Q: How did you become involved with Lodge 49? What stood out to you about the story?
Dan Carey: It got sent to us from our agency. Jim Gavin had just written it as a spec script, and it was sort of one of the first things he’d done. He’s a fiction writer. I read it and was immediately blown away by it. I got Paul to read it the same weekend.
Paul Giamatti: I still think it’s one of the best things I’ve read. I loved everything about it. When I look at it now and think about it, I see it being very original and not seeming like things that are on TV, but at the time, I just was struck by the characters and the quality of the dialogue and the story. [There are] interesting levels the story works on — this very naturalistic story of people dealing with their disenfranchisement and being shut out of things in America, but then also these other layers that come in through the lodge. It felt very literary to me. It felt like reading a book, which I liked. We’re hoping that this is actually something people hook into because it’s a really lovely and accessible story.
Q: How would you describe Dud and where he’s at in life when the story kicks off?
DC: Dud is a guy who just wanted to live the middle-class American dream – have a job at a family business and surf in the afternoons – and his whole life has crumbled. The economy has crushed his way of life and he’s lost. He finds a lot of other people like him at the lodge who are also trying to figure out what happened to the American dream. He really optimistically believes there’s a different way to go about things. As low as he is, he’s not a dope. He’s at a low point, but he’s actually a sophisticated guy. He hasn’t seen it yet, but he believes there’s a better way to go about things.
Q: This story raises a lot of questions about fate and coincidence. How do you view those things in your lives?
PG: I ask myself those questions a lot. As I get older, I like to believe not necessarily that there’s a guiding principle, but that there might be something beyond just what’s in front of you in the material world. Hopefully, there’s something better and higher. The show is definitely asking those questions, but I don’t know that it answers them. I don’t think it necessarily says that there’s some religious principle you’re supposed to follow. I think it does say that there’s more there than we see. A lot of the show is about opening your eyes to things that are right in front of you that you don’t necessarily see.
Q: Many people may have misconceptions about fraternal lodges that exist in the real world. Do you see this as an opportunity to demystify what goes on inside?
PG: That was a big selling point for both of us. In most American cities, small towns or big towns, there’s going to be an Odd Fellow lodge, a Lion’s club, an Elk’s club – there’s going to be all of these fraternal organizations. I’ve always wondered what the hell actually goes on in those places. What was great was that we’re demystifying it because they’re really social clubs and nice places for people to congregate, but the possibility that there might be something else going on in those places was really exciting to me. That was something I really loved about the show. [Jim] really deals with that stuff beautifully in a believable way and it also shaves into more mystical and esoteric things.
DC: There’s always a promise that something more is there.
Q: What do you see in the relationship between Dud and Ernie? What is it that brings them together?
PG: Ernie has this incredible pragmatic approach to life, which I loved as a contrast. We’d talk about how it was almost like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It’s this classic duo of the dreamer and then the practical guy.
Q: How would you describe the dynamic between Dud and his sister, Liz?
DC: It’s a great portrait of sibling relationships. [This show] is really honest about siblings in that they can be total opposites and totally like one another at the exact same time. They are yin and yang. They are dark and light and yet, they have this deep friendship between the two of them.
PG: Each one seems to really gain something from the other one.
DC: There’s an element of Dud in Liz and an element of Liz hidden in Dud.
Q: What do you think the setting of Long Beach adds to the show?
PG: In a sense, Long Beach is a little like those fraternal orders that you pass by. It’s a thing you pass by on the way to somewhere else. It’s a place you’ve heard of but you wouldn’t really look at it carefully, yet there’s all kinds of weirdness there and all kinds of interesting, strange, archaic things there. It’s got an amazing history, but you could just drive by it really easily. It’s just another exit. Something was really appealing about it being this in-between place. It’s close to these huge metropolises and it shares a little bit with them, but not quite. It’s the kind of place where a place like the Orbis plant would be. These things that sustain these little communities and then it leaves and these places get even more adrift.
Q: Paul, did you ever think about a role for yourself on the show?
PG: I would love to. If I could, I would love to be on this. That would be really fun. If not, I have enjoyed being able to watch it unfold like everybody else gets to watch it.
Q: What’s one thing you would tell people who are interested in giving the show a shot?
DC: I think they’re going to find some characters they really love as much as the writers like them. Stay with them.
PG: They go on some interesting adventures and journeys. It’s fun and strange and touching. It’s a lovely show.
Lodge 49 premieres Monday, August 6 at 10/9c. For the latest news and exclusives, sign up for the Insiders Club.Read More