‘The Afterparty’ Cast Talks Filming Twisted Murder Mystery
Apple TV+ fans the after party can rest assured that the killer will be revealed by the end of the season. Additionally, executive producer/writer Phil Lord swears the after party is a “mystery of fair play”. There won’t be a random stranger who shows up in the finale who turns out to be the killer. The person who murdered Xavier (played by Dave Franco) at a high school reunion is definitely someone viewers meet during the season.
the after party Creator, writer, executive producer, director and showrunner Chris Miller joined Lord and six of the show’s talented cast members for the Television Critics Association’s Virtual Winter 2022 Press Panel. No spoilers were revealed, however, the after party gang has delivered some interesting tidbits – including a surprising reveal about character names.
Miller explained that the characters came first, followed by creating a mystery that worked, with the genre aspect coming later. “[…] We were kind of looking at each character and thinking about how we could approach the style of their worldview, and then as we were picking genres for each person, we kind of had to adjusting everything and tweaking our characters to kind of fit into the world of that style,” Miller said. “And so it just kept evolving back and forth, but it started with the characters and the mystery first and then the genres kind of built from who they were.”
Miller added: “At first it was a math problem. That’s why all character names start with A, B, C, D, W, X, Y, Z. (Aniq, Brett, Chelsea, Danner, Walt, Xavier, Yasper and Zoe.)
Each of the suspects has a specific episode in which they expose the events leading up to Xavier’s murder from their perspective. And each episode takes place in a different and specific genre.
Ben Schwartz’s character, Yasper, tells his story to Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) as if he were part of a musical.
“My email when I got it from Chris said, ‘This is the format of the show. It will be a murder mystery. Each episode will be of a different genre. And he said, “And your genre is going to be musical.” And first of all, getting anything from Phil or Chris, I say yes. It could have been anything. And then, literally, a week later, when it was time to record the song, Chris texted me and was like, ‘Hey, can you sing? Can you sing or dance? after he had already cast me for the musical.
And I say, ‘Not like Ben Platt, but I can sort of get away with it.’ He goes, ‘Okay, good. I thought you’d be pretty good at it. And I was like, ‘Awesome.’
It was very funny to be cast in this role, and then a week later Chris was like, ‘Oh, and by the way, can you dance or sing?’” Schwartz explained.
Filming in different genres and from different points of view meant that actors had to change the way they played their characters, which sometimes meant going too far.
“I think it was also a really fun way to shade your character because you can kind of play like other people see you. So in Aniq’s romantic, I’m the best friend who idolizes her but I’m in withdrawal. And then when it’s the musical moment, that’s when I think it’s all about me. My character barely notices anything that doesn’t relate to him,” Schwartz said. “He’s a really fun tool that Chris used to nuance your character in so many different ways. And as an actor, it’s so much fun to star in a thriller and then star in a romantic comedy and star in that. And everyone is so talented and amazing, so it’s so much fun to watch.
Ike Barinholtz (“Brett”) gives props to Chris Miller for making it easy for the actors, even with all the tonal changes.
“He’s been sitting with this story in his head for a long time, so he’s kind of mapped it out so precisely and knows all the answers. He kind of comes up to you after you shoot a take and he’s like, ‘That was awesome. So now we’re going to shoot this, and it’s for 104 which is kind of a thriller, and it’s Ilana’s point of view, and in there, you’re trying to kill her. It’s a lot of explanation but he made it so clear and concise that there was never a minute where we were like, ‘Wait, what is this? What am I supposed to do? He allowed us to go out there and really rip it up and have fun,” said Ike Barinholtz.
Ilana Glazer (“Chelsea”) described the gender switch as a great way to flex their acting muscles. “And with this amazing cast, it felt like we were stretching athletes,” Glazer said.
Dave Franco joked that it was fun playing eight different shades of shower. “Where, like in the Ike episode, I get aggressive. And then the Ilana episode, I get kind of a vulnerable, clumsy asshole. That was a good time.”
And speaking of Dave Franco’s pop star/murder victim persona, Franco confirmed that he did some research to pin down his obnoxious personality.
“I’ve definitely watched interviews on YouTube. I probably shouldn’t say who because they might take offense to it,” Franco said. [with] this character. In the flashback episode, you kind of see that he wasn’t the coolest kid in high school, and he didn’t get accepted, and so you kind of see why he’s acting now. But I think for anyone who knew it was based on them, they might take offense because on the surface he’s a massive jerk.
Even with all of the genres covered in the first season, Phil Lord joked that they had “about seven seasons and a film of genres” in mind that weren’t included in the first season.
“I would have loved to do magic, the magic kind,” said Tiffany Haddish. “And I would have loved to do fantasy…an episode of Dungeons and Dragons, in particular. I love playing Dungeons and Dragons.
And what kind of Franco would be? “I would like to make a serious student film. [That] would have been fun.
Ike Barinholtz suggested an episode of softcore porn while Ilana Glazer thinks there should be a the after party episode shot in black and white and featuring Buster Keaton-style slapstick.
“Or do like some kind of very grand kung fu opera movie like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Like things balancing each other and every move is like spinning with wires,” suggested Sam Richardson (“Aniq”).
“I think I’d like to do a film noir, like a detective type film noir with like Colin Money Cabbage and stuff like that,” Chris Miller added.
Apple TV+ Season 1 the after party premiered on January 28, 2022. New episodes arrive on Fridays.