After watching the end of its first season, fans of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency know that the show is going to be quite a different experience in season 2, and at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, Daily Dead took part in roundtable interviews to look ahead at the future of the series and also reflect on season 1 with co-stars Fiona Dourif and Mpho Koaho, as well as executive producers Robert Cooper and Max Landis.
How did you go about taking something like Dirk, [from] Douglas Adams, which to me feels quintessentially British, and then making it something that will work on BBC America and all around the world?
Robert Cooper: Most of the directors of season 2 are British—all are from the UK but one. There's a sensibility to the show, and I think that's to a certain extent what gives the show a little bit of a bend to it, that when American audiences watch it, they feel like, "Oh, that's something different, or new, or something that I haven't really felt or seen before." There's a rhythm to it, there's a mix of comedy and thriller and violence. The tone is so unique and special that it feels like it draws more from the British sensibility.
Max Landis: We try to weave in the Adamsian [Douglas Adams] sort of absurdism, so that the scenes themselves feel like individual scenes. They don't feel like steps on a fu**ing staircase to the end of the episode, so that you can't really tell where anything is going. The goal for any individual episode of Dirk Gently is for you to be like, "Oh, and now we're doing this? Okay they're going there, and now they're here? How did this–wait, when did we end up at the bottom of this well?"
Robert Cooper: Max just did a really good impression of me in the writer's room.
Max Landis: That was more Matt Goldman. No, wait, here's Matt Goldman: "It's just the British sensibility of it comes from the absurdism, comes from the British directors, and comes from the fact that there's a deliberate effort to make it feel like a Douglas Adams thing. And the Douglas Adams thing will be sitting still and not moving at all, and then 30 weird things will happen and then it will go back to sitting still. And there aren't many other things that look like that."
Robert Cooper: Yeah, that's a good analogy. When I watch the season, sometimes I'm thinking, "Well, how did this happen? What's going on here?"
Max Landis: And yet, if you follow it back...
Robert Cooper: Everything is connected. So, it was a great reveal at the end of the season, and very rewarding to watch.
You're adding Alan [Tudyk] and Tyler [Labine] to your cast. What do they bring to the series, what attracted to you to add those actors specifically?
Max Landis: Every character who's been added this season, and keep in mind we got rid of our entire supporting cast in the first season [and there] is an entirely new supporting cast because it's a new case. Every character this season I designed and is by design created to bring out stuff and tones and feelings and colors that were not present in the first season, and to show different sides of our existing characters, to show different sides of our existing word. When you have actors like Alan and Tyler, Izzie, everyone we added. Alec, John Hannah, Amanda Walsh–I can't talk about her character, though. The brilliant Amanda Walsh. You get into this world where it just adds so much richness and depth to what's happening.
Robert Cooper: There's also a little fun thing that goes on where a lot of the characters are actually echoes of characters from season 1, and there are actually little, I was going to say Easter egg plays on things that happened on season 1. So fans of season 1 will be like, “Hey, that kind of happened before!”
Can you talk a little bit about how far ahead you’ve planned for this series? Elijah had mentioned there are things shown in season 1 that might not come into play until season 3. Can we expect threads like that to keep surfacing?
Max Landis: I have three right now. With a loose four if I get lucky. But, you know, in season 1 it was funny, because I remember it was kind of an uphill battle where I was like, "Oh, and we've got to put this in there, too. And then, a few things in season 1 that were like, "What does that mean, that doesn't seem connected to anything?" is all shed in this season.
Robert Cooper: What was the new struggle this time around? Makeup?
Max Landis: The new struggle this time around is doing one of the most ambitious, diverse–yeah, we're creating new characters, non-human characters. You know, that just takes a tremendous amount of time and it's intricate and the design of those and then getting them on set, they're old-fashioned problems.
You had a number of iconic scenes in season 1, in particular the hotel bathtub stood out to me. The emotion on your face told so much as if you had actually been stabbed. What was it like to shoot that scene?
Fiona Dourif: You know, it was just kind of fun. It's honestly easier and better if I'm just relaxed and having fun with it. Bart gets to be petulant, and it's nice being a woman in her 30s getting to be a petulant killer. So, we just had fun. It's not really an answer, but the more fun I had, the more I liked the material when I watch it. I notice that.
Mpho Koaho: Remember episode 3? I was not happy. Hey man, I wasn't even worried about my four and a half pack. I was sexy as–it was cold. It wasn't right. I'm not going to say that. It was the best. Outside of that, everything else was doable. When I knew I was going to be tied to a tree, I was like, what? With no pants on? It takes a moment, but that whole scene was fun. I can remember wanting to play certain things in that scene that I don't normally get the opportunity to play. I'm not doing comedy. I don't get to do comedy a lot. You've got, like, ten years of "I'm going to do this the first time I do a comedy" stored up. I used a lot of that in that scene.
I think everything is going to be interesting going forth. The levels go up for sure. We are not going backwards in terms of character, excitement related to any character in this. Who ends us with who remains to be seen, but Ken grows up a lot this season. It's fun to do that. You're going to like it a lot.
How has fan reaction and support been for you towards the characters and the show?
Fiona Dourif: My social media blew up with cosplay with Bart. It's really fun. It's not about me. It's about this fun, crazy, dirty character. I love them.
Mpho Koaho: The fan art is amazing. They're dedicated. The devotion specifically with her character just seeing that response and the reaction is really positive. Everybody's been so positive reacting to the both of us together, and that's pretty special, too. You just hope people like it. You hope people like it.
What do you think is driving your characters now as they have moved closer towards being friends?
Mpho Koaho: What's driving Ken? I think continuing to say, can I say, grow a pair? I think Bart has really influenced Ken becoming a man, seriously. Ken might have still been a frat guy, or 18 in his head. Then he meets Bart, and it's like hair on the chest, start shaving overnight. Seriously, she really thrust him into not being a scaredy cat anymore, not being this hermit. Go out into the world. There's a world. Don't be scared all the time. Look at how scared Ken is for the first chunk. She allows him to grow past that and to get past it.
Fiona Dourif: I don't think that I'm trying to be addressed like a person, it's more like it's much more fun to be with people than alone. Ken taught me, and I'm after that now. I think that's the deal. Bart has lived on this planet her whole life, it's just that I'm just focused on one thing. I'm not paying attention to whatever the hell you guys are doing. If you don't pay attention to it, it makes no sense. It's just more fun to have a friend than to not have a friend. That was what I learned.
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