The last time I saw Will Forte, he had half of his head and beard shaved. We later learned that it was for a joke on his Fox comedy The Last Man on Earth. This summer, Forte looked more like his usual self gearing up for season three of the post-apocalypse comedy.
When we last left off, Carol (Kristen Schaal) and Erica (Cleopatra Coleman) were pregnant and Melissa (January Jones) was shooting drones out of the sky. Men in Hazmat suits led by Pat Brown (Mark Boone Junior), who we met earlier with Mike (Jason Sudeikis). The Last Man on Earth returns Sunday night at 9:30 on Fox, and Forte also stars in the Netflix movie A Futile & Stupid Gesture playing National Lampoon co-founder Douglas Kenney. I spoke with Forte at the Fox party for the Television Critics Association.
Were the rights to “Falling Slowly” easy to get through Fox since Searchlight released the movie Once?
I don’t remember having a hard time with getting those rights, which I’m very excited about because Jason and I sing that song at karaoke all the time. So that would’ve been a tough pill to swallow if we couldn’t get the rights.
So that was based on your real life relationship with Jason?
Oh yeah, we do a lot of karaoke together and that’s one of our big go tos.
When he shaved your head on screen, was that nerve wracking to make sure you get it right?
No, because there were so many cameras and we had it planned out pretty well. John Solomon directed that episode and he knows what he’s doing. He’s great so he had us perfectly set up.
Melissa became sort of a badass towards the end of season two. Was it your idea to toughen her up?
That was definitely an idea that came from the writers’ room. It’ll be interesting to see her in season three because there’s a lot of transformation that happens for her that we’re excited for people to see.
Do you ever feel guilty calling the show The Last Man on Earth when you keep introducing more characters?
I don’t. My response to that is always I ask if people have seen the movie Rocky. They obviously say yes and I say, “Well, are there other people in the movie than Rocky?” The answer is yes.
Was this group of survivors who you imagined from the beginning?
Yeah, a lot of them. Certainly in the first season, there were changes that came up. Like originally when Mary Steenburgen and Cleopatra Coleman came in, I think we originally envisioned that it would be a group of four people. And then we decided to pare it back but for the most part, it was definitely the Tandy character, the Carol character, the Melissa character and the Todd character, and the second Phil Miller were all from the initial template.
Is Carol pregnant throughout the season?
Yes, both Kristen Schaal’s character and Cleopatra Coleman’s character are pregnant throughout the season.
At what point would you plan to introduce the babies?
I don’t know. We’re still trying to figure out the timeline on that. Each season, except for the time jump in the pilot and then there’s a time jump between the first and second season, but basically after that time jump, the seasons take place over three or four weeks usually. Usually an episode ends with a cliffhanger that’s immediately addressed in the next episode. It’s usually just each episode takes place over the course of a couple days.
There’s a sitcom trope of introducing a baby into a family show. When the time comes, will you have some fun with what a baby does to the group dynamic?
Sure, we’ll see. Theoretically, we could do, if we were ever so lucky, we could do six or seven seasons without introducing the baby but I feel like at some point we’re probably going to want to jump in time. Or something will happen. I would assume that we would see the baby sooner rather than later, but I have no idea. It depends on where the storylines lead. I have no idea at this point.
Do you have any more crazy hair plans?
Yeah, a little bit. A little bit.
How long did you live with the half beard and hair?
That was about a month.
Was it fun to go around and let people see it?
Most of the time I was just going to or from work so I was not subjected to the public scrutiny, but every once in a while I would have to go to the store or something and I’d get a lot of pretty crazy looks.
Well, you came here like that so we saw it.
Yeah, the TCAs in Pasadena. That was the first appearance of it outside of our studio in Chatsworth.
I have to ask you every time we talk, I know Last Man on Earth has kept you busy but what’s the status of MacGruber 2?
Oh man, we just get so busy on the show. We’re always trying to write it. It’s very much on our minds and we’re excited to do it but we just have to figure out and find the time to finally write it.
You end up doing other movies on your hiatus, like the National Lampoon movie.
Yeah, sometimes. I got to do this wonderful thing called A Futile & Stupid Gesture with David Wain so I couldn’t pass that up. It was just such a well written script and knowing that David Wain would be a the helm, I thought I had to do it.