(Photos courtesy of Robert Kozak)
It has been said that you are known by the company you keep; this also applies to talent. In the case of Will Shivers and his latest work in the television series Eddie’s, it’s relevant to both. Alex Scrymgeour (writer and executive producer of Eddie’s) met Shivers three decades ago when they were both young lads at a boarding school in Pomfret, Connecticut. While most of their classmates were jocks looking to announce their masculinity, Will and Alex were fixated on humor and entertainment…creating their own that is. Present day finds them both with successful careers in Hollywood and finally working together. Scrymgeour’s latest production is Eddie’s, starring Eddie McGee (CBS’s Big Brother, NCIS: Los Angeles, Mutatnt X), George Wendt (Cheers, Fletch), and Shivers as Daren Willis. Alex openly admits that it was Will’s talent in front of (Shivers is a co-producer and editor of the show) and behind the scenes which assured the writer that he was a key component to its success.
When the show’s writer approached Shivers about the role in a family friendly show which takes place in a Bar & Grille in Venice, California…the actor immediately expressed an interest. Will confirms, “I for one am done with everything having to be dark and mean in comedies. At one point Eddie actually says ‘Don’t be a jerk.’ It’s a basic life lesson that is too often overlooked these days. I think people are seeking a refuge from all the grim news and entertainment out there; I know I am. Eddie’s [the program] offers up some dysfunctionally good-hearted people who have each other’s backs. They don’t judge but they also don’t tolerate jerks.”
Shivers appears as Daren Willis on the show. Daren is a bit dichotomous, in a pleasing manner. He is a high tech nerd working in AI who’s also very conscious and present, having done a lot of yogic and meditative work. Willis is a socially awkward genius, very self-aware and craving improvement with social interaction. It’s this expertise with complicated things and simultaneous uncomfortablity with simple human interaction which is endearing to Will’s presentation of Willis. Shivers is not unfamiliar with complexity and navigating it. The actor not only stars in Eddie’s but he is also one of the show’s producers and the editor. Appearing on screen while also working in a capacity that necessitates he produce off camera could become problematic for anyone. Co-producing with Eddie’s co-producer and writer David Brzozowski (21 Jump Street, Anamorph) allowed Will to vacillate between his dual roles. He notes, “David is incredible so I never had to worry. I found ways to split my time. The script was so good that I just had to be involved in some way. When Alex wrote a role specifically for me, it makes things more complicated but also more enjoyable for me. I loved development and watching it blossom into something more and more with each draft. And then to show up on the shoot day and actually feel it as it came to life on set as an actor and then to take over as editor? I mean there is nothing more satisfying than being a part of all of those stages of the process.”
The tagline to Eddie’s is “Where all are welcome.” While dark humor can most certainly be funny it can also be the path of least resistance. Will Shivers, Alex Scrymgeour, David Brzozowski, director Michael Lange, and everyone involved in Eddie’s aspired to do much more than this. The goal was not to make something easy that would sell but rather to make the best television they could and be motivational in message and comedy, rather than being reactive and following the status quo. Eddie’s is most certainly different and is most certainly full of laughs.
(Eddie’s Place creator Alex Scrymgeour and Shivers on the set of Eddie’s Place)