Interview with Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford from The Good Guys

Colin Hanks ( and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing), of the new FOX dramedy, The Good Guys, took the time to speak with us about their journey to making the show and other things. The Good Guys premiered last week on FOX and if you missed it you need to be sure to catch it’s time slot premiere on June 7th at 9 pm. It’s definitely worth a watch. I know there are tons of police dramas on the air and even more coming in the Fall but this one is different. It’s hilarious and the cast is dynamite. Don’t take my word for it, although you should because TV really plays a big part in my life 😉 read the interview, love the guys and watch the show. Let’s get to it!

I saw the screener of the first episode. I enjoyed it. Bradley, your mustache deserves billing all to itself in the credits. Is there a story behind that big old thing being in the show?

B. Whitford – The big old thing. No, I am, I guess more proud than anything – whether it’s anything that’s done professionally, my children, anything – really my ability to grow facial hair. Look, a cop with a mustache, a cop with a bright future behind him with a mustache – it just seems like an absolute requirement going into this and the attention it’s getting – I’m jealous of the mustache.

For both of you, what do you all think of filming in Dallas? Is it really good to be there or is it a pain in the ass to get to work?

C. Hanks- Well, it’s not ideal considering our lives are based in another state, but that’s part of joining the circus is you’re going to be playing out-of-town dates, so we sort of know that going in. Dallas is a fantastic place to shoot and a fantastic place to be. I could think of a lot of other places I’m really glad I’m not in right now. They’ve got great crews out here, all very talented, very nice very easy-going people that are fun to work with, who are very talented and very good at what they do. And when you’re doing the grind of a TV show, you’re very grateful when you’re working with good people. The city, I think, has been very helpful, and we’ve shot pretty much sort of all over the place. No one’s yelled at us for ruining their day or anything like that or ruining their commute, so.

I just wanted to ask Bradley a little bit about your character. He could have easily become kind of a caricature because he’s kind of so out there in a way. How do you kind of keep him balanced and keep him rooted and keep him real?

B. Whitford- Oh, God, I have no idea. With material like this, which is a kind of material that I love, that kind of aspires to a sort of Elmore-Leonard – one of my favorite movies of all time, Raising Arizona kind of- you’re constantly worried about, although I generally burst out laughing when somebody says: Do you think that’s a little too much?

C. Hanks- I don’t think there is something as too much with Bradley’s character, to be quite honest.

B. Whitford- But you are kind of playing around with somebody who’s out there and yet trying to keep it real, and you’re trying to make the stakes really huge but mostly you’re just kind of having fun.

[Note from Me: I’m sure it’s a blast to film because it’s so much fun to watch!]

Were you guys fans of buddy shows growing up? Does it remind you of a certain TV show that you like when you were younger? It reminded me, it had a feel like a kind of hip version of a show from like the 1980s.

B. Whitford- Colin emerged from the womb much more recently than me.

C. Hanks- So you watched Leave it to Beaver and I watched C.H.I.P.S., is that what you’re implying?

B. Whitford- No, I really didn’t watch, I didn’t watch those shows. What was the one? For some reason, I watched the one with Cannon, with the big fat guy who would waddle when he ran. You know what I’m talking about?

C. Hanks- Matlock? I don’t know.

I think that was Jake and the Fat Man.

C. Hanks- Oh, Jake and the Fat Man.

B. Whitford- Yes.

C. Hanks- Well, the name’s then – it’s all there in the title. That’s like all those buddy sort of cop shows of that era, like that’s definitely like the vibe. That’s like the template for a little bit of our show. A flavor, if you will. But I sort of feel like it fits well in that canon of show – and canon is a very favorable word – but I think we also sort of have our own twists that make the show sort of unique and, more importantly, ours are – this is a comedy. I mean, we’re blowing stuff up and we’re chasing bad guys and we’re doing all that stuff too, but this is really much more of a comedy than any of those shows were, so it’s sort of poking fun in a homage-y kind of way, if homage-y would be used as a word.

I wanted to find out since it’s coming on in the summer and everybody’s going to be outside and having a good time and it’s light out much later, if you could give us your pitch for why we need to come inside and watch this show.

C. Hanks- Air conditioning is pretty sweet.Ain’t nothing wrong with – it’s a Monday because let’s face it – Mondays even in summer – it’s not that big of a deal, so you can spend one night in and Mondays would probably be your best night.

B. Whitford- I would just say there’s nothing more important than for families to stop talking to each other and stare at television.

C. Hanks- I take back everything I said. I’m with Brad on that one.

B. Whitford- Yes, there’s way too much connecting going on out there. Watch some TV, America.

[Note from Me: Mondays are a great night to stay in and watch TV. 😉 ]

 

What is it about your characters that attracted you to take the role?

C. Hanks- Brad, do you want me to buy you some time?

B. Whitford- No, I was just going to say lusty, unhinged, post

C. Hanks- Okay. For me, it was more of a chance to – so much of the stuff that I end up sort of reading for or people want me for is the sort of same guy surrounded by a bunch of crazy people, and this was not necessarily that dynamic. This was much more of a two hander between two guys who are both equally flawed in very, very different reasons, for very different reasons. And more importantly, Jack was the guy that spoke back. He talked back to people. It wasn’t just him reacting all the time to, “Why are you so crazy? Why can’t you be normal?” Jack actually has an attitude toward Dan sometimes, and he lets Dan know when he’s not happy. I like being able to read a character that actually stood up for himself.

A lot of times – this first question’s for Colin, a lot of times actors take things from their own life to their characters. Do you think as a newly married man, that will affect your character on The Good Guys at all?

C. Hanks- No, not at all. I think really it’s personality more than anything else and life experiences for sure, but Jack is not nearly as emotionally and relationship balanced as I am. And there’s a lot of comedy gold out there to be found in terms of Jack’s inability to maintain a relationship and his sort of will-he-won’t-he relationship with Jenny Wade’s character, Liz. So, I don’t think me being married will really affect Jack too much, but it’ll definitely make me feel a whole lot better about making a fool out of myself at work knowing that I’ve got a wife back home who cares for me deeply no matter how big of a fool I make out of myself.

Bradley, this is such an interesting character now, that you just get to have so much fun. Can you just delve into that a little more – how much fun you’re having?

B. Whitford- Yes, this guy is operating from his kind of reptilian brain … This is kind of a – I hope it’s not a pretentious analogy or comparison but – there was a playwright I worked with that said the most interesting people were people who’d given up on actually attaining what they thought they were going to attain in life. And when you have a guy who sort of has realized he loves what he does but Plan A is definitely not going to work – he’s really sort of open to … It’s just a lot of fun. It’s a blast.

You guys sound here as though you really get along and are having a great time. Is the set that way as well?

B. Whitford- I always joke that the television I’ve done I feel like truly the cameras are pointed the wrong way and that it’s really, it’s certainly true in this situation that we have really a lovely, fun group of people working on this. I can’t function in a – I don’t think anybody really can, creatively in sort of a hostile, gruesome situation. And I felt with Colin the moment he walked in the room with the audition – I said, “Oh God, I know this guy.” I felt totally comfortable with this guy and he felt like an old friend. So that part of it has always been there but I think we would both re-emphasize and we’re not kidding that the crew makes a huge difference for the show.

C. Hanks- And between that and just the day in and day out of shooting a comedy – we’re laughing a lot throughout the course of the day. Even on the long 16-hour days like we’ve just had, there’s still going to be a big laugh somewhere throughout the course of the day and that really helps when you’re making a comedy.

B. Whitford- I do want to add, though, that one really painful thing is this was when Colin ran off and got married. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a betrayal like that.

C. Hanks- Well, I’m making it up for you. I’m spending my honeymoon with you, Bradley. So you know, sorry baby, I’m back. Don’t worry.

[Note from me: Matt Nix said that he had to make sure that Bradley’s co-star had chemistry with him before casting, and I think he did a fabulous job. Bradley and Colin seem to be just like life long friends. It comes across on screen and makes the show more enjoyable to watch.]

What did you both find to be the most challenging aspect of these characters for you?

C. Hanks- I think trying to find the balance between the realism and the comedy. I think sometimes we find ourselves kind of – or at least I do – find myself hitting my head a little bit trying to find out exactly what it is I’m trying to serve and what is the best way to do that. Am I trying to serve a sense of reality in which something funny happens or am I trying to serve the comedy in which reality sort of goes out the window, and it’s just fun and zany and a good time. And that can be a hard thing to over the course of a show when the characters are evolving and you’re going into new places and the character is growing and you maybe are resisting that change or you’re looking forward to it. Trying to chart that can be a little bit different and can be difficult. But it’s also, I think, just a fun show, and so you just try not to worry about it too much and you just sort of, as Dan would say, you just sort of trust your gut and hopefully things turn out pretty funny. We’ve been trusting our guts and it’s been turning out pretty funny.

B. Whitford- I would agree that the trickiest thing is – we’re not making Naked Gun. We are doing – but it needs to be funny. But all … I woke up in the middle of the night when we were doing the pilot and I thought, “Oh my God, I jumped the shark in the teaser of the pilot.” So, it’s – that is the scariest thing. And there is a part of me that – you do want to be generous with the laughs. An audience would rather laugh than …

C. Hanks- Than find out how we’re going to catch the killer who does the special thing that he does that lets people know that he’s the killer.

When you went through the scripts, what were your thoughts on Jack and Dan and the show in general?

C. Hanks- I didn’t really know much about Matt Nix – I knew that he created Burn Notice, which was a very, very funny show. I had not seen Burn Notice, so I was just sort of basically just going off of the script, and I though the script was really funny. I thought it was clever and witty, and I thought it was a very well established program that had some places to go. I really just sort of took it as it was. Not really knowing much about Matt Nix was a little bit of a leap of faith. I knew who Bradley was. I’ve been watching him for years and years and years, and I just said, “Oh, well, it would be interesting to see what he’d do with this.” And I just sort of took a little bit of a leap and found myself in a really sort of very, very, very lucky position.

B. Whitford- And I think – I know Colin and I both have the same – you read a lot of scripts and just reading the scripts can be grim. You find yourself going through these – I go through the, what are they the five stages of death – you’re reading a script and you’re kind of in denial that it’s terrible and then ultimately, there’s acceptance of, “Oh, this is just horrible.”

C. Hanks- And the only thing I’m being offered. But with this script, you like ripped through it and you find yourself laughing out loud, and that’s a huge – I just really like a mix of kind of – there’s something very contemporary and current about Matt’s sense of humor, but it’s overlaid on this kind of retro, very generous to the audience: “We’re not here to teach you. We’re not here to serve you vegetables, we’re here to have fun with you” kind of old-time show biz aesthetic that was a good mix.

That’s all for the interview with Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford, but be sure to watch The Good Guys on FOX this summer and you’ll see what all the hype is about. It’s fantastic!

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