March 18, 2011 10:30am PT by Philiana Ng
'Raising Hope' Stars Tease Helen Mirren, Alpacas and Robert Crumb?
Fox's Raising Hope was honored on closing night at PaleyFest -- and the cast members spoke candidly about the comedy, from My Name is Earl creator Greg Garcia.
Fresh off production on Season 1, star Lucas Neff revealed to The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet that Oscar winner Helen Mirren was a big fan of the show, suggesting that she should have a guest spot in the second season. (Filming begins in August.)
"Helen Mirren," Neff told THR. "I'm shooting for the Queen. I want her to be the mayor of our town. That's about as unlikely to happen as anything is, but I hear she likes the show. I hear she watches the show. We'd certainly keep a seat open for her."
The relative newcomer then took it upon himself to pitch the British thespian. "If you're listening Helen, I will get you food at lunch, I will refill your coffee. Tea, I'll get you tea. I know you guys like tea, any way you like it. Crumpets, everything. All included," he said.
Co-star Martha Plimpton, who has appeared in CBS' The Good Wife and Fox's Fringe, met Mirren at the Palm Springs Film Festival, where the Queen told her she loved the show. Through their chance encounter, Plimpton "intuited" that Mirren's favorite character was her's, Virginia. But hey, who wouldn't?
(Good news Good Wife fans, Plimpton confirmed to THR that she will be back on the CBS drama. She begins filming her third episode next week.)
Garcia didn't shy away from discussing his series' mediocre ratings at the panel. (Raising Hope averages 6.4 million viewers on Tuesday nights, but was the first new show picked up for a full season and the first to be renewed.) "I think the network would like a little more people to love it and a few more million people to tolerate it," he said to the audience.
Actor Garret Dillahunt (Burt) teased a scene in the Garcia-helmed season finale -- which was screened for the audience -- that was memorable for all the right reasons.
"I think it's very complex, lots of Memento weaving time-travelling thing going on, and I also have a spitting contest with an alpaca, which has never happened before," Dillahunt revealed to THR. Who wins? "Don't look an alpaca in the eye, that's all I can say," he warned.
Dillahunt also hypothesized where the characters might be at the start of Season 2. "We didn't know if they were going to go back in time further or if we're going to skip ahead in the life of the babies, so I'm anxious to see what [the writers] have in store," he said.
During the panel session, Garcia mentione that the plan was to have the babies age as they age in real-time. Several other nuggets were revealed during the session, including Earl vets Jaime Pressly and Ethan Suplee playing a married couple in the penultimate episode. Plimpton told THR on the carpet that there's "girl group stuff with Shannon [Woodward]'s character," Sabrina. "There's other girls. There's some kind of hallucinations. There's lots of costumes. There's singing," Woodward teased. Plimpton also revealed that there are "questionable choices made by Burt and Jimmy on the flirting front."
Things started off rocky for Neff's Jimmy Chance, whose single father status isn't exactly the sexiest to have. But every slacker needs to have a role model right?
Neff tells THR of his character: "I think he loves the whole punk ethos in life, which is very much, 'Live by your own rules,' and he's a slacker. He's still defining."
"He loves Robert Crumb, but that's a terrible role model. Like one of the worst ever. You would never want a parent to ever be like Robert Crumb. His cartoons, his comics are amazing, but he's crazy," Neff shared. "Not Kurt Cobain .. all the people that are leaping to mind are terrible, like the people he would admire probably would be the worst role models on the face of the earth."