Dirk Gently – Interview with Mpho Koaho and Fiona Dourif – SDCC 2017

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One of the things SDCC saved for Sunday was the cast of BBCA Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.  We were able to sit down and talk with the cast about the show, what they enjoy about their characters, and see if we could squeeze any season two spoilers out of them.

Sadly, we do not have any video of the interviews to share, but below is the transcript of the interview session we had with Mpho Koaho (Ken) and Fiona Dourif (Bart Curlish). They discuss their characters’ relationship with each other and reality itself, and what it’s like working with Max Landis (creator, writer).

 

What is about relationship [Ken & Bart] you started not to be so afraid and murder-y, and started to develop a friendship?

Fiona: I was curious about from the pilot really because if he is around me and I haven’t [killed him], the universe doesn’t want me to. I haven’t been around a person in five years so I think it was, so I think it was just in the beginning.

Mpho: I love how she said that. You can make an argument that she spared me from the beginning… you can make that argument, sorry, that’s what she did.  She could have killed me right.  Knowing the scripts and watching the show, I still don’t know why she didn’t kill me right away.  Maybe I could get into it later, but right away … regardless if she thought I was Dirk or not, that’s not enough for me considering what I saw of this character.  So I just think that maybe she wanted to be different, and I feel that that maybe rubbed off on Ken as well and that maybe he started to see that – because Ken’s a smart guy – so maybe he started to see that and maybe her lowering her defenses a bit and maybe that’s when Ken started to be less afraid. So maybe about the second time that she really didn’t kill me when they were on that stretch of road… I don’t know if Ken stopped being scared but I think goes “ok, maybe I’m not going to die”, I think maybe at that point maybe it starts.

 

Bart is one of the most original, crazy characters on television that we have seen in years.  How do you embody that?

Fiona: It took me awhile to find her.  So I think I sent in the tape in three weeks late or something when I auditioned for it … I know I have to commit to this and they kept pushing me… they were like “make strong choices” and I would jump around my living room and be like “is this garbage I can’t tell”.  But I found what felt like was emotionally true and I knew she needed to be grounded to then make her crazy.  Why is she from Jersey – I don’t know, man. But I wanted this kind of dirty, masculine quality.  I’m proud of it. I also think it’s really cool that a woman gets to play it because you know, you dress up in heels and you manicure your hair and then you’re sassy cop or sad wife. Bart Curlish was written for a man and they were like “no it’s going to be a woman” and that was awesome. I felt really lucky.

 

[In Dirk Gently] there were regular Max Landis scripts. How does the way you look at the world differ from some of the other scripts you’ve been presented with?

Fiona: [laughing]

Mpho: Well, to be fair, he is loco. I’m pretty damn crazy too so it’s a very happy marriage of sorts… I feel like he has a better understanding of reality that a lot of other scripts and shows I’ve been a part of, characters that have been written for me, Max’s understanding of reality I feel is at a high level than that a lot of writers and shows I’ve been on.  You meet the guy and it’s like “Oh… oh, okay”… but then you read the stuff and you see the way he puts the characters together and the diversity of everything.  I see a very realistic painting of the work so that’s why I say this man has a great conceptualization of reality while maybe coming off like he doesn’t.  And that’s his brilliance – he’s a very brilliant man. Max gets it – just look at the diversity of the show: the women in strong roles, you know what I mean? It’s a big deal.  Max understands that’s the world – it’s not fantasy.  That’s the way the world is… amidst the crazy that our show is.  It’s a really cool dynamic.

Fiona: The characters have emotional depth to them.  A fan put together this great ten-minute piece that said every character in Dirk Gently is a giant dork and it’s amazing. It’s fantastic because all the characters are so flawed and insecure… even the strong women are neurotic… and it’s just that everyone is complicated in the way that everybody is in life. Max is smart, man, and he’s an emotionally venerable guy which bleeds into his work which is terrific.

Mpho: It’s very realistic too – being emotional and venerable… humans are that, we are that. We’re not going to watch the show and go “I can handle all of that” – you’re going to feel the emotion of every single situation naturally and Max puts that on the page.  He’s very good at that.

 

 

Is this still going to be the teaming of Bart & Ken in Season 2?

Fiona: [playfully] We can’t tell you!

Mpho: I go to a Krispy Kreme – Ken opens a Krispy Kreme. [laughs]

Fiona: Bart loves Ken.

Mpho: I don’t think Ken has ever been cared for at the level that Bart shows him. I think that that’s something Ken will hold onto. So if they come together or not, they will always be one, I feel like.  I feel that we really established that relationship to a lot of people who want to see Ken and Bart back together again.  So you know, in a perfect world it works out?  But Ken gotta go get that Krispy Kreme business going. Five-year plan.

 

This show is so hard to describe or explain very quickly.  What would you tell people who haven’t given season one a chance?  Why should they watch it?

Fiona: I’ve been trying to condense that to one line also.  I think it’s a truly unique show, right, and I think there is a mystery involved, which hooked me. So I just want to know how it all comes together and they write it so that everything pays off.

Mpho: Yeah

Fiona: I kept telling them when season one was airing that I promise you, all that stuff is going to make sense in the end.

 

Also, the wonderful social media team for Dirk Gently – @DirkGentlyBBCA – has put up the full SDCC panel for your viewing pleasure! I hear there are some spoilers shared.

 

Make sure you subscribe to ThreeIfBySpace.net to keep up on all your Dirk Gently news and follow us on twitter @ThreeIfBySpace. Season two of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency premieres this fall on BBC AMERICA.

Alison Sky Richards