Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings) and Derek Wilson play Tiger and Wolf in Hulu’s new sci-fi comedy series, Future Man. Their characters are from the distant future, 2162, and they’ve lived their whole lives in constant battle. Needing a change, they go back in time to find the person they believe will be their savior.
“We come from a place that’s very violent. We live in a sewer,” explained Wilson, attempting to avoid any spoilers. The Future Man stars revealed their characters eat rats and garbage to survive, painting a bleak picture of this fictional future.
Teamed up for interviews at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con, Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson described the series, its tone, and getting prepared for a show about time travel. Future Man is set to premiere on November 14, 2017.
Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson Future Man Interview:
What are the people wearing in the future?
Eliza Coupe: “The wardrobe is fantastic. It’s unbelievable. We have our warrior costumes which are futuristic, insane, crazy fighter gear. And then we have our everyday looks, and then we have the time travel. We have so many looks because we go from the ‘60s to the ‘80s.”
Derek Wilson: “We have to adapt to what the time looks like.”
Eliza Coupe: “I travel way way back so there’s all sorts of interesting hair styles and all sorts of stuff. It’s very cool.”
Are there deeper meanings behind the names Tiger and Wolf? Is there some characteristic about your character that fits with that name?
Eliza Coupe: “Yeah. I mean, basically, it’s the whole… I mean, it’s not supposed to but I mean he’s very wolf-like, I’m very tiger-like. It’s our spirit animal, I guess.”
Derek Wilson: “I think it’s like our code names. We’re born with them because you’re born a soldier.”
Eliza Coupe: “Everybody has an animal name. You’re born in war. It’s just all war. All of humanity is just on the brink.”
Have you always wanted to play badass warriors?
Eliza Coupe: “Yes! Who doesn’t?”
Derek Wilson: “That’s pretty much how it was pitched. I was on the phone with Evan Goldberg and he was like, ‘Basically, Wolf is like the most badass…’ ‘Yes!’”
Eliza Coupe: “That’s pretty much it. I read it and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m good. Yeah, I’m in.’”
Did you have to do any tactical training?
Eliza Coupe: “We did a lot of stunt training. Because they didn’t want to have us do any sort of stylized fighting, it’s very kind of…I don’t know how you would describe it but they’re just fighting for their lives so we’re not really taking anything from the past or any sort of style.”
Derek Wilson: “We’re not trained martial artists.”
Eliza Coupe: “We’re trained to defend ourselves. We’re just really good at it.”
What happens when your characters find out the person you thought was going to be the savior isn’t what you expected?
Eliza Coupe: “It’s devastating. I mean, yes, this is a comedy but the stakes for us especially are so high that it’s absolutely devastating because we really thought this was a foolproof plan to find the person who was going to save us so we wouldn’t have to live this way and humanity could get back on track.”
Derek Wilson: “When you first see us, we’ve fought so hard to get to where he is and this is the answer. This is very crucial for us.”
Eliza Coupe: “When we come into it, we have just come from battle, literally, and then we fly into 2017. We don’t fly but whatever we do.”
What surprises your characters about 2017 when you arrive?
Eliza Coupe: “For me, I can’t understand why – because I’m a leader as a woman of the army of the Resistance – and so I have a very hard time understanding what a skirt is, why women have to wear them. It makes no sense. You can’t move in them. I don’t understand it.”
So, you’re playing it serious because the stakes are life and death?
Derek Wilson: “Yeah, and that’s how we found that the comedy works the best. When I showed up on set the first day, I was coming from a different show that I’d been shooting [Preacher]. I wasn’t 100% aware of how much of a comedy this was. It was like, ‘Okay, badass warrior, I’m going to save the world.’”
Eliza Coupe: “Also, Seth (Rogen) and Evan were very adamant and very clear and specific with me about, because I do come from comedy, that we don’t play comedy in this. My character is very on-task, on mission, and it’s not about, ‘Oh, make the jokes.’ It’s not about how many jokes we can fit in one page. It’s more about the plotlines and the story moving it forward. I was so happy about that. That was very welcoming to me.”
Of the different time periods you visited, which one did you like the best?
Eliza Coupe: “I go back to the ‘40s and I love that.”
Derek Wilson: “The ‘80s.”
The ‘80s weren’t that great.
Eliza Coupe: “He makes them great. He has so much fun.”
How much green screens and how much is real sets?
Eliza Coupe: “It’s been real sets, and the sets are unbelievable. Like, incredible.”
Derek Wilson: “Most of the green screen stuff is just for the video game you see a little bit of. They built the most incredible sets I’ve ever seen on a TV show.”
(Interview by Fred Topel. Article by Rebecca Murray.)