Space Force: New Comedy Series–Netflix, May 29–I terview with Creator and Star Steve Carell

Space Force, the new comedy series created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell, is starring Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers and Tawny Newsome.  The series premieres on Netflix on May 29, 2020.

Among other things, the show features the last TV performance by comedian Fred Willard, who died on May 15, 2020.

Netflix's 'Space Force' debuts in May.
Netflix’s ‘Space Force’ debuts May 29.

The workplace comedy centers on a group of people who are tasked with establishing the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Space Force.Carell’s character, Mark Naird, is the general in charge of the effort. The series follows his collaboration to get “boots on the moon” per the orders of the U.S. President.

Genesis of the show

Steve Carell: Netflix, the executives were in a meeting and it was the same day that the real Space Force was announced. And they got to talking and thought that is an interesting idea for a show. But there was no premise. So after the meeting, Blair Fedder, who is one of the main execs at Netflix, called me and said would you be interested in developing this show? So my interest was piqued, I thought it might be a funny idea, I called Greg Daniels, he thought it would be a funny idea, but again, it was based on almost nothing, because we didn’t know what the real Space Force was going to be, we didn’t know what if anything we would be making fun of, we hadn’t talked about what the tone of the show was going to be.  After we signed on and met with Netflix, that’s when we decided on what the tone would be and how we would go about it and who the characters would be and how we craft it. So it didn’t come out of this volatile feeling, this need that we had to express ourselves about Space Force, or the politics involved. It was really about a blank slate, because it hadn’t even been imagined in real life, so we figured we might as well take our shot at it.

Having adversaries in real life

SC: I don’t think I have ever had an adversary quite like that in my life thankfully. I am a fairly low-key person and I tend to turn the other cheek, so I am not, I don’t tend to get up in other people’s faces too much, it would have to be something pretty egregious.

The Monkey in show

SC: I don’t know if I am letting any sort of industry secrets out here, but my partner in this and executive producer Greg Daniels he acted out the monkey. They based all of the monkey’s expressions on, and I am sure you will see it on some DVD extra somewhere down the line. He was the one making all the faces and then they created the monkey stuff. What we saw was very basic animation on our side of the screen. and it took a long time for them to kind of sand off the edges and make it look more realistic.

Celebrating absurdity

SC: I wouldn’t even say the absurdity of Government, it’s just the absurdity of anyone thinking that. And I think the idea behind that was sort of science versus man flight. Like we went to see Space X and a lot of the debate there was, is, are man’s flights for Space X going to be controlled by human beings, or human flight I should say, is it going to be controlled by human beings or is it going to be controlled by remote control? Because even jet fighters now could all be essentially controlled remotely. But my character is an ex-pilot, so I think he is a proponent of that human aspect. And the fact that this monkey is up there, is in his mind the next best thing. And so I think for him it’s more of an arrogance that for him as a human being, that he can have his kind of stand-in save the day.

Lisa Kudrow

SC: I think she’s incredible. I have been a fan of hers for a long time and I have been an admirer of her work. I know in LA she was a member of the improv group “The Groundlings” and I was sort of in the counterpart to that as a Second City member.  In that way we sort of came up through the ranks, on different coasts, but doing the same sort of stuff, doing improv, doing theater, doing musicals, so I felt a connection with her there.  She was the person that we wanted for that part, I never thought in a million years she would do it, but she jumped on board, and we felt very lucky to have her.

Participating in John Krasinski’s Some Good News

SC: I would say just anything uplifting and kind and generous is good, always, not just in these times, I think in all times. It’s nice to have something like that, that can just make people smile and feel good, even for a moment, it sort of breaks through a little bit.  I really commend John for doing that, he is such a genuinely decent person and he asked me to be a part of it and I jumped at the chance.

Fond Movie Memory

SC: One of the first very specific movie memories I have was going with my father to see Gone with the Wind. Obviously it wasn’t a first run, but, and I was a little kid, I could not, I was probably five, six, seven years old, I was very young. And I don’t know why my dad thought to take a little kid to a movie like that, but the experience of it, and I remember the movie, I remember the scale of it, and the excitement, and bits of pieces, the love story was basically lost on me, it wasn’t where my head was at a seven year old. But the scope of it and the cinematography and the colors and the actors and the soundtrack, it was sort of overwhelming and great and exciting.  It was such a great experience, such a shared experience, even as a little kid, it felt like something special. And the fact that I was there with my dad, so it was a special thing that we were sharing, just the two of us, I had three older brothers, he just took me. And so it was kind of cool and a really specific moment that I cherish.