'If 'Midnight Run' and 'Stranger Things' had a baby, it would be 'Ghosted,'' says Scott of the new Fox sci-fi comedy

By Dan Snierson
September 29, 2017 at 01:01 PM EDT
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Adam Scott and Craig Robinson are teaming up to save the world from… aliens? Ghosts? A far-reaching government conspiracy? All of the above? What we do know is that Parks and Recreation vet Scott and The Office alum Robinson — who, yes, worked together on Hot Tub Time Machine 2 — star on the sci-fi comedy Ghosted (premiering Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m ET/PT on Fox) as an astrophysics professor-turned-bookstore employee and LAPD detective-turned-mall cop who are recruited by a secret government agency named the Bureau Underground to investigate paranormal activity. Let’s see what we can scare up by interrogating these two.

Credit: Kevin Estrada/Fox

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Complete this sentence: “When Adam Scott and Craig Robinson join forces, get ready to ___, but don’t expect to ___.”
Laugh your d— off.
ADAM SCOTT: But don’t expect to get your d— back.

What was the single biggest reason that you couldn’t turn down this show?
SCOTT: Working with Craig.
ROBINSON: Okay, that was my answer, by the way.

Working with yourself?
: Working with Adam, but then [turning to Scott] you said it so I’m like, “Oh man.” It would have to be working with Adam. Before I met him, I said I wanted to work with him. Then we saw each other at a party and it was like, “Yeah, yeah, we should!” It was a long time coming. Like, “Okay, yeah, let’s make this happen, cap’n.”
SCOTT: I’ve just been an admirer of Craig’s for years, and then we got to work together a little bit before [on Hot Tub], but this is the perfect circumstance for the two of us, which is pitting us against each other in a buddy comedy — 48 Hours, Trading Places, Midnight Run, these movies are a lot of what inspired a lot of this show — and us being so different and creating characters that are the complete opposites are the fuel to this comedy fire.

Which analogy best describes your chemistry?
: Rice-Montana, baby. Back and forth. If Rice could throw, too, and Montana could catch. We just keep switching back and forth.
SCOTT: Thunder and lightning? Sorry.

And which analogy worst describes it?
: Thunder and lightning.
ROBINSON: You know how you put two magnets together and they repel each other? That would not be us.
SCOTT: How about: Bush-Quayle?

In the pilot, a weird alien-like figure removes his head and chases after you. How do you think you’d react to that in real life?
SCOTT: Honestly, probably exactly how we reacted in the show, which was to scream and run.
ROBINSON: Scream and run. Agree with that…. [reflects more] I really think I would watch as much as I could. I don’t know, I might be willing to just stand there and be like, “What’s about to happen, what’s about to happen?” Even though I’d be scared…
SCOTT: You would stick around?
ROBINSON: I think I would, man. That would blow my mind.
SCOTT: Yeah, I would stick around and watch — as long as I could hide and un-heroically be invisible.

Will the space-time continuum be disrupted in this show? And if so, could a certain Tub be warmed up for action again?
: You’re giving ideas now.
SCOTT: A crossover of some sort? I sure hope not. [Robinson laughs.] Although it would be fun to have Rob [Corddry] and Clark [Duke] come.
ROBINSON: And [John] Cusack. But yes, the space-time continuum — I think that’s very much in play for this.

You’ve said you want the show to have genuine moments of horror, but it can be tricky to pull that off in a 30-minute comedy universe. You’re both funny people, and the audience is predisposed to laugh when you come on the screen. Is that the biggest challenge for the show?
: Yeah. It is. And I’m glad for the pilot we had a chunk of time to [edit] the show … If you look at a movie like Ghostbusters where they were able to create this threat in a comedy, at the end, that Stay Puft marshmallow man — which is a big ridiculous piece of comedy — ends up feeling incredibly dangerous…. For us, since we only have 21-and-a-half minutes, it’s a matter of figuring out where the comedy is and then the action/horror/suspense, whatever it is we want to really play, it’s a matter of pulling the jokes out strategically so it doesn’t impede on that and push it into parody territory, because that’s the opposite of what we want to do. [In the editing room], we were pulling them out to keep the threat feeling real.
ROBINSON: Although we have had to sacrifice some things, comedy is the tone of the show, so to get those horror moments and get those realistic creatures and things, comedy is first, and then those. Sacrificing the jokes — those become your babies. You’re like, “No!!! We’re not putting in the Cocoa Crisps???” So yeah, it was an adjustment.

Credit: Fox

Amidst all the aliens and scares is a buddy comedy. What is the holy grail of buddy comedies, in your opinion?
: Midnight Run. It’s brilliantly written, but also Charles Grodin and [Robert] DeNiro are vastly different characters. It’s incredibly funny, but you care about those two guys and you care about them caring about each other. Little by little, you see them starting to get their hooks in each other — it’s basically a love story — and at the end, they are forever bonded but will probably never see each other again. I find that movie incredibly moving but also one of the funniest. The tone that Midnight Run hits is very grounded, but at the same time, it has these heightened elements to it. In an ideal world, what we would hope to someday get to is: If Midnight Run and Stranger Things had a baby, it would be Ghosted.
ROBINSON: 48 HRS. You see them go from hating each other automatically to having each other’s back to figuring out different things about each other to being concerned for one another, to the point where they became friends. But all the while the craziness going on, at different points, one of them is vulnerable and the other one is vulnerable and they create a partnership. And it’s super damn funny. And it couldn’t be more real or grounded. And it’s not until you [asked] that question that I saw why I’m doing this. Because it made me think, “Damn, 48 HRS. — that’s what I aspire to!”
SCOTT: What if I said my favorite was Another 48 HRS.?

What’s the closest that you’ve come in your own life to witnessing paranormal activity or an alien abduction?
: Nothing to see here on that. That’s not something I care to recount publicly.
SCOTT: I felt like I was about to be abducted, but then as it happens, it was just a guy walking past me. It felt like a close call at the time. And it felt like it might be an alien. Turns out it was just a dude, so I’m going to count it as: I almost got abducted by an alien.

What is one thing you promise we’ll never see on this show?
: I swear I will never say, “According to my calculations.”
ROBINSON: Good one. I was going to say ghost sex, but… that could happen.
SCOTT: Season 5, who knows? Ghost boners? I don’t want to rule that out, either, actually.
ROBINSON: I cannot make that vow.
SCOTT: Can we make the promise that we’ll never say, “We’ve got company!”?
SCOTT: No. We’ve got to say that.

Do you worry that some dudes will feel threatened by the all-female reboot of Ghosted in 2027?
: No, we will have evolved so much by then.
SCOTT: Yeah, by then Craig and I will be female, so we’ll still be in it.
ROBINSON: Ooh… that’s a season 8 spoiler.

Ghosted premieres Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:30 p.m. on Fox.


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