Sleep deprivation is a theme for the characters in NBC’s upcoming comedy “Up All Night,” and it’s paralleled in real life for the show’s stars.
Christina Applegate, Will Arnett and Maya Rudolph – all parents to children under the age of five – admit that much of the material for the NBC series is mined from their own lives. “I was legitimately up all of last night,” Arnett, whose two sons (with wife Amy Poehler) are both under the weather, said during the comedy’s TCA session Monday.
In “Up All Night,” Arnett and Applegate star as Chris and Reagan, a happily married couple whose wild-child days come to a screeching halt with the birth of their baby daughter. Rudolph plays Applegate’s wacky, child-free boss, Ava.
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Applegate, whose daughter Sadie was born in February, said relatability drew her to the role. “I had many years of being completely self-obsessed,” she confessed. “And I still feel like I’m in my early 20s. So a baby comes and does change that. For me, my baby’s a blessing. But it’s definitely what these characters are – sort of these later in life parents who have been doing it their way for a really long time, and now it’s someone else’s way.”
Rudolph, who just gave birth to third child Jack on July 3, said that although her character doesn’t have any kids, that hasn’t stopped her from making suggestions in the writers’ room. “It’s a great environment in that it’s incredibly welcome for all of our personal experiences,” she explained. “I think we can all find good juicy stories from each other.”
One such story, taken from Applegate’s own experience teaching Sadie about her “no no place,” will be featured this season.
Just as baby storylines will mimic personal events, so will Rudolph’s own character arc. As creator and executive producer Emily Spivey revealed, Ava’s role is being retooled from the original pilot. Formerly a high-profile publicist, she’ll now be an inspirational talk show host. Rudolph, who memorably played Oprah Winfrey on SNL, says she’ll look to that part as inspiration. “I think that anybody that’s doing daytime talk holds her [Oprah] in that high esteem, and so that’s the goal,” she said. “And I think this character’s journey is going to be someone who’s trying to get there – to that point of celebrity.”
“Up All Night,” created by Emily Spivey (“Parks and Recreation” and “Saturday Night Live”) and executive produced by Lorne Michaels (“Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock”), premieres Sept. 14 at 10/9c on NBC.