Pasadena, Calif. — Filming a series about the last man on earth with one main actor is not as easy as one might think.
At least according to the executive producers of Fox’s The Last Man on Earth.
“It’s been a really fun challenge and part of what makes it so special and different from every other comedy that you see on television is that you have these challenges,” said executive producer Chris Miller Saturday during the TCA winter press tour. “And you have this series of surprises and mysteries and cliffhangers on a comedy show. It’s really unlike anything that I’ve ever seen.”
Miller was joined on stage by coexecutive producers Phil Lord and Will Forte, who is also the series creator and star, as well as costar Kristen Schaal.
The Last Man on Earth follows Phil Miller, played by Forte, who is the only person alive — at least that’s what he believes at the outset — after a virus wipes out all life.
“Part of the fun in finding the comedy in this is keeping the show grounded in reality,” said Miller. “Find the funny things about what it would really be like.”
Miller and Lord said they had kicked the concept of the show around for a while but ultimately thought it was a better fit for TV.
“The luxury of doing this in television is you can get into the granular stuff” said Lord. “What’s a relationship like? What’s a proposal like? What rules do you still need to follow and that part was the most exciting part of the idea.”
The Last Man on Earth premieres on Fox March 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
Other highlights from the panel included:
—The panelists were asked about the origins of the name of the title character, Phil Miller, an mash-up of the executive producers’ names. “Will just took it and put it into his crazy brain and came out with this thing,” said Miller. “And when he showed us the outline it said Phil Miller was the name of the guy.”
—Forte admitted that he didn’t do a lot of research going into this, adding that he didn’t think the writers did all that much research either. “It would be like if people from NASA watched Spaceballs,” he said.
Lord added: “It’s more of a thought experiment than a real scientific exploration.”
—Schaal isn’t the only guest star on the series. Miller said January Jones, Cleopatra Coleman, Mel Rodriguez and Mary Steenburgen, whose participation Miller announced during the panel, will also make appearances.
—Forte’s began growing his beard early last year and the actor said the facial hair got to the point it affected how others perceived him. “There would be a lot of street crossings,” said Forte of what people would do when they saw him coming.