Ken Marino and Casey Wilson Talk ‘Marry Me,’ Chemistry, and Curses

Ken Marino and Casey Wilson Marry Me Interview
Casey Wilson as Annie and Ken Marino as Jake in ‘Marry Me’ (Photo by: Jeff Lipsky / NBC)
NBC’s new comedy series Marry Me teams up Ken Marino (Burning Love, Party Down) and Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) as a couple who’ve been dating for six years and are finally…after many, many missteps, misadventures, and misunderstandings…engaged to be married. The half-hour comedy airs on Tuesday nights at 9pm ET/PT and in support of the hit series, Wilson and Marino took part in a conference call to chat about the show, their characters, and the scripts.

Ken Marino and Casey Wilson Interview:

What do you think about describing the show as ‘cute’? Is that an appropriate term?

Casey Wilson: “I mean I think it is cute. I think it’s also kind of subversive and has some heart. But I guess maybe if you combine those, we get cute. I’ll take it.”

Ken Marino: “That’s right. If subversive and heart ran into each other, they would make a cute baby.”

Casey Wilson: “At the end of the day we’re hoping it’s funny. I think Ken and I and the rest of the cast, I think everyone really does have really great chemistry, which I think is probably why you’re feeling that way. So I think it’s good, yes. I think it has to be the right chemistry and I think we did get lucky on the show.”

Casey, how much of Casey is in Annie and how much of Annie’s in Casey? When you go to work is it like you’re slipping into a costume or are you already that character when you go to work?

Casey Wilson: “I think Annie is a little more upbeat and probably friendlier than I am. No, I think there are definite similarities and I think I’m pretty emotional and I get big ideas and I want to see things through and they’re often wrong-headed ideas. But I feel as though I’m playing a character, but you never know. Maybe I’m not. You’ll never know. Ken, do you want to tell them about your character process?”

Ken Marino: “Sure. I mean I have a whole process. You know, there’s a big difference between me and Jake. I am actually six foot one. I’m 6′ 1″ and Jake is six foot. So every day I have to act an inch shorter on set.”

Casey Wilson: “It’s very expensive to dig those trenches.”

Ken Marino: “Yes. Well sometimes if I act too hard, they’ll get the dailies back and I’ll be 5′ 8″. And then we have to do a whole re-shoot where I have to act less. But, you know, the key to acting is less acting and just reacting. So when I get to the reacting part, I’m usually coming in at six foot.”

Casey Wilson: “And I’ll tell you, these are the kind of pearls that I get showered with all day on set. And it’s really scintillating as everyone on the line can hear.”

What stories from your real life relationships are making it on screen or what can we expect to see?

Casey Wilson: “Well, I’ll tell one on you Ken.”

Ken Marino: “Go ahead.”

Casey Wilson: “Which is that I think it’s more of a runner right now but I’ve heard news that it might turn into more of a full fledged intervention between Annie and Jacob about Jake’s karaoke problem. And that is a problem Ken struggles with.”

Ken Marino: “It’s not a problem.”

Casey Wilson: “You can see that’s the thing. He’s in denial right now.”

Ken Marino: “There’s no problem whatsoever. I enjoy karaoke. I can do it when I want.”

Casey Wilson: “Who does it hurt? Who does it hurt?”

Ken Marino: “It doesn’t [affect the rest of] my life.”

Casey Wilson: “That’s what he thinks. He thinks it doesn’t hurt anyone. But I know a lot of artists who have been hurt be hearing his renditions.”

Ken Marino: “As a matter of fact I just went last night. I’m a little hoarse.”

Casey Wilson: “See? He can’t get up in the morning. He can barely talk the next day. He can’t go to work. It’s a problem.”

Ken Marino: “Look, I’m not going to deny I don’t enjoy a good karaoke like a good four or five hour karaoke session. But who doesn’t?”

Casey, is there anything from your relationships that made it into the show?

Casey Wilson: “I’m trying to think. Well we did have a few episodes ago where my character, or actually Ken’s character, tried to get me to do this thing called the open eye cuddle, which is an intimacy exercise that I learned in acting school that I tried to get my husband to do where you stare about two inches from each other’s face and just stare into each other’s eyes. My husband thought I was insane and refused to do it. It did not go well. It went on about eight seconds. I don’t even think that much. And, if anything, we are less close from that experience.”

Given that you’re both writers and both very funny, how much of this is actually scripted and how much are lines that you come up with?

Ken Marino: “Well I mean David [Caspe] and the room full of writers are amazing and they write great scripts. David will encourage us to improvise off of that a little bit. But I mean a lot of it – probably 95% of it – is scripted I would say. Right, Casey?”

Casey Wilson: “Yes. It’s definitely, you know, collaborative in a sense of if there’s something we want to do, we definitely do it and have fun with it. But the scripts are pretty tight. Ken and I have initiated our own writer’s room with just the two of us that…”

Ken Marino: “We go off…”

Casey Wilson: “I wouldn’t say it’s gone over well.”

Ken Marino: “No, no. They’re not big fans of it. But we mostly use stuff from Bazooka Joe bubblegum wrappers and just kind of try to reinvent those jokes because those are classics and, you know, I think America wants to kind of enjoy the classics. You can’t get enough of it.”

Casey Wilson: “It’s caused, I guess, a rift is the word but it’s okay. We think that the writers [will move] our way by the end.”

Ken Marino: “I mean, who wants to talk to the writers of the show anyway?”

Casey Wilson: “That’s why they’re not on this call. They’ll never be on this call.”

Casey, current female comedians are showing that women don’t have to be perfect to be considered funny or sexy or smart. They’re breaking down barriers, which you are doing as well. That said, do you think your character Annie feels the same way and why do you think she’s so relatable to women?

Casey Wilson: “Well, thank you. I don’t know if Annie feels exactly the same way. I think Annie’s a little more high-strung and kind of self-conscious about how her life should look, and it obviously never works out the way she’s planned. But, you know, I’ve seen a little bit of criticism about especially our opening episode because Annie really wants to get married. But I actually think there’s something a little bit more like [relatable] about it in the sense that this couple’s been together for six years and for a woman who works and kind of does it all, sometimes getting engaged is the one thing you don’t have any control over, which I think can be kind of frustrating. I think it is actually relatable that – and I know a lot of women like this – you want to be in control of the one thing you kind of can’t be in control of in a way. I don’t know if that answers your question but I think Annie is a little bit less so in thinking that everything needs to be perfect. I think she’s does think everything needs to be perfect.”

Will your characters have as long an engagement as you did a courtship?

Ken Marino: “I think the idea is that we’re going to marry sooner than later. Right, Casey? No?”

Casey Wilson: “Yes. I think we’re probably going to get married at the end of the season because I don’t think the show’s going to be about will they, won’t they, really. That’s kind of a spoiler alert. I think we will get married. And the show’s more following this couple and their friendships and I think it’s more about what happens when you are committed to someone than when you are on the fence.”

Ken Marino: “Yes. But then we’ll probably get divorced a number of times and get back together throughout the seasons.”

Casey Wilson: “It’ll be funny though.”

The fourth episode dealt with curses. Do you think that some situations are just cursed or do you think that you after a while things just go wrong because some situations are just like that?

Ken Marino: “I personally don’t believe in curses.”

Casey Wilson: “Some people are cursed.”

Ken Marino: “Yes. I’m going to have to agree with Casey on that. I think some people are really cursed.”

Casey Wilson: “And a lot of animals are cursed too.”

Have you ever gotten a script and there’s some humor in there that isn’t necessarily inappropriate but maybe we haven’t seen on network TV before and that leaves you wondering how you’re going to get away with it on TV?

Ken Marino: “You know, I think that it’s always nice to read a script and see something that you haven’t seen before or something that’s pushing the envelope a little bit. That’s always exciting for me to kind of go in and do that. And then whether or not it’s going to work on TV is kind of out of hands. It’s just an exciting thing to approach and do and then you hope, especially if it’s funny, you hope that it gets on the air. I don’t know if we’ve been pushing the envelope or anything but we’re doing what we want to do on the show and then that stuff is getting out there. I think that’s what makes the show special.”

Casey Wilson: “Yes. There’s obviously so much programming and so many great cable shows that people love and gravitate to to some degree that I think in some way we’re trying to do a show that exists on the line as much as we can, just because I think there’s a reason people love something a little bit edgier. I think in one episode…Ken, I’m thinking of the fertility episode… there was a scene that I think the network had the show [air it] like halfway through the season instead of earlier because it was a little too much. But I think ultimately it’s better to try that and see where we land.”

There have been two recent cancellations of new comedies. Do you feel like comedies have a harder road to success than dramas? How have you felt about the reception that Marry Me has received so far?

Casey Wilson: “I think it’s very hard these days to make any television show, and anyone who’s trying to do anything should be applauded. It’s really hard. I don’t think shows are given enough of a chance. And it’s a bummer because whenever I see anything on TV, and not to be too dramatic, but I think those people worked really hard on that show no matter how you feel about it. So I was bummed.”

Ken Marino: “I think it’s been nice the reception that Marry Me‘s been getting. I feel like people have been responding mostly positive to it and both critically and they’re just fans and people I run up to us on the street – and certainly my mom.”

Casey Wilson: “Ken’s mom loves it.”

Ken Marino: “My mom really loves it and so that’s good. You know, so does my dad. And so it’s nice to see that people are enjoying the show as much as we are enjoying making it.”

-By Rebecca Murray

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