Joshua Sasse Interview: ‘Galavant,’ Musicals, and the Dangers of Jousting

Joshua Sasse Interview Galavant Season 1
Joshua Sasse stars in ‘Galavant’ (Photo by Nick Ray © 2014 American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Galavant star Joshua Sasse says he had no idea the ABC series was a musical when he first found out about the project. Fortunately for viewers who’ve embraced Sasse as the sword-wielding hero, Sasse was up to the task of handling composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater’s catchy original songs that populate each half-hour episode. The ABC limited series airs on Sunday evenings and will be finishing up its first – but hopefully not last – season on Sunday, January 25, 2015.

During the 2015 TCA winter press event, I had the chance to chat with Sasse about the show’s humor, the songs, and what it’s like to joust:

Have you been able to get the Galavant theme out of your head after finishing up the series, or did you even want to?

Joshua Sasse: “No, I’ve suffered as much as everybody else has suffered, if not more so. I was lucky because I had to work on them and then work on a new one and then another new one. They’re catchy, but that’s the whole point.

I was told on iTunes a few days ago that they’re in the top 150 worldwide, and there’s one song in the top 100.”

Was it a musical audition? Did they give you their songs to sing or did you have to come in having prepared something else?

Joshua Sasse: “I didn’t know it was a musical when I auditioned. I read the script and I loved it and thought it was really funny, but I didn’t know it was a musical.”

There were no songs in the script?

Joshua Sasse: “It said there may be a musical number, but it was very rough. I went in and I did the audition, I met Dan [Fogelman] and I met the producers and then I left. I thought that went well, it was on the Disney lot and it was cool. And then they called me up and wanted me to come back and said, ‘Can you prepare a song?’ I said, ‘What do you mean?’ They said, ‘Well, Alan Menken wants you to sing a song.’ I laughed and said, ‘What are you talking about? No, I’m not preparing a song!’ I said, ‘Look, this is the truth. I’m not going to prepare a song. I’ll do it a cappella. I’ll sing something a cappella. I’ll come in, I’ll sing any song you want.’ So they gave me a list of five songs.'”

What songs did you do?

Joshua Sasse: “I did a song from Into the Woods and a song from Camelot. The thing is is when I went in, the ABC studios is next to a graveyard – across the road from a graveyard – and I was standing there and I thought I’m so lucky to do what I do what I do first of all, and I just thought life is so transient I just shed my nerves and I just went in and had fun. That was it. Dan came and said, ‘Hey, I’m glad you’re,’ and I said, ‘Do you know what, man? I just want to have fun with this. I just want to have fun with you. Me and Dan got on really well, and that’s just all continued.”

There’s talk of continuing this since it’s going so well.

Joshua Sasse: “We’ve been talking about season two since the middle of season one. We are having ‘semi-conversations.’ Me and Dan, we’ve talked about our ideas and Dan’s talked about where he feels like it should/would/could go. There has been I can’t even tell you how much interest. The amount of people who’ve been saying we want to be a part of the show… Think of some musical legends, that’s all that I can say. And I mean musical legends. Living legends. Seriously, I couldn’t believe it. A couple of names came up and I was just like, ‘Wow!’ It’s amazing that like Ricky [Gervais] and Hugh [Bonneville] and Al [Yankovic] wanted to be a part of the show. A lot of others said they did and we couldn’t fit them in. I’m psyched.”

Narrow it down – British musical legends?

Joshua Sasse: “American.”

Was the style of humor easy for you to grasp right away?

Joshua Sasse: “Well, I think the style of humor on the show is sort of my style of humor. Because when they were casting for the part, however goofy he is wasn’t meant to be goofy. It’s whatever my style of comedy is – I don’t know what to call it. English sarcasm is English sarcasm, but that’s why the casting process was so important because my style of humor on its own isn’t enough. It had to balance with Tim [Omundson’s] because they’re two different worlds. So me and Tim were living together while we were filming and we’d talk about how dry we would go with this scene and how slapstick we would go with another, or how sarcastic. We sort of parlayed between the two.”

Did you have to learn horseback riding and jousting?

Joshua Sasse: “I’ve been riding since I was a kid. Jousting, if you put the time in, as long as you’ve got upper body strength you’re okay.”

And he didn’t have to be good at it.

Joshua Sasse: “The funny thing was is that for that scene I didn’t, but the training that went into it I was up at 4 in the morning with it. Those things are heavy as hell. They’re like 60 pounds and you’re charging along with that in one arm while holding a horse with the other. It’s hard because if you drop the joust, if that drops into the ground while you’re on a horse it will flip you. It will take the legs out from under you and it’ll flip you and your head will hit the horse’s neck and you’ll tumble underneath the horse. It’s not a joke.”

Did you do your own stunt riding?

Joshua Sasse: “I did.”

– By Fred Topel

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