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“One of the most horrific things that I ever experienced was her first words were ‘action’ and then ‘cut,” Schneider tells the Hollywood Reporter while in Cannes promoting the eight-episode scripted series starring, produced and directed by the veteran funnyman.
His 2-year-old girl, Miranda, also mimicked her dad with her gestures: “She said ‘action,’ and then ‘cut,’ and then she’d get up off her little director’s chair,” as if to run off to set up her next shot.
“It was the getting up that made me laugh my ass off,” Schneider adds. The series is self-financed by Schneider, who co-wrote the comedy with his real-life wife, Mexican TV producer Patricia Azarcoya. “It was nice to not have notes from anyone, and do what we wanted,” he says.
Real Rob! is an exaggerated yet brutally honest depiction of the Hollywood celebrity’s real life. “We touch on some less pure comedic stuff,” he says, including the toll fame and money can take on a celebrity’s family life.
“By the eighth episode I found there were some things that happened in my life that I will deal with in a comedic way — and in a way that also was kind of healing for me,” Schneider says, without giving away the first season’s cliffhanger. The series, which mixes scripted comedy with Schneider’s stand-up performances, also proved cathartic.
“I think the future for entertainment will be something closer to the bone and more revealing, and that audiences will be interested in that,” he insists. Away from the stand-up stage where Schneider can quickly sense whether he’s crossed any lines, the veteran actor said he had to trust his gut on the Real Rob! set.
“You have to trust your instincts. And if your instincts come from an emotional place, that’s where comedy is music,” he observes. Schneider also chose to fly without a safety net while shooting the self-made comedy.
“I didn’t want to be safe, because it’s more exciting as a performer to be fearless, and to let my guard down more than I have ever done. I mean my wife and I might never do another season. I don’t know,” he says, still fresh from editing Real Rob!
Family is familiar territory for Schneider. He wrote, directed and starred in the 2010 comedy The Chosen One, a redemption fantasy inspired by his true-life father and grandfather. “I never met my grandfather. He committed suicide, and that colored my father’s entire adult life, and it colored us,” Schneider says.
“So there’s a melancholy secondary wave of sadness that hit us all,” he recalls. The actor says his father faced many illnesses, “but he knew the greatest gift he could give to us was to hang in there, so he didn’t pass that on.”
The first season of Real Rob!, to debut on Netflix on Dec. 1, will guest-star George Lopez, David Spade and Norm Macdonald. Real Rob! will be available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. It is distributed by Tricon Films & Television.
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