By Jason Murphy
AppleTV+’s smash hit Severance roared into Ballroom 20 on Thursday. A portion of the cast sat down with Patton Oswalt to greet fans and revel in the decadence that has been one of Apple TV’s many groundbreaking hits.
The panel saw series creator Dan Erickson, director Ben Stiller, cast members Adam Scott (Parks andRec), Britt Lower (Man Seeking Woman), Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse), Jen Tullock, and resident creeper and fan favorite Tramell Tillman (Milchick) delve into what brought this hit show to life. Sadly, not in attendance were Christopher Walken, John Turturro, Patricia Arquette, and Zach Cherry.
Show creator Dan Erickson started by discussing his early days working 9-to-5 jobs and thinking he would give anything to just pump ahead eight hours and bypass his work day. Thus, Severance was born… in concept anyway. Ten years of writing and developing the script finally paid off. Stiller remembers reading the pilot five years ago and instantly demanding to be a part of it.
The cast and crew shared their stories about how the early development of the script saw Mark (Scott) waking up on the board room table, not Helly. Also, how early writing sessions found the show MUCH MUCH darker and weirder with hallucinations galore and severed body parts traversing the office floors.
Stiller talked in great detail about how they experimented with different styles until they came across the perfect tones, colors, and lighting in the show. Cast members were tasked to shoot many different takes in many different styles and it was only decided later in the editing room which take would fit the best. Stiller also discussed the sound stage built for the show’s “office hallways.” They are in fact real and cast members often get lost walking through them to get to other sets.
Love him or hate him Oswalt did a fantastic job in moderation declaring that he was simply there because he was a fan and the first time he watched the show it did nothing but “creep him the F out.”
Oswalt jokingly talked about the hours and hours one would need to traverse the subreddit world of the show as the cast hilariously asked what subreddit was. Tillman jokingly chimed in that he got involved reading the treasure trove of fan theories, but most fans focused on one thing: his groin anatomy (based on his tight wardrobe). Thus ended his descent into subreddit.
Oswalt and Stiller also discussed the very “real” procedure involved to implant microchips into people’s brains. So if you are wondering, “YES” that was in fact a real neuroscientist in Severance that was used to film scenes of chip implantation and it would in fact be conducted the very same way. Oswalt couldn’t have been more creeped out.
Fans were also surprised to find out that the dance lighting was a surprise to the cast when it was turned on for the waffle party. Oswalt joked that the office in the show had to have built those into the ceiling at some point in its past in hopes of using them someday.
Scott took the lead on discussing how each cast member took to creating their “innie” versus their “outie” with his being mainly the same: two parts of the same person, which is much different than the rest of the cast. Tillman (Melchick) declared that he is not Severed, which much of the audience never even knew, while also teasing that we may or may not see more of his character outside of the Severed offices.
The Q&A was the only part of the panel that shed any light on Season 2 when the audience asked “what is the meaning of the ‘goat’ and will we find out?” Dan Erickson only proclaimed “yes.”
The panel ended with a fantastic gag reel that made up for any lack of footage of a second season.
Severance Season 1 is now streaming on Apple TV+.
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