Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara get wigged out on ‘Schitt’s Creek’

Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara talk about their show “Schitt’s Creek” with the Los Angeles Times’ Robert Lloyd.

In the rich, delightful and awkwardly named “Schitt’s Creek,” now in its second season on Pop – and its first season eligible for an Emmy -- Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara play Johnny and Moira Rose, rich people who lose all their money and find themselves living in a motel in a small town they discover they “own.” In adjoining rooms are their adolescent adult children: David, played by Dan Levy (who co-created the series with his father, Eugene), and Alexis, played by Annie Murphy. Chris Elliott, of Chris Elliott fame, is the mayor – it’s that kind of place.

Levy and O’Hara are old friends from Toronto’s Second City, a gig that led them into “SCTV,” the late-'70s-early-'80s, from-north-of-the-border alternative/companion to “Saturday Night Live” that also launched John Candy, Martin Short, Andrea Martin and Rick Moranis, among others. The two later joined Christopher Guest’s stock company, playing together in “Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “For Your Consideration.” As O’Hara noted on a recent trip to the L.A. Times studio, for all their work apart, they’re considered very much a team.

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But after being offered the role of Moira, a former soap opera star whose every waking minute is a drama of its own, said O’Hara, “it took me a few moments to commit,” but “I already trusted Eugene as a writer and an actor, and as a good man who I could stand to spend time with. I don’t know,” she said, turning to Levy, “what’s your excuse?”

“All of us who went through Second City,” Levy observed, “share a sensibility that runs along the same lines, but Catherine really goes above and beyond in terms of what she brings creatively to whatever she’s doing. A lot of great ideas she brought to the role … the idea that Moira wears wigs that represent her different moods was just an amazing touch [that] opened up so many doors on this show…. Let alone the fact that each wig has its own name.”

“And,” added O’Hara, “they get to hang on the wall.”

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With two seasons now of playing a couple under their collective belt and a third season now being made ready, the show’s quirky humor is catching on. Season 2 dominated the Canadian Screen Awards in March, where it won for best show; earned acting awards in every possible category for O’Hara, Levy, Elliott and Emily Hampshire, as motel receptionist Stevie; a writing award for Dan Levy; and more.)

For more reminiscences, reflections and expressions of mutual love and respect, check out the full interview above.


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