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Jane Levy on ‘Panic’ and Jim Carrey as Inspiration for Special ‘Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist’ Episode



SPOILER ALERT: Don’t learn in case you have not but watched “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” the eighth episode of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.”

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” thrust Jane Levy again into the highlight as a number one girl in a broadcast collection, however the eighth episode of that NBC dramedy, entitled “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” extra actually thrust her right into a highlight as the middle of six musical numbers.

“It was an enormous supply of panic for me as a result of I’m in virtually each scene of the present, and the few scenes I’m not in, it’s both that I’m getting my extensions redone or I’m rehearsing a dance quantity or doing ADR. I had zero time without work for the complete present, so prepping six musical numbers appeared like an impossibility,” Levy tells Selection. “Numerous these persons are educated singers and dancers. That is new for me.”

The present began with Levy’s titular Zoey immediately listening to these round her burst into tune, revealing their deepest feelings, be they joyful, indignant or unhappy. It was one thing she dubbed a brand new “energy” and by which she was at first confused and considerably uncomfortable, however as time went on it opened her as much as have a greater understanding of what these round her had been going by, and it taught her extra about music as well.

In “Zoey’s Extraordinary Glitch,” after receiving devastating information that her father (Peter Gallagher), who has a uncommon neurological dysfunction, is beginning to decline, Zoey is the one burst out in tune. It begins with a efficiency of Gnarls Barkley’s “Loopy” as she arrives at her workplace contemporary from the physician’s appointment, however as she sings and dances her method round, she ultimately results in entrance of her good friend and coworker Max (Skylar Astin), who wonders why she is singing.

“‘Loopy’ is her attempting to stroll by the fog of getting horrible information, “Levy says. “Zoey coming to phrases with dropping her father — that to me is the arc of the entire season and the guts of the present and the core of what Zoey is experiencing.”

The belief that Max can really hear her throws her for a loop, particularly as she will be able to’t management when new songs will burst out of her — from subtly revealing she is aware of her boss (Lauren Graham) has been seeing certainly one of her workers (Michael Thomas Grant) by crooning “I Noticed Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” in the course of a gathering, to breaking into “Underneath Strain” throughout a brand new product pitch. She even sings love songs to the boys in her life — sweetly sharing “I’m Yours” with Max, hitting on Simon (John Clarence Stewart) with “I Need You To Need Me,” and emotionally pleading to her father with “How Do I Reside.”

“On this episode alongside there was farce, bodily comedy, actual critical drama, slapstick after which dancing and singing — you don’t get that chance that usually,” Levy says. “The entire time I used to be pondering, ‘What a terrific studying expertise for me as an actor.’”

Right here, Levy talks with Selection concerning the technique of performing six musical numbers for one episode and the way Zoey’s expertise right here informs her habits for the remainder of the season.

When did you first be taught concerning the concept for this episode, and the way did you prep otherwise for this episode than ones wherein you simply should react to different individuals singing and dancing round you?

Whereas we had been taking pictures the pilot, I keep in mind Austin [Winsberg], our creator and showrunner, was speaking about this as an concept. So he had been fascinated by this for a very long time, after which I’m undecided precisely at which level I came upon it was going to occur — in all probability after we began taking pictures Episode 2. Me and the choreographers spent three full 10 to 12 hour days engaged on these numbers. Mandy [Moore] is without doubt one of the most enjoyable individuals to collaborate with, ever. She’s so clever; she’s so dedicated; she’s so inventive. Numerous our periods start with us speaking about it — the place do I feel Zoey is on this time? — and he or she watches how our our bodies transfer and we form of create it collectively on this natural method that I used to be stunned by. I assumed choreography was like what you see within the motion pictures: some actually strict ballet instructor slapping your ass with a ruler or one thing. However Mandy’s not like that in any respect, so probably the most enjoyable a part of making this entire present was working along with her and her staff.

What decided what numbers you began engaged on first?

I had an assistant director, and he or she was form sufficient to return to me very early on and say, “When do you wish to shoot what?” I needed to get the scene with my dad out of the best way first as a result of as an actor when you already know you will have the massive emotional scene, it retains you up at evening, and I didn’t need that to paint my expertise. So as soon as I received that beneath my belt, the remaining was dancing, which is enjoyable. There’s additionally whether or not units are literally prepared for us to rehearse on them. There’s how a lot of the script we’ve in preparation, whether or not I’ve my scene companion accessible to rehearse with on that day.

Let’s discuss “How Do I Reside” first then. It’s a really emotional efficiency, but it surely’s not as bodily because the others within the episode. Did that make it kind of difficult?

It was a very fascinating expertise to cry and sing on the identical time! While you’re crying you’re type of gasping for breath, and singing calls for lots of breath. We did, I feel, half of my takes dwell the place I might sing and my voice wouldn’t even come out. We used a few of that, which I feel is nice as a result of I’m not knowledgeable singer, I’m not fascinated with sounding excellent, I’m fascinated with telling a narrative, and my voice is part of that. If I don’t sound nice and my voice is breaking, nice, that’s the form of present that I feel we’re all making. It’s not music video, completely polished musicality; it’s coming from an actual want and urge.

How necessary was it so that you can sing dwell whereas taking pictures every quantity?

“I Noticed Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was dwell. A part of “How Do I Reside” was dwell, after which components of “Underneath Strain” had been dwell, however the remaining I used to be lip synching, which is a ability in and of itself, and that was new to me as properly — promoting the appearing that you just’re really singing.

What had been the conversations like about what Zoey’s voice ought to sound like when she’s performing these huge musical numbers in her thoughts versus after we see her in actuality?

Technically there wasn’t a dialog about how my voice would sound; it was extra about what she’s going by. Mandy coined the time period “Zoe-ality” whereas we had been making the present, and all of our musical numbers come from Zoey’s perspective, so we had been at all times speaking about whether or not one thing was actuality or “Zoe-ality.” It’s a coronary heart tune so it needs to be your actual, deep, carnal feeling if you end up in “Zoe-ality,” so after I was establishing this episode, I might take into consideration what’s the deep half? Zoey is somebody who isn’t in contact along with her emotions or is consistently working away from her emotions or burying her true emotions so she will be good at her job or not make issues disintegrate along with her awkward persona. So for me, with every of those songs, the “Zoe-ality” needed to be a deep need [but] then once you in the reduction of to actuality, you’re again to Zoey protecting up her emotions, being the Sort A coder woman who’s simply attempting to unravel issues and doesn’t wish to actually admit what’s happening inside her, whether or not it’s her crush on her finest good friend or eager to have intercourse with a coworker or figuring out her boss did one thing unethical.

How is Zoey most modified by this expertise? Is that this a turning level the place, in future episodes, she might break into songs once more or with others?

No. [But] I do suppose that her relationship along with her energy and these songs modifications all through the collection, and as she will get extra snug with the ability, she realizes she has extra accountability with the ability and really simply begins to listen to the music in life. That’s a metaphor we saved utilizing. Mandy and I talked technically rather a lot about how will we develop this? Even simply with my physique language in these numbers, we might discuss how I begin to work together otherwise — Do I contact individuals? When do I begin taking part?

Provided that each Max and Simon now know Zoey has emotions for them and perceive the character of these emotions, how do their relationships transfer ahead within the coming episodes?

You’ll get much more from each relationships. There will probably be much more intimacy between Zoey and Simon, and Zoey and Max. And there’s a quantity in our finale that was certainly one of my favourite issues we did and it entails certainly one of them. It’s a love scene with two musical numbers and it’s humorous and attractive and actually cute all on the identical time.

What is going to her relationship along with her dad appear like now that he’s heard her sing to him and he or she has to just accept his destiny?

After this episode you do see her at house much more. Zoey and her dad spend extra time collectively. You’ll see him go up and down within the subsequent couple of episodes, which is difficult to look at. The finale ends with a six-minute oner, and after I walked off set, as a result of I’m within the final a part of that oner, there have been 50 individuals crying. So I’ll say that you just get a very satisfying, lovely quantity that was an unbelievable feat by Mandy Moore.

How do you are feeling most modified by this expertise? Was there one specific musical quantity that you just discovered actually rewarding?

“I Noticed Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is a specific taste to the humor. I walked off set after doing that, straight to our author Samantha [McIntyre], and I used to be like, “I really feel so seen. There’s one thing about this quantity that’s my true essence.” I assume it’s just like the bizarreness to it. I received to be like Jim Carrey for a day; we saved speaking about “Liar Liar” as an inspiration for that scene. But it surely’s additionally endearing and candy. There’s one thing so particular about that quantity [that] I’m undecided I’ll ever get to do something like that once more.

“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on NBC.

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