All cop shows have gun violence. Most cop shows have beautiful women. A good percentage also includes extremely broad performances. But there’s only one cop show that has all three, plus a heavily medicated Police Lieutenant, Tony Hawk as an invisible character (he actually never appears) and video game sequences: M’Larky.
Collider caught up with Dan Fogler (Balls Of Fury and the upcoming Young Americans), who created the series with his co-star Josh Warren for Comedy Central’s Atom.com and Atom TV. Hit the jump to see the first episode of M’Larky and for the interview’s full audio and transcript.
To quote the show’s open: “This is a cop show about a city full of wackos. (Main character Jon M’Larky) was trained in a top-secret military experiment to be the ultimate killing machine. When the mission was aborted, they wiped his memory clean and dumped him in vice squad.” In basic terms, the show skewers as many conventions of the cop genre as they can fit into the 5-minute webisodes.
M’Larky is a natural extension for the 33-year-old, who says he has written and directed short films since childhood. A few years after his graduation from the theater conservatory at Boston University, Fogler got his big break as “William Barfee” on Broadway in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The performance earned him the 2005 Tony for Best Featured Actor In A Musical. The win opened the door to a film career (School For Scoundrels, Good Luck Chuck, Taking Woodstock, among many others), but he’s always returned to work with his close-knit group of friends in New York. Their theater company, Stage 13, led to the formation of a production company, Studio 13. The latter housed Fogler’s feature directorial debut, Hysterical Psycho, which premiered at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, and now, M’Larky.
He’s got a lot on his plate, including a potential turn as Alfred Hitchcock in Number 13 with Sir Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer (pending all of their schedules). However, we started our discussion with his web-based satire.
As always, below is the transcript or you can listen to the audio by clicking here.
Collider: For people who haven’t seen it, what is M’Larky about?
Dan Fogler: M’Larky is (an) homage to cop shows, in general. Mostly Miami Vice. But it also resembles the fast paced anxiety of, the, you know, Sabotage Beastie Boys video (directed by Spike Jonze). You know, it’s wild and it’s fake moustaches, but taken very seriously. And then, it’s also quite hysterical. It’s action-packed and then we splice together action sequences with video game footage, which makes for hilarity, as well.
It’s like Reno 911 on whippets.
DF: (Laughs) Ok, sure, yeah. Why the hell not? Yeah, I like that. (Still laughing) Whippets. Hysterical. No, yeah, sure. (Others laugh) But, it seems like they’re very improv-based and … yeah.
DF: No, we’re, we’re, we’re everything. You know, we play around and we’re so, like set in this crazy, you know, universe, where everybody is such a specific character. You know, like I’m literally playing (Al) Pacino (as Lt. Vincent Hanna) from Heat. You know.
I was gonna say, you, you have a lot of fun with Pacino in Heat & Mel Gibson in the Lethal Weapon movies (where Gibson’s character Sgt. Martin Riggs was) living in a random van, like, you know, by the river.
DF: Oh yeah.
Who’s the most unintentionally funny actor in cop films or cop shows?
DF: Unintentionally. (William) Shatner as TJ Hooker? I mean (laughter as he impersonates Shatner) “Trying so damn hard.” (Dropping imitation) You know? I just have an image of him, like, getting every single place he needs to go in that show, on top of a car. He, like, never drove a car. He was always, like, clinging to a car. (Imitating Shatner) “Take me there.” (Creates the visual of Shatner hanging on for dear life, complete with car screeching sounds & the actor yelling) “Woooaaahhh!”
How much TJ Hooker did you watch, How much Miami Vice did you watch, in doing (M’Larky)?
DF: I just absorbed it in (cops shows from the) early 70’s & 80s. So, it was sort of, already, like etched into my subconscious, but Josh Warren, who plays M’Larky, he just loves Miami Vice. He just loves it. I think that if he could, he would constantly have (a) 5 o’clock shadow and dress in the pastel t-shirts and have the sockless shoes.
And you’ve got a lot of good guest stars, as well. Who do you have coming up on the show?
DF: Gilbert Gottfried’s in the show, whom I love and have always been a fan of his standup and love his irreverence, as well as his, (impersonating Gottfried) his insanity. (Laughs & then drops the impersonation) You know, he goes to such a crazy place, which is, I have a place in my heart for that kind of insanity. Obviously. And so, he’s been in a couple of my movies… Hysterical Psycho—
Yeah, you’ve directed before. Hysterical Psycho was at (the) Tribeca (Film Festival) last year.
DF: We’re about to sell it soon. So that’s really great.
Oh great, great. How much of (the impetus to direct) came from a desire to take your career into your own hands?
DF: It just sort of came out of necessity. I’ve always been creating my whole life, you know. I’ve just had a need to create, whether it was sculpting or writing or directing. It’s just ever since I was a kid, I don’t know. Doing plays, I’ve just always been very creative. So this just seemed like an inevitable next thing. You know, I directed little things. You know, I used to grab my camera, when I was kid, on the block and get all the kids together and, and do Kung Fu movies. And just be like, “Ok, just move your mouth.” I’m like, “Ok! Here I am. I’m finding this guy now. “ And they’d run around and make all the sound effects and we’d sit around, when we were, like, kids and watch this stuff and, you know, that’s obviously translated into, into my career. (Laughs) Heeyyyy!
But it’s working.
DF: Yeah. Hell, yeah.
And coming up, you have Number 13 (a thriller directed by the newly hired screenwriter of the upcoming Dune remake, Chase Palmer). You’re playing Alfred Hitchcock. First of all, how many episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents did you watch, to study him?
DF: I watched…
You know, he’s such a big character.
DF: Yeah, I love, I love Hitchcock and I love the idea of playing Hitchcock. When I realized that I was gonna play that character, I thought, s—, (I) watched all his movies and I, I watched old, you know— Records of, anything I could find of him as a young guy. You know, just—And he was sort of like a, he was a trickster. You know, he was a (taking on Hitchcock’s voice) He wasn’t a stuffy, you know, man that everyone thinks he is. (dropping the voice) That was a façade. He was very jovial and so I watched a lot of, a lot of stuff. Hysterical Psycho was an homage to him. You know, I was, Hysterical Psycho was essentially, you know, Evil Dead meets, you know, Psycho, you know, on acid and from that has sprung Moon Lake, which is essentially an homage to (Alfred) Hitchock Presents, which is a graphic novel. Which is the universe that Hysterical Psycho was born from. So, my God, he’s an incredible inspiration to me. And the idea of playing him is incredible and wonderful.
And you’re working with Sir Ben Kingsley and Emily Mortimer, as well.
DF: Yeah, if they can keep that cast together … (Number 13 is) an art movie. It’s a movie for the love of the game. So, if we can get everyone’s schedules, you know, working, that would be the dream cast.
When are you shooting for? Late this year? Early next year?
DF: That’s a good question. It’s sort of lingering, right now. So, your guess is as good as mine, brother.
Cool. All right. Well, congratulations on the show.
DF: Thanks, man!