Blunt Talk," but he's also been surrounded by an ensemble of characters who despite their media elite jobs are finding life equally full potential pitfalls.
Enlightened," she of the current "Doll & Em") sat down with Moviefone to offer a tease at the behind-the-scenes dysfunction ahead, even as they admitted their own not-so-successful ability to recognize the real-life news references their characters spout.
Moviefone: There's so much talent involved in this project that I can see why signing on would be an easy yes. But creatively, what was the thing that made you say "I'm going to have fun with this character?"
Timm Sharp: Jonathan let me know very early on that my character was going to have a slew of really complex issues. And I thought that would be so fun to play somebody who had all these issues. You've seen the first four episodes, right? So you only know of two so far. There's more.
Dolly Wells: It's like a treasure hunt. "Hey, I found some of Timm's problems!"
Sharp: A scavenger hunt.
Wells: I was quite jealous of all his issues. I want some more issues. No. I've got issues. Remember that bit where they were asking me to say "iss ues" [leaving out "h" sound in an overly British pronunciation]. But I was trying, but I had issues with saying "iss ues."
Sharp: There was one where the director was like -– it was an American director -– and he was like, "This doesn't sound right. Can you try doing it, just saying 'iss-ues?" And you're like, "Um..."
Wells: And also, not that I'm 15, but you have to be well over 60. It's a generational thing. My mother, you say, "sex-ual" and "iss-ues," but I don't. I couldn't say it.
Sharp: She was saying it through the door.
Wells: I was saying, "We all have iss-ues."
Sharp: And then I said, "Why are you saying issues like that?" Maybe that will be on the DVD. Oh, yeah, it is on the blooper reel.
Wells: Anyway, my answer to that would be, because I haven't lived in America for very long and this is my first American show, I feel like she's actually a very evolved woman in that you can show all her problems and confusions about everything. But you can also have her sleep with a bunch of people or try to find boyfriends on Tinder, but without there being any judgment, like "Oh my God, that's quite weird." But as I say that, I'm seeming quite old because I'm thinking, she does loads of shows probably in England, but America, women are like that. But that's why I found her attractive. She was very intelligent, very successful. I mean, she's a senior producer there, on this great show. That's a very good job to have. She's only one underneath Rosalie [Jacki Weaver]. So she's doing a really important job, and she's necessary. And she's only been doing it for six months. She's moved from England for a year. She used to work at the BBC.
Sharp: I think you play it very well. You play that without the heaviness on the acting. That's just something about you, and you move on.
Anybody would jump at the chance to work with Patrick Stewart. This is Patrick Stewart comedically unleashed in a way we've never seen him before and he's doing brilliantly, so tell me about seeing that happen in front of your face and not just either stop and watch him go -– or kind of lose your mind inside?
Sharp: That was all part of it. The first two weeks, I saw more breasts than I think I've ever seen in my life.
Wells: But also, you feel so lucky. I remember the first day or one of the first days when it was in the porn studio, and Patrick's in that yellow windbreaker or whatever you call it here. Wind-slicker or something you call it here. And I thought, "My God, even if I didn't have a single speaking line, the fact that I'm standing this close to such a fantastic actor, that not only have I heard he's a fantastic actor, but now I'm really seeing up close what a phenomenal actor he is."
Sharp: He's incredible.
Wells: He's really brilliant. And I mean, each take, there's something different. And he's so inclusive and you're such a part of it all. And he's got a little -– not little -- huge, twinkly eyes. All the sort of fun and chaos that's happening, I think he was enjoying as much. He was saying, "I haven't in my whole career done as many ridiculous things as I've done in the last three months." And he'd giggle. But you felt like you were all part of it together. It was exciting watching everybody. It was exciting for me watching Timm, watching Mary, watching Kara, watching Adrian. Because you see everyone's work a little bit. But it's like, wow. Honestly, you feel proud of yourself, like I'm allowed to be a part of it. You feel like you're gate crashing a party.
Sharp: Yeah, we're part of something that's never... I think there's nothing like this show on TV. It's weird in all the great ways, and yeah, I'm honored to be a part of it. And it's fun watching all the Jonathan's neuroses come out through us.
Wells: I know. It's an honor to show them.
The world of news network is so rich for stories. Were you a news junkie before or just watched it casually as most of us do?
Wells: I feel very ashamed to say this, but I'm getting better. But I find it's almost like someone starting to learn Danish later in life or something. I just have always found the news so frightening that I'm not up to date. It made my friends laugh. I mean, of course, I know what's going on sort of, but I'm not someone that's very -– I read the newspapers, and I feel really sad.
Sharp: What's funny about that is I'm the exact same way. I loosely follow what's going on in the world, and we are both playing the senior producer and head writers of this show [laughs]. And we don't know what the hell is going on.
Wells: Like when we were doing that walking along. Do you remember?
Sharp: Oh, yeah.
Wells: And it felt like I was just going "Uh, uh, uh...I didn't know the countries I was speaking about. I mean, it's all sort of laughing and going, "I know nothing about the world." I don't mean that.
Sharp: Yeah, "Timm Sharp and Dolly Wells are idiots."
Wells: "Proud to know nothing about current affairs."
Tell me about the intersection of the two talents, Seth MacFarlane and Jonathan Ames, that make this show uniquely pop?
Sharp: I think Seth MacFarlane is smart, very smart force. And he basically just introduced Patrick and Jonathan and let those two do their thing. Creatively, Seth wasn't as involved as Jonathan and the writing staff.
Wells: But it's almost like his work was done before that. First of all, he's an incredible comedic talent. I mean, I can't believe, like I can't believe he's sticking around. He's really hilarious. But I think and also, there's a humility. I think that's just as creative and exciting. And she's thinking, OK. Patrick Stewart, hilarious, brilliant. I've watched him on "Extras." Wasn't Patrick's voice on "Family Guy?"
Sharp: There's an interview -– I can't remember who he was quoting -– but Seth was like "Somebody great said to me, 'The key to success is to just put all your favorite people together and let them do their thing. And you can reap the rewards,' or whatever. Seth's amazing. And he loved the show.
Wells: He knew to put those together -– to me, that's a creative decision. Or it's even like people that non stop give the best parties or whatever: "Who knows: if I have that person and that person, something exciting is going to happen." It's like a creative party.
Sharp: Seth is an incredible party host for us.