ComingSoon spoke to five beliefs star Mike Myers and director Tim Kirkby on the Netflix comedy series currently streaming. Myers plays eight characters in the six-episode series.
«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!
CONNECTED: Pentaverate Interview: Ken Jeong and Debi Mazar on working with Mike Myers
Tyler Treese: Mike, I’d love to know how you add these little quirks to each character, because it just makes them feel completely alive and human. Things like Ken Scarborough wheezing.
Mike MyersA: I’ve been creating characters all my life. I always have characters circling around the airport waiting to get out. This is what I love to do. I had an idea before the characters even came in: “What if five people really rule the world, but what if they are cute, and what if I play all five characters?” Then it was like, «What’s in me now?» And this is a process. It’s a very, very happy and joyful process. But the first thing I did was hire Mr. Tim Kirkby, who I knew would create a fantasy universe for my characters to live in.
Tim, I love the meta humor here. Can you say you’re just having fun with the fact that it’s streaming and playing with the medium?
Tim Kirkby: Definitely yes! I love breaking the fourth wall. I love fiddling with formats and shooting on different film and speed. It’s something that directors I’ve admired over the years have played with. This project for me was a kind of bacchanalia of ideas, styles and formats. For me, the golden age of TV is streaming services that let you do that. In the UK you have a couple of them that maybe they can, but here the great thing about Netflix is that they trust and trust creative people. So it’s like «okay, go and put on a fancy show.» And that’s manna for directors, because obviously you start with a script and you need to get the story right.
But then you layer it, and then you layer it. So, some of these jokes and moments were created in the montage, partly scripted. Some were filming. Then I just had this idea… Obviously I can’t do any spoilers, but this is the moment in the sixth episode where even the algorithm can’t handle it and the whole Netflix breaks and it moves on to another show. I just love the idea of the audience going crazy seeing this and thinking, “What the hell is this? What is it, what is it?» And then just see how far you can go.
The great thing about working with Mike is that we just laugh at such ideas. We just try it and then show it to someone and they laugh and… we kind of feel like we’re good at it. We do this not for selfish reasons. It’s just to make it the very, very, most interesting visual, emotional experience you can. And you have to go into light and shadow. You have to give them an emotional scene. And right after that, you give them something crazy. And then you have this rollercoaster ride. So yes, personally I’ve tried all the tricks in the book and I have a big book and we’ve just scratched the surface of it.
Mike, you’re used to playing multiple roles, but it seems so overwhelming. Was it ever hard to juggle all of that day in and day out? Do you remember who you were? Eight characters is a lot.
MyersA: No, I love it so much. And Tim created such a wonderful design for him. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, and we have planned a lot. We knew we were on a tight budget, although I must say that Netflix was very, very generous. There wasn’t as much money as on screen, if that makes sense. Part of that is that I played eight characters and it turned into a scheduling nightmare that Tim did a great job with. But yes, I love creating characters. I’m used to it. I did it in Second City in Toronto, and in Saturday night life, Austin Powersand So I married an ax killer. So I’m just used to it.
KirkbyA: There were a few other characters that he was going to play that we won’t talk about because that’s for later, but the thing is, it’s quite a complex project because it’s very loose. We had the budget that we had, but the ideas swelled – swelled outside. So you have to make a choice, and we just made a choice every single day. There was a scene where Shep and Misha [two characters who are part of the Pentraverate] were inside, and we physically cannot do it. We have no time. So it’s like, «Okay, okay, let’s write them out. Or we, will you get a double?” But it’s fun, all that. There is no huffing and panting.
MyersA: It’s just a problem.
Kirkby: Exactly! So it was a healthy environment because we enjoyed chasing this project.