1. Emma Caulfield was great. Quirky, hilarious and a perfectionist. Those huge monologues in the bar are a pain to memorize but she worked hard to get those down and fretted every time it wasn’t just right. I really admire that in an actor and very much appreciated it, considering she was in-between shooting two other big projects. It was also, as an actor, really fun to be in a scene with her — she gives a lot and it’s very fun to play and find that rhythm with her.
She’s been jockeying on Twitter to have a Smiley spin-off. What do you guys think?
2. The roof where Smiley stands is actually the roof of the C3D office. It ended up being a really versatile location — all the street scenes with Smiley are also on that giant, street-looking roof. It was a great controlled environment and allowed us not to have to run all over the city with the limited time we had with Emma.
3. All of Emma’s scenes were shot over 2 days.
4. Aaron has a San Jose Sharks hockey stick on his desk. This is because I love the Sharks more than I love you, reader.
5. In the script, Glenn is supposed to juggle some debris. The laptop bit was all improv and hilarious, as Dustin Toshiyuki usually is. Dustin also does all of our sound, post and on-set (except for his scenes, obviously).
6. Bryn’s screensaver is the Matrix number code (seen in the scene with me, Wilson and Smiley) because she is Neo.
7. The music is great once again, and all done by Vlad and Monica. Seriously, if you ever need music, hire them, they can do everything.
8. Vlad and I wrestled with the style of this episode for a while. After the trauma of the break-in, we wanted our main characters to be outside of themselves and couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work. Finally, Vlad called and said, “I’m going to do something crazy…” and turned it into a noir thing. It not only hit that point, but also gave us room to lighten the mood a bit. Not to mention — what’s better than a noir in San Francisco?
9. The bar in the first episode and second episode is called Pe Yale (3131 Fillmore Street, San Francisco). It’s a fantastic place, and the owner is incredibly awesome. He let us use his bar for free, even though I’m sure we drove him nuts, and was just really kind and cool about the whole thing. Thank you, Kamran! Now go to his bar everyone.
10. Aaron and Lisa’s “son” is played by tiny, little Arya — who, in that one scene, out-acted me in everything.
11. Emma holding a picture of Eliza Dushku is the closest you’ll get to a Buffy reunion.
With the release of S2 of Leap Year, I figured I’d tell you a few ”behind-the-scenes” fun facts — because everyone loves facts, especially if they’re fun.
So, first, the episode:
Now, the facts:
1. Yes, Eliza Dushku was great to work with. She was fun, silly and seemed to enjoy being on set with us. During one of the evening shoots, she brought a pillow, just in case “we run long today…” Now, that may seem small, but you have no idea how nice it is to hear that coming out of an actor’s mouth. Especially someone of Eliza’s level. She seemed to relish playing June and really brought her A game — so, yes, she was great.
2. The intro is amazing, isn’t it? We wanted to update it for the new season – we felt like the song and style of last season’s intro just didn’t fit the feeling of this second season, which is much darker and grittier. It took (producer/editor) Dashiell Reinhardt around a week to put most of it together and if you watch it closely, you’ll see many of the crazy things that will be going down this season.
3. The song for the intro was written by my brother, Vlad Baranovsky. First he wrote one song, but I didn’t really think it worked, so I said, “Try something White Stripes-ey.” To which he said, “Okay.” And came back in half an hour with that stupidly awesome song. Vlad, by the way, does that continuously. When we did the 711 Road Trip series, he’d literally write us songs while we were on the go. “We need a song that sounds like Green Day in 20 minutes!” – “Done!”
4. Whiskey Castle Music Box. While shopping at Goodwill for random desk props and things, I found… the Whiskey Castle Music Box. It’s literally the most amazing thing ever made. We put it on Jack’s desk as decoration and in one of the later scenes that we shot, it was referenced by Josh Malina. I realized that, while funny, no one would understand what exactly that castle thing was, so I wrote that little exchange into the bar scene. The whole Catskills Jamboree bit? All made up while Drew and I were running our lines. It’s probably one of my favorite line deliveries in the entire world.
5. Break a Leg references: The song that plays on Jack’s phone is the intro song we used for our first series, Break a Leg. Another reference is Jack telling June he, “used to be a child actor” — which was his character on Break a Leg. Finally, when Jack says, “Aaron is going to be so mad at me…” it’s very similar to a line his character, Jimmy, says in regards to my character, David: “David is going to be so mad at us…”
6. Shira Lazar was great. She came in like a pro, had a bunch of fun with us and nailed her lines, I was very impressed. She was really fun to work with and damn, isn’t that a great studio?
7. The ”thugs” in the office are played by Dashiell and our key grip and grip. I think they signed up to shoot this project purely to get to break that office apart. Dash is the one to break that vase, you know why? Because he’s one of the owners of HLG Films, and we minded him getting glass in his eye less than the others… it’s a business expense.
8. The table being flipped was shot by attaching a go-pro cam unto that desk and flipping it. Our DP and co-director, Justin Morrison, deserves all the glory for that awesome, awesome shot.
9. The song that plays in the climax is called Lockbox, the song that plays in the final scene with Jack and I is called Outlaw’s Lament. Both are written and performed by Vlad, and we’ll hopefully be throwing them up on iTunes soon enough. My dad, Albert, plays solo guitar on some of them. And my sister-in-law sings, and plays with Vlad. Oh, and my mom, Diana, is the production accountant. Go family!
10. The scene with me walking through the office, talking to everyone, is one long take. Brent Johnson, our steadicam operator (and key grip, and guy who broke the office apart) is a rock star and is responsible for most of the cool tracking shots we have this season. And there are a good amount.
11. The giant letters telling people to have fun and work hard in the office were there when we rented the location. With everything that goes down this season, those words are the perfect ironic background to have.
12. Yes, Eliza and Shira are fantastic in this episode. But I think our other actors really nail it. Drew, specifically, holds this episode together and really shines. He’s charming, funny and everything Jack should be. Very proud of our cast!
That’s it for now! Feel free to ask me any questions!