The new FOX sitcom Raising Hope was picked up for another full season and executive producer, Greg Garcia is hard at work preparing materials for his wickedly funny cast. We caught up with the Emmy Award-winning producer and My Name is Earl creator to dish on what to expect from the highly promoted series and Lucas Neff (Jimmy Chance).
JIMMY AND HOPE TRY TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS ON AN ALL-NEW “RAISING HOPE”
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, ON FOX
Tichina Arnold (“Everybody Hates Chris”) Guest-Stars
Jimmy hasn’t had any time to socialize or make friends since Hope was born, so when he meets another single dad at the grocery store, he immediately sets up a play date. But when Jimmy finds out that Virginia is his new friend’s housekeeper, Virginia insists that Jimmy cancel the outing. In an effort to keep the peace, Jimmy and his friend arrange a dinner at the Chance house in the all-new “Romeo and Romeo” episode of RAISING HOPE airing Tuesday, Feb. 8 (9:01-9:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
Greg, how has Lucas matured or developed as an actor?
Greg Garcia: He seems to be going backwards. No, I don’t know. I mean, he’s a solid actor. He was a solid actor when he showed up here. He remains a solid actor. I think that as we all get more and more comfortable in the character, both in the writing and the performance of it, we’re finding different things. The character is always evolving and stuff, but perhaps Lucas could tell you how he’s perhaps changed, maybe by being around other people, just like I’ve written around different people. Then, you tend to pick up other people’s habits or learn things from different people, but from my perspective, he’s the same solid actor he was at the beginning.
What was it about him that stood out from the tons of other actors you saw?
Greg Garcia: I watched Lucas on tape. He was in Chicago, so I watched on the computer. He just felt very real to me. A lot of auditions that you watch, and people are pushing it and trying to push real hard to get the comedy and stuff. He just felt very honest and real to me. I wanted this character to be somebody that people were rooting for and kind of the eyes of the audience into this crazier world, somebody that definitely feels very overwhelmed by this new responsibility thrown in his lap. I just got that from his performance. I got that from him as a person that he was a very—it just came through in his performance that he was very honest and likable guy. Then, I met him and realized he was just a really good actor.
Greg, what inspired you to come up with the concept for Raising Hope?
Greg Garcia: I just kind of wanted to do a domestic comedy. So, I just stepped back and thought, “What’s a crazy situation I can get these people into?” I kind of knew the premise I wanted was this family, trying to raise this baby on their own and not knowing what they’re doing. I didn’t want the mom to be around because my fear is that I would write the mom to be perhaps a little more knowledgeable with babies. I really wanted this guy to—the character of Jimmy to have as little help as possible. In thinking about that, I thought about the ways to not have the mom around and this is what I came up with. I think there’s a combination of hopefully we’re hitting things that are relatable to you and your family as far as the situations they’re in or perhaps the husband/wife conversations that Martha and Garret get into. But yes, I think there’s always something nice about turning on the TV and seeing people that are worse off than you. It does make you feel a little better about yourself. A lot of times, you’re laughing at people doing things wrong and getting into situations. I mean, you could turn on Modern Family and it’s an affluent family, I mean, certainly, as compared to our family, but you’re going to watch them screwing up and messing up things and getting out of situations that they’ve created. Our family is going to be doing the same kind of thing, just possibly with different resources at their hands, but I think ultimately, you’re still laughing at the same stuff.