Interview: Director Randall Einhorn talks ‘Wilfred’ and His Theory on the Life or Death of Ryan (Elijah Wood)

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Randall-Einhorn-WilfredComic-Con 2012: The man who created the look of FX’s hit show Wilfred, Randall Einhorn, is back in the Directors chair for all 13 episodes this season. 

Starring Elijah Wood and Jason Gann, the show is taking a darker turn this year and at this years Comic-Con, Einhorn said that it almost has to. “It’s got to get deeper otherwise you’re going to lose interest in it,” he told us.

In this interview, he talks about the look of the show, shooting on a $3000 camera and his theory on whether Ryan (Wood) is dead or alive.

Wilfred airs at 10pm on Thursdays on FX

For the full interview, click the audio link above or download it from iTunes!

So everyone we have spoken to says the show seems to have gotten a little bit darker this season.  What are your thoughts on that and why all the darker shows?

Randall Einhorn:  Well, I mean, I kind of wouldn’t want to go back and make Wilfred lighter, you know?  It’s got to get deeper otherwise you’re going to lose interest in it.  So, I really like that we’re pushing all of it and we’re going to keep pushing it I think until it can’t be pushed any further and then it will probably end.  But, I can’t imagine going backwards and making a Wilfred “light”.

Yeah, and Jason said that he goes back and forth in his head on whether Wilfred is a magical creature or just lives in Ryan’s imagination.  He said you guys all sort of go back and forth.  Where have you settled on that?

Randall Einhorn:  Because I’m directing them, I have to have an opinion.  I have to have a position where that comes from.  I have to assume one thing.  That Wilfred is one thing.  That doesn’t mean I don’t like confusing the issue a little bit, but in my opinion, Wilfred is a figment of Ryan’s imagination. That’s how I need to think about it to be able to give the actors a point of view at any given time.

We were just told that you guys filmed the scenes from different scripts on that same day? Is that maddening for you?

Randall Einhorn:  Yep.  I mean at any one time we might by shooting – we shot the first block of episodes, we shot one, three, five, seven, nine and eleven – so I might be shooting scene one from episode 11 next to the final shot of episode one.  Which is, in terms of keeping the actors in the right place and tonally  matching where we came from, it takes a lot of homework and it takes a lot of refreshing. 

Coming into a scene, I would say, okay here’s where we are and here’s where we’ve come from, here’s what just happened, so you refresh in everybody’s mind because we might not shoot the scene next to them for weeks later, you know, which is really messed up.  So you’re walking out of the room in one scene really angry, and you won’t be back into the other side of the room for a month.  So remembering where that is is very difficult and it’s not like doing a movie, because movies are shot according to location.  This is just how we do it.  We’re shooting 13 stories, separate stories that are mixed up.  It’s just a mess.

Do you have the help with the continuity director or it is all you?

Randall Einhorn:  I have the help of everybody. No, we have a continuity script supervisor who remembers the glass is half full and they really keep my shit together.  But that’s on every show.  I rely heavily on everybody all around me.  Everybody is good at their job, I hope.

So your preference would be to shoot sequentially?

Randall Einhorn:  Absolutely.  It would be so much easier to let a story grow and start and the beginning and finish when it’s at the end, you know?  I would absolutely want to shoot in continuity if I could.  But, for financial reasons, you just can’t.  You can’t do it.  I mean, we shoot this show on Stills Cameras. Yeah, we shoot this show on Stills cameras, on a $3,000 camera and then I put about a $1,000 lens on it that I bought off of eBay and we are shooting our show on a little Stills camera.

Certainly as a viewer, you can’t see that.

Randall Einhorn:  I think these things look better than, you know, $100,000 cameras.

So, what you’re saying is that Ryan is dead and Wilfred is taking him on a journey to another world?

Randall Einhorn:  It’s a good theory. And certainly he has believed that at certain times.

Is it purely financial, the way you’re shooting it?

Randall Einhorn:  Yes.  Entirely financial. It’s purely financial and really FX is quite liberal with us, hey, do what you want, do what makes sense but you’ve got to do it for this.  We had to do it for that reason.  I would always, always shoot in continuity if I was given the choice, you know?  It’s really hard for momentum.

What kind of choices visually did you decide to make with Ryan’s job? Because there’s this kind of haziness as to whether or not is it real or is it reality or is it in his mind? 

Randall Einhorn:  Yeah.  I mean, certainly in Episode One, there is a real purposeful misdirect that we did visually to make you think that the dream is real and the reality is a dream.  We actually shot those on these little lenses called lens babies.  They’re like a $400 set.  They gave them to us.  We shot all that stuff to give his real world the illusion of being a dream.  At the top of the show we were shooting the real world like a dream and by the end, the real world we were shooting like the real world.  So we kind of, you know, crossed somewhere in the middle.

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