Comic-Con: Interview with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, “The Good Place” TV Show

According to Bell, getting the call from show creator Mike Schur “was, maybe, the most flattering day of my life.”

Speaking to Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, together, at Comic-Con in San Diego about their new fall TV show, “The Good Place,” had us feeling good about it.

Kristen Bell at Comic-Con The Good Place. Photo S. Valle

Kristen Bell at Comic-Con The Good Place. Photo S. Valle

The 13 episode straight-to-series order by NBC is something that happens less and less in the industry. However, when the show’s creator is Michael Schur, who brought us “The Office,” “Parks and Rec,” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” it’s not that surprising.

“The Good Place” follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) in the afterlife. She’s a regular woman who, by a cosmic mistake, dies and winds up in the good place instead of the bad place where her less-than-good earthly behavior would have placed her. There’s no drinking or cursing in the good place, but with the help of her new mentor (Ted Danson), Eleanor is determined to keep her spot by becoming a good person — or at least trying to be a better one.

After the flash of a thousand bulbs died down in the press room at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, Danson, Bell, Schur, and director Drew Goddard (“Cabin in the Woods,” “The Martian”), took turns chatting with us about their new comedy.

To start the conversation, Bell described Danson as a national treasure to which he replied, “a dusty national treasure.” At 68 Danson, who we know as Sam Malone in “Cheers,” is in remarkably fine form sporting a full head of pristine white hair.

Danson’s enthusiasm for this new show started the moment he was contacted by creator Michael Schur. “I met with Mike Schur for like an hour and a half in my manager’s office talking about the show. He was so bright and so smart…”

Suddenly, Bell jumped into the conversation and jokingly interrupted Danson saying, “it’s not true…it’s not true…it’s not true!” The back-and-forth banter between the two actors was entertaining to say the least.

The “CSI” actor went on to say that he and Bell were pals before he signed on to this project. “Then I heard that this beautiful woman was interested and I signed on, in the room, without seeing the script,” said Danson.

Bell, on the other hand, got a voicemail over a year ago. “It was, maybe, the most flattering day of my life when Mike Schur called me. I suppose I peripherally knew about him, but never thought he would call me on my cellular telephone!” Bell said.

“I have this idea. I don’t know. It’s weird, but I can’t get it out of my head. I really think I need to talk to you about it ’cause I really think it’s for you. Umm, just call me back,” was the “Veronica Mars” star’s recollection of the message.

Danson chuckled after hearing this because he knew the emotional shock she was describing.

When Schur told Bell he imagined Danson as “the architect of the neighborhood,” she said she had her fingers crossed that he would accept the part, too.

For this new series, Schur and Goddard challenged themselves to have a big ending for each episode; each one is supposed to feel like the end of a season.

“One episode is going to start exactly where the other one ended,” Schur said. “We only changed directors and just kept shooting.”

Trying to avoid any spoilers kept the cast and producers from going into too much detail. In fact, both Danson and Bell had to keep two big secrets while filming.

“We knew two very large, dare I say humongous, secrets about the show,” Bell teased. “Loose Lips and Chatty Cathy over here were tasked with keeping it a secret from everyone!”

Schur assured us we can expect more than just a half hour of laughs each week. The show will examine ethical and moral dilemmas, too, without any particular religious undertones.

It was fun chatting with the stars about their projects, and seeing their genuine enthusiasm was contagious.

Sure, they’re here to sell the show. But it’s a different story when you also get passionately lectured by the “Frozen” actress about the impact a $3.99 toy that grandma bought for her girls will have down the road.

Bell told us that parts of this show will make us examine our ripple effect on this earth as well.

Kristen Bell and Ted Danson Comic-Con The Good Place. Photo S. Valle

Kristen Bell and Ted Danson Comic-Con The Good Place. Photo S. Valle

At the end of our round table, I handed Danson and Bell copies of my book, “101 Movies To See Before You Grow Up.” I loved their reactions. Danson immediately opened it, and Bell smiled at me when I mentioned “Frozen” had made the list!

To make sure I give their show a fair chance, I asked Schur how many episodes it might take to get me hooked.  He said that by the third one I’ll want to see more because there’s a huge surprise he hopes no one will see coming.

I’m already curious about “The Good Place.” Monday, September 19th at 10PM on NBC can’t get here soon enough.

 

 

Comments

  1. Noel says:

    Great review of the media session. It’s nice to hear the personalities coming thru w/ the banter and light hearted interaction. Makes the show seem more appealing!

  2. I have always wanted to go to Comic-Con. It looks like you had a blast 🙂

    • Suzette Valle says:

      It is a blast. But it’s so big now, I needed better shoes and another pair of feet to do it all!

  3. Courtney says:

    That must have been so exciting to see! I LOVE kristen bell!

    La Belle Sirene

    • Suzette Valle says:

      I had to control myself, to be honest. These two actors, together in one room, was too much for my mere mortal heart.

  4. Gah! She’s so cute!! What a fun experience.

    • Suzette Valle says:

      She’s absolutely stunning in person! It was so fun to hear the voice of Anna in person, LOL!

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