Hank Azaria & Cast Talk ‘Hello Tomorrow!’ and the Show’s Retro-Future Vibe

Mar 3, 2023

The Apple TV+ original half-hour dramedy series Hello Tomorrow! is set in a retro-future world where Jack Billings (Billy Crudup) leads a team of door-to-door salesmen that sell timeshares on the moon. At BrightSide Lunar Residences, the goal is selling hope to as many people as possible, but being good at their jobs means that their growing customer base becomes increasingly demanding, wanting what they’ve paid for and been promised.

During this interview with Collider, co-stars Hank Azaria (who plays Senior Sales Partner Eddie Nicholls), Haneefah Wood (who plays Jack’s right-hand, Shirley Stedman), and Dewshane Williams (who plays BrightSide’s most eager salesman, Herb Porter) talked about the retro-future vibe of the show, why it feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone, the incredible wardrobe, the tower of nachos, whether any of their characters would want to take over the business, and how many directions a possible second season could go in.
Collider: I’m obsessed with the whole vision and vibe of this show. But on paper, the premise of this series seems insane, about door-to-door salesman selling timeshares on the moon in a retro-future world. What sold you on it? Was it the absurdity and insanity of that just seemed like it would be a ton of fun?

HANEEFAH WOOD: What’s crazy is that I didn’t see it as absurdity, at all. It seemed true to life to me because the writing is so good. I didn’t even take it in that vein. I love the fact that it’s kind of Jetsons-y, with the hover cars and the jetpacks and all the robots. I put myself immediately in that world because the writing just feels so strong and so real. That’s how I took it.

Image via Apple TV+

Did any of you visualize what this world would be, in a way that ended up being entirely different from what it became, or was it really clear on paper, when you read it?

HANK AZARIA: It wasn’t really clear, reading it. I knew that Billy Crudup was doing it, so I really wanted to do it. And I heard it was a Glengarry Glen Ross salesman thing, so I was drawn to that. And then, I got surprised by the whole retro-future deal. When I read it, I was like, “Boy, this is gonna have to be sold visually because we can’t act like we’re in the retro fifties future.” The language does some of that. Personally, I didn’t know if it would all work until I saw it. And then, I was like, “Oh, phew, that looks really cool. That’s enhancing what’s going on here.”

DEWSHANE WILLIAMS: A big help for me was just the writing. When you have great scripts, as an actor, you can just lean into that. And so, when I first read the script for Herb, I was convinced, after the first scene, that it’s just quality. You could tell that the creators put a lot of time into the world building.

AZARIA: I just realized that, to me, the premise feels like an elongated The Twilight Zone episode, including the whole 50s, futuristic point of view. It feels like a premise that could easily have been in an episode of The Twilight Zone from the Rod Serling era.

WOOD: Absolutely, especially with the darkness of it.

I think part of that is because it feels real, but then something just feels a little bit off and you’re not quite sure what that is.

WOOD: Because something is a little off.

AZARIA: And they would do parallel universe stories, where it was humans, but a future or past, or a parallel universe. It feels like an alternative universe that we’re in.

Image via Apple TV+

What was it like to walk onto these sets and have this wardrobe? How did the wardrobe help inform you?

WOOD: It was super glamorous. Normally, I’m a tomboy. I have my hair cut off. But when I got into those outfits, I felt like, I guess, what a lady is supposed to feel like, or what Shirley is supposed to feel like. That really helped me with the character and her femininity, and how she would throw it towards Eddie, or how she would throw it towards one of the salesmen. It really informed my character. It informed the way that I walk, the way that I talk, and the way that I use my hands. It was pretty brilliant. I love all of our costumes.

WILLIAMS: It also helps, when you’re working on a show or a movie, when all the departments are incredible at their job. When I put on the wardrobe in the morning, that would allow me to sit a certain way. Even the way I speak changes. And then, you walk onto the set and you see a robot pouring a martini, and that helps you with the world building aspect. We’ve gotta give a shout out to the creators of the show, Amit [Bhalla] and Lucas [Jansen], because they thought about this so meticulously and you could tell.

WOOD: It inspires you, with the costumes and the hair.

WILLIAMS: Even with the lapels, there might be a pin of a galaxy or a planet.

AZARIA: There’s something about running away from a bad guy in a 1950s Fedora that just feels like what you signed up for when you wanted to be an actor.

Dewshane, what was it like to shoot the scene at the ball game, where you had to sit there holding the tower of nachos? Were you ever tempted to eat any of them, or did you intentionally avoid eating them, so that you didn’t have to keep eating them for every take?

WILLIAMS: The latter.

AZARIA: Were they edible?

WILLIAMS: They were. But I was like, “Herb is lactose intolerant.” With the nachos, I understood that it was a marathon and not a sprint. That was a big day, so I avoided that.

AZARIA: It was also a cold day too.

WOOD: Yeah, it was freezing.

WILLIAMS: It was great, but I did not eat the nachos. I bit into one.

Image via Apple TV+

One of the things that’s so interesting about the relationship with your character and his wife is that we learn so much about them through this show’s version of Zoom. We see him talking to her through a screen. What was it like to find that relationship?

WILLIAMS: It was all on the page. The writing is just so good that I trusted what was on the page, and I found things while the camera was rolling. Obviously, we were shooting during a time when people could relate to the idea of being isolated, so that wasn’t a stretch. I’ve also got and iPhone and an iPad and a Mac Book, and FaceTiming is not wild for me. I didn’t actually have a real person speaking to me, on the day. It was just an X. I just spoke to a blank screen, but I think it maybe turned out okay.

AZARIA: Susan [Heyward] was great. She was awesome.

WOOD: She’s so good.

WILLIAMS: I think you’ll love her.

Hank and Haneefah, if your characters had a chance to push Jack out of the business and take over, would they?

WOOD: Oh, Shirley would not. I think she’s totally loyal to Jack, without knowing what’s maybe going on behind the scenes. That’s her guy. She’s not gonna turn on him, whatsoever. But that’s a good question.

AZARIA: Eddie wants to get in and get out. That would be too much responsibility. He wants to make as much money as he can, in a short amount of time, and then gamble that money, like an idiot. He doesn’t want to run anything, except his own life into the ground.

WOOD: And I think that Shirley believes that Jack is the reason for her newfound happiness and for her newfound love. So, no, she’s not going anywhere from him.

Without spoilers, how do you guys feel about where your characters are left, by the end of the season? Do you have a lot of questions about what could be next for them?

WOOD: Yes, a lot of questions. I have no clue because it could go in so many different directions, from where they ended. There’s no way to know until we receive those scripts and hopefully that notice that we’ve gotten a second season.

Image via Apple TV+

Hank, do you ever try to pitch the creative team ideas for your character, or do you just trust what you’re given?

AZARIA: I always give an idea, if I have it. I wasn’t really involved, in that way. This was so thought out, this show, that you can’t just come in at the last minute and go, “So, what if we tried this?” You can do that a little, but this was a jigsaw puzzle that was fit together pretty meticulously. That said, I’ll always raise my hand, if I feel like something doesn’t make sense to me, or I think we could do something a little bit better or a little clearer. Maybe if we do a second season, I might ask to be in on planning a little bit more, just so I can give the point of view of having been inside the character for a year and what I see with him. But no, I’m usually happy to leave it to them. If I were as good a writer as they are, I would write.

Hello Tomorrow! is available to stream at Apple TV+.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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