Community is really kind of “The Little Engine That Could” of modern sitcoms. The show found its creative footing during its first season and built up a small yet loyal fanbase, but during its five seasons on NBC it faced the threat of cancellation nearly every year, had its showrunner/principal creative force fired for a season and then rehired a year later, and then finally NBC cancelled the offbeat series once and for all this past May. Fans were obviously upset by this news, but it felt like it had been a long time coming. But no, Community wasn’t dead yet. At the last minute, Yahoo Screen picked up the rights to the series and ordered a sixth season of Community to air exclusively on the digital platform.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been involved with Community since its inception, helming the pilot and 20 other episodes of the show throughout its run. When Steve recently spoke with the Russo brothers in anticipation of the Marvel film’s Blu-ray release, the two also discussed their impending return to Community to direct one Season Six episode and the show’s move to Yahoo Screen. Additionally, they addressed the prospect of a Community movie, saying they’re confident it will happen and would be willing to direct it “in a heartbeat,” and revealed that executive producer Chris McKenna actually contributed jokes to The Winter Soldier. More after the jump.
Though the Russo brothers are currently preparing to start production on Captain America 3 next April and will be directing two episodes of Marvel’s Agent Carter in October, Joe Russo told Steve they’ll also be directing an episode of Community in November:
“I think we shoot in November, a week in the middle of November. Chris McKenna’s always around. McKenna, who co-runs [the show] with Dan, we’re very tight with. He actually contributed a lot of jokes on Cap 2. He’s just a brilliant guy that we pull into rooms whenever we can… McKenna just texted and asked and we said of course we would.”
Joe Russo also said that even though they’re directing big Marvel movies now, they continue to implement skills they learned while working in TV:
“I mean we still keep our concept that we learned in television about a room. When we’re working on a script, we get in a room, everybody reads it out loud, we bring in friends to pitch out ideas. It’s all very in service of ‘What’s the best version of this?’”
While Yahoo Screen was certainly an out-of-nowhere choice for Community to land, the Russo brothers are happy about the move, with Joe Russo saying the TV landscape has changed significantly since they were working on Arrested Development:
“We love [the move to Yahoo]. I mean look, it’s a show that won’t die. Had there been these opportunities for Arrested when we were on the air, I think Arrested might have stuck around. The thing that’s interesting now about the marketplace is it’s no longer dependent upon ratings; it’s dependent upon social media profile or internet profile. What audiences are you reaching? Are you reaching them loudly? Is there a lot of press about you? And I think Community is one of those shows that’s garnered an incredible amount of press but maybe has a cap on its network television audience. So when you take it and put it on a space like Yahoo!, it still gets the same amount of press it’s been getting but it doesn’t have to worry about hitting those Nielsen rating numbers anymore, which are archaic and like 10 years past their use. So I think it’s fantastic.”
“Knowing Dan, he will make a movie. There’s no—he will absolutely fulfill the concept of ‘Six Seasons and a Movie’. I can’t say it’s in the works because I don’t know, but my guess is you’ll hear soon about a Community movie.”
Though the Russo brothers will be tied up with Captain America 3 for the next couple of years, they said that schedule-permitting, they would direct the Community movie “in a heartbeat”. And given their history with the show (their episodes include “Advanced Dungeons & Dragons” and the “Fistful of Paintballs” two-parter), I’m inclined to think they’d be a swell choice to bring the Community movie home.
Watch the portion of Steve’s interview regarding Community below. If you missed what they had to say about Captain America 3 click here, and for their comments regarding Agent Carter click here.