Comic-Con: Paul Scheer, Karen Gillan, and Jonathan Stern Talk NTSF:SD:SUV, Dream Guest Stars, What Fans Can Look Forward to Next Season and More

     July 23, 2013


Adult Swim’s NTSF:SD:SUV will be returning for its third season on July 25th.  The absurd, and often times hilarious show, will bring back the National Terrorism Strike Force team once again as they continue to hunt down terrorists while gleefully riffing on every possible movie and television cliché.  The new season will also see the team travel to London for a special movie event (which will just actually be a 30 minute episode) that will find the group having to team up with their London counterparts in what is sure to be an especially memorable episode.  Collider was able to sit down for a roundtable interview with series creator/star Paul Scheer, executive producer Jonathan Stern, and new cast member Karen Gillan where the trio talked about what fans can expect from the new season and much more.  You can hit the jump to read more.

paul-scheer-ntsf-sd-suvPaul Scheer:  I’m pulling out my guest star list because people always go, “Who is on the show this season?” and I forget.  So I can cheat right here and tell you.

On the subject of guest stars, is there a guest star that you have been trying to get that you did not get this season that is on your wish list?

Jonathan Stern:  You know who is at the top of my list? Shatner.

Scheer:  Shatner is a good one.  That would be really great.

Karan Gillan:  That would be so cool! Come on!

Scheer:  I wanted to get Benedict Cumberbatch last year when he was filming Star Trek, but he had a Visa that only worked with Paramount.  So we couldn’t get him over on our show, which was a real bummer.  He would have been great.  But, to me, I would love either David Caruso or Kiefer Sutherland would be pretty great.  I know that Kiefer has watched the show.  So I know that he likes it and has watched it.  So I am excited.  Who would you want to work with if you could work with anybody?  Is there anybody that you would ever want?

Gillan:  Anyone?

Scheer:  Alive or dead. 

Gillan:  Alive or dead?  Oh, my god.  One is Elvis Presley.  I just think that he is amazing.  But my other answer is not very Comic-Con related or sci-fi at all – Tilda Swinton.  She is my favorite actress. 

Scheer:  Oh, she is awesome.  She would be amazing.  There are so many people that we try to cast that are interesting.  We had Robert Forster this year from Jackie Brown and everything.  He is not like a sci-fi guy or anything, but he is somebody that we like.  He is a good, strong person.  Tilda Swinton would be a good one.  I like that.

Gillan:  She is so good.

Have you ever asked anybody to be on the show and they have just said, “Uh…no.”?

Scheer:  We have oddly been very lucky.  I think only one person turned us down for not doing TV.  I won’t tell you who it was, but his name is Barack Obama.  Barack Obama was like, “Oh, he doesn’t do TV.  He is the president.”  I was like, “Come on, man!  He can do one day.  It’s a quick part.”  We’ve actually been very lucky and we have had some amazing people, Karen included.  Karen is a new addition this season, which has been so much fun to have her.  It is a fun vibe and it is quick.  So no one has to commit their life to it.  It’s, like, 22 days and people come in and out.  Kate Mulgrew finished Orange is the New Black, came in, shot, and had to go back to New York for a play.  June [Diane Raphael] was shooting a pilot for NBC and just came in.  Everyone just kind of pops in.  It’s really quick and fun.

We heard that you were in London for the next season.  I’m from Germany and I want to know if you would like to go to Germany sometime?

ntsf-sd-suv-paul-scheerScheer:  I would love to go to Germany.  It would be amazing.  What actors do you have?  What are some good German actors that we can pull from?

Stern:  Bruno Ganz.

Yeah, exactly.

Stern:  Is there an actor named Gerhard Schröder?

That is the former chancellor of Germany.

Scheer:  Is he a good actor, though? [laughs]

Gillan:  We can get Michael Haneke to direct an episode.

That would be the most intense episode of NTSF.

Scheer:  That would be amazing.

You do get an impression that Adult Swim is not giving you guys too many restrictions.  Has there been an idea that you have pitched where they have been like, “No.  That is too ridiculous.” or “No. That is too hard to do.”?

Scheer:  No.  I think the one thing we run up against is money and if we can afford to do the ideas that we want to do.  Oddly enough, the lack of money makes us a little bit more creative in a sense because you’re forced and you go, “We only have these pieces.  So we can do that.”  So they never really shoot down creative ideas, right?

Stern:  We did have one episode last year that we pitched and ultimately didn’t write.  We still might bring it back.  It was “Hell Cops”.

Scheer: Oh, yes!  I loved that idea!

Stern:  Where Trent has to chase a terrorist into hell by killing himself and then becomes part of the anti terrorist in hell to get himself back.

Scheer:  It was going to be run by Ray Liotta, which would be amazing.  Yeah, that was the one we had trouble getting through last year. [laughs] It will come back.  We brought back the Time Angels this year and we have new Time Angels, which are Jayma Mays from Glee, Eliza Dushku from everything Eliza Dushku has done, and Santigold the musician.  So those are our new Time Angels.

Which shows are on your Tivo?

ntsf-sd-suv paul scheerScheer:  I’m, right now, hardcore into Steve Harvey’s Family Feud.  It is amazing.  If you have not watched Steve Harvey host the Family Feud, it is super funny.  I don’t know why I think it is so funny.

Stern:  Is he a better host than Richard Dawson?

Scheer:  He is bringing back classic Dawson energy.  He is funny.  It is good.

Stern:  Does he kiss people and grope them?

Scheer:  He doesn’t kiss people.  He does a lot of takes like “Woooooaaaahhh!” [Scheer does an over the top double take]

Stern:  Look at Karen’s face.  There is not any aspect of this bit that…

Scheer:  It is not even a bit!  You don’t know Family Feud, don’t you?

Gillan:  Is that the famous Family Fortunes?

Stern:  Yes!

Gillan:   Yeah, okay.  I know.  I was playing Family Feud on the computer the other day on an old Nintendo.

Scheer:  I have Family Feud on my iPad.  Also, the show that my Tivo is anticipating desperately is Breaking Bad.  I cannot wait for that to come back.  But I am all hour long dramas like Game of Thrones.  How about you?  What do you have on your Tivo?

Gillan:  I don’t have a Tivo.

But do you have Netflix or other TV shows that you like to watch?

Gillan:  I have Netflix.  But you know how they come up with recommendations based off things that you have watched?  All of mine are like “Foreign Steamy Romance with a Strong Female Lead”, which perturbs me. [laughs]

Stern:  My Netflix just recommends Children’s Hospital to me.  But I am watching Orange is the New Black, which Kate Mulgrew is also in and I love it.

Gillan:  That looks so good!  I want to see that.

Scheer:  Yeah, that looks really good.

When you guys aren’t working on the show, are you guys constantly thinking and jotting down thoughts?  Is that dominating your thoughts a lot?

ntsf sd suvScheer:  You know, I am a huge action movie kind of person.  So whenever I see something that is ridiculous in a movie I am like, “Oh, yeah.  I would like to do that next season.” and I will write it down.  I watched Road House this year – that Patrick Swayze movie.  I had seen it before, but I watched it again, and I was like, “Oh, I want to do that!”  So this year we actually did a Road House episode.  So in about October we will sit down and start to compile ideas.  John and I will start talking about what we like and ideas that we want to do.  Maybe there is a Pacific Rim episode in our future. 

Stern:  Oh, yeah!  But even when we are shooting the current season we start thinking, “If we get another season, let’s put that on the list.”

Scheer:  Yeah, we have a Google doc that is just full of weird ideas and characters.  People will come up to us and say, “I want to do the show.” and we try to find stuff for them to do.

Stern:  And people pitch us ideas and by the time we make it we think it was our idea.

Scheer:  Ed Helms pitched this idea…last year got shot on the show and he was like, “What if I came back like a Terminator or a RoboCop?” and we were like, “That is great.” And then we basically made him Daisy’s creation.  He is like a RoboCop, but he is not really hurt enough to be part robot.  So he is basically a human that we jammed robot parts in.  He is really upset that his life is now over.

Gillan:  That is so sad! [laughs]

Scheer:  So a lot of stuff comes back like that too.  The one guy that wants to come back so bad is J.K. Simmons, and we literally blew him up.  So we have to figure out how to bring him back.  We have to bring him back eventually.  But we wanted to do a thing one time where we put every one of our villains in a bus or something like Jeff Goldblum and all of these actors, and it could be a rouges gallery, which will never happen, but it would be a fun thing to do.

Karen, can you tell us anything about your character on the show?

Gillan:  I play a character named Daisy and she is kind of the Q of NTSF.  She is really good with gadgets and things. She is also good at torturing aliens and half robot, half humans. [laughs]

Stern:  She has got to be the darkest and cruelest character that we have had on the show.

Gillan:  With a very nice front.

paul scheer ntsf sd suvScheer:  The cool thing too is that it is not as if Daisy has been hired at NTSF.  It is as if she has been there and we have just never acknowledged her.  So there is no grand introduction like, “Oh, there is this new character…”  She is just in.  So Rebecca Romijn was doing King & Maxwell this season.  So we don’t write her off.  The characters are just in and out.  That allows everybody that, if they are busy, we can just…there is a bigger world that we keep opening up.  It is great.  So her character is in there.  Jesse is still around we just didn’t use her at all this season.  That is another thing about it.

Can you talk about the movie?

Scheer:  We call it a movie, but it is really is just a joke.  It is just two 15 minute episodes put together.  So that would be the Adult Swim equivalent of a movie.  So we went to London.  The head of Adult Swim, Mike Lazlo, was like, “What do you guys want to do?” and we were like, “We would love to go to London.” He was like, “Alright!  Go to London.”  So we went to London and we got to shoot with all of these amazing people.  We were so nervous that people would think that we were faking that we were going to London.  So we just shot in front of Big Ben, in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and in front of manor houses.  I think production value wise it is the best thing we have ever done.

Stern:  Yeah, I am still nervous that people will think that we faked it.  Three years ago we went to Brazil for a 30 second scene in Children’s Hospital.  We busted our asses, we were on the plane for 18 hours, and we all got there.  We came back and everyone was like, “That green screen was really convincing.” 

ntsf-sd-suv-posterScheer:  So we used a lot of landmarks.  The best thing about the London episode is that in that episode we made Karen do an American accent.

Stern:  She is very natural at it.

Scheer:  It is really good.

Gillan:  Frankly, it is offensive to all Americans.  It is horrible. [laughs]

Stern:  Also what happens is that there is an anti-terrorism unit there that we partner up with.

Scheer:  Which is Julian Barratt (The Mighty Boosh) and Colin Salmon (Resident Evil).

Stern:  They are STSF:UK:DDB, which stands for…

Scheer: Socialized Terrorism Strike Force: United Kingdom: Double Decker Bus.  And we are not actually in London.  We are just in Little London, which is just an area of San Diego.  In the same way that Chinatown is an area of San Francisco, this is an area of San Diego.  So we never leave San Diego technically.  When we see Big Ben we are like, “That looks terrible.”