The Oscar winning duo of Chris Miller and Phil Lord arrived at the Hollywood Legion Theater on Saturday to celebrate their live action comedy series, AppleTV+’s The Afterparty.
The standout freshman series is built on the premise of a high school reunion that devolves into a Clue-style murder mystery with Tiffany Haddish starring as the lead investigator, Detective Danner. The series has already received a season two order from Apple TV+, with Haddish reprising her role.
What separates The Afterparty from its murder mystery predecessors is that each episode is told from the perspective of a different character. This unique take allows the actors to showcase a fair amount of range as they’re seen through the eyes of the other characters.
Given the pedigree of Lord and Miller, it’s no surprise that were able to recruit an all-star cast of Dave Franco, Ben Schwartz, Sam Richardson, Ilana Glazer, and Ike Barinholtz to join Haddish in season one.
Both Richardson and Barinholtz joined Lord and Miller on the purple carpet prior to the Emmy FYC Screening. Barinholtz, who plays Brett, discussed his journey of humanizing an insensitive tough guy who shatters his family through an affair.
“Brett really becomes dimensional when you see him with his six-year-old daughter,” Barinholtz says. “I have three daughters in real life, and that really came from a genuine place when I played Brett in those scenes.”
Barinholt is more than adept at improvising on set and his talents were applauded by series creator, director, producer, and writer Chris Miller. “There were a lot of days where Ike would be the last person shooting,” Miller says. “And when we got to his part, he would always bring something to the scene that we didn’t anticipate but elevated it so much.”
For Sam Richardson, he enjoys being an Apple TV+ fixture. “You know, I loved played the African (football) club owner in Ted Lasso,” Richardson says. “Now I’m rhyming opposite Ben Schwartz, how could it get any better?”
Richardson plays Aniq in The Afterparty, a dorky escape-room designer that’s a nice guy to a fault. Lord and Miller landed on Richardson for the role after binge watching Detroiters. “I was very Aniq-like in high-school,” Richardson recalls with a smile. “Although I wasn’t Harvard smart like Aniq, that’s where I draw the line.”
Having filmed during the pandemic, the experience brought new feelings to the cast and crew. “This is really one of the most joyful experiences we’ve had on a set because everyone brought so much to this series,” Miller says of his cast. “This was everyone’s first project after coming out of lockdown so we were all grateful and just excited to work on something creatively.”
Lord, who didn’t direct on the series, maintained his producing and writing duties. “I got to write the animation episode which was so on the nose,” he joked.
Lord and Miller are titans in the Animation industry, having collected numerous Annie awards and an Academy Award for their work on Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse as well as The LEGO Movie and The Mitchells Vs. The Machines.
Lord was incredibly proud of Miller’s work on The Afterparty, which saw his creative partner directing every episode of the first season in addition to working as a writer and producer.
The duo screened the series’ third episode at the Hollywood Legion Theater for the Emmy FYC event and Television Academy.
That astoundingly original and complex episode features numerous musical numbers as the story unfolds through the eyes Ben Schwartz’s hip-hop loving character, Yasper.
Richardson’s Aniq joins Schwartz’s Yasper in the highly entertaining “Two Shots,” dropping a hilarious rhyme about Aaron Sorkin leaving The West Wing. The catchy number is followed by The Green Day meets 1960s pop song, “Yeah, Sure, Whatever.”
It’s hard to imagine that Apple TV+ doesn’t have a minimum of two shots at an Original Song nomination this Emmy season, on top of Outstanding Comedy Series.
After the screening, Variety’s Jenelle Riley took the stage and brought out Lord, Miller, Richardson, and Barinholtz. The panel began with a refreshing surprise for the audience — Ben Schwartz all the way from New Orleans.
In Mitchells vs. The Machines style, Ben Schwartz appeared via iPad in Chris Miller’s lap. Schwartz explained to the audience how he found out about episode three’s skill requirements.
“They (Lord and Miller) didn’t even ask me if I could sing or dance until right before that episode (episode three),” Ben disclosed, “I was like ‘Yeah I can, but it’s too late if I can’t, we’re already here,” he jokingly recalled.
The audience got a big laugh when Schwartz asked for high-fives via the iPad and a sloppy high-five from Barinholtz accidentally ended the call. The panel closed with a tease about the second season and returning cast members.
“There will be another murder, and some of the same characters, but that’s all I can say about that,” Miller said.
The Afterparty season one is streaming on AppleTV+ and check back for additional details on season two.