Natasha Lyonne & Rian Johnson Tease Bright Future For Poker Face: Our Goal Is To Keep Doing This As Long As We Can Contenders TV
Peacock’s hit Poker Face has been a hit for creator Rian Johnson, who envisioned recreating the magic of 70s and 80s case-of-the-week classics like Rockford Files and Columbo—and it worked.
Johnson tips his hat to star Natasha Lyonne for much of the show’s success.
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“I had the idea in my head of wanting to do a case of the week, episodic type show. Something that was kind of like the TV shows I grew up loving like Magnum P.I., Murder, She Wrote and Quantum Leap. I wanted to go back to that versus a show with a mystery that runs across the whole season,” Johnson said during Deadline’s TV Contender event on Saturday. “What I realized is that what these shows have in common is they all have an incredibly charismatic star at the center. I’m following the mysteries, sure, but I’m mainly watching to hang out with Peter Falk every week. There aren’t that many people out there who can do that today. So when I saw Natasha in Russian Doll, met with her and we became friends, I knew Natasha was someone who could pull this off.”
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In addition to acting, Lyonne also served as writer, exec producer and director on Season 1. She lensed episode 8, The Orpheous Syndrome.
“Pretty much everything that has to do with Poker Face is Rian’s fault. I was in Puerto Vallarta trying to sleep,” she teased. “Then Rian sent me a documentary on Phil Tippett and we sort of had this vision quest and from there it blossomed into what it was going to become with Nick Nolte and this story of regret and a very catchy title, Orpheus Syndrome, that’s important. I think Rian had this idea to tell this story about this man up against technology and what it means to have integrity in the art… It was interesting to watch this story about what it’s like to have regret and I think part of what we’re talking about and part of what Rian’s idea was this sort of Vertigo idea that’s very overt in the episode—even in the score, and everything.”
Working on Poker Face has been such a positive experience for both Johnson and Lyonne, they hope to continue telling these stories with a Season 2.
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“We want to keep doing it and I feel like it is very much built so that there is an overarching story but it’s kind of similar to the story of whether Sam is going to get home on Quantum Leap. It kind of doesn’t matter really, it’s just an engine to be able to keep her on the road and keep her moving and keep doing these little mysteries and having exciting people in them. Our goal is to just keep doing that as long as we can,” Johnson said.
Check back Tuesday for the panel video.
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