Cleopatra Coleman and Mary Steenburgen Talk Last Man on Earth Season 3

We check in with two of the last women on earth, Cleopatra Coleman and Mary Steenburgen, as they ready for Last Man on Earth season 3.

FOX’s Last Man on Earth done an excellent job at bucking typical sitcom conventions in interest of creating something truly unique. 

While Will Forte might portray the de facto leader of this group of survivors, the comedy has seen great success thanks to the breakout performances of the rest of the cast. Season two puts a particular amount of emphasis on both Erica (Cleopatra Coleman) and Gail (Mary Steenburgen), so we touched base with the actors regarding the evolution of the show and their characters as they ready for Last Man on Earth season 3… 

DEN OF GEEK: The second season of the show covers so much ground. Do you have a favorite scene or moment from the year? 

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: I’m gonna have to say—and a lot of people choose this moment—but Will’s “Closure” song.

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MARY STEENBURGEN: That’s what I was going to say!

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: I mean there are so many insane moments on set with Will. You never know what’s going to happen. And to not screw up the take by laughing.

MARY STEENBURGEN: He really did it to us that day though! That was tough. Some of us did better than others of us. I had to be written out of that scene because I couldn’t control myself. It was so—watching him painstakingly tune that that guitar, and then sing the whole song without playing the guitar. Just beating the side of it. Oh my God, it’s the most I’ve needed to laugh in my whole life. 

And then also, I loved some of our first scenes with Will because it was so new and in a way what we were feeling was parallel to the script. We’re making him dinner and he’s getting turned on hearing all of these details about our relationship and stuff. I think it was so thrilling to realize, “Oh my God, I get to come be a part of this!” Todd’s dancing was also delicious. 

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: That was amazing!

MARY STEENBURGEN: Also the surgery scene—but in an intense way! It was heavy and intense, I know especially for Mel and myself. I just felt like, wow. I’ve never done a scene that was so intense. They were all so incredible in having us do that. There are so many rich places to go because it’s just the intensity of thinking what would it be like if there were no other people around. What matters and what doesn’t matter. It’s pretty rich stuff to mine. 

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CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: That was also our last scene with Boris, so it was genuinely sad. 

I couldn’t believe it when Will and Mel both shaved half of their bodies for the show. What was that experience like? Did either of you eventually get desensitized to it all?

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: It’s so weird! At first it’s so jarring and you can’t get past it. Will would just be coming on set trying to have a regular workday and have conversations, but I can’t focus at all. And then like after a week I’d forget about it!

MARY STEENBURGEN: I will say, it was pretty hilarious to go to an award show with them like that. We’re all sitting at a table together—oh there’s Helen Mirren, there’s blah blah blah—and Will is just sitting there happy as a clam with only half of his hair on his face.

The third season ends in such a tremendous way that again shatters the status quo of the series once more. What were both of your reactions when you first saw that the year was going out on that note?

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: We were in the room doing a table read, and we were just reading it for the first time, like usual. And I remember being like, “Wow…What’s going to happen?” I was curious as a fan, you know? I want to know what’s going to happen to us! 

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MARY STEENBURGEN: You know, Mike Schur, who did Parks and Rec, just created a new show that my husband’s [Ted Danson] on, called The Good Place. He came up to me when they were doing the pilot and said that he was a huge fan of Last Man. He said: “I want you to know, I might not be doing the show that I’m doing if I wasn’t inspired by Last Man.” And then he said, “I know other people have said the same thing, but you’re taking ideas that we previously thought that nobody could do. It’s going too far.” 

He said, “You guys have created a world that’s never been created before,” and that’s what I felt when I saw that ending. It’s so unique. So in terms of next season, all that Cleo and I know is that it’s going to be some crazy, wonderful ride coming from such great writers. 

Lastly, what’s one thing that you’d both like to see happen to your characters next year?

CLEOPATRA COLEMAN: Maybe a relationship that doesn’t end in death! [Laughs] I’m like a black widow at this point!

MARY STEENBURGEN: I too have had a relationship that’s ended in death! I’m hoping that maybe I’ll get to deliver that baby for Erica… Due to my medical missteps I’m not sure if I’ll be chosen, but that would be cool. Honestly though, I am so not a writer in that way. I never go there in my mind. But I’d like things to work out well for Gail!