‘Severance’ Creator Dan Erickson & Star Adam Scott On Apple Series’ Emmys Breakthrough & Status Of Season 2
Following the singular sci-fi drama series Severance‘s breakthrough at the Emmys this morning with 14 nominations for its first season, its creator Dan Erickson and star Adam Scott spoke with Deadline about the profound degree to which the show has resonated, and the status of its anticipated second season.
Erickson, who notched his first nom in the category of Drama Series Writing, said that while the process of writing the new season has begun, the timing as far as a production start on Season 2 remains up in the air. “It’s not really a straight line process, and it never was with this show. [Director-EP] Ben [Stiller] is very involved with the creation of the story, which is the same as how it was in Season 1,” he said. “It was always about this sort of weird alchemy of his ideas and my ideas, and filtering those through each other until we get something that we both agree feels right. So, it’s a really in-depth process, but a joyful process, and that’s what we’re doing right now.”
Among those who have been invited into this process is Scott, who considers himself fortunate to have been able to “peek in” to the writers’ room from time to time, and see what they’re developing. “I think that it’s going to be a really fun, satisfying season,” said the actor, who today landed his first nom for Drama Lead Actor. “I mean, that’s the thing, is making the show was really challenging, but it was really fun, just a blast. So, I can’t wait to get back to it.”
Admittedly, even if Scott and Erickson are Severance‘s biggest fans, neither could have imagined the reception the show would be met with, when it debuted on Apple TV+ in April. “I always thought the show was just going to be way too weird and bonkers to really register on this level and get this sort of attention,” said Erickson, “so it’s just a warm, wonderful, exciting surprise for me.”
“It was a big swing and you just never, ever know. I was kind of bracing myself for the worst,” admitted Scott. “I mean, I’d seen all of it and loved it, but I was really terrified because I’ve been a part of things that I thought were cool, or even just as a fan, seen things that I really liked, and then they just get either dismissed or torn apart.”
Scott shared that the day the series’ billboards with his face on them went up, it felt like there was “a freight train” coming at him, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Helping him grapple with his nerves was Stiller, who had had his own head up on a billboard more than a few times. “One of the last calls that we had before it came out, straight up, I was like, ‘I think I just don’t want people to think I suck,’ and he’s like, ‘It’s okay. I don’t think people are going to think you suck,’” the actor recalled of conversations with Stiller. “He, from the start, was like, ‘I know this is weird. Just call me anytime. I know that this gets pressurized.’ So, he was really a great friend through all of that, both talking me down as a colleague, but also as a friend.”
Erickson feels that at the end of the day, the reason for Severance‘s success in capturing the imagination of the public is the “humanness” at its heart. “I think there’s a lot of really great genre TV that’s really exciting, and I think what surprised people about this show is that it had these sort of sci-fi trappings and this concept, but at its heart, it’s just a very human story that was expertly told by our actors, who are all just completely off-the-charts brilliant,” he observed. “I think people saw things that they recognized in the show, and that’s all you can do.”
Severance centers on Lumon Industries employee Mark (Scott), who leads a team of office workers whose memories have been surgically divided between their work and personal lives. When a mysterious colleague appears outside of work, it begins a journey to discover the truth about their jobs. At the Primetime Emmys on September 12, the show will also contend in the categories of Outstanding Drama Series, Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (John Turturro, Christopher Walken), Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Patricia Arquette), Directing for a Drama Series, Casting for a Drama Series, Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More), Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score), Main Title Design, Main Title Theme Music and Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (x2).