People reference specifically Alfred Hitchcock Presents or The Twilight Zone, but it had less to do with those specific shows than the early days of television. In fact, I would go even earlier than television. We have to remember that Rod Serling was writing TV, 90-minute teleplays, even before he got involved with The Twilight Zone. And I would say that his experience as a producer and writer on those early shows are what really informed his ability to build an anthology series that worked so well. So I would say that to me early television, rather than specific shows, is what informed my trust that I could pull this off. It took a lot of trust to believe it could work.
Then I would say I stole from theater the messenger speeches from Greek tragedy, where the messenger in one play or another has to go deliver a speech or story to someone he's afraid of; and I think I stole techniques from that. And then oral storytelling as well, I've done volunteer work at preschools, through the Screen Actor's Guild book program, and children's museums where I go in and read fairy tales and things like that. And I trust that people like hearing stories; I just trust that. You can see that in Quentin Tarantino's work as well, where he trusts his actors to deliver not only dialogue but stories. And if you have good actors and good stories then an audience will sit there and listen to them. And I trust that the camera can capture that, without having to get fancy cinematically, and still engage an audience.
Xander Berkely fits so perfectly into this main character of The Man. I'm curious if the role changed at all after he became involved, or if it's just good magic that this character and the way that he delivers it meshes so well.
I'm not saying there's not some magic, because who knew, right? I've been a fan of Xander's for a long time. I love good actors, and he's a very good actor. For some of us… I mean the stars matter, but I just like really good actors, and I remember people like that. The way this all came about was… I did not have Xander in mind, but Jessica Landaw, our director, was at a dinner party where she met Xander. Then about a week later she was thinking of casting, and who is The Man gonna be, and she thought, what we really need is a Xander Berkeley type. And then she thought, wait a minute, I know him, I just friended him on Facebook. So she sends him this message via Facebook and says you know "don't hang up, but I want to talk to you about this web series. It's really interesting and Michael Eisner's company is producing it. Would you please read the script." And he said sure, send it over. What Jessica didn't know, and neither did I, is how interested Xander is in independent filmmaking and small screen projects. He's a painter, has a very artistic sensibility and is willing to very much step outside the box. So he read the script, she sends it to him in the evening and the next morning about 7am, Jessica had an email from Xander already saying "yes, I want to do this." So he jumped on board.