Rob McElhenney co-created and stars in Mythic Quest—the Apple TV+ comedy collection set within the dysfunctional office of a fictional gaming firm, taking part in the visionary, if narcissistic, concept man behind the titular online roleplaying recreation. When he isn’t making hit reveals like MQ or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, McElhenney is busy elevating two sons with spouse Kaitlin Olson, his Sunny co-star. And he not too long ago took a aspect job—shopping for a Welsh soccer membership together with his pal Ryan Reynolds. FX simply introduced plans to air a docuseries on McElhenney and Reynolds’s soccer enterprise.
DEADLINE: Congratulations on the documentary collection. That sounds thrilling. So, you’re going to have cameras in your face much more than normal. I assume.
Rob McElhenney Says He Had To
ROB MCELHENNEY: We have already got. We’ve been taking pictures for about three months. It’s so uncomfortable to have cameras round. I don’t have any proper now, which I’m grateful for. The doc crews inform me, “What? You’re an actor. You should be used to it.” And I’m simply not. There’s such a giant distinction between strolling onto a stage and realizing the place the digital camera is always and in addition realizing I’ve management over what goes into the present. And this one, I won’t. So, it’s a bit of bit disconcerting, that’s for positive.
DEADLINE: Do you’re feeling such as you’ve in some way slipped into an episode of Ted Lasso?
MCELHENNEY: Oh, good lord… We have our personal factor occurring.
DEADLINE: Mythic Quest is a really humorous and fast-paced present, after which you possibly can hit with episodes which can be surprisingly poignant and that plumb fascinating depths.
MCELHENNEY: That’s what’s been a lot enjoyable for me personally, as a result of I’ve been doing the identical present for a very long time [It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia]. And it’s a present I really like doing, and it’s a present that has a really particular tone. And we play with it a bit of bit right here and there. But there are simply sure issues which can be anathema to an episode of Sunny that we actually dive head first into on Mythic Quest. And I feel the central motive for that’s as a result of we’re creating actual human beings. Whereas within the different present [Sunny], these characters are usually not really actual human beings. And in the event that they had been, they shouldn’t have a tv present made about them. They’re primarily sketches of the id. They’re animated characters, live-action cartoon characters, the best way we take into consideration them. Whereas in Mythic Quest, we needed to current actual human beings and their trials and tribulations, definitely via the prism of a comedy, however nonetheless one thing that resonated as wholly human and true to the human situation.
DEADLINE: You’re not essentially a giant gamer your self, I perceive. What about that world captured you as one thing to mine as a office comedy?
MCELHENNEY: I spotted having toured the studios of [gaming company] Ubisoft in Montreal it’s just about like a tv present. It simply jogged my memory a lot of the expertise that I’ve been residing via for the final 15 years, and I simply knew I had quite a lot of expertise within the discipline, and I might draw from that. There are simply so many similarities, individuals all caught collectively from completely different departments, all working for a standard aim. And every one in every of them recognizing that on this collaboration, that each shifting half was really vital. And that’s true in tv, and that’s true within the gaming business. And I assumed there’s simply a lot comedy that may be mined from these character dynamics. And then additionally I feel there’s simply quite a lot of pathos, as a result of everyone is actually keen about what they’re attempting to do, they usually really love what they’re making, whereas on the identical time they’re in all probability sacrificing one thing of their private life to take action. And I assumed, “Wow, that just seems like a really rich environment for a comedy.”
DEADLINE: You have two younger sons. I’m going to take a wild guess that they’re into gaming.
MCELHENNEY: They are, sure. I’m wondering if there’s a human being below the age of 10 who’s been uncovered to the video games who isn’t into video video games. It’s one thing that they get pleasure from and it’s one thing I get pleasure from doing with them, in order that’s been quite a lot of enjoyable.
DEADLINE: Do they offer you notes on the collection then?
MCELHENNEY: I’ll solely permit them to observe components of episodes. Certainly, they’ve by no means seen Sunny. Well, that’s not true. They’ve seen components of Sunny as nicely. They’re very a lot conscious of Sunny, however I’ll by no means allow them to watch a whole episode on the ages that they’re at proper now. But Mythic Quest is extra of a family-friendly present, so I’m capable of present them giant sequences of Mythic Quest. I feel they’ve seen a few episodes right through.
DEADLINE: One Mythic Quest actor that stands out due to his lengthy profession and Oscar pedigree is F. Murray Abraham. In season 2 you bought two extra Oscar winners to affix you, Anthony Hopkins and William Hurt. How had been you ready initially to get F. Murray to return aboard?
MCELHENNEY: Well, look, what I find out about actors, being one myself, is that in case you ship them good materials, they reply. We had been very pleased with that first episode once we despatched it to Murray, and we’re definitely pleased with any of the scripts that we write. So once I ship it to a fellow actor, no matter what number of awards they’ve received, I’m a minimum of fairly assured that we’ve accomplished an excellent job in conveying the story we’d prefer to convey. And it won’t line up with what they’re serious about doing, however that we’ve accomplished our finish. And then we make them a suggestion they will’t refuse.
In the primary season, Murray simply crushes. I imply, he is available in, and he kills each scene comedically. But once we approached the second season we thought, Well, it’s sort of a waste to have an actor of his pedigree and skill and never get into what makes him tick, what makes this character tick, particularly somebody that’s clearly as problematic as “C.W. Longbottom” is. That’s why we wrote these collection of episodes this yr, beginning with Backstory after which Peter, which is that we needed to inform the story of C.W. as a younger man and as an older man. And we needed Murray to shine, which he does.
DEADLINE: How a lot strain are you getting from followers for Charlie Day—one of many co-creators of Mythic Quest and your co-star on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia—to point out up in an episode?
MCELHENNEY: We’ve heard it, and we’ve mentioned it, in order that’s all I’ll say on the matter. But I shall be seeing Mr. Day tomorrow. And then I’ll see him once more on Monday for our first day again within the writers’ room on Sunny.
DEADLINE: So, you might be shifting ahead with the fifteenth season of Sunny.
MCELHENNEY: Yep. We begin on Monday, within the room, and I simply can’t wait. I miss these individuals dearly.
DEADLINE: Hopefully, a minimum of one in every of them you do get to see once in a while, Kaitlin Olson.
MCELHENNEY: The lady? Yes.
DEADLINE: Yes, the girl.
MCELHENNEY: My pretty partner. I see her each single day, and I couldn’t be happier. I imply, really, she and I’ve been working collectively since day one. And I simply couldn’t think about a greater state of affairs, a greater situation, a greater companion via all of this, as a result of she’s the one for me.
DEADLINE: I don’t assume you or Kaitlin get sufficient credit score in your comedic expertise, since you make it look really easy. For Mythic Quest, how did you create your character to have the ability to play it so naturally?
MCELHENNEY: We needed to create complicated human beings that aren’t all good nor all dangerous. I really feel like these are probably the most fascinating characters to put in writing and are probably the most fascinating characters to play, as a result of they’re true to being a human being… We need the characters to be individuals that you simply’re rooting for, or rooting in opposition to, or that characterize one thing to you, and but additionally really feel as if you may acknowledge one thing of your self in them, perhaps your greatest attributes, perhaps your worst attributes, however they felt as if they resonated as genuine human beings.
“Poppy Li” [played by Australian actress Charlotte Nicdao] is a personality you actually root for. And but we additionally wish to current that she’s not at all times such an ideal boss. In reality, she actually struggles with the challenges of being a boss. And we wish to current her as a model of an actual individual fighting that. And generally that’s going to return throughout as nuanced or perhaps not so in your face. And we hope the viewers goes to select up on that, they usually clearly have.
DEADLINE: On the collection, Charlotte speaks in her Australian accent. I feel most producers of reveals can be like, “All right, now, Australian actress, put on your American accent, and this is the role and fit into it.” But you actually modified the position to swimsuit the actor.
MCELHENNEY: We’ve accomplished that quite a lot of instances, as a result of I’ve simply realized that lesson time and again. If you discover a mega-talent like that, you possibly can’t shoehorn them into one thing that you simply had envisioned three months earlier once you had been writing the script. If any person like that walks into the audition room and you’ll simply really feel it, you possibly can really feel the chemistry, you possibly can really feel that she’s destined for one thing. And you wish to harness that, and also you don’t wish to change it. I don’t wish to change her. I don’t wish to transmute what she will do into one thing that holds her again. So we labored along with each other to seek out what that character is, and we proceed to discover it to this present day. Hopefully, we’ll hold doing it.
DEADLINE: On the present we get to see your buff bod quite a lot of instances. How troublesome is it to take care of your bodily health so you possibly can look your greatest, so to talk?
MCELHENNEY: It undoubtedly works with the character and that’s a very powerful a part of it… However, I’ll say, I do have the additional advantage of feeling good. People ask me, “When do you fit in the workouts?” I’ll exit of my manner to determine a time during which I can work out as a result of it provides me added quantities of power and helps me sleep at night time and helps me take care of stress and nervousness. And I discover that once I don’t exercise, or if I eat horrible meals that, large shock, I really feel horrible. And then I’m wondering why I really feel horrible. And I have a look at what I put into my physique. And I’m in no way a saint in the case of meals. I prefer to drink alcohol, and I’ll have a glass of bourbon each night time. And but I feel I can work quite a lot of that stuff off as a result of I’m capable of train 4 or 5 instances every week.
DEADLINE: Mythic Quest is all about backstory. You talked about the episode the place we study in regards to the origins of F. Murray Abraham’s character. There’s even an episode in regards to the backstory of the constructing the place you all work. I needed to ask about your individual backstory. You tweeted a video your two mothers did for GLAAD that launched round Mother’s Day, speaking about their love story. I used to be inquisitive about your response to your mothers doing that.
MCELHENNEY: Aren’t they cute?
DEADLINE: They’re pretty.
MCELHENNEY: That video, it was actually emotionally impactful for me, that’s for positive. Because in fact I do know their story—I lived it with them, or a minimum of one facet of it with them, however solely seeing it via my very own perspective. And no matter how a lot I requested them about it or we speak about it, it’s nonetheless exhausting for me to really perceive the challenges that they confronted. And, in fact, I’ve an amazing quantity of empathy and compassion for what they needed to undergo, however I can’t really perceive or really feel what that should’ve felt like. So any alternative that I get to rejoice them and their love for one another and their love for his or her household I attempt to reap the benefits of.
DEADLINE: There are a bunch of key roles for ladies on Mythic Quest, and the present will get into the challenges dealing with girls who work within the gaming business. Does your expertise being raised by two mothers make you extra delicate to those points than maybe a typical man is perhaps?
MCELHENNEY: Possibly. It’s exhausting to say as a result of I solely know one expertise, and that’s the one which I had rising up. Certainly, it formed me into the individual I’m and quite a lot of the choices that I make. I don’t know if I can level to it straight. I can say that what we attempt to do is to current an genuine expertise and to be sure that we’re presenting the gaming business in an sincere gentle. And all of the issues that we’re speaking about on the present and all of the issues we’re exploring are what individuals are exploring within the gaming business. So something that you simply see within the present is unquestionably a product of that, in the beginning.