From creator/executive producer Mike Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, Master of None), the brilliantly inventive and hilariously funny half-hour NBC series The Good Place (which has my vote for Best Comedy of the fall 2016 TV season) follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife and, thanks to an inexplicable error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place, where she actually belongs. While trying to hide her true self from the completely unaware Michael (Ted Danson), the wise and kind architect of the Good Place, she’s determined to discover whether she has a good person within.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, the always ridiculously charming and delightful Kristen Bell talked about how she came to this project, that having a more positive effect on the world is something that’s important to her, what she most enjoys about playing Eleanor, working with a national treasure like Ted Danson, what her own home in the Good Place would look like, how she feels about clowns, and why you don’t have to be selfless to be a good person. She also talked about the status of Frozen 2 and recording an Olaf Christmas special for ABC, as well as how things are coming along with the CHiPs reboot, which was written and directed by her husband, Dax Shepard.
Collider: How did this show come about for you? Had you been looking to do another TV series, or was there just no way to say no to Mike Schur?
KRISTEN BELL: There’s definitely no way to say no to Mike Schur. When he calls and says, “I’d like to talk to you about a project,” on your answering machine, you just text him back, “Yes!” Those are the rules, if you’re smart. But I was actually still shooting House of Lies, at the time, and we didn’t know if we were coming back, so I had to proceed, because my loyalty was to that family first, as if we were going forward. So, I explained that to Mike, and NBC and Showtime had worked out a contract where I could do both shows ‘cause one was network and one was cable. It’s very rare, and it took a lot of time and finessing, but it worked out. So, had House of Lies proceeded, I still would have done The Good Place because there’s no way to say no to Mike, particularly when he has his weirdest idea, ever. And it’s also about something I obsess over, which is the ripple effect you have on the world around you, and how you can make your actions better and have a greater, more positive effect on everyone.