Seated next to his onscreen love interest Kristen Schaal, Fox’s The Last Man on Earth series creator/writer/executive producer/actor/all around pretty cool guy Will Forte kicked off our roundtable interview at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con by joking that for season three he’ll be doing interviews while wearing shades. He was also sporting more hair than when we last saw his character, Phil ‘Tandy’ Miller, at the end of season two. However, the hair won’t be sticking around for much longer.
“We have to shave it off again in a couple of weeks – and the eyebrows,” said Forte, somewhat regretfully.
Season two ended with the very real possibility that Phil’s brother, Mike (played by Jason Sudeikis), has died as a result of the virus. Asked if there’s any possibility Sudeikis will reprise his role ever again, Forte replied, “Never say never on anything. We like to keep our options open, but it was a very, I thought, fitting ending to that story so it would have to be a really good reason to mess with that. It seemed like a good ending point. But, you know, Jason Sudeikis – he’s just awesome and we had so much fun. He’s just amazing so…”
“So we don’t want him back,” interjected Schaal.
“We did not see him actually die. We assume that he’s dead,” said Forte. “But, you know what your high school wrestling coach tells you about assuming.”
Forte says the process of coming up with scripts involves batting around ideas in the writers room. “It always leads to somebody coming up with something good,” explained Forte. “It’s usually pretty obvious what the good ideas are because you’re throwing around so many bad ones all day. It’s just trial and error. You usually know when it’s worth trying out because you go, ‘Wait a second, that’s all right.'”
“I’ll think in little dialogue chunks and then stuff will come from there, at least with me,” said Forte. “Everyone kind of has their own process. How do you think of stuff?”
“I guess I’m more visual. I try to see it. I see it first in my head,” answered Schaal, adding that she was told to think in set pieces. “It’s really hard, you know? In your favorite movies there’s these key moments and these set pieces. Meet the Fockers there’s a cigarette on the roof and the cat, and that was a set piece and it leads to another set piece.”
Will we be seeing any surprise guests in season three that will help push the story forward? “Well, the end of season two there are three people in hazmat suits coming towards us with guns. We know who one of the people is in a hazmat suit. We know who one of the other ones is. We still don’t know who the third one is, but I’m very excited about the one that we do know. Obviously I’m not going to tell you who this man or woman is, but it’s very fun. We’re very excited. Other than that, we’re still charting the course for the season. We don’t like to get too comfortable in one situation. There could be a change of scenery. A lot of fun ideas though. We also have some ideas that are kind of like the season two appendicitis situation where things got pretty serious and we kind of had to deal with the more serious part of what it would be like to live in this scenario. We have something that’s quite different than that but in the same territory of a little more on the dramatic side, approaching it from a more real point of view.”
“The story will be moved,” added Schaal.
When asked if there are any little moments in the show that really say a lot about their characters, Forte replied, “We haven’t done it for so long because we were done with it for so long. I can’t think of it.”
“I think there are nice little moments when Carol and Tandy are starting to sort of copy each other. Like, she wants to say, ‘Boom,’ now and try to make jokes,” answered Schaal. “She’s trying to adopt a sense of humor, which is really nice.”
“It’s really fun getting to know everybody so well because then when you’re together doing a scene, you can bring in these… Like, she’s the improv queen and you just bring in these elements that weren’t even in the script. They just organically come from being with each other for so long. I think there are a lot of those moments,” said Forte. “I mean, we plan for a lot of those moments and some just kind of come out of the relationships that we all have and the trust that we have in each other.”
For more with Forte and Schaal, including their riffs between questions, watch our interview video from Comic Con: