David Gordon Green will present two “Eastbound & Down” episodes — the first and last he directed — and then hold a discussion after the screening Saturday. Here are some highlights from a recent phone interview about the legacy of the outrageous HBO comedy, working with his close friends and more. The full interview is at columbusalive.com.
I thought it would be fun, just as a conversation, to see how that series evolved; where I went as a director, from my very first episode to the last one. It wasn’t an enormous period of time, but I feel like there’s probably some substantial evolution of the show. We got bigger budgets [each] season, a bit more ambitious … and more comfortable and confident in the characters. As the audience embraced the show we thought we could get away with more.
I wasn’t going to direct any [episodes]. I was just supportive of the show; Danny McBride, Jody Hill and I had a company together and have been great friends since college. Jody directed the pilot and the show got picked up … maybe a year later, and he was filming “Observe and Report” and couldn’t get away to do it. They let him out for one more episode. So I ended up taking two, three and four. Adam McKay did five and Jodi did the last one. We all just had such a great time tag-teaming it creatively that we just handled the rest in the same way.
[McBride and I] have been best buds for 15 years, so you get to know someone and you know what buttons you can push … I’ve always really believed in Danny as a dramatic talent. The more he became comfortable with Kenny [Powers] and the more the audience became, at least accepting of Kenny. I don’t know if anyone ever gets comfortable with him. But people do come to accept him, and we were able to challenge the dramatic elements and push him a little bit further.
[“Eastbound & Down”] is the most idealized form of creative collaboration amongst comrades that you could ever imagine. You look forward to going to work every day and … Danny, Jodi and I are working on our HBO follow-up that’s going to start shooting at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. It’s being written right now by a great crew of writers, a lot of “Eastbound” folks are returning.
Photo courtesy Wexner Center