We’re getting loads of requests about the genius that is John Barrowman; how we got him, what Goodnight Burbank is about, and when will it be available outside the US. So how about a quick blog to answer some of those queries?
First off, let’s briefly describe what the show is about. Goodnight Burbank is a look at the newscasters who bring us the news – only while they’re bringing it. Imagine what your anchors are saying when they’ve thrown to a package and they’re “off-air” – and you’re halfway there – as the show takes place in real time during a fictional half-hour newscast. Sort of like 24 only…well, I guess you could call it 30 and funny. It stars Laura Silverman (the most amazing comic actress ever) who plays a very nasty person but who’s a little broken inside so make of her what you will. It’s also the first ever half-hour comedy made for the web and Hulu are distributing the first 6 episodes. And for everyone outside the US who’ve been asking, it will be made available in other countries and on DVD so keep your hats on – just subscribe to the mailing list on the front page and you’ll be the first to learn when!
Okay, on to the next question. How did we get Mr. B?! Well this was a simple one; all we did was ask his very lovely agent. It was an unusual request to be sure; Would John appear as himself being interviewed by someone with Asperger’s Syndrome and then say outrageous things about Dr. Who and Torchwood? I was over the moon when the word came back; “yes.” Maybe we should define what Asperger’s is, in case you don’t know. From Wikipedia (Asperger Syndrome) : “Asperger’s is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.” And a part of that means the person with Asperger’s is a lot more honest than other people because their ability for social interaction is impaired.
If you’ve ever watched an entertainment news program, you’ll know how crawly-bum-lick entertainment reporters can be – they ask all the “careful” questions and never rock the boat because they want the studio to keep giving them access to the stars. Well Goodnight Burbank’s entertainment reporter, Elizabeth Chivers (played amazingly by the uber-talented Miracle Laurie whom you’ll recognize from Dollhouse), has Asperger’s and as such doesn’t have a filter. And poor John doesn’t know that and mistakes it for honesty and, tired of sycophantic reporters, gets real honest back.
So now he’s said yes to the script, there’s the teensy-tiny problem of how to shoot him. You see, we’re over here in LA and – at the time – John was in London. Next stop Facebook.
Via FB, I reached out to a British director friend in London and asked if he knew anyone who could shoot and direct John from over there. Within minutes I was introduced to the brilliant Henry Dalton who does some of his own very funny videos for the BBC. Within a month or so, Henry and his team met John at a small apartment in West London and boom – just like that it was all done. I’ve asked Henry to put something together about what the shoot itself was like as I was sleeping at the time (With the time difference, it was 2am LA time!). But I do know they shot in a tiny apartment and separately went and shot London Bridge as a background.
We got the footage a week later and I was absolutely blown away with the enthusiasm and passion John brought to the project. We hadn’t even shot any of the actual show yet but I remember walking (I like to walk) and thinking “I can’t believe this. When people see this their mouths will be on the floor!” I felt very special.
We teased John in Ep4 with a very small bit that he completely improvised himself (next loveliest John Barrowman surprise I had; how brilliant he is at comedy and improvisation). But it’s Ep6 that the full interview unfurls – and hearing him talk about Dr. Who and Torchwood in a way you’ve NEVER heard before is going to rock fandom.
We had to edit down the interview by a couple of minutes but once we get a DVD out, we’ll include the full interview AND some fun out-takes! Again, the best way for you to find out where and when you can get all that stuff, sign up to the mailing list and our twitter account, @goodniteburbank
Just leave any other questions below and we’ll answer them here!