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This fall, FOX will be returning to some old guns to bring them a hit show, the creator and star of the critically acclaimed series “Arrested Development”. Mitch Hurwitz (creator) and Will Arnett (actor) are teaming up to bring us RUNNING WILDE, a romantic comedy about an obnoxious, wealthy and immature playboy and his attempts to woo the only thing he can’t buy, Emmy Kadubic (Keri Russel), his childhood sweetheart. 

Will Arnett & Keri Russell

Throughout his entire life Steve has never performed a selfless act, primarily because he didn’t need to. He is the spoiled son of an oil tycoon. Emmy, at the other end of the spectrum, is an earnest humanitarian who, at the show’s beginning, has just spent six years living with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon. The only reason she knows Steve is because she is the daughter of the former Wilde housekeeper. 

The plot arises when Wilde Oil’s expansion threatens the tribe Emmy has lived with.  She returns to convince Steve that he shouldn’t allow his company to drill in the Amazon. Yet, questions arise as to whether or not she has other motives in returning to see him. Her request, however, puts Wilde between a rock and a hard place.  Does he bite the hand that feeds him and possibly win the girl he loves? Or does he go forth in amassing even more wealth?

Dish had the opportunity, recently, to sit in with the cast and creators of RUNNING WILDE and hear what they think about the show. What we found was that they’re quite serious about being funny.

Golden Globe winner, Keri Russell, spoke about her motivation for taking on the role of Emmy.

Keri_Russell

“I just wanted to be interested, and it was interesting to me. I’ve been reading a lot of film and scripts that just—they were kind of more of the same, and the type of movies I really did want to make weren’t being green-lit, and this came my way, and it was just too good to pass up. And then I flew out and met these guys, and they were so wonderful. It was fresh and exciting, and I thought I’d try it.”

Russell, who is known to play more serious roles, is an interesting choice for a show that the producers tout as a romantic comedy. Hurwitz defends the decision, however.

“I think one of the things we’re trying to do is have the characters take themselves seriously, and in away, I think people who identify themselves as funny people sometimes do that the worst. When we found Will Arnett, he was coming from a dramatic play. I mean, he’s a true actor.”

Arnett, who added a consistent barrage of funny commentary to the discussion, revealed this seemingly elusive serious side at times. Particularly when the question of whether or not Steven and Emmy will be more complex than stock characters.  “We didn’t want them to be two-dimensional characters who were just—standing for one thing. We wanted them to kind of both have sides to them.”

Running Wilde on Horseback

One of the more interesting aspects of RUNNING WILDE is that it is narrated through the view point of Emmy’s twelve year old daughter, Puddle, who is played by young actress Stefania Owen.  She acts as the voice of reason in the show, amongst adults whose maturity is in question. But, as she explains, that is a fitting role for her.

“Well, in Running Wild, everyone is kind of like children, and I’m the one that kind of gets them to—I’m sort of the mature one, and everyone else is stupid and immature.”  In real life she, “can be stupid, too. But sometimes if—if it’s like serious, then I am mature. And it depends.”

It is this supposed maturity amidst immaturity that brings her and Steve close on the show.

“They’re both raised in very protected environments and kind of secluded,” Arnett added. “They are

Keri Russell and Will Arnett

 very similar. I think there’s a real connection between Steve and Puddle that’s made pretty instantly. They are definitely the most alike of the characters.”

The question that seemed to pervade the entire conversation, however, is how RUNNING WILDE is going to compare with Hurwitz and Arnett’s first show “Arrested Development”, which was critically acclaimed, but lacked an audience. Hurwitz had no problem answering this.

“I think there is—there’s a burden associated with ‘Arrested Development’ that it’s a—what’s the phrase when it’s a high class problem to have? You know, we’re glad to be working. We’re glad to be trying to do something that appeals to a wider audience. I think if we can make that move, if we can get a big audience interested in the show, more and more of our subversion, hopefully, will be able to come out…when we have Will Arnett playing opposite Keri Russell, it asks of us something that ‘Arrested Development’ didn’t. And that’s a great, exciting challenge…It’s not exactly ‘Arrested Development’, but it’s a show that we’re excited about and I think is going to be very appealing, but very different.”

RUNNING WILDE Premieres Tuesday, September 21st at 9:30/8:30c on FOX.

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 114 - September 2018
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