Interview with Martha Plimpton & Creator/Exec Producer Greg Garcia from Raising Hope

Last week, I got the chance to talk to Greg Garcia, Creator/Executive Producer, and Martha Plimpton, who plays Virgina, from Raising Hope. They had just finished shooting 3 days in Vegas, so they were wiped out, but they were so gracious and fun to talk to, even with being so tired! Check out some of the great questions & answers below.

On Hope going from a non-mobile baby to a toddler & how that affects shooting

Greg Garcia: Yes, it’s tougher. You have to use glue. No, we’re learning actually. I mean we’re learning. We can still put them in a highchair and they’re happy and then now we found a little rocking horse that they like to be on. And we’ll start scenes with kind of a foreground cross of one of the babies, get them from point A to point B and kind of establish that they’re there. But the days of just putting them on a blanket and having them there are over. And the days of carrying them around are over if anybody wants to keep their back muscles intact.

So yes, just like real children—as they grow older, there are new challenges and then there’s new things that we can do that are fun. And then there’s new ways of trying to figure out how to get around certain production things.

(That was my first question! 🙂 )
Jump with us to see what else they had to say.

On balancing the funny with the heartwarming or serious

Greg: I think you just kind of feel it out based on the story you’re telling. There are some stories that you tell that you don’t earn a nice sweet moment in it so you don’t try to jam it down the audience’s throat and you just go for comedy. And then there are some episodes that definitely have warmer moments at the end.

And, I think that our second episode that’s going to air has a very nice, compelling and sweet ending to it that isn’t necessarily funny for a good deal of the—just the very end of the show. It wasn’t driving toward some big comedy piece, but it was very compelling. And once you have met these characters and start to care about them, I think you can do that because the audience is invested in their lives and you have actors that can pull this stuff off and make you care about what’s going on with them.

But, I think you try to mimic life as much as you can and you just combine ridiculous humor and sweet moments which is, I think, life—at least my life.

On any great Maw Maw moments this season

Greg: Cloris will be in episodes. Is that not enough of a tease? I hate teasing episodes. I like just people being surprised. Well, you know what? Here’s a good one for you. Maw Maw swallows a gold tooth and the family has to deal with the fact of—are they the type of people who go through poop. That’s one of my favorite Maw Maw stories.

On who they would like to see guest star

Martha Plimpton: Well, I’ll tell you something very exciting which is that just the other day we were talking about who was going to play Burt’s parents in an upcoming episode. And I got so excited about Lee Majors coming on the show because of my enduring crush on him since I was a little girl that I just—I think I just harassed Greg until he …—

Greg: Yes, you were very excited.

Martha: “Is he doing it? Is he doing it?” That was me, for like a day, maybe longer. So I’m very excited about Lee Majors, of course. Shirley Jones is going to come on and play Burt’s mom and that’s just beyond great.

Greg: It’s funny because we get these roles and then I’ll come down with like a list and we just all kind of get all geeky and look at all the names and there’s like so many that we’re excited about and stuff. So I think it’s hard to kind of just say, “Oh, there’s this one person that we want on the show.”

Martha: Right. No, it’s true. It’s true. But I’ll tell you, it’s thrilling that we even get to do that. I mean, I love that Greg even lets us know who he’s thinking of casting because I don’t know, it’s just really fun and we all get very excited and we sort of sit there twisting our little mustaches wondering who we’re going to victimize next.

On their favorite episode so far

Martha: That’s a really hard question, and a good one, because I have a lot of favorite episodes. I have a lot of favorite moments. From last season I really love—I call it sort of the jenga episode but it’s the hoarders episode where Cloris has to empty out the garage so we can find the baby.

I loved our pilot episode. I also loved our finale last season and there’s a new episode coming up early on this season—I think it’s the second episode, Greg. It’s the one where Burt gets kidnapped.

Greg: Oh, that’s the third episode.

Martha: That’s the third episode. Yes. So that’s also really good, but I haven’t seen the other two so—

There are a lot. There’s too many to mention.

On Greyson Chance being in the season premiere and how that came about

Greg: Yes. Well my son is 13 and he went to a bar mitzvah and he came back and was raving—because, of course, everyone has crazy, insane bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs around here—and he came back raving that it was in an airplane hangar and Greyson Chance was playing. He was talking about how amazing he was and I said, “Oh, well who’s that?” And I looked him up on You Tube and I realized, “Oh yeah. I’ve seen this clip of the paparazzi.” And I watched him for a second and I thought, “Man he kind of looks like a young Lucas Neff.”

Then instantly I was thinking, “Wow, maybe this would be a good a guest spot to do.” And then I thought of the idea that Jimmy perhaps had musical talent at one time in his life, and how we’d deal with that. And I brought that to the writers and they ran with it. And we all kind of came up with a story and then I contacted—I actually went through my friend who’s the executive producer of Ellen because I know Greyson does a lot of stuff with Ellen and he put me in touch with Greyson’s management. We all got on the phone and they seemed interested, and we all went to see Greyson at a little concert and met him there, and then that was that. And we signed him on to do—he’s going to do three episodes.

He took to it right away. And there was a lot of singing and stuff so a lot of it was in his wheelhouse and so you get him in front of a piano and you know he’s going to thrill everybody watching and then you do some scenes and he was very comfortable.

Martha: It was fantastic [working with him]. He could not be more sweet and charming and just a regular kid. He’s just a lovely, lovely kid and I thoroughly enjoyed acting with him.
Thanks again to both Martha & Greg. You can check them both out on Twitter here: @MarthaPlimpton & @WhoisGregGarcia. Don’t miss the season premiere on Tuesday on FOX at 9:30/8:30c.

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