Acclaimed filmmaker Abe Forsythe is known for effectively subverting the audience's expectations and defying conventional genre constraints, and that trend continues in his upcoming Peacock original miniseries Wolf Like Me. The series follows Gary (Josh Gad) and Mary (Isla Fisher), a burgeoning couple with some dark secrets to confess. Wolf Like Me effortlessly blends family drama, romantic comedy, and more to keep its audiences on their toes. Although Mary presents Gary with a way to overcome his deep loneliness as a single father, he will have to face fears he never knew he had to find the love he needs most.
In an exclusive interview with CBR, Wolf Like Me's Gad and Fisher shared what appealed to them the most about starring in the Peacock original series. The pair also revealed how quickly they found their collaborative chemistry on set and teased that the series' love story will be unlike anything audiences have seen before in television.
Josh, Isla, what was it that attracted you both to Wolf Like Me and the roles of Gary and Mary?
Josh Gad: I was blown away by the scripts when I read them. They were so unexpected and crazy. Working with Abe before on Little Monsters, I knew what the assignment was. I was really excited by the challenge, which was very presentable. I've also been dying to work with Isla forever. We were going to do something else together and then this came in and that, to me, was the clincher.
Isla Fisher: The same for me! I was sent the scripts and I thought it just seemed like a really brave way to mix genres. I feel like during lockdown I watched a lot of content and this was really unique. It was also a great opportunity to work with the famous Josh Gad, who is as lovely as everybody says.
Y'all, along with co-star Ariel Donoghue, go into some really emotionally heavy and raw material. How is it working and trusting each other as scene partners in those especially raw scenes?
Gad: In a story that requires this many twists and turns for our characters emotionally, you really have to be able to trust the person sitting across from you. Isla couldn't have been a more incredible scene partner in that there were days we were forced to do some very difficult things. In between takes, we would make each other sob with laughter, just laugh nonstop. It was such a cathartic experience, but at the end of the day, it's all about trust, and trusting our director Abe -- who is also the writer -- to know if we're taking it too far or doing just enough, balancing those tonal shifts on every page.
Fisher: Yeah, avoiding the melodrama and overly earnest stuff, keeping it as real as possible but also getting our audience to laugh and cry -- which is always the most rewarding thing from a performance perspective. Holding the viewers there and hoping they're connecting with you. You're taking them on this emotional journey with you.
With so much backstory for both your characters, from where Mary comes from and her secret to Gary and Emma's tragic past, how important is it in developing your performances to have that history in your back pocket?
Gad: Essential, it's essential. We did rehearsals beforehand, which you don't always get, and Isla presented a bunch of incredible questions. Once we were able to answer them in the script, it made everything that much clearer for where our characters needed to go. That process was really collaborative and really effortless in terms of how much we needed to accomplish in six episodes and it [ramps up quickly]. It's a rollercoaster, but once it starts, you can't get off. It was scary because it starts here and keeps getting crazier. You have to have that ability to know what the hell you're getting into before the cameras start rolling.
In wanting to work with each other for quite some time, how quickly did you click into your characters' chemistry together?
Gad: Day 1!
Fisher: I had always wanted to work with Josh. When he arrived, he made me feel so comfortable. There's nothing competitive about the way Josh works. He's not trying to score in a scene or get a laugh. He's totally into equity. In every moment of my experience working with him, it was very reassuring.
Gad: Vice versa. The second I met Isla, we were in this rehearsal space that was like a weird, little cavernous space in the middle of nowhere. I was so tired and we immediately opened up our binders with all six scripts in it, along with Ariel, we started reading the scenes. It was all such a weight off my shoulders when we started reading it because you just never know what it's going to be when you have two scene partners and that's it. That's who you're relying on. If it doesn't work, it's going to be a tough go. Immediately from the word "go," it was so easy, natural, and effortless. I knew I was going on this insane journey, and [Isla] knew and we were going to trust each other.
Fisher: That we were doing something unique that audiences had never seen before, this kind of melding of genres.
With Wolf Like Me kicking off Peacock's original programming for 2022, what are you most excited about getting to share this series with audiences?
Gad: I'm excited because I can guarantee, in the glut of content out there, this audience has never seen anything like Wolf Like Me. It's completely unexpected, original, unique, and it is a true emotional experience. It's comedic, scary, and funny.
Fisher: And deeply romantic! I think there's going to be a lot of people just waiting for a grown-up love story where we see the dark and light side of romantic love rather than all the happy moments. We also see their sadness, their brokenness, and how they make each other more vulnerable. So, it's intimate. It's beautiful!
Prepare to fall in love with Wolf Like Me, premiering on Peacock Thursday, Jan. 13.
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