From the creative (and sometimes twisted) minds of Jonathan Ames (creator of HBO’s Bored to Death) and Seth MacFarlane comes Blunt Talk, Starz’s raunchy new series starring Patrick Stewart and Jacki Weaver.
The pair of esteemed actors -- you know Stewart from Star Trek, X-Men and his many years of theater, and Weaver for her Oscar-nominated performances in Silver Linings Playbook and Animal Kingdom -- are letting loose on screen and giving new meaning to the hashtag, #nofilter.
Ahead of the premiere on Saturday, Aug. 22, the actors sat down with ETonline for a blunt conversation about nipple twisting, cursing, and the fine line between shocking and entertaining fans.
ETonline: Jacki, what was it like to twist Patrick's nipples in the first episode?
Jacki Weaver: It gave me a lot of pleasure.
Patrick Stewart: She's a big nipple-twister.
JW: I never understood that particular fetish.
PS: Well, I liked it. In fact, we don't do enough spooning on the show. It's the one criticism I have of the show: more spooning!
JW: We've spooned a couple of times.
PS: Yes, we have. But Rosalie [played by Weaver] will spoon almost anybody -- well, preferably male. You haven't spooned with Celia [Dolly Wells] have you?
PS: Oh, you have?
JW: No, I haven't -- but yes, you're right. I have a talent for spooning. But Rosalie is so adventurous in her physical life I can't believe she doesn't have a certain predilection for girls too. Who knows? That may happen.
PS: I'm sure she has.
And Patrick, what do you think about nipple twisting -- is that something you've done in real life?
PS: Yeah, I like it.
JW: It's not my bag. It hurts.
PS: I think it's different for women, like a lot of things. I've known plenty of women who didn't want their nipples tweaked. But actually, I do enjoy it. Maybe they are less sensitive areas in women -- I can't believe we are having this conversation.
Given the nature of the show and where you both are in your respective careers, is there a freedom in letting loose (and getting raunchy) onscreen?
JW: Yeah, there is. But I think it's good to show people the way they really are. Good ole cable -- you can't do that on network TV. You can't talk the way people really talk. I mean, I'm not a great curser -- you won't hear me curse a lot -- but when I do I go to town. I like it. And I think a lot of people do. Also, the other aspect of playing these people that's so outrageous is there's no judgment going on. There's a lot more of 'live and let live.'
PS: Yeah, but we've been shown the direction by comedians. Comedy today is not what it was years ago. It's always changing, in particular to female comics. No longer are certain subjects considered to be a male preserve. Women can talk about sexuality and their bodily functions and it can be very, very entertaining. I can't help but have this feeling for a lot of people it must be helpful in a way. Those conversations simply do occur in ordinary life. To find that there are people on television or their local comedy club can talk about anything, it's changed the impact of comedy acting.
Patrick, considering how long you've worked with Seth MacFarlane, does shock value factor at all in what you do?
PS: I don't think in any sense is the intention to shock. The intention is to entertain. And one form of entertainment can be the unexpected. I think it's something I've been able to trade on in the last few years, which is because the two characters I'm most well-known for were upright, honorable, articulate, passionate, caring individuals -- rather intellectual than emotional. Sometimes, perhaps, people have mistakenly got the idea, 'Well, that's Patrick Stewart.' Nope! Wrong. They were performances. A lot of what I get to do on Blunt Talk is much closer to Patrick Stewart than the bridge of the Enterprise.
What do you mean when you say closer to Patrick Stewart?
PS: I like things that are funny -- in everyday conversation, in incidents that you see, in watching TV or watching film. Comedy has always had an impact on my life. I think my movie heroes were Laurel and Hardy. I loved them partly because I believed in them. They were real to me. They were always serious in everything they were trying to do. It was just that the world and society and other people just got in their way and made things difficult for them -- which was the source of so much of their comedy.
When filming the show, was there a moment where you felt like, 'This is where I draw the line'?
PS: Nope! Absolutely not. We were initially quite nervous about the scene in the car -- from the first episode -- of picking up a transgender sex worker and going down a back alley of Hollywood. But the tone of the script and the quality, particularly what Trace Lysette brought to the role of Shelley, made what could have been a potentially offensive scene into something rather sweet, rather nice and respectful, and gentle. We had some anxieties. The role was written very differently at one time, but then Jonathan changed it because we felt that we were taking an overtly comical and disrespectful attitude to the situation. I think it ended up very well.
JW: When you're pretending to be somebody else, you'll do almost anything. I wouldn't be getting whipped because I wouldn't want anyone to see my very nice breasts. So I draw the line at whipping, but fortunately that hasn't been written into the series.
PS: But fortunately these are early days.
What scene were you not expecting to do this season?
PS: Oh, there are so many. I had not expected to be snorting cocaine -- something that I had to have instruction in. We had a teacher on the set -- I can't tell you who it was -- but that was very helpful. I got to play my first post-coital bedroom scene in Blunt Talk and I've never played one before.
I have never played a foxhole scene. It's in episode nine -- we have a flashback. Every actor, at some point in his career, should play one foxhole scene because it's a great cinema cliché. It can be a wonderful cliché in all those war movies that we've seen.
JW: I wasn't expecting to be spooning Patrick so soon after meeting him. I should mention that until this series, I didn't know what motorboating was. I hasten to add that it's not that my generation doesn't do that -- we just didn't have a word for it.
And since there's a lot of cursing in this show, let's end with your favorite curse word.
JW: Oh, the old faithful.
PS: I say ‘sh*t’ a lot. I think that's a very English thing. But I certainly realized around episode four or five -- Jonathan and I had spent hours and hours talking -- that the words 'good lord' kept cropping up in the script. Then I realized, 'Of course, that's what I say all the time. Good lord, I've never seen anything like it! Good lord, that was bad.'
Want even more Patrick Stewart? Watch him perform a dramatic reading of lyrics from Taylor Swift's song, "Style" exclusively for ET: