1. Josh Malina is ridiculously cool. He’s really relaxed and calm while working, and will periodically turn on to be a wit-machine, making everyone laugh. The poor guy had a tough first day, started very early, and had a full 12 hour shoot. He never complained and nailed each take — it was a joy to direct him and an acting clinic to watch him act.
2. This is the best acting that I’ve seen Daniela DiIorio (Olivia) do. We’ve worked together since, literally, college, and she killed it. I think she’s incredibly charming and natural, and her chemistry with Josh is fantastic. The two seemed to act as if they’d been working together for years — it was really strange. Are you watching, Aaron Sorkin? Daniela (and Josh..) needs a part on Newsroom! Also, I love how she says, “You’ve got the wrong Sam, Sam” — a delivery which makes me, for some reason, of Alison Janney.
3. The scene with Josh and I walking through the office is a walk-and-talk. Something Aaron Sorkin constantly employs and is known for (two actors walking and talking with no cuts for an entire scene). When I found out Josh was going to do Leap Year, I told Vlad that I had to write a scene where I walk and talk with him (we’re huge Sorkin fans) — which is where that scene came from. It’s a bit satirical of Sorkin, a not-so-subtle nod to him, and a complete abuse of my power as the co-writer/co-director/actor. But, screw it, I got to do a walk and talk with Josh Malina.
4. Josh nailed his monologue basically always. Whereas, my one line to him in the scene where he tears Jack and I apart, would just not stick in my head. I even think Dash, our editor, had to cut it together from two different takes. I like to call that “terrible acting.”
5. In the bar scene with Josh, he has viral marketing materials up on a board. If you look closely, you’ll see his examples include Break a Leg, and another project we did, for 7-11 — the 7-11 Road Trip Rally.
6. The article that Olivia reads in bed is “written by” Chase Cougar, who was a character in Break a Leg, and who was played by our Director of Photography and one of the co-founders of the company, Justin Morrison.
7. Our steadicam operator was also our key grip and is named Brent Johnson. Brent is still in his early 20s and is just ridiculously talented. He’s going to take over the world shortly.
8. Remember that Whiskey Castle Music Box? We shot that scene with Josh before we shot the scene with Jack and Aaron in the bar. When Josh played with it, we thought it was hilarious, but weren’t sure people were going to understand it, so we wrote in the Whiskey Castle Music box bit and a beautiful joke was born.
9. Josh shot for 3 days and will be back in.. 3 more episodes, I believe. The very last scene he shot was the kissing scene with Daniela in the car (we left him the best for last).
10. You’d think directing actors like Josh Malina, Eliza Dushku and Emma Caulfield would be hard or intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy. First of all, they raise the quality of our acting immediately. Secondly, they can take the smallest note and change their performance on a dime. Finally, they seem to never complain. It’s something I value very much in an actor — when you’re going into the 10th hour, and the crew is dead tired and you’re trying to keep morale up, it really helps when your actors, especially the celebrities, are cracking jokes and just being lovely people. It infuses energy into the production and it’s something we should all learn from.
That’s it for now! This is one of my favorite episodes, so definitely watch and love and, as I keep saying, please comment on Hulu! It really helps.