January is brimming with excitement, from the Golden Globes to Princess Charlotte's first day of school, but another event that's not to be missed is the return of homegrown TV hit Schitt's Creek. The fourth season of the beloved comedy, which stars some of Canada's top talent as a wealthy couple and their two spoiled children gone broke and building a new life in a small-town motel, is set to return to CBC on Jan. 9.
Ahead of the hotly anticipated premiere, FLARE spoke toDan Levy, who created the hit series with his famous father, Eugene. Here, he dishes on everything from working with fellow Canadians (Catherine O'Hara, Annie Murphy and Emily Hampshire) to A-list fans, wardrobe fittings and group chats.
How was making season four different from previous seasons?
I think we find our characters really primed for some emotional truths... not just in terms of discovering things about themselves, but discovering things about each other and just where they fit in in the world. I think it’s the most delightfully emotional season we’ve ever done and as a result I really feel like it pushed the boundaries, not just for our characters, but for our actors, and that was really exciting to see.
What’s something Annie’s known for on set?
The great thing about Annie is that she is so not her character. She is so not Alexis in any way. She’s not a “girly girl” or whatever that means. She’s a T-shirt and jeans woman. Alexis is very much, on a daily basis, completely made up from head to toe. Her priorities are far more self-serving than Annie’s.
I always get a kick out of – particularly once we start a season – wardrobe fittings; they’ll take hours and hours and hours because you’re trying on a season’s worth of clothes. To watch Annie come in in sweatpants and a beanie and start putting on 10 different seasons of Isabel Marant minidresses is really funny.
Are you still looking on eBay for wardrobe pieces?
There’s so much looking on eBay. Soooo much looking on eBay. For a small, little show like ours, we don’t have the kind of budget to buy retail. Catherine’s [character Moira is] dressed in Ghesquiere and Balenciaga, Raf Simons and all of these amazing, legendary looks from all of these collections that I’ve admired in the past. For me, it’s great to get to shop and really get to explore my fashion interest. But at the same time, it’s just a very savvy way of costuming a show.
Is there one celebrity who you were especially excited to hear say they love the show?
I think Will Arnett tweeted about it last week. Then The Hollywood Reporter put out this video where Anjelica Huston talks about it being her favourite show on TV. I think I sort of gasped and then screamed alone in my apartment, and then replayed it to make sure I heard what I heard. That was something that came out of left field and that video has since been shared with our entire cast and crew. No one could quite believe it.
Is there a group chat going with your co-stars, and if so, who messages the most?
There are a ton of group chats. Emily [Hampshire, who plays motel owner Stevie,] really enjoys her bitmoji character... [she] often lets us know her general feelings via Emily bitmoji. She’s hysterically funny and I love her so much.
Dustin [Milligan, who plays Ted,] Annie and I have a group text just about random [stuff]... it usually involves gentle teasing of one another. Just to keep us all grounded, you know?
What has this experience taught you about working with your family?
We [me and my dad, Eugene] both have very similar and yet, at times, very different sensibilities when it comes to what we want and what we like. I think the fact that the show gets to be somewhere in between those places is really nice – I think it’s really benefited from both of us sharing ultimately the same end goal for it.
To show up on set and have my sister behind the bar of the restaurant [too], it’s something that very few people get to experience so we’re really lapping it up.
Is there one person who makes you crack up the most?
Catherine has a way of – you never know what you’re going to get with her. And by that I mean, she’s so spontaneous in the moment... when we’re shooting a scene can go in a thousand different ways, she’s so brilliant. To be a character working around her in scenes, for me, it’s hard because I just find her and the character to be so funny that I constantly have to check myself from breaking.