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The Kominsky Method, starring Michael Douglas (as washed-up actor and current acting teacher Sandy Kominsky) and Alan Arkin (as his longtime agent Norman Newlander) tells the story of two close friends navigating their later years in Los Angeles. Lorre says the idea behind the show came from his own experience with aging in Hollywood.
“It’s what it feels like to feel estranged from the culture,” the executive producer told The Hollywood Reporter at the show’s AFI Fest premiere on Saturday. “As you get older, things are happening so fast, it’s really easy to feel like you’re standing on a dock and the world is a boat moving away from you and you don’t understand what’s happening and it’s disorienting. That’s something I wanted to write about.”
Lisa Edelstein, who plays Arkin’s daughter in the series, spoke about the importance of spotlighting this later-in-life period, which is something she says is rarely shown organically on screen.
“I think [aging] is an important thing to look at and talk about and celebrate and laugh at and make a part of our understanding and experience in the world, because it hasn’t been for a long time,” Edelstein added. “Now that there’s so many outlets, you need to tell these stories because people are looking for their story, and to have such magnificent actors tell that story in such a charming way, I think it makes the experience less frightening.”
Arkin said that although old age is a large part of the dark comedy, he never wanted to produce something that was just focused on being elderly.
Before joining the show, he explained, “I said, ‘I’m not doing a show about old people.’ I don’t know what old people are, it’s just another way of separating people from other people.” The 84-year-old star then joked, “I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 90.”
Arkin also credited Douglas for making the show an enjoyable experience, and admitting he didn’t know what to expect since the two had never met, he said that “working with Michael was glorious. He’s enormously flexible and inventive and has a very big range as well.”
The Kominsky Method marks Douglas’ first major return to TV in more than 40 years, and Lorre, who wrote the series and directed the first episode, was the one to draw him back to the small screen.
“That was a gift, working with Michael was a gift,” Lorre said. “He has all of these years of experience as an actor and as a producer, so he brings so much to the table, plus he’s just a cool guy.”
The show’s premiere, held at the TCL Chinese Theatrw in Hollywood, also welcomed stars Nancy Travis, Sarah Baker, Emily Osment and Ann-Margret. The Kominsky Method starts streaming on Netflix on Nov. 16.
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