While sitcoms like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation are getting most of the big buzz, Fox Television has quietly been getting very decent ratings with its new workplace sitcom, Breaking In [Wednesdays, 10:30/9:30 approx] – about the employees of Contra Security – a company that breaks into other companies to expose the flaws in their security and, hopefully, get their business.
This week, the folks at Contra Security have the mission of a lifetime when they are assigned to protect the screening copy of Goonies 2 at Comic-Con.
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to take part in a teleconference Q&A with the show’s co-creator/executive producer, Adam F. Goldman, and series regular Alphonso McAuley, who plays the team’s strategist/logistics expert and resident mad genius prankster.
Hi guys. Thanks for taking our calls.
Adam Goldberg: No problem.
Alphonso McAuley: Yes.
Adam Goldberg: Just so complicated. I can’t believe how complicated it is.
I know, right. Lots of steps.
Well, I have a question for both of you, but I’ll – I guess we’ll start with one. For Alphonso, what do you like best about playing Cash, and how much like your character are you?
McAuley: Let’s see. I like that Cash is quirky and he’s a nerd, and also he’s a Fanboy. Those three things are pretty cool because they’re different from other characters that I’ve played before. And so I kind of – I get to have fun with that you know.
And I would say probably about – yes, somewhat like Cash because I have a few figurines, a few comic books, things like that.
Goldberg: Go on. Tell them about your Legos. Tell them about your Star Wars Legos. Tell the right now.
McAuley: I do have some Star Wars Legos, and used to have some Superman briefs. Those were pretty cool, but they just – those got worn out, and I don’t know. I’m looking for some new – I got to get some like Chewbacca briefs or something. Or like – or maybe like a Han Solo – like an ascot or something like that. That’d be nice.
I’m kind of curious about why the – so the Comic-Con theme, the episode that we’re talking about, I’m kind of curious as to why you chose to make it about a Goonies sequel? Like is there some sort of attachment to Goonies for you guys? Or you know what sort of the (impetus to) that was.
Goldberg: Well, that’s strictly me. I know when Peter Jackson was doing King Kong, he said like that’s the reason he became a director. For me, Goonies is the reason I became a writer. You know, that was the movie from my childhood I saw a trillion times, know every line.
And when we were doing this episode, which is about you know a movie being stolen. It was roughly based when – off of when Wolverine got stolen and went online. We thought, piracy was a cool kind of thing for the group to take on.
The studios were really hesitant. We tried to get Green Lantern and a bunch of movies coming out. But I think understandably, the subject matter of a moving being stolen and going on line was a little iffy for them. So I thought well, what’s the one movie that I feel like should be made and it’s not in current active development? And that was Goonies 2 for me. So it really became a way for me to have Goonies kind of play out to the group as this whole adventure happens for them.
So it worked out so well and I got to keep a lot of the Goonies props and signs. They’re all over my office right now, which is sweet.
McAuley: Right. Right. And me, I’m just from the Goon Docks, so they were like, “Hey, Alphonso, get in there.”
Alphonso, I really love your character Cash. And also I got to say Adam, I am a huge fan of Fanboys. And as a geek, I kind of have to be though. I also want say Cash – Chewbacca impression – impersonation, fabulous. Excellent job on the first episode.
McAuley: Thank you.
You get to wear a lot of cool outfits Alphonso. I really like some of the – you wore a Star Trek uniform. Star Wars. I think that was a Han Solo outfit. What are some of the outfits – some of your favorite outfits so far? Are – is there anything really cool that you’re excited about being able to wear in some of your future episodes?
Goldberg: Alphonso, give them a spoiler from the finale. Spoiler from the finale.
McAuley: Okay. A spoiler from the finale. Spoiler alert! I actually get to wear a full Voltron suit, which is like the…
Goldberg: It’s so amazing.
McAuley: I literally get…
Goldberg: It is unbelievable.
Goldberg: I wrote for the Voltron TV show, so I know the whole gang over that’s doing the new Nickelodeon show. And first, I wanted it to be an Optimus Prime, and it cost – it was like they wanted $30 grand or something, so I called my Voltron buddies and they were like – they immediately FedExed out this giant like suit. I don’t even know how you were able to walk around Alphonso. It’s so ridiculous. But it’s just unbelievable. So, I’m really excited about that one.
McAuley: Oh, yes. Yes.
For all those Voltron fans out there, and everyone else is going to go, “What? What’s Voltron?” So – but they made me happy.
Adam, there have been a number of series where maybe in one episode the cast has been required to do something like break through a security system to prove a point, but it’s never been done as a series, as far as I can recollect, let alone a workplace comedy. How did you come to choose this idea as the one you wanted to go with? And how did that draw in the cast that you have? It’s a wonderful cast.
Goldberg: Yes. The cast is amazing. I mean for me, I wanted to do a workplace comedy. Happy Madison and I were going to do a show together, and I met up with the Director, Seth Gordon, who did the King of Kong, which is one of my – literally one of my favorite movies ever. And he just knew about this world.
He’s really into doing documentaries on quirky kind of offbeat people, and he got to know a lot of these hackers who specialize in Internet – in cyber security, Internet security. So, we just got talking about – and these are kind of the people that I know in terms of you know geeks and it’s a culture that I love that I’ve written about in movies. And I am one, so it just seemed like a great match.
So for us, we pitch it to Fox as like the A-Team meets The Office. It’s just a group of oddballs. You could have the fun office story mixed in with a caper and just have a really fun fast half an hour of television. It just seemed like something that really hadn’t been done.
And you know its big challenge every week to mix an office story with a caper. But yes – but you know, that’s how it kind of came about. Just meeting Seth and him introducing me to this world, and me kind of taking the people that I know and kind of putting – setting up the characters.
And then of course, the cast. You know, Alphonso bringing – you know, the cast – just we got really lucky that everyone really pops and every character feels distinct and different, and their voices are really specific. So it’s – I got really lucky that way.
First off, I do have to say that last night’s episode I was howling at some of your inside jokes, first with Leroy Jenkins when he came running in with (unintelligible), I completely lost it. My wife had no idea why I was laughing.
And the little tribute to Robin Hood with Christian with the bow and arrow.
Totally. And Gordon Shumway, who was ALF.
Goldberg: Yes. Yes.
So yes, my wife thinks I’m crazy for laughing at nothing.
But my thought is – so now we know why you choose Goonies. Now is there any specific reason why you chose Comic-Con besides it being you know, geek Mecca?
Goldberg: I mean, for me – it’s funny. I’ve been going to the San Diego convention for man, 15 years, and just watched it go from a thing where my friends would make fun of me for going to now having them go with me and having to show them around and stuff. So it – I just love that it’s become very mainstream. I mean, I prefer some of the smaller conventions personally, because I get to shop more.
And I love that -, even though this wasn’t specifically the San Diego Comic-Con, that’s kind of what we wanted to do. Just – it’s just big and fun, and kind of – like you said, the Mecca for movies and now TV. It just seemed like a great way to do caper and kind of explore all the things that I love.
We – just the episode is packed with you know Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; just all that stuff is really fun. I think for Fox, I think they were surprised at the tonnage of just how much stuff was in there, and I don’t know that they understood all of it. I don’t know that they get the Sloth or the Truffle Shuffle references. But you know all I can do is what I think is funny. What I want to – what I believe in – will work on TV, and just hope that there’s someone out there that will respond to it.
If not, like you said, it’s just me and my wife laughing at it at the very least. And getting Alphonso in ridiculous costumes is always fun.
Alphonso, tell them about who you play – your character in Comic-Con.
McAuley: Oh. Yes. Yes. Yes. Comic-Con people are going to get a kick out of this. He’s a super hero of comics that Cash has made up himself, and his name is Black Zeus. And I…
Goldberg: He’s a rapper by day, superhero by night.
McAuley: Superhero by night. And I’m sure people will be quoting me on the theme song. “Black Zeus”.
Goldberg: Yes. We love it. I love that Cash is self-publishing his own super hero comic, and that’s why he goes to Comic-Con to try and set it up somewhere. Find someone to publish it.
McAuley: Exactly. He’s looking for a deal. He’s looking for a record deal. Or some (MC) display. He’s looking for that.
You know, I have to say first that I love the Goonies reference, as somebody who grew up in Oregon during the time of Goonies.
Goldberg: How nice. Nice. Yes, so that’s awesome.
I’ve driven by the Goon Docks probably more times than I’d probably like to admit.
Goldberg: That’s awesome. They had like a 25th Anniversary reunion there.
That was last year. Yes.
Goldberg: Last year. And I was like…
And it was huge.
Goldberg: I’d just had a kid. I was begging my wife to go. She was like, “You’re not leaving me for a Goonies convention. There’s no way.”
You could actually walk up to the house. They allow you to.
Goldberg: Wow. That’s awesome. That is awesome.
You can’t drive up there, but you can walk up to the house. They absolutely allow you to.
Goldberg: Well, that house is still there because it was going to be knocked down for a golf course, but of course it’s – they – with the jewels at the end they saved the house, so it just makes sense that it would still be there.
Yes. The locals have a lot of fun with it.
Goldberg: That’s awesome.
My question is do you have plans to take the cast to Comic-Con this year?
Goldberg: Oh, I – I mean, we went to WonderCon, and that was so amazing, especially watching – Christian had never been to any convention. And an unknown fact about him is he is as big as a Trekker there is. I mean, he’s a huge Trek fan. He loves – I mean, he’s the one who put in all the Highlander references in the second episode. He loves Sci-Fi. He loves fantasy.
So, he had never been to the – to any convention, and he literally was texting me like, “I just got a picture with a Gorn!” And he was just thrilled and he’s walk up to these actors with booths and pay money to like – he’d pay $20.00 to get a picture, – they were like, “I can’t believe Christian Slater is paying me money to take a picture with me.” So that was…
I think we all have that closet nerd.
Goldberg: I think so. I mean, I think everyone has their thing from childhood that they love, or that movie or show now that they love. You know whether – it’s just what intensity do you kind of put that out there. I mean, Christian was the one that got the – that was his Captain Kirk chair that he had in his house that he made all these calls around town to get legal clearance for it, because he wanted Oz to be like a Captain Kirk.
So yes. That was just a blast to walk around the floor with Alphonso. Had you ever been to a convention Alphonso?
McAuley: Actually, no. That was my first time as well. And I think the amazing element to it was that so many people wore – whatever costume it was that they had one, they wore it with great conviction. So they were like – they said, “No. I am the Dark Knight.” Or, “I am the Joker, (unintelligible).” You know, and I’m like, “What?”
Goldberg: Yes. Yes. Totally.
So as far as going to San Diego, I would love that. I’m there every year as a fan, so it would be really cool to watch all the actors up on a panel talk about the show. That would kind of be a dream for me. So I hope that they pick up the show. That we can go.
You have a lot of geeky references in the show from Cash, and the previously mentioned, the Leroy Jenkins in last night’s episode. How obscure and how crazy are you guys going with some of these references? Because Leroy Jenkins is pretty out there when it comes to obscure geek references. And what can we expect coming (unintelligible)?
Goldberg: I mean for me, nothing beats Community. No one can compete. So I – they get as obscure – I think they just did a Pulp Fiction wrapped in a My Dinner with Andre. I think…
Goldberg: …that’s as obscure as you can get, and I thought it was genius.
So for me, I mean we are on right now after American Idol. I wanted to make it a little bit more accessible. We’re doing a Tron thing. We’re doing Star Wars. The – you know, I’m trying to fill the show with these Internet memes especially on Alphonso’s t-shirts. So that’s the more obscure thing for me.
As far as movies and TV, I want that to be a little bit more recognizable and mainstream. But for me, it’s the – what you’re talking about the Leeroy Jenkins, these Internet memes that I’m obsessed with that I probably spend way too much time online looking at and laughing at.
We did a Hedo Rick, that’s the ripping and the tearing guy. I don’t know if you know that one. I don’t think anyone but a small group will appreciate that. But you know, that’s – I like those shout outs and I love when I watch Community and I’m like, “Oh. I’m in on the joke,” and that’s really fun.
So, I’m trying to do that. Whether or not people know or respond – if you do, that just – I feel like that’s a cool club you could be in with these – especially with the Internet memes.
But as far as the movies and the TV, I want to make it a little bit more accessible right now for the first six, and maybe next season we’ll get a – we’ll do a Solarbabies. I like solar – so there’s some obscure stuff we can get into. Sure.
Right now I’m trying to keep it a little bit…
McAuley: And I want to play Jabba.
Goldberg: You want to play Jabba next year?
McAuley: I might play Jabba next year.
Goldberg: All right. Done. Done.
In the season premier, we saw Alphonso stalking William Shatner. Is he going to stalk anyone at Comic-Con?
Goldberg: I mean right now, I think – well, the episode now is about how the Comic-Con job causes a falling out between Cameron and Cash. So he’s – you know, so that’s really the thrust of the episode.
I kind of – it’s funny. In our first draft, we had a whole runner where he was stalking Gil Gerard. And Gil Gerard was ultimately his alibi when Cash was accused of stealing the movie. So that kind of unfortunately fell out. I really wanted to focus on the character story and not make it about Gil Gerard as much.
So – it’s so funny that you asked that question because I was defiantly there in many drafts, but ultimately kind of opted for having it be a little bit more about the character and not so much about having him stalk a Sci-Fi guy. I just wanted to meet Gil Gerard. That’s what it was.
Do you remember Alphonso the line or something like you were harassing Gil Gerard because it’s supposed to – Buck Rogers was supposed to take place in the future, but he had ‘70’s sideburns, and that’s what you were like…
Goldberg: You remember that? You were chasing him and asking why? Why?
McAuley: I remember that. And there was another reference – I thought Christian came in with some reference that was in there dude, that was so hilarious.
Goldberg: Yes. Yes. And then Gil Gerard gave Cash an autograph that said, “Go away. Gil Gerard.” That’s what the head shot said.
On the Big Bang Theory, they have a physicist on staff that helps make sure that show is in line with all sort of – the physics and the science, and all that stuff. Are you guys using anyone? Obviously, you’re probably all familiar with — Adam especially — of technology and staying relevant with that. But are – do you have anyone on staff that helps guide your stuff to make sure it’s actually legit?
Goldberg: We do. We have a guy named (Eric Cabadus) who’s a – he’s a hacker basically. And he contacted us because he saw the pilot and he was like, “I just want it to feel real. And in the same way that you’re doing shout outs to the Goonies fans and people who know the Internet memes, like I want to give shout outs to my friends who have program.” So he basically reads every episode.
And it’s so funny. He’s amazing. Sometimes – you know, we just don’t have time to – it always ends up I’m going to hack the firewall. That’s like the big joke. And you know, we want it – but if you want to make it sound real, it ends up taking about 45 minutes to explain. So, we really want to put forth that effort. I think we meet somewhere in the happy middle.
But especially all of the programs that they run, those are real hacking programs. Some of them are his friend’s programs that they’ve made. So it’s – yes. We defiantly – in the same way that Big Bang wants to keep – I know on their boards it’s all real, so we wanted to do the same thing.
And we’ve had to change some stories because he’s like, “There’s no way you – they could do this thing. What you’re talking about just doesn’t exist in reality and we want it to seem real.” So we’ve had to – it makes the stories harder to break because it’s harder to outline just because sometimes it – you want it to feel easy but that’s not how it exists in reality.
So hopefully, it should feel a little bit more real than the average show, because we do have our guy. Our super hacker.
Yes. It’s (chiefly) you guys are getting some respectable ratings, and (there) seem to be (riding). Are you comfortable with where you’re standing right now?
Goldberg: I mean, yes. You know, you – it’s such a crazy time because they – you know, you read all the pilots they’re doing and they sound so cool. And I know they have [one] with Zoey Deschanel I’m excited to see. So I know – it’s like we’re doing solid. We’re doing well. We are – we’ve leveled off at a number that all of us on the – the writers and producers are really happy with. And we just hope that Fox is creatively happy with the show when it comes time to pick new one.
Am I ever going to feel – that’s the thing about having your own TV show. It’s – what I’ve discovered is every week you’re opening a movie. It’s like every Wednesday night I’m on – I’m just so stressed out. And in the morning, you just – you wake up at 6:00 and you just wait. So am I ever going to feel totally comfortable? No, because any week you could go up. Any week you can go down. But right now, we’re very hopeful.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m going to make all my friends watch next week.
Goldberg: Oh, thank you. Sweet.
Goldberg: Appreciate that.
You said the two magic words. Gil Gerard and Goonies.
I was just watching Buck Rogers the other night.
Goldberg: So that’s awesome. That’s awesome. I love that.
Alphonso you have a lot of great lines in – so far in the series. And you’re delivering them perfect.
McAuley: Thank you.
Is there any of them that you’ve ad-libbed, or do you stick close to the script? Are there any good ones you’ve tried to – like insert in there that didn’t get in?
McAuley: Yes, as Adam laughs.
Goldberg: I’m laughing. I’ll answer for him. Yes, he ad-libs like crazy, and yes we use it. I mean, man; everything – especially Rosenbaum – actually everybody has their ad-libs. And you know on this show, I’ve told them if – I’m not down on stage all the time, so I said if you guys come up with something really funny, email it to me and we’ll put it in the show.
So yes, Alphonso is an amazing improver and we are using a lot. And as the writers, we’re all taking credit for the funny stuff that he says, and the other actors. So it’s awesome.
But – I mean, “You’re tapping the grave dance,” I guess that was something you did with your friends or something? What was that story?
McAuley: That actually came out of – I was doing this film for – some of the geeks who know about Fat Albert and all of that. We were – so we were doing Fat Albert and that thing just came out of this – we were talking about R&B singers and how they moved their pelvis toward the audience, you know while they’re singing.
And so it just came out of like this – like R&B like movement that I kind of like did. And then we kind of evolved it into like this entire thing on the set. And we would just always do it like – sort of like really, really fast and it just – it grew out of that.
Guys like (unintelligible), Marques Houston, Kenan Thompson; we were just all doing that move like throughout the film.
Goldberg: That’s awesome. Did they even call and say, “Hey. You did the dance from Fat Albert.”
McAuley: No. No. I don’t even know if they know I’m on a show.
Goldberg: That’s fair. That’s fair.
I’m curious. Do you guys have Twitter? Are you using that kind of social medium to get your cast and your – you know, the show out? (Unintelligible).
Goldberg: Cash – Alphonso, have you checked out your Cash Twitter Alphonso?
McAuley: Yes. I saw the Cash Twitter. I cut all my stuff out, but I’m going to put it back out. I’m going to put it back out.
Goldberg: I know we got – we’re using – we – me and the writers have three characters we’re doing Tweets from. Dutch, Cash, and Creep Carol. So – and every night when the show is airing, I just – I love following what people are saying, the good and the bad. And it’s really helpful to see what jokes people are responding to and what stuff people aren’t. So then, you can – when you’re thinking of new shows, you go, “Oh. You know, people didn’t really like this about that character.”
So, I appreciate the honesty. And I think when people Tweet, they don’t realize that like the creators are really – or the writers and producers are really following what people are saying. So it’s so helpful that way.
And especially like people quoting – just throwing out lines that they like. You know sometimes, it’s a line that – it’s an improve from an actor or it’s a line we were going to cut and we just decided to leave in, and that’s the line everyone locks onto. So it’s been really fun to see , to use Twitter as a way to just see what people are saying about the show. And then – of course Facebook. Everyone’s sick of my posts about the show.
So you don’t have your own?
Goldberg: I have my own Twitter account that I just set up, but I’ve been so – I’ve been focusing on the character ones. Just for me, that’s been more fun that just me posting saying, “Hey. Watch the show.” I like you know, what’s Dutch’s thing of the day? What’s Cash’s geeky thing he’s going to throw out there?
McAuley: Yes. I took all that stuff down because I was dating a Facebook detective, and she was like, “Who is this?” So, yes.
Since you mentioned Creepy Carol, are we going to get to see Jennifer Irwin do anything really, really creepy in the next few episodes?
Goldberg: I mean, it’s so funny because Jen – I worked on a sitcom called Still Standing with her for four years, and she’s a very close friend. And I wrote the character for her because I think she’s so funny. And the creepiest stuff we’ve written for some reason, like it doesn’t make it in because I want to – I want people to learn to love her first before we get totally creepy.
So for the first six, it’s the weird stuff like her eating the banana like a corn on the cob. I think that was my favorite thing. In last night’s episode, I loved how she peed herself, because Alf scares her.
I think second season she’s going to get creepier and creepier for sure. Right now, I don’t want alienate too many people.
McAuley: Yet. Well the creepy thing when she was like – when she got camera ready with the lipstick, that was (unintelligible)…
Goldberg: Right. That was amazing.
And watching you guys make out for that Star Wars thing was so funny, and there’s so much of it. Like, it just – in the editing, it started out, it was like a 20 minute make-out scene, and then we just kind of whittled it away until you know – so you guys were good sports on that.
I’m curious. I know you’re a new show and you’re just kind of getting started, but is there a series that you would like to crossover with? Whether it’s with – on the same network or not?
Goldberg: Wow. That’s a great question. Alphonso? What do you think? What are you thinking?
Goldberg: For me it’d be Big Bang Theory. I mean – I – that’s my other – besides Community, that’s my other favorite show, and I just love all the characters on that show. And I think – I’d love to stack up you know, our geniuses verse their geniuses. I’m sure they’d crush us in a genius-off.
Goldberg: But – yes. I love that show.
McAuley: We should maybe colab with Glee and do like a Breaking In on Ice or something.
Goldberg: Yes. Breaking in – a Breaking In/Glee would be amazing. That would be amazing.
I noticed a lot of the cast interplay is so great, especially between Cash and Oz. It seems like they’re very like-minded individuals in terms of their geekiness. Talk about that interplay between the two, because they seem to fit more together than Oz with any of the rest of the cast. They seem more comfortable.
Goldberg: That’s interesting. Alphonso, what do you think it is? What do you think about Cash’s relationship with Oz?
McAuley: Well, I think that – I mean, he is – we don’t know the history of how long he’s been at Contra Security. But, Cash seems to be sort of like an Oz. Like he – Oz could be like his albino father or something (unintelligible).
No. But I think that – you know, he has sort of an affinity to (geekdom), if you will, that Oz has as well, and so that’s probably like something else that kind of works and helped him get the job at Contra Security. So yes, I could see some similarities there. If that answers the question.
Thank you everyone for being on the call today. We should have a transcript ready by the end of Friday. So…
…thanks. Thanks Adam and Alphonso as well.
Goldberg: Thanks for the great questions guys. I liked the crossover question. I want to do a Fringe too. A crossover of Fringe.
McAuley: All right. Thanks guys.
Photos by Jordon Althaus andDavid Johnson/courtesy Fox Television.