The Kominsky Method cast talks bringing the laughter and tears for show's final season
When viewers tune in for the third and final season of The Kominsky Method this weekend, it will noticeably be without one of its leading men, Alan Arkin.
Arkin's departure was first announced last September, and his costar Michael Douglas can sum up his feelings about the news in one word — disappointed. Douglas explained to EW that although he doesn't know the exact reasons the veteran actor didn't return, he understood and he enjoyed their time working together during the first two seasons. Even still, he didn't want Arkin's absence to derail the show. "At the same time, I was having a really good time, and I wanted to kind of finish my story. I wanted to tie my story together in a nice package," he says.
Luckily, creator Chuck Lorre and the folks at Netflix and Warner Bros. Television agreed and moved ahead with plans for the season, which will see Douglas' actor-turned-acting coach Sandy navigating aging without his longtime friend and agent Norman by his side. He also has to battle feelings of self-doubt as he mounts a potential comeback with an exciting new role. Oh, and did we mention Kathleen Turner is back to stir the pot as Sandy's ex-wife and Mindy's mother, Roz?
After first guest-starring last season in one episode, Turner told EW that she was content to do one and done. So what changed? "I do like [working like] that I have to confess, but this was just too tempting. To get to play with Michael again, I had to do it," she says.
This time around, Roz wants to spend more time with their daughter (played by Sarah Baker) and help her plan her wedding to Martin (Paul Reiser). "She was with Doctors Without Borders for many years, so I think she's very used to taking control of things and making sure they're carried out," Turner explains. "So she comes back, and she says she's not going to control things, and that's not really true. I think what she really, really wanted to do was to bait Sandy and make him look like an idiot, which she does succeed in doing several times, and it's great fun."
Norman's death looms large for all the characters this season, particularly regarding his will and sizable estate, of which Sandy is executor. "Martin and Mindy are going pretty strong, and then Mindy gets this sort of windfall when Norman's character passes away, and so Mindy comes into more money than she ever dreamed of getting, and comedy and drama ensues," Baker says.
"What was really sweet, to me, is, at the core of this relationship, these are two people who get together later than most people do — certainly very late in my life — and they found each other and a lovely place. And then in comes this money, which shouldn't, but does drive a wedge between them," Reiser teases, adding, "Add to it my mother visits, too, and her father is bad mouthing me in her ear, and it's just a really rich environment for comedy and drama."
For those like Baker and Douglas, who have been a part of the series from the beginning, they believe season 3 ties things up in a satisfying way, and they're happy with the way things play out for their characters. "I think Chuck did a great job," Baker says. "He packed a lot into the season, introduced a lot of problems, and it's not as though it ends and you think, 'Oh, everything is perfect, smooth-sailing, nothing bad happens again,' but it feels like these characters are in a good place and sort of on the right track."
Douglas, who also serves as an executive producer on the show, agrees. "One of the things I really love about this show is it's like real life. Real-life is not a comedy, and real life is hopefully not a whole drama. It's a mix every day — every day happens, you have a laugh here, a tear there. And I think that quality still exists in this third season," Douglas says.
He continues, "I think we should stand proud by these three seasons, and now that it's all finished up and wrapped up with a bow around it, it's something I'm very proud about."
All six episodes of the last season of The Kominsky Method — which also features Haley Joel Osment, Lisa Edelstein, Emily Osment, Graham Rogers, and guest stars Morgan Freeman and Barry Levinson — are on Netflix now.
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