SDCC 2017: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
In case you missed season 1 of BBC America’s wacky, sleek, and mind-bending new show, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, you’re in luck. You have enough time to binge on the show (you’ll want to) before season 2 begins (date to be announced). In the meantime, we caught up with the cast and creators of Dirk Gently at San Diego Comic Con to chat about the show before their debut in the Holy Grail of all rooms at SDCC: Hall H.
— Dirk Gently (@DirkGentlyBBCA) July 23, 2017
When we chatted with Max Landis (show creator) and Robert C. Cooper (executive producer) about the craziness of the show, they agreed that television has been the perfect format for it:
Max: Working with Rob on Dirk has been like the dream of how you would want this be. Where the horrible compromises you have to make have to be with money and time instead of people imposing their ideas on you or just the limits of what can sell. What’s been wonderful about doing this show for me is that it’s really almost been a comic. I remember driving back from Comic Con last year, I was trying to pitch what I wanted second season to be if we got a second season, and it sounded fucking insane….If this was a movie I would have pitched that to them, and they would have been like “yeah yeah sure maybe” but bc we’re in charge, I just kept going “this thing this thing this thing” and it’s in the show! It’s the best!
Robert: And look. There’s also an arc to the characters that you get to play out [on television]. It becomes ultimately more rewarding because you’ve lived with them for so much longer and you feel everything they’re going through hopefully.
The cast all agreed that when they were getting ready for the first season, even they weren’t sure exactly what the show was going to be:
Fiona Dourif (Bart): I felt like the scripts had so much potential because Max is a really smart writer, and, so, I just read it on so many levels. I was like, “Are we going to be able to pull this off? Because I feel like the potential is so high.” I think we did!…I think this is true in television and also in life: you actually never know what’s going to materialize. Everything could be in place, but you don’t know how it will go. I feel like that way going to a party, like, “This is going to be the best night ever,” and then it isn’t. You just never know. But I’m really proud of the show, and you don’t always get that.
Mpho Koaho (Ken): I really echo that same sentiment….you can’t always control enjoying every aspect of the project you’re on. You don’t always like the script; you don’t always like the character arc; you don’t always like who you’re working with. I tell you what: I don’t have any issues on this show. I very much love my cast. I very much have a lot of respect for everyone I work with. There isn’t anyone whose ability I question.
Many echoed the same thing about the show: it is so unique that it goes to unexpected places. That has created a very interesting way to approach their work as actors:
Hannah Marks (Amanda): It’s not like I can compare what we’re doing to something else. So, for me, I’m scared, but in the best way possible. I feel totally exhilarated by it….It’s a little out of my comfort zone as an actor, but what a beautiful thing. I get to explore these things in a safe place.
Jade Eshete (Farah): Yeah, you feel the fear and do it anyway. Things are on the page, and you’re like, “No, there’s no way that actually…Oh. It’s happening!”
Hannah: “I don’t even know what that word is! Oh, you made it up, ok.”
Jade: And there is some freedom in that. Once you actually do it, there’s a whole ‘nother joy and excitement that you get to feel for exploring this other side of yourself.
Elijah Wood (Todd): I think I’m just drawn to things that feel really unique and different and feel fresh and exciting. I love storytelling. We’re in the greatest medium–both film and television–for storytelling. It’s always exciting to jump within the context of storytelling that feels interesting and different and challenging for us as actors.
Samuel Barnett (Dirk Gently): We’re so lucky. Like having Max who actually comes up with original ideas? Like how many original ideas are left? There can’t be that many, and he has a few every day. A few every page. So we feel really lucky to be telling those stories. Also, I feel like the projects that [Elijah is] drawn to, some of them are at the extreme edge of the human spectrum and emotion and experience which is what is important and representative, actually. Like, this show is about characters who struggle and are dysfunctional and feel intense pain and maybe struggle to get out of bed in the morning whilst having to solve a crazy mystery–which makes them heroic.
Want even more Dirk Gently? Check out the full panel here: