Published: Friday, 17 February 2023 16:27 | Written by Jamie Ruby
Today, the new series Hello Tomorrow! premiered on Apple TV Plus. Set in a retro version of the future, the series follows Jack Billings (Billy Crudup), an ambitious traveling salesman, who along with coworkers Shirley (Haneefah Wood), Eddie (Hank Azaria), Herb (Dewshane Williams), and later, Joey (Nicholas Podany), sells lunar timeshares. His hope and faith in a brighter future inspires those he works with and brings in excited customers to BrightSide, but that hope could become dangerous.
Azaria, Wood, and Williams recently spoke with SciFi Vision about the upcoming series, and one of the things they talked about was what first attracted them to the roles.
For Azaria it was about the humor in the character. “I liked how funny this guy is in the face of really nasty circumstances, often self-inflicted,” Azaria told SciFi Vision. “I'm always drawn to characters like that who are in a lot of pain and find a way to mask it with humor. This was a definite new twist on that for me.”
For Wood, one of the things that drew her was that her character is flawed. “Although she is super competent and able and runs the business like nobody's business, I think she's incredibly flawed,” she told the site. “I love that she's having an affair with a man who she works with, that she's in love with him. I love the fact that she comes from a place of feeling like she didn't have a purpose to all of a sudden feeling like her life is fulfilled in a certain way that it had never felt like before. So, that really drew me to her. I love flawed women, I think that we should be portrayed, because we are actually flawed in real life.”
Williams, on the other hand, said that he was “trying to figure out the layers of who he was and trying to play those, like musical notes or something.”
For more from the three, including how their costumes informed their characters and more, watch the full interview below. Hello Tomorrow! is available to stream on Apple TV Plus.
***Note that the following contains a slight spoiler for the first episode. Edited for length and clarity***
SCIFI VISION: For all three of you, what was it about your characters that made you just say that you had to take on these roles? HANEEFAH WOOD: Shirley Stedman to me, although she is super competent and able and runs the business like nobody's business, I think she's incredibly flawed. I love that she's having an affair with a man who she works with, that she's in love with him. I love the fact that she comes from a place of feeling like she didn't have a purpose to all of a sudden feeling like her life is fulfilled in a certain way that it had never felt like before. So, that really drew me to her. I love flawed women, I think that we should be portrayed, because we are actually flawed in real life. I love that she's this curvy black woman. Even though it's not even [mentioned], but she's with [Eddie] and getting play in that area. It's just, she's broad, and I love the broadness of her. HANK AZARIA: I liked how funny this guy is in the face of really nasty circumstances, often self-inflicted. I'm always drawn to characters like that who are in a lot of pain and find a way to mask it with humor. This was a definite new twist on that for me. DEWSHANE WILLIAMS: That was one of the things that I also explored with Herb, just trying to figure out the layers of who he was and trying to play those, like musical notes or something. SCIFI VISION: So, obviously, this has sci-fi elements, and it's in the future, but it's almost like a 50s period piece in a way. So, how much did those costumes inform the decisions you made as performers for your characters? HANEEFAH WOOD: Well, it absolutely informed me, because it helped the way that I walked; it helped the way that I talked, the way I used my hands, because I was in really feminine tight clothing, so I use my body in a different way. It was great and exciting. Everything was built for me, for my body. Those colors, I wore a lot of purple, which I always associated with royalty, so Shirley felt royal as she walked into every single room. It was brilliant. I love it. DEWSHANE WILLIAMS: The orange dress was also really great. HANEEFAH WOOD: Yeah but did you know, it had notes of purple on it too! SCIFI VISION: Hank, what about you? HANK AZARIA: Yeah, I loved that wardrobe as well. A lot of times you get to play dress up as an actor, plain and simple, and it's fun. It was a more innocent time. For better for worse, the 50s had a lot of boundaries and rules, and society was dictated, which I think made me feel more childlike in certain ways. Like, when you're a kid, you press up against the rules a lot, you know, the classroom or whatever it is. So, I felt a lot that Eddie was sort of rebelling in a way that I could relate to more just against that 50s sensibility. I think a lot of people back then might have felt that way. SCIFI VISION: Dewshane? DEWSHANE WILLIAMS: I obviously have my ritual or my process when I'm stepping into the character, but a huge part of that is the clothing that we wear. And I just want to take the time to say, our wardrobe department was absolutely incredible. The suits that you see us wearing and like the dresses and that sort of thing, they're building [them from] scratch, and it really informed, like Haneefah was saying, the way that I walked and even the way that Herb spoke. Yeah, I use that stuff to my advantage. SCIFI VISION: Looking to the characters, obviously, I feel like the show, a lot of it is about hope, for better or for worse. Do you think the fact that they're very trusting - I mean, obviously different things happen in the show [because of that], but do you look at that as a good thing for them in the end? Because I feel like no matter what happened, at least they got some happiness out of it, maybe not in the way that we would all expect, but I just was kind of curious your take on that? For the three of you, whoever wants to answer. HANK AZARIA: I think what makes Billy's character really unique is while he's a pretty intense conman, he's selling hope at the same time, and he really believes in that. It changed his life. He wants to change other people's lives. I'm not even sure his character knows where his goodness ends and his darkness begins. The line between hope and delusion is fine one. Often you don't know until you see how things turn out. The American Dream itself, is it hope or is it delusion? This series asks this question.