Fans of Parks and Recreation have been looking forward to the "Wedding of the Millennium" ever since the moment that Ben Wyatt first locked eyes with Leslie Knope. Amy Poehler and Adam Scott's on-screen chemistry is undeniable, so when they and Mike Schur (Parks & Rec's creator, writer, producer and director) took a media call on Wednesday to talk about the upcoming nuptials, it should come as no surprise that the trio's rapport was just as charming. Below are the highlights.
On the big event
Mike Schur: Part of the fun of the episode is that the wedding was originally planned for May and at this black tie gala that happened in last week's episode, they decide to do it that night, so they basically have two hours to throw it together. So everybody kind of has a role to play. Tom Haverford becomes the officiant and has to get like ordained online in like an hour and Donna plays a role in that, for the first time, we are going to feature her beautiful and professionally trained singing voice on the show. We let her pick which aria she wanted to perform, so that was fun.
Adam Scott: I don't think anyone will be unsatisfied looking for a good wedding episode of a television show.
Amy Poehler: Get ready to bawl your eyes out... and if you cried at the end of that first episode, just that little moment, shit, you're going to cry your ass off.
On the evolution of Lesliben
Schur: Well, certainly the plan was always that this was a love interest and a long-term love interest. And our initial idea for Leslie was that she was going to have a series of relationships with different kinds men over the course of the show and that she would sort of learn something different from each of them; she learned a little something from Mark Brendanawicz, she learned something for Louis C.K.'s character, she learned something from Justin Theroux. And we werelike, "Oh, Adam Scott, that's good. She'll date him for a while and she'll learn something about herself from him."
It was certainly the plan to have him be a love interest and what happened very quickly was [that] in that "Master Plan" episode, they have a conversation in a bar. And I wrote this thing into where Ben says to her very casually, "Like you want to run for office someday, right?" and she says, "Yes, how did you know?" He just sort of blows past it, and the idea was like he's just kind of got her number... he just kind of gets her, he understands her and who she is and what her goals are.
And in the second episode that we had -- which was the finale that year -- called "Freddy Spaghetti," they have a conversation and Leslie smiled at him and walks off and there's a shot of Adam looking after Leslie with a smile on his face. And as soon as I saw that, I kind of realized that not only were they going to get together, but they were never going to break up, like it became very clear in that moment that this was it.
So it was certainly the plan early on and then that plan was solidified as soon as Adam showed up and started acting -- which by the way, for the record, I think you're very good, Adam. I think you're a very good actor.
Schur: Don't you agree, Amy? I think he's quite good.
Scott: Amy, you hesitated just then. I'd like to ask about that.
Poehler: I didn't. And no, it was a problem with the phone.
Scott: I know for a fact it's a brand new phone and you have excellent reception.
Poehler: Well, I just wanted to kind of condense and emulsify what Schur just said. I just want say: it's chemistry, baby! You can't fight it!
Scott: Hey, good emulsification. That was a great -- a really high-quality emulsification on your part. You really emulsified what Mike just said.
On upcoming guest stars
Schur: We're lucky now because I think we're established enough, and enough amazing, funny people have guested on the show that we're in the position where we can write a part -- a juicy part -- like [Matt Walsh's character in "Emergency Response"] and go, "All right, who should play this? Oh -- Walsh. Walsh is perfect." And then someone calls him and says, "Hey, come do the show," and if people are free and they want to do it, they just kind of come by. It's a very streamlined process.
We wrote a part recently for an episode we just finished shooting, and we were sort of like, "Well, who should do this? Oh, Patton Oswalt. The answer is Patton Oswalt." And literally, just one of our writers, Joe Mande, has opened for him a lot doing stand-up and he literally just e-mailed him and Patton was like, "Yes, definitely, I'm in." And that's as hard as it was to convince him -- which was great because he's a fan of the show. And he just came and did the part and he was so, so, so, so funny.
Poehler: And Charlize Theron plays my stand-in, and I feel like not enough people know about that.
Scott: It's weird that we've never asked her to play a role on the show.
Poehler: I'd rather not.
Scott: She doesn't want to. She actively doesn't want to. We've asked her. She just loves being a stand-in.
Poehler: She's such a professional.
Scott: She's committed to it.
Scott: I feel like Ben was betrayed by calzones -- but as you know when you're betrayed there's a period of shame and then there's always forgiveness. I don't want to predict anything or spoil anything. But I know that forgiveness is something that's always possibility.
Poehler: I'd like to just point out that Ben is so codependent about his calzones that he often puts his calzones before his work and his friends and his family. And a lot of people are worried. Yes, it's like, enough's enough. How many times does a calzone have to disappoint you before you let it go? Like, stop worrying about the calzone's feelings and like just live your life, man.
Schur: I would only add and emulsify to what Amy has said by saying that I think that Leslie and Ben's bond is so strong and they're so right for each other, that I don't think any other man or woman could ever cause any irreparable harm in their marriage. But I do think that what could is the calzone issue. I think that it's possible down the line that that could be a wedge that comes -- that drives them apart. I don't know. I mean, this is all speculation. But it's the two things that Ben cares about most in the world and feels the most intensely about are Leslie and pizza wrapped in pastry dough.
Scott: If I could just further emulsify what Mike just said... I would just say that speaking from the point of view as the actor that plays Ben, sometimes you just got to go into the zone.
Schur: That was the opposite of emulsifying something. You unemulsified what I said.
Scott: Oh I'm sorry. Did I say -- I meant de-emulsify.
On working on the show
Poehler: Honestly, this show is in many ways saved my life and enriched my life in all these different ways. It's truly like a job that I'll never have again. I'm very grateful for it every minute. The fact that I get to be on something with the best cast in television and film -- fuck it. Best cast ever. The best comedic and dramatic cast, television or film, that's what I get to work with every day.
On their favorite Pawnee residents
Poehler: There's so many good ones. It's insane. What comes to mind is Jason Mantzoukas played the character Dennis Feinstein who was like a perfumer, a man who creates -- what would you call him? What is it? He's a scent artist. He does the terrible man-colognes and he's very successful in the town. And, you know, he changed his name from -- what was it? Dante Fiero was his name...
Schur: ...but changed it to Dennis Feinstein because that's much more exotic in Pawnee.
Poehler: And Jason Mantzoukas is hilarious and he's an awful guy. He's just like a total pig, like he's just like a monster.
Scott: He hunts people. He actively hunts human beings.
Schur: He is an admitted murderer.
Poehler: And so they just did a scene recently with Jason and the guys -- and Jason, who's a friend of ours and mine, texted me and he said, "When are Leslie Knope and Dennis Feinstein going to do a scene together?" and I said, "Leslie Knope is not going to come within a mile of Dennis Feinstein."
Scott: As Leslie Knope's husband, I will not let you near Dennis Feinstein. Schur: And also we meet Jean-Ralphio's twin sister pretty soon, whose name is Mona-Lisa Saperstein played by Jenny Slate. And I have to say that one of my favorite things to do in the world is take one of those awful people -- Jean-Ralphio or Dennis Feinstein or Mona-Lisa or... it's really those three -- and put Adam Scott in scenes with them and have them act so horrifying and have Adam basically be the conscious of the show, just absolutely blown away by how horrifying their behavior is. It's really enjoyable to me to watch Adam in scenes with Ben Schwartz or Jenny or any of those people. It's really delightful.
On their costars
Schur: My favorite thing about Retta's Twitter feed is like, you'll see her feed and it'll be like 19 tweets in a row about an episode of Revenge or Scandal or something that aired the week before, and then there'll be like 19 tweets in a row where she's just tweeting back to people going, "Then stop following me. Then stop reading my Twitter feed and don't read me."
Scott: [Aubrey Plaza] does this thing with me, where when we arrive for a scene -- just like camera blocking or when we're just reading through a scene -- she'll introduce herself to me as if we've never met... like, as if she forgot who I was. And then through the whole day makes small talk, like get to know you chitchat and everyone knows we know each other, but it just keeps us on our toes as a cast. I guess it's a really good thing.
Schur: She's got a lot of power -- a lot of like alpha dog power moves that she pulls.
Poehler: Who's talking right now? Wait, who was that talking?
Scott: It's Adam Scott. You know who it is.
Poehler: Hey, Adam. Hi. I'm excited to get to finally work with you. It's nice to meet you.
Scott: Oh god, Amy. All right whatever. Nice to meet you, yes.
Schur: Just play along. It's easier and just grease the wheels. You know, let's play along with it.
Scott: I know. Hi, Ms. Poehler, nice to meet you.
Poehler: Thank you for addressing me as such.
Scott: Oh god.
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