day with another writer, Patty Breen and Bridget and Carolyn, to get the details and flush it out into a whole world together.
It feels like this show really knows how to make use of everything that makes Bridget Everett fabulous. How did you figure out what the perfect formula and combination of all that would be?
BOS: Bridget was there with us and found out. We were really, I would not say lucky to have so much time, but we were lucky, in some ways, to have so much time in this pandemic period to study and figure out the right authentic way to wake someone up from their lives . When you sit on the angel’s voice, as she would say, and when you sit on this talent, and it’s been black and white, how do you then use someone who has been shut down to open up on a truly authentic, grounded way in a small town, slowly over a real period. We need this dramatic side of Bridget, as well as her Kansas approval and real life. And then there were things that are just completely Sam and from Paul’s father, who is a farmer, and who finds this nice thing together, in a way to collaborate.
EVERETT: The wild Bridget on stage sounds cool thinking, “How could you translate that into a TV show?”, But it would get tired really fast. I love that we use music in the show, but it’s always more interesting, at least for me, the things that lead Sam to the song and that lead Sam to the music. It’s my story about how I found the music again and how I found the song again. There is a fine parallel. As a non-classically trained actor, it was helpful to be able to have some real life experiences to fall for.
THUREEN: We like to write about the things that are before or after the things that are usually what people write about. We had a similar aesthetic and interest in these moments that one does not often look at. And then Bridget is also just an incredible actor. Every day on the set would just impress us. It was always deeper and more real and locked all the other actors into the world in a very special way. I think we were just very lucky to work with someone who is also really, really talented.
EVERETT: Do not take it from the minutes, Christina.
Bridget, there’s something magical about seeing the friendship between your character and Jeff Hiller’s character in this. There’s a strange buddy duo going on between the two. What did you like about working with Jeff and bringing that whole dynamic to life?
EVERETT: That’s exactly it. It’s finding a friend where you never thought you would find one, and it’s a reflection of my real life. When I was growing up, I had friends who were there my whole life. You did not really get a chance to discover any new one. Meet Murray [Hill], who plays Fred Rococo, in my real life is a perfect example. When I met Murray, I thought, “What the hell is all this ?!” But it made sense to me. Sam does not like religion, but Joel does. It is finding a common ground with someone who makes no sense. It’s like those weird animal videos. They are my favorites when you have the monkey who loves the squirrel and they give each other confidence, fall and source fights. I love it. What is better than that?
I love the moment Sam sings for Joel. That song and the whole moment is just so beautiful. What was it like to do and figure out what that moment would be?
EVERETT: First of all, when you do it on the set, the music is in your ear so no one else is experiencing what you are experiencing, but I asked them to give it to Jeff. He would not hear it until we filmed it, so he also had the little ear blanket with him. We shot that later. We shot things very much out of order. It was a very real moment between Jeff and me. I feel like there were a lot of gifts I got from Jeff, by filming this, with the friendship behind the scenes and also just having someone to be on screen with and feel safe. I always go into these TVs and movies and say, “I get fired anytime.” He made me better. He made me feel good and confident, and was a pat on the leg when I was not feeling well. So it was a love letter from Sam to Joel, but also Bridget to Jeff.
THUREEN: And Bridget wrote that song. I just want to clarify that this is an original from Bridget Everett.
There are many heavy topics explored in this show. There is death and grief, there is alcoholism, addiction and recovery, there is infidelity, there is the feeling of being stuck in a place that one is not sure how to get out of, which is something so many people can relate to. What are the challenges of balancing it with the comedy of it all?
THUREEN: Comedy always comes from the right place. We all have family members who are just crazy, but if you saw them on a TV show, you would say, “That’s too much.” It’s about grounding them in the real moments. There are a lot of issues going on that people are not talking about and what people are doing instead of talking about their feelings is a lot of fun and sad. We spend our time not talking about these things and seeing these reverberations. Grief affects this whole family and tears the family apart because they do not talk about it. The humor is how we handle things. It’s a balancing act, but it’s the fun challenge of this show, to focus on the high moments and the fun moments together that Sam and Joel sit in a car, laughing and talking and joking. Joel says he needs to stay busy so the terror doesn’t come creeping up. That’s what you do. So the humor always comes from the right place.
BOS: A lot of people do shows about someone who is talented or has this gift, just like Sam does, and they go. And this is a show about where someone stays in their hometown and finds out how to use it there.
EVERETT: In my family, humor is the healer. We laugh at everything, sometimes at great cost to me, because I’m the youngest. I just got a text message from my brother who is dealing with some crazy stuff and he said, “I’m just so grateful for the Everett humor.” For me, it’s the only way to get through it all.
Bridget, how is this whole experience for you, growing up in a small town and being in a show choir and making high school musicals, and then having success in Hollywood and in this industry and getting a deal on HBO leading to a TV show? show?
EVERETT: I finally got the role! I never got the damn lead. I do not know. It still feels like a show. Even when we see the edits and they play an entire episode and it has that HBO sound, you say, “Oh, my god, we’re really on HBO.” It all feels like a dream. It does not feel real. I’ve been to HBO before, but this time it’s us, and it’s ours. We are all a little older and it feels a little sweeter. For me to really understand that, it will take five to six seasons. You can just send that note up the flagpole for us, thank you. I want a chance so we in season 6 skip the shark, but then we come back with a very meaningful season 8, 9 and 10.
Someone somewhere airs Sunday night on HBO and can be streamed on HBO Max.
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