Talking to Adam Scott About ‘A.C.O.D.’, ‘Parks and Rec’, and ‘The Greatest Event in TV History’
Adam Scott’s new movie, A.C.O.D., hits theaters this Friday, and it’s the first lead role he’s had in a big Hollywood comedy. In A.C.O.D. (which stands for “Adult Children of Divorce”), Scott plays a guy who finds out he was once a participant in a study of children of divorce. He then gets involved in a follow-up study as an adult, all while dealing with his divorced parents (Catherine O’Hara, Richard Jenkins) reuniting for his brother’s (Clark Duke) wedding. The stellar cast also includes Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch, Jessica Alba, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Adam Pally.
In addition to A.C.O.D., Scott is busy with a bevy of other projects, including roles in upcoming films The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Hot Tub Time Machine 2, plus his series regular gig on Parks and Recreation, which just started its sixth season. Scott also recently started a production company with his wife and producing partner Naomi, ridiculously titled “Gettin’ Rad Productions,” through which they’ve been making their popular Adult Swim series of specials, The Greatest Event in Television History.
I chatted with Adam Scott last week about starring in A.C.O.D., saying goodbye to Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe on Parks and Rec, and why he and his wife are ending The Greatest Event in Television History next year.
What was it like working with Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins?
It was awesome. They’re both obviously incredible, very very fun people. I hadn’t worked with Catherine before, so I was just thrilled to work with her. I’d worked with Jenkins before. He’s the best. So yeah, it was really, really fun.
That’s got to be great, to get to work with people you’ve looked up for a long time.
Yeah, it’s fun. Making things with your friends is just the best possible scenario for making a movie or a TV show. It makes everything easier or more fun.
When did you first read the script for A.C.O.D.?
I read it, I guess, a couple years ago. [Director/co-writer] Stu [Zicherman] sent it to me, and I just loved it, thought it was so smart and painful and funny, so I jumped onboard immediately. It was before any other cast had signed on, so it was just building it out from there once I jumped on.
This is the biggest movie you’ve had a front-and-center role in. What’s that like as an actor?
It was fun. It was a lot of work. It was a good experience. We shot it quickly. It was like five weeks, so it went by kind of in a blur, but it was really fun.
What are some things you look for when selecting a big project like this?
I guess I try and find things that are a little different than whatever it was I did before and try and find things that I feel like I could uniquely bring something to, things I relate to in the material. And also, things that I don’t relate to in the material that are a bit scarier or that are gonna take a little more time to figure out the puzzle of it.
Getting into writing and producing your own projects the past couple years, how’s that transition been?
Good. It’s fun. I like starting things from the ground up. I haven’t done much of it. My Adult Swim show [The Greatest Event in Television History], which my wife and I created together and put it together ourselves and and found friends to work with on it, was really, really fun. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding to have something tangible that you can say we started this and actually made it and can look at it. It’s great. For better or worse, it’s yours.
How many more of those specials are you guys gonna do?
We have two more yet to air. We have one November 7th and another one, February or March, it’ll air.
Have you taped both of those already?
I know people kind of guessed what the next show is. Can you say whether or not that’s accurate or not?
I don’t know. I’ve heard a lot of inaccurate guesses. Someone thought it was The Simpsons. I guess when it airs is when we’ll confirm what it is, but there’s a great cast for that one. It’s a larger cast than usual, so we’ll slowly reveal who’s in it. Chelsea Peretti’s the one that’s already leaked out, that she’s in it. She’s awesome in it.
Those shoots were pretty strenuous for the first couple, it seemed.
Yeah, it’s a lot of work for such a short, stupid thing, so that’s why I think we’re gonna wrap it up here after the next two. Just because it’s sort of a lot of work and stress for something that is ultimately pointless. They’re really fun and they’re fun to make, but we’re ready to move on.
Do you have a desire to do additional specials like that? More weird experimental stuff?
Yeah, maybe. For a while, we were maybe gonna do ’em to music videos or to commercials, but I think we’re just gonna move on from the shot-for-shot recreation thing.
Yeah, you’d probably get exhausted after too many of those.
Yeah, it’s very tedious. It’s fun to watch when it’s done, but it’s kind of tedious to do.
Do you ever get reactions from, whether it be friends and family or people in the industry, who are just like, “Why are you going through all this effort?”
Yeah. I like it when people ask, “This is really funny, but why?” which is a really good question. But yeah, it is a very pointless exercise.
Do you have any other projects coming up through you and your wife’s production company, Gettin’ Rad?
Nothing other than the last two specials. We’re still in post on the last one and will be for a couple months. Other than that, nothing ready to put out there or shoot just yet, but we have a few things percolating.
Are there any production companies run by actors or comedians that you look to as a model for yours?
Yeah, I really love what Bob Odenkirk’s done and how he sort of shepherds a lot of people, and I love [Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and Dave Kneebone’s] Abso Lutely Productions. They’re really great. They have so many great shows. Just all of the sudden, the past couple years. It’s like, Nathan for You, Comedy Bang Bang…
The Eric Andre Show.
Yeah. So many great shows, and I think those guys have incredible taste, so I kind of look to them as an arbiter. A lot of the stuff I enjoy, they’re putting out there.
Would you like to get into shows like that in the future?
Maybe, yeah. I look at them — Tim & Eric — and wonder where they find the time ’cause they have so many shows going. Between having a family and a full-time job, I kind of marvel at where they find the time to do it.
I was actually over there earlier today. I interviewed Tim, who said they just like to get people who know what they’re doing and let them run their own shows.
I think that’s really smart. You watch something like Nathan for You, I think too much meddling with anything like that is a mistake because that’s a brilliant show and that guy obviously has a real clear idea of what that show should be. You just leave them alone and let them do their thing, it’s really, really smart.
How’d you guys come up with the name and the logo to your production company?
We had a bunch of different ideas for production company names. “Gettin’ Rad” was something that me and my friends would ironically say to each other before we go out drinking. “You ready to get rad?” So, when we were trying to come up with a name, I just sort of remembered that from a few years before, threw it out there, and we just thought, ‘It’s so stupid but it sort of works.’ Then, the logo, my wife found this guy. I forget his name. I don’t have his name in my brain right now. We just kind of worked with him on what the logo could be, and he had the idea of having the binder paper behind it, which makes it look like something someone drew on their binder paper in high school. It’s really obnoxious, and I just sort of like the look of it. The music when the logo is shown on the end of the show, I created that on GarageBand myself, so now, I’m a composer as well. It’s basically just a drumbeat that you just select, and that’s all it is.
[Laughs] That’s still something. It’s still the start of a promising composing career.
Yeah, I’m like the next John Williams.
That’s gonna be the title of this interview.
“I’m the next John Williams.”
So what’s coming up on the new season of Parks and Rec?
Well, Leslie is fighting this recall battle. People in town want to recall her from City Council. By extension, my character Ben is having his own internal career crisis, as well, and I’m just trying to help her not get recalled from office while at the same time re-examining where I am career-wise. There’s a bunch of great stuff with everybody. Ron Swanson goes through a bunch of funny stuff. [Chris] Pratt is gone for a couple episodes, so watching April deal with his absence is really funny. Retta and Jim [O’Heir] have a bunch of funny stuff. It’s all great. It’s really firing on all cylinders. The scripts this season are just so great, so funny.
You guys got to go to London to film the premiere?
Yeah, we went there. Before the season started, we all went there. It was super fun. We were all so tired. I watched the episode, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I look about as tired as I was.’
It seems like they have you traveling around a lot for the show.
Yeah, we have another trip coming up this weekend that we’re gonna go shoot. I don’t think I’m allowed to say where it is, but yeah, we’re traveling around a bit this season, which is fun.
What’s it like with Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe’s exit looming?
It’s kinda sad. It’s bittersweet because they’re both ready to move on and everything, so it’s kind of happy. You know, I’m happy for them, but we’re all gonna miss them. I love Rob and Rashida, but, you know, people find other things they want to do, so good for them. But it’s gonna be so fucking sad when they shoot their last episode. We’re all sort of bracing ourselves.