Must-See Fall TV Shows with Local Stars
Get the scoop from East Bay native Will Forte on The Last Man on Earth’s third season, coming this fall.
Lafayette-raised Will Forte stars as Phil Miller, one of the last survivors of a global apocalypse, in The Last Man on Earth. Awkwardness and humor abound in this comedy about a scrappy band of renegades trying to navigate their new reality—and their relationships with each other. Diablo caught up with the Acalanes High grad to get some behind-the-scenes scoop.
Q: What can we expect in the upcoming season of The Last Man on Earth?
A: Season three will pick up right where season two left off, with the three guys in Hazmat suits and assault rifles coming ashore. One of them, as the audience knows, is Pat (actor Mark Boone Junior), from when Jason Sudeikis’ character Mike was on the yacht. The other two men in suits is a surprise.
Q: The Last Man on Earth can be a dark comedy, and Phil isn’t always the most likable character. Are you surprised by how much Fox has allowed you to do?
A: Fox is vocal when they don’t like the direction we’re headed, and sometimes, we’re passionate and they listen to us. And it’s true there are aspects of Phil that are unlikable, but we always make sure Phil gets his comeuppance.
Q: What drew you to this role?
A: When I started doing this, I thought I was just going to write. As we came up with more and more ideas, I was really excited by the character and threw my hat in the ring. It might be a little odd that I was so eager to play a guy like Phil. I’m really just a sweet young man!
Q: In what ways will we see Phil Miller grow and change in season three?
A: I think it will be the next step in his evolution. In season two, Phil was trying to make strides to be a better person. Sometimes he was on the mark, and sometimes he wasn’t. It will be similar this year as he comes closer and closer to fatherhood, and figures out how to be a better person in order to pass that along to his child.
Q: As an executive producer, writer, and one of the show’s creators, how involved are you with the direction of the show?
A: I’m a bit of a control freak, so I have a lot of say [laughs]. But we have a very smart and talented group of people whom I’ve worked with for years, and we all make decisions together.
Q: Can you tell us any ideas or storylines that were rejected?
A: There are little things all over the place, but the one we really fought for was in season two. Fox was concerned when we came back for part two of season two, the spring premiere. We wanted to focus on Jason Sudeikis’ character (Mike) with an episode that was all him. Fox would have preferred we include the main group of characters in Malibu, but they let us do the episode. I understand their position, because it is risky if it doesn’t turn out great. But I felt confident in our people, and in Jason’s ability to lead an episode. It was really fun because it was a way to explore a different side of being alone in this world again, almost, like doing another version of the pilot episode.
Q: What is your favorite Phil Miller moment?
A: I’m not sure I have one. I have more favorite show moments. I really loved the gag where Jason shaves half my hair off—half my head and half my beard. For my personal life, it was terrible. For the show, it was great. And there are a lot of things I’m proud of that don’t involve me. At the end of the season two mid-season finale, when Jason is descending to earth in his reentry capsule as it’s breaking up, we cut back and forth between him and Mary Steenburgen’s character (Gail) trying to perform an appendectomy. There is not a lot of humor in the scene, but it brought a level of excitement.
Q: Where did the idea to shave half your head come from?
A: I don’t remember exactly when that idea came to me—I think I was in the shower when the idea just hit me. As in: What an interesting thing it would be for Phil to have his head shaved by his brother (Jason Sudeikis’ character Mike) as a prank, and Phil wanting to keep it to show it doesn’t really bother him.
Q: So that haircut was self inflicted torture?
Yes! One of the things that’s great about the cast is they’re up for anything. We asked Mel Rodriguez (Todd) to shave half his head and he was fully into the idea. He never questioned it and thought it was hilarious. And Kristen Schaal (Carol) wanted to shave half her head, too. But Kristen and I have the same agent, and our agent asked us not to do that, so ultimately we nixed that idea. Kristen is great, though—she’ll do anything if she thinks it’s good for the show.
Q: What other projects are you currently working on?
A: Mostly writing season three of The Last Man. And I’ve got this cartoon book I drew years ago that got me a job writing on The Jenny McCarthy Show and the Late Show With David Letterman, and now we’ve found a publisher. It’s called 101 Things to Definitely Not Do if You Want to Get a Chick, and it’s pretty much the worst advice book of all time.
Season three of The Last Man on Earth premieres Sunday, September 25, at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.
The East Bay On-Screen
Catch these other fall shows starring locally grown talent.
Grade school classmates Andy Samberg and Chelsea Peretti (hailing from Oakland’s Anthony Chabot Elementary) star in this zany police procedural comedy. Tune in Tuesdays at 8 p.m. to catch the crime-solving hijinks in the 99th precinct. Season four premieres September 20 on Fox.
Danville’s Monte Vista High graduate Bree Turner and Oakland native Russell Hornsby maintain the balance between natural and supernatural worlds in this drama of cops and mythical beasts. Adventure and danger lurk on Friday nights at 9 p.m. on NBC. As of press time, the season six fall premiere date was TBD.