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The cast of The Afterparty spent the better part of five months filming the same handful of scenes over and over and over.
“It was a wild exercise, because it was like Groundhog Day,” actress Zoë Chao says of the Rashomon-esque comedy, which shifts the perspective (and style of the show) between members of the ensemble in each episode. “Not only were we in the height of COVID, we were revisiting the same night in the same costumes.”
Half-comedy and half-murder mystery, the Apple TV+ series created by Chris Miller takes place at a high school reunion after party that turns deadly. All of the surviving guests, each of them also suspects, are compelled to tell their version of the night’s events to a detective played by Tiffany Haddish. And, as Chao and fellow castmates Ike Barinholtz, Ben Schwartz and Jamie Demetriou discussed with The Hollywood Reporter‘s Mikey O’Connell during a recent THR Presents conversation (powered by Vision Media), there was a lot of repetition.
“The kind of home base is the living room where Tanner [Haddish] is interrogating us all — and I think we shot in that room for, I wanna say two years,” says Barinholtz, straight-faced. “If it were a serious show, maybe it would’ve been boring, but you’re with some of the funniest people in the world who have been locked in their houses for a year.”
There are, of course, some major differences in each repeated scene — mostly on account of the fact that each retelling took on a different tone. Chao’s cartoonish take delved into animation. Barinholtz’s self-aggrandizing character made his story an action movie. Schwartz was the star of his own musical. And Demetriou, who played forgotten classmate Walt, narrated the one big break in the show’s scenery — a flashback to a pivotal high school party that set a series of events in motion leading to the night’s murder. All that meant for some subtle variances that are probably more easily noticed upon encore viewings.
“In different people’s perspective of the night, they change what people are wearing,” says Schwartz, obviously the hero of his own story. “And in my episode only, a musical episode, they lined my jacket with this gorgeous pattern and gave me different sneakers.”
Barinholtz revealed his episode gave his character “Jack Reacher shoulder pads” and Chao’s, who played his ex-wife, fishnet stockings. “I’m just going to put it out there, but they did not ever change my costume because none of the characters remember me,” says Demetriou. “It was brown, brown, brown.”
Season one of The Afterparty is streaming in full on Apple TV+, and a second season was recently ordered. Haddish is thus far the only confirmed returning cast member, much to Schwartz’s chagrin. “I pitched an idea, but I don’t think it’s gonna be used,” he says, laughing. “I said ‘Chris, what if…’ and he just said ‘No.’”
For more from the cast of The Afterparty, including a discussion of the killer’s reveal, working with fellow star Sam Richardson and an unsolicited plug for a certain salad chain, watch the full video at the top of the post. This edition of THR Presents was brought to you by Apple.
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