What happens when you start a sitcom where most happy movies end? If there really is a happy ending, then we deserve to see it, right? That’s how ABC’s Happy Endings was created.
On Monday morning, I had the chance to speak with Elisha Cuthbert and David Caspe. Cuthbert stars as Alex in the new ABC series Happy Endings, which wascreated by David Casper. The show is about six friends, trying to survive after two of them break off their engagement – – – at the altar.
Caspe is a funny guy, who spouts off spordadic, script-worthy lines like – “I don’t know if either of those words is the correct word, that’s why I’m saying both.”‘ He thinks Elisha is funny and lighthearted, and is well aware of her career background in mostly dramatic roles. Caspe noted that from Elisha they got “way more than expected.” She has range. On the phone she does seem happy, easygoing, and downright sweet.
Caspe also spoke about how they have a fairly diverse cast and grouping of characters – including a gay character and an interacial couple. Of the cast, he said, “We tried to cast who made us laugh.” I think a good job was done – because this cast is dreamy!
I spoke with David and Elisha about their creative environment, how to make the runaway bride a likeable character, and a very interesting hairdo…
David, this is your first TV show. Is there anything you’re trying to avoid doing?
David Caspe: Wow that is a great question. What’s crazy about TV is the schedule is so insane and that it moves so quickly that there’s an element of what you want to do and then there’s an element of what you can actually do.
There’s sometimes (where) you’ve got to marry those two. But going into the show, my main goal is just to make it feel funny and real.
There have been so many great shows and there are so many great shows out there right now. But I’m not so focused on what not to do, just trying to keep my eye on making it funny and make it feel organic and real I guess would be the two things I’m focused on.
Elisha Cuthbert: I don’t mean to chime in, but I just feel like I’ve also started to realize that in the process of comedy saying, can’t or won’t or not trying something is like that’s when it’s over, you know?
There are things that you try and then they don’t work and you move on. But without the possibility of trying or tinkering with things, I mean it just – I don’t think it leaves you in a very good place don’t you think David?
David Caspe: Yes, we’ll try anything. It’s weird because there’s a lot of stuff where it’s funny on the page or it’s funny in the writer’s room and then you shoot it and for some reason it’s not funny on set. Or you shoot it and it’s hilarious on set and then you get in the editing room and you’re like that’s not so great and then you cut it.
So it’s sort of there is an element of just try a lot of different stuff and then you slowly sort of learn what works. And so yes, it’s been a constant learning process.
What’s great about Elisha and the rest of the cast is they’re game for anything. We try everything and we do it improv on set and a lot of rewriting on set to try and find new jokes in the moment.
So we do try a lot and a some of it does not work and hopefully some of it does.
It sounds like a very positive kind of environment. And speaking of positive… Elisha, despite the fact that your character abandons her finance at the altar and also very likeable. What do you think are her most positive traits and quirks?
Elisha Cuthbert: I’m glad that you think that, and I put a lot of thought into ‘how do I make this character not a complete mess and people just write her off?’ I played it as truthfully as possible. But what I think helps a lot – I think it was really in the writing in that we had those little flashbacks of – yes I recall the flashback on Valentine’s Day where Dave gives her $40 cash, you know, in an envelope. And I think it was those little things that make you realize or like when I come back from the honeymoon which I explained to him I was not off with that guy. I was trying to figure my life out and in walks a naked girl.
The writing was so clever that it did the work for me because it makes you realize that it takes two to make a relationship work and that yes I may have been the one to run out but we were having issues. And I think a lot of people can relate.
I mean, it’s an extreme thing to do but it was a fun way to kick the show off and a lot of people can relate and realize that. We’re all asking these questions and we’re all trying to figure out is this the right person and am I making the right decisions? Am I on the right path? It really is those underlying questions about love. So I think people can have a little sympathy for that I think in the writing and in the flashbacks and whatnot.
It was tough. I didn’t really put too much thought into it. I just said let’s do it and hopefully they’ll stick with me and they won’t hate me too much.
Yes, I don’t think that they’re going to kill her character off.
David Caspe: When casting Elisha she’s just inherently likeable that. Her natural personality did a lot of the work for us in that pilot as far as making the character likeable despite doing this crazy thing.
And really quick, you mentioned coming back from the honeymoon. There was an interesting hairdo. Is – was that a wig?
Elisha Cuthbert: No, that was real.
Elisha Cuthbert: That took 3-1/2 hours to do. And yes, that’s – and that was my – that’s kind of similar in the same vein as my point before that I’m – I’m here. I’m doing comedy. I’m not going to, you know, I want to do it and I want to do it all the way kind of thing, you know?
So it’s like when they – you know, when that sort of came about I just remember going we got – there’s no other way. I don’t want it too look – I really don’t want it to look corny or cheesy. I want it really look like I went there and got the braids.
David Caspe: You remember what happened with the braids? Remember what happened with the braids?
Elisha Cuthbert: Yes, we didn’t finish all the work on that scene because it was getting too late. And so we broke for the weekend.
And the assistant director came to me and said we’re going to pick this scene up on Monday so do you want to take the braids out and redo them again on Monday morning at 3:30 am because it takes three hours or would you just want to wear them all weekend? I’m like you’ve got to be kidding me right?
And I wore them all weekend. And not to mention it was a long weekend. So we came back Tuesday and I wore them for a whole long weekend — ridiculous.
Now, keep your eye on David Caspe – who has a movie with Adam Sandler coming out, and another with Charlize Theron. This funny guy is a hot commodity, and from spending 40 minutes on the phone with him, I could feel the charming reason why. (Read: he’s hilarious, why isn’t he my bff?) And, of course, keep your eye on Happy Endings. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this show, but I went into watching it expecting very little. I came out a fan.
Happy Endings premieres tonight on ABC at 9:30 pm, followed by another new episode in its regular time slot, 10 pm. Visit the official Happy Endings website for more info.
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