Throw Tyler Durden in a dog suit and replace Ed Norton’s depressed Narrator with Elijah Wood, and you’ve got the formula for FX’s “Wilfred.” Well, sorta.
“I never actually used ‘Fight Club’ in pitch meetings,” series executive producer David Zuckerman said Saturday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. “But I knew that we had succeeded in communicating what we wanted when, after I pitched the story to [FX president] John Landgraf and other executives, one [of them] said, ‘Oh, it’s Fight Club.’”
Adapted from an Australian series of the same name created by Jason Gann and Adam Zwar, the show stars Elijah Wood as Ryan, a lonely guy who befriends Wilfred (Gann), a neighbor’s dog who he views as a man in a dog suit.
“It’s not the easiest thing to describe,” Wood confessed of the comedy’s absurdist nature. “And the dog smokes pot,” he laughed, “so that helps.”
For Gann, the original series was a bit of a fluke. The idea for it was born from a story he’d heard of a friend’s dog that terrorized her dates. He started improvising bits with Zwar, and it took flight. “We wrote down a seven minute short, and a week later we shot it. Within a year, it was at Sundance,” he said.
“And now,” he quipped, “it’s just a bad joke that’s gone too far.”
Wood said that for him, it was love at first script. “I read it and I pissed myself,” he admit. “I thought it was so hilarious and so unlike anything I’d ever read and anything I could imagine seeing on television.
“I hadn’t actually heard of the Australian show, so I immediately went onto YouTube and looked up clips and became very, very excited,” he continued. “For me, it was also a wonderful opportunity to do something I had never really had the opportunity to do before; to work in the realm of comedy and to be challenged in a way that I hadn’t been before, so I was very excited at that as well.”
“Wilfred” premieres this summer on FX. Are you looking forward to seeing Elijah Wood on the small screen?