ComingSoon spoke to five beliefs stars Ken Jong and Debi Mazar on Mike Myers’ upcoming Netflix comedy series. The six-episode show will premiere on May 5, 2022, with Myers playing a total of eight characters.
«What if a five-member secret society has been working to influence world events for good since the Black Plague of 1347?» asks the official synopsis. “At the start of this new series, one unlikely Canadian journalist finds himself embroiled in a mission to uncover the truth and possibly save the world himself. Remember, Pentaverat must never be exposed!
Tyler Treese: Ken, as a comedian myself, I was very curious about what it was like to work with the master of the art, Mike Myers? I’m sure there are little things you can pick up on when it comes to comedy that audiences may not notice. What makes it so special?
Ken JeongA: I mean, that’s the reason why I did it. Because I would play any role. I just wanted to work with Mike. We’re friends and I’ve known him for a couple of years, but I just jumped at the opportunity. So when he wrote this character for me, I jumped at the chance, but to be honest, I would play whatever he wanted, and he knows it. When he asked me to jump, I asked, «How high?» I just wanted to see him play eight characters. That’s why I did it, just to look at Mike’s process.
What I learned is that Debi actually plays an even bigger role in the Pentaverate and it’s just great to hear her interpret the process, but just being immersed in eight different characters is not a comedy, it’s just an acting exercise. It’s about commitment to character. It’s about staying grounded, committed to being on stage and then doing it over and over and over again. A kind of rinse, I repeat, rinsing it over and over and over again, and each time with the same commitment. Different dialects, not only voices, but also different thinking. So it’s really one of my favorite things I’ve ever done in my career. If it weren’t for the sole purpose of watching Mike work, it would be pure joy. I just walked home smiling every single day on set for real. That was cute.
Debi, I’d love to hear what it was like to interact with Myers playing all these different characters.
Debi MazarA: Well, first of all, when they called me and said that Mike wanted to talk to me about it, I thought: “Wow! So cool!» Because obviously I’m a fan. I worked with him on So I Married an Ax Killer a million years ago. And I was a little nervous because I was playing the character that he was supposed to play. He was very generous. And when I got on this set, watching him play eight different characters, I would walk around this huge Star Trek-like table in this big, big room on the soundstage… every time I watched, how he changes characters, different prosthetics, different variations… about ad-libbing, new jokes, relaying information to Ken, Keegan, me: «Oh, I cut that line. I want you to put in that scene.»
As if his mind is always working, always thinking, even when he is in character, and he, by the way, remains in character. He’ll be speaking in Lord Lordington’s accent all day, you understand? And you’re wondering who you’re going to get that day. But he is so generous and so sweet. He only wanted the best for the project, but I was honored to be there because I usually do film and TV, but I do dramas, comedies, and I improv a bit. But working with these guys who are masters of stand-up comedy and sketching and Mike who is, you know, the God of it all, we’re just like, «Wow!» So for me I jumped into the genre and then into an alternate universe where I have to stay real and believe everything I say.
And also to do research, because it’s all real anyway, in theory and conceptually… humanity, existence, future, secret societies, I mean, all of this hypothetically exists, right? So for that to be true, and working with Mike was easy… it was a lot of fun. It was like three months of playing, exercising and working with brilliant talent. Which stretched from the director to the set design, green screen, special effects, actors who stood in the background in gladiatorial uniforms or crazy outfits. It was a very physical performance for all of us. Everything went very quickly and I will never forget this trip and I am always grateful to Mike for giving me the opportunity.
Ken, you will be playing the most obnoxious billionaire. It’s always great when you have a lot of nuances, but you can go too far, isn’t that fun?
chonA: It was just pure joy. I think Debi said earlier [that] you kind of want to impress your boss, you know? You do everything to see if you can make Mike laugh. There were some takes where I just did it for myself and just to see if I could just…
mazar: Get away with it! And he, by the way!
chon: Yes, if I could only make Mike laugh, it would be pure joy, and it would be heaven when you get to it. What I love about Mike’s process is… if there’s a good scene that I’ve seen with you a few times, I’ve never seen it on set, he’ll just burst into applause after a great take, you know?
chonA: He did it regularly.
mazar: He always clapped!
chon: Always clapped! And it was so loving. You know, I’ve worked on so many comedies where you have amazing takes but you don’t have time. You’re like, “OK, that was brilliant. We go further, check the gate. Even if it was perfect. “Oh, that was great. I have never laughed so hard in my life. Move on. It was great.» Usually that’s what you get, but Mike just takes the time to smell the roses. He set the tone all the time. To be honest, it was like a summer conservatory in London where we filmed.
mazarA: I want to go back to this school!
chon: I do! I want to go back to this school!