‘Severance’ Cast, Creators Discuss Fan Theories, Great Resignation

This feature is produced and managed by CHEAP editor and presented by Apple TV+.

In Apple TV + of Quit, the employees of a mysterious corporation called Lumon Industries must go through a process of separating their identities at the office from the person they are outside of work – known as “insiders” and “outsides” love”. What begins as a corporate satire turns sinister as the Lumon employees uncover dark secrets and try to understand who they really are. Creator Dan Erickson, director Ben Stiller, cinematographer Jessica Lee Gagné and actors Adam Scott, Britt Lower, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Zach Cherry and Tramell Tillman sat down with them. CHEAP to discuss how they approached the horror series.

Dan, how ideas for Quit come to you?

DAN ERICKSON Like so many people, I had a job that I didn’t enjoy at all. One day, I went to work and found myself wishing, “God, if I could just skip the next eight and go home now.” It’s a scary thing to make yourself wish – like I wanted less time on this precious Earth. Ben and I really tried to keep the show on that central question: What weird urges make us want to separate parts of ourselves from our lives?

DICK IMPORTANT That idea is really what the show is all about. The first line of the program is “Who are you?” It’s about what makes up our memories, our experiences, who we are when we’re disconnected from those things, and how much of that makes up who we are.

What is everyone’s first reaction to this material?

ADAM SCOTT Ben called me for the first time in January 2017 and told me about the pitch, so to speak, and I couldn’t figure it out for the next few years. This is exactly the genre I want to be in and exactly the kind of story I’m aiming for. It hits all of my pleasure centers as a spectator.

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BRITT LOWER I was attracted by [my character] Helly’s immediate perspective – it’s strong, brave and rebellious – and the journey to discover, as Ben put it, who I am at my core, and who I am on the surface.

ZACH CHERY I’m excited to play Dylan because I relate to the way he’s plugged in to the tasks he’s been assigned at the office. I’m a gamer, so I’m going to spend 4 hours trying to figure out this one particular thing – no real reason for me to do it, but I’m committed to it.

TRAMELL TILLMAN For me, I want a job. (Laugh.) The script is very dynamic and there is so much mystery behind this company. Dive into what it is and who we are in all of this, really interesting.

PATRICIA ARQUETTE When I read the script, I said, “Why do you want me to do this? Who is this lady? What is this corporation? “They gave me the answer, and it only confused me more. The way you’re talking about discovering who you are… There’s a part of [my character] Cobel has been completely usurped by this corporation. You can hide behind without knowing who you are, without even asking, because it’s scary. Maybe you’re nobody under that.

Quit transcends genre – it’s sometimes funny, sometimes scary. Jessica, how did you balance those tones visually?

JESSICA LEE GAGNÉ I was terrified of the script. The writing is great, but as a videographer, it’s intimidating to approach something that’s all office space. It motivates me to look for aesthetic things in that world. We studied a lot of movies.

What did you use as inspiration?

ERICKSON Everything from Brazil and It’s John Malkovich arrive Office and Office space. A lot of things in the late ’90s were about the nature of reality, like Truman’s show and Matrix. We looked at a lot of real-life beliefs, and we looked at the weird, fuzzy line between sect, church, and corporation.

Slow loading images

From left: Scott, Cherry, Turturro and Lower in the Lumon Industry office.
Courtesy of Wilson Webb / AppleTV +

What would it be like to play characters who only know about half of their identity at any given time?

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LOWER We received all the scripts ahead of time, which is a rare gift for TV. Being able to see the entire front is extremely useful for keeping track of what information the character knows about himself and about the company at any given time.

JOHN TURTURRO Dan wrote a very generous plot [and I spent a lot of time] think about that. It’s important to me for what [happens in] Irving’s outside life gets a little bloody when he makes this connection with Burt.

I heard John helped cast Christopher Walken as Burt…

TURTURO I told Ben I just had an idea for who I wanted to work on. I directed [Christopher Walken], I acted with him. I just love working with him. The connection is already there. Ben was excited, and he asked me to explain it to Chris.

STILL When we had that meeting, John still hadn’t agreed to do the show. We were left thinking, “If John is going to do it, we have to get Chris Walken.” I never even thought of Chris for the role, because I didn’t think it was possible. And now, of course, it’s the kind of casting that you can’t imagine anyone else playing it.

The show premiered at a time when a lot of people were rethinking their relationship for work.

ERICKSON I caused the Great Resignation. (Laugh.) It was in the middle of the pandemic when we went into production. I was like, “Oh my God, are we doing the least relevant show? A workplace satire just when the workplace is about to go extinct? “But work-life balance is becoming more elusive than ever, and it’s the best time for the show to come out. It’s been fun to be a part of that conversation in some way. there.

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How did filming during the pandemic add to the mood on set?

ARQUETTE There were too many forced divisions, this helped [create] artificial world in which we have been trapped.

SCOTT I don’t live in New York, so I went there just to see the show. In the morning, I would get in a van and drive to the Bronx to shoot. At the end of the day, I would get back in the truck and go to an apartment alone, then eat, sleep, wait for the truck in the morning and do the same thing again. It started to feel like a very separate world, this existence throughout the past few months. It was weird and transactional, but it helped give the show some traction.

Are you into fan theories?

ERICKSON I’m a lurker on Reddit, but I don’t really comment.

CHERRY A lot of people were annoyed at not being able to see Dylan dance.

LOWER I went crazy for that.

ARQUETTE I think Christopher and Tramell should have a dance.

Finally, what with baby goats?

ERICKSON All I can tell you is that the main characters’ consciousness will be brought into the goats.

STILL Measure not true!

The edited interview is long and clear.

This story first appeared in the June 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.

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