Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Preston Barta // Film Critic
WILFRED | 30 min. | TV-MA | Creator: Jason Gann, Adam Zwar | Stars: Elijah Wood, Jason Gann, Fiona Gubelmann, Dorian Brown, Chris Klein, James Remar, Nestor Carbonell and Harriet Sansom Harris
Last week on WILFRED, questions were answered and more of them surfaced. In tonight’s episode, the water calms a bit and the hilarity ensues, where Ryan (Elijah Wood) and Wilfred (Jason Gann) take sides in Kristen’s (Dorian Brown) custody battle.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Brown to talk about what’s in store for us this season, her thoughts on how the series comes together in the end and how she thinks next week’s episode (episode four) is the best of the series.
Fiona Gubelmann and Jason Gann mentioned that you guys finished a few weeks ago. How emotional was it for you when you heard them say “that’s a series wrap for Dorian?”
Dorian Brown: “It was very emotional. My last day wasn’t the official last day of production. I think I we wrapped on a Thursday and my last day was a Tuesday. I was just dreading it.
Randall [Einhorn], our director, kept me around all day to do some wild lines that I haven’t done from the season. You could tell that we didn’t want to announce that I was leaving, so I just stuck around. He would say, ‘we’ll get to the wild lines after this scene.’ And that would go on after every scene. But eventually I got my wild lines in, they wrapped me and I cried. It was really special.
Jason threw a wrap party; Elijah threw a wrap party; and then we had our official wrap party. Nobody really wanted to say goodbye. Everyone threw a party to stay in. But now we are finally done with our party. And by the time we really had to say goodbye, everyone was done. We weren’t emotional about it anymore.”
Brown: “Absolutely. When I first read the pilot four years ago, I was such a fan of the show. I knew if I didn’t book a part in the show I’d still watch it, which is so rare. Although, it’s a little more common nowadays because TV is so good. But reading this pilot I knew it was going to be good and interesting.
We had our regular show-runner, David Zuckerman, who stepped out in season three – and you can kind of see the difference in the writing – but he’s back and sharing that show-runner role with the season three show-runners. Season four has a nice blend of all that.
Like you saw in episode one of the new season, there are questions that are answered, but now, of course, more questions came up. So there is always something where it’s like, ‘I am going to answer you this, but I am going to takeaway that.’ Then you’re going to have to worry about that for the next time, or whatever it may be. I think a lot of stuff is answered, but it still leaves things to the imagination.
Throughout the whole season, well, especially the first three episodes, everything is dense. However, episode four is probably the best episode of the entire series. The first three episodes are so dense with stuff. They jammed packed questions and answers, and it keeps fans going; it keeps actors going; and it keeps writers going. It’s just so exciting.”
Because many episodes are so jammed packed with questions and answers, are there ever moments that cause you question the writers or Jason for clarification? Do you understand everything that goes on in the script?
Brown: “Oh, yeah. All the time. Episode four is pretty confusing, but pretty awesome at the same time. Unless I have a real question and I can’t get through a scene, as far as acting goes, I will ask. But other than that, I’m pretty sure that my questions will be answered down the road, or I will answer it for myself. So I don’t ask about the stuff in the script unless it involves my performance in the scene.”
Are you pleased with how everything comes together in the end?
Brown: “I am. I am very pleased. I can’t really think of another ending of the series, to be honest. Once you see the ending, you can’t think of it any other way.”
I would say that Kristen has evolved quite a bit since we first met her. We saw her and Ryan get a little closer last season, and they even have a moment this season (in episode three) where they talk about being each other’s ‘best-worst’ sibling. But it’s interesting to see the way Kristen deals with issues compared to Ryan. But let’s say the shoe was on the other foot: Kristen sees Wilfred as Ryan does. How far do you think Kristen would have gone with all the craziness that Wilfred would bring to her life, knowing that she handles things a bit different than Ryan?
Brown: “Wow. Well, I think after Kristen has the baby there would be a lot more responsible actions going on rather than how Ryan takes it to the extreme. That’s really good because crazy does run in the family. It’s not a farfetched question by any means. But I would hope with Joffrey in the picture that Kristen would be a little more restrained in her actions if she had Wilfred.”
How would you like it if some of your friends taught you lessons in the same diabolical way that Wilfred does?
Brown: “Well, it’s not really fair is it? It’s great that Wilfred and Ryan have such a weird relationship, but it’s one of those awful parent things, when they are like, ‘I am going to teach you a lesson by showing you what not to do.’ That’s never fun for anyone [Laughs]. But I would hate that sort of lesson giving.
To live through the lesson would be the best experience possible, but in some situations, well, one of them almost dies. There’s a lot of crazy sh*t that happens [Laughs].
In the season opener Ryan gets a second chance to fix the things that went astray at the end of the last season. Is there anything in your life that you wish you could have that opportunity for – a second chance or to make amends?
Brown: “I don’t know. That’s a good question. I never really thought about it. But if I could do anything over, I would go back to college and study something else, or an addition to acting. I did all my real learning on set and not really in school. And that’s a good four years out of life, so I think I would do that over. But that’s a super boring answer to a super interesting question. So sorry about that [Laughs].”
[Laughs] What else do you think you would have studied?
Brown: “Anything else, really. My husband started a business last year and I don’t know anything about that. So maybe taking some business courses. I don’t really have much to give other than acting, and even then, it’s such an intangible thing, you know? Could you be good, or not?
I’ve seen so many years of acting and have done so many years of it that some days I pretty much suck. So it’s not really something I can take home with me.”
Episode three of WILFRED airs tonight on FXX.