PaleyFest LA 2018: Hanging Out With The Crew Of The Orville

by Gary Catig

The Orville is a favorite here at Comicon.com. Our very own Sage Ashford recapped and reviewed the first season. The show was one of the participants of PaleyFest LA this year, and they had a panel this past Saturday afternoon. After a screening of the season 1 finale, the creatives and stars of the show came up on stage to discuss their feelings of the program and share some behind-the-scenes anecdotes. In attendance were producers David Goodman, Brannon Braga, and Jason Clark. They also had the entire cast including Seth McFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, Penny Johnson Jerald, Halston Sage, Peter Macon, J. Lee, Mark Jackson, and Chad Coleman.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 17: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, and Penny Johnson Jerald attend PaleyFest LA 2018 honoring The Orville, presented by The Paley Center for Media, at the DOLBY THEATRE on March 17, 2018 in Hollywood, California. © Emily Kneeter for the Paley Center

McFarlane always wanted to make an anthology series with revolving characters and felt right now there was a need for a science fiction-based one. He finally received his chance with the Orville, which is the type of show he would want to watch. It might not be simple to place a label on the program because it is unexpected, but yet smart, television. They tackle a myriad of subject matter like faith in religion and gender identity. McFarlane thought that good science fiction was topical and nothing was off limits. The cast all agreed that they wanted the series to start the conversations on these different topics.

One of the more challenging scenes for Jerald involved a kissing scene with the character Lt. Yaphit. It was one she performed alone since Yaphit is a CGI character. She looked ridiculous during the shoot and was even teased to use more tongue. Macon shared how his friends and family were disturbed seeing him sitting on an egg in one scene and how they can’t get the image out of their heads. Though the egg was uncomfortable, the star liked the way that storyline covered domestic relationships and fatherhood. Jones added how thought provoking the ending of the episode “About a Girl” was since it did not have a conventional Hollywood happy ending.

Some of the cast require extensive makeup in order to become their characters. The process can take over an hour to apply. For the more involved prosthetics, there is a hole in the back of the head to allow some ventilation. One time while Macon was lying down in his trailer, some ants entered through this vent. For a good part of the day, he was constantly being tickled and had to deal with it like a champ since he couldn’t just rip off the mask. Sage thinks the makeup process helps her mentally transform into her character as the lead security officer. She is supposed to be a bad ass, but in real life she has a petite frame. While all done up, she is surprised she can still unlock her iPhone X.

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 17: Cast of The Orville attends PaleyFest LA 2018 honoring The Orville, presented by The Paley Center for Media, at the DOLBY THEATRE on March 17, 2018 in Hollywood, California. © Brian To for the Paley Center

The cast then played a game of “Who Said It” where the moderator chose lines throughout the first season and they had to guess which character said it. They all have great memories as they answered each one of them correctly.

Afterwards came the audience Q & A. When asked why they enjoy working on show, Jerald spoke how though she is a devout Christian, she liked how the subject of religious faith was covered in the season finale. Additionally, she loves how the show approaches subjects generously and lovingly enough without being judgmental and preachy, and allows audience to make their own decision.

Macon revealed that as a kid, he saw the KISS made for TV movie. The film resonated with him so much, he wanted to be Gene Simmons. His mom purchased him a costume and he always wore the mask, even when it wasn’t Halloween. He hopes to inspire the same fandom in younger viewers through the show as KISS did for him.

The panelists were also asked how the different alien species are developed for the show.  McFarlane spoke how it is a combination of what comes from the writers’ imaginations and also what designs the special effects people make in their workshop that looks cool. The latter provides an opportunity for everyone to have a voice in the creative process.

Even though they are shooting Season 2 right now, everyone was tight-lipped about any news.  Jerald did tease big surprises and McFarlane also discussed how one of the episodes contains no science fiction elements and will focus on the characters. Another interesting note is there have been informal talks to create action figures from the show, but nothing confirmed.

Paley Fest LA will be running until March 25, 2018.  You can find more information here. It is a fun experience watching some of your favorite TV shows on a big screen with state of the art sound systems and the Q & A sessions provide an intimate environment to interact with the stars.

Gary Catig

Gary Catig is west coast raised, east coast educated, and has a touch of southern charm. He has spent most of his adult life making science fiction a reality as an engineer conducting research in the military, microprocessor, and biotechnology fields. While currently living in San Diego, he enjoys all facets of pop culture including but not limited to comics, TV, movies, and music.