Geraldine Viswanathan on 'Miracle Workers: Dark Ages' and being 'stoked' on working with the same cast again
According to the Australian actress, the cast gets along really well and she was 'stoked' to be working with everyone in a different capacity and a different setting
The second season of the anthology series 'Miracle Worker: Dark Ages' premieres today and while we have been waiting to see what they have in store for us we couldn't help but go back to the cast to fill us in on what to expect ahead.
Cast in one of the central roles this season is Geraldine Viswanathan, she spoke to MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) about what we can expect from her character. "I play Alexandra Shitshoveler, the daughter of Eddie Shitshoveler, who is played by Steve Buscemi. It is all set in the Dark Ages and they are from a very small town where there is widespread ignorance and it is really backward and messed up. And Alexandra just wants more out of life."
In the process, her character tries her hand at quite a few aspirational jobs. "Any high-status job, she is interested in giving it a go -- doctor, lawyer, inventor... she just wants to go places. But she is coming up against these expectations to join the family business because that is what everyone else does, which is shit shoveling.
"Then she meets Daniel's(Radcliffe) character, Prince Chauncley, who is also dealing with familial expectations because his father is the King, who is a murderous tyrant and the prince just wants to stay with his ducks and is a very sweet, simple man."
In Season 1, she played Eliza Hunter, an employee in Heaven who wanted to save Earth and make it a better place. In the second season, we see her, again, pushing for a better tomorrow. This is no coincidence since creator Simon Rich was writing to each actor's strengths and personality. "Simon Rich is such a genius and I trust him with everything. I think his idea was to get an ensemble of actors and write for them, to their strengths. So I feel all the characters are inspired by aspects of us that Simon sees and just wants to make bigger.
"So in both Season 1 and 2, I'm the one who takes the lead and wants everyone to work together to make a better situation. We do a lot of table reads, basically, read-throughs with the cast and Simon. Then we go into the writers' room and talk with the writers and that helps them shape the characters for the story."
But don't expect any historical accuracy since the Dark Ages setting is mostly played for laughs rather than peek into history. "Simon told us not to do too much research [on the Dark Ages] and keep it kind of open so obviously I didn't really research the period."
Getting to work with the same cast was a joyful experience for Viswanathan and one of the things she loves about doing the show. "I was really excited to work with the same cast again. We all get along so well and gel. So I was really stoked to be working with everyone in a different capacity -- as in all the relationships had shifted and the dynamics had changed. This season I was paired up more with Steve [Buscemi] and John Bass, who I did not get to work at all with in the first season So that was really enjoyable. And, I felt the story was really funny and there was so much fun to be had in the Dark Ages setting."
Despite the drastic change in setting, from the Heavens to the Dark Ages, Viswanathan says, for the most part, the comedic tone has stayed consistent over the seasons. "Simon Rich has such a distinctive style of comedy and the tone has remained consistent over the seasons. What Simon creates can be absurd and silly but also have a lot of heart and it can be very sweet. So I think that continues from the first season. But I think we were comfortable enough to ad-lib and improvise where it was called for but for the most part, Simon's writing is so strong that you really don't want to mess with his rhythm. So, for the most part, we stuck to the script, but every now and then we'd goof around."
Thanks to the medieval setting, there were quite a few animals on set, like the duck who pooped in Daniel Radcliffe's eye. "We also had a goat I think in the seventh episode and it was in a courtroom and it was just peeing all over the place. So we had a lot of animal antics this season."
Bringing in the "freshness" factor this season were the fantastic guest stars like SNL's Fred Armisen who plays a lute-playing rock star, which given that the show is exec produced by Lorne Michaels, is no surprise. "It was such a dream. I am a huge Fred Armisen fan. I didn't get a scene with Fred Armisen but meeting him was an absolute dream come true. He is one of the most inspiring people I've met. We had some incredible guest stars this season. We had John Daly, Jamie Demetriou, Greta Lee, Kerri Kenney... it was awesome. We had new guest stars come in each episode and mix it up a little bit."
'Miracle Worker: Dark Ages' premieres on January 28 at 9:30c on TBS.