On a blazing hot day last September, the cast and crew of Adult Swim series Eagleheart were holed up inside a small stage tucked deep within the eastern San Fernando Valley. They were nearing the end of production for the show's second season, a grueling, six-week stretch of 12-hour workdays that often lasted late into the night. Throughout the morning and afternoon, they shot and reshot scenes from three different episodes. There was a chance that the team would be working on two more later that evening.
"This is the hardest job I've ever had and it's an 11-minute show," says Chris Elliott, who stars in the crime-fighting show as U.S. Marshal Chris Monsanto.
Maria Thayer, who plays fellow marshal Susie Wagner, mentions that she didn't realize how tired she was until the previous weekend, when she ate dinner in bed and fell asleep while watching Mad Men.
Though the hours are long and the physical demands are plenty while filming the action-comedy, no one is complaining. In fact, the excitement was thick both on and off the sets.
TV shows are always works in progress, but Eagleheart has had a steeper climb than most. In those last few days of filming, both the actors and the writers were convinced that these new episodes would be their best yet. After catching a few of the new episodes myself -- several were screened at Cinefamily on Tuesday night -- it's hard to disagree with them. The new season is filled with stronger characters, more beautifully absurd, action-based comedy and wilder adventures.
Eagleheart is oozing comedy credibility. It was created by former Late Night With Conan O'Brien writers Michael Koman and Andrew Weinberg and was produced by the chat show host's company, Conaco. Writer-director Jason Woliner directed the sketch comedy series Human Giant. Elliott, who plays the show's central character, is a comedy legend known for writing and performing on David Letterman's show. Thayer was in the cult favorite series Strangers With Candy. Co-star Brett Gelman, who plays Brett Mobley, has appeared in Funny or Die and voiced several characters on The Life and Times of Tim.
Hip names don't necessarily make a show, though, and Eagleheart went through a lot of changes before it even hit cable television.