Ben Stiller on “Severance”: “It was something unique from the beginning, from the first reading”

Actor Ben Stiller is the director and producer of “Severance.” (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

AppleTV+ finally found its place in the industry. In the last two or three years he has been shooting new fictions and, until the beginning of 2022, the most successful had been The Morning Show Y ted lasso. The repercussion of it among the public and the specialized media changed considerably with the arrival of new products and the definitive consecration by winning the Oscar for Best Film with CODA: Heart signals, film produced by the platform. In this scenario, there is a title that managed to attract attention: severity.

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Created by Dan Ericksondebutant screenwriter, the series had been written for several years but several doors had been closed before reaching the hands of ben stiller: “It was original, which I definitely appreciated. I felt like it was a specific tone and worlds that were familiar but different. And I felt like I was exploring a great concept, a really simple concept, and I loved that.” Infobae video call through and with some admiration for the final product.

“I felt like I was exploring a great concept, a really simple concept, and I loved that,” Ben Stiller said of “Severance.” (Apple TVPlus)

Not so far from humor, this science fiction series has a fairly simple premise: a company divides the memory of its employees. One part is strictly for work and the other for personal life, but neither half knows what’s going on with the other. The story focuses on Mark: his reasons for accepting the job, the opinion of those close to him and the consequences of living two lives in one body. “The first person I thought of was not me but adam scott and his unique set of talents that would be perfect for this world. He has this ability to create a kind of tone for the characters of him that can operate both comically and dramatically and get the gist, but still there’s a lot of other stuff going on inside of him.” Stiller about the protagonist.

The story conquered the actor My Girlfriend’s Family (Meet the Parents), who immediately joined the project. Erickson went with an attractive idea: he was convinced that if it were possible to execute it, companies would soon apply it to their employees and that is the greatest virtue of the fiction that this Friday reaches its season finale, with the second already confirmed. On discovering the project, Stiller added: “Dan Erickson’s writing had such a specific voice that it made me laugh and unsettled me as well. Within the show there were a lot of possibilities to have a mix of different feelings, plus the atmosphere that seemed like it could be really unsettling at times and also really funny.”

Adam Scott gathered a "unique set of talents that would be perfect for this world"said Ben Stiller about the protagonist of "severity".  (Apple TVPlus)
Adam Scott brought together a “unique set of talents that would be perfect for this world,” Ben Stiller said of the “Severance” star. (Apple TVPlus)

—Why did you not want to act in this production?

“Simply because I haven’t been doing that, acting and directing, for a while. I liked not doing both at the same time and enjoyed doing one thing at a time. And I loved the idea of ​​what this show could be in terms of its concept. I have been lucky enough to do what I love for most of my life. Every time I did a job I didn’t love, it was really bad. Then I resigned or I was fired. Here I preferred just producing and directing.

—What were the inspirations for the look of the series and the directing style of the show?

—There were many different influences, which were simply in the reading; almost unconscious images and ideas, or unconscious, I guess, of everything I’ve seen and read. Photography too; all the stuff you bring with you every time you walk into a project. Then we sat down with our production designer, Jeremy Hindle, and with Jessica Lee Gagne, cinematographer, and we looked at some films and photographs and talked about these ideas, about why this place is the way it is. I think the most important thing was finding our Lumen location [la empresa que realiza estas operaciones a sus empleados], find the building. When we found that building, which was the first location we saw, it seemed very appropriate in terms of the aesthetics of the show. We took details from the design of that building to build the sets that would comprise the lower floors of Lumen.

In "severity" a company divides the memory of its employees: one part for work and the other for personal life, but neither knows about the other.  (Apple TVPlus)
In “Severance” a company divides the memory of its employees: one part for work and the other for personal life, but neither knows about the other. (Apple TVPlus)

The fiction brought together a short cast but with prominent stars: Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Britt Lower, Zach Cherry, Dichen Lachman, Jen Tullock, Tramell Tillman, Michael Chernus Y Christopher Walken. But the central axis is with the four characters that work with Mark (Scott), which for Stiller posed one of the central challenges of the series: “We have four actors sitting around this cubicle most of the time, in a large room that was written as a room with a cubicle where everyone sits together, which is strange. And we thought we just had to find a style for this place that hopefully wouldn’t compete with what the actors would be doing and would give us interesting angles and ways to shoot it in nine episodes. So that was the fun and the challenge, and it evolved as we went along.”

Before the premiere of the long-awaited season finale, AppleTV+ announced the renewal of severity for more episodes. This original work thriller has become one of the favorite series of specialized critics in recent weeks and it is now confirmed that it will not end with the last episode of the initial season.

"severity" brought together the talents of Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Britt Lower, Zach Cherry, Dichen Lachman, Jen Tullock, Tramell Tillman, Michael Chernus and Christopher Walken.  (Apple TVPlus)
“Severance” brought together the talents of Patricia Arquette, John Turturro, Britt Lower, Zach Cherry, Dichen Lachman, Jen Tullock, Tramell Tillman, Michael Chernus and Christopher Walken. (Apple TVPlus)

severity is a series of AppleTV+ which premieres its season finale on Friday, April 8.

KEEP READING:

severity: a haunting sci-fi thriller series produced and directed by Ben Stiller
severity: 5 reasons to watch one of the most attractive series of the year
severity will have a second season on Apple TV +

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Ben Stiller on “Severance”: “It was something unique from the beginning, from the first reading”