Martin Starr Talks Party Down Season 3 & His Hopes for Season 4
Feb 24, 2023
In this new era of television, one series that was ahead of its time in comedy, and unjustly fell to the wayside over a decade ago, is making a triumphant and celebrated return. From Starz and the original writer, John Enbom, Party Down is making its comeback with a very long-awaited Season 3. Reuniting nearly all the original lineup — an ensemble cast of now-well-known faces — fans get to pick back up with Adam Scott’s Henry Pollard and friends thirteen years after we left off. We’re talking Ken Marino, Jane Lynch, Ryan Hansen, Megan Mullally, and Martin Starr, whose most recent roles include Paramount+’s Tulsa King, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities on Netflix, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY
Like its genius premise so many years ago, Season 3 takes us back to the Party Down catering service. Most of the crew have moved on from parties, save Ron Donald (Marino) who’s now living on a prayer and out of the van, and Roman (Starr). Yet, circumstances and fates have aligned, bringing divorced Henry unwillingly back into the fray. Others, like Lydia (Mullally) and Constance (Lynch), are past their catering days, though they still find themselves schmoozing at the same events. Season 3 promises all the heart, heartache, and shenanigans as before, but with a pinch of middle age and post-pandemic partying thrown in. Are we having fun yet?
Before we tighten these bowties for the Party Down Season 3 premiere on Starz, on February 24, Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke with Starr about the revival. During the interview, Starr shares what it feels like to return to the set so many years later, his hopes for Season 4 with fellow alum, Lizzy Caplan, and what it’s like to go on a truckload of a trip with all of his friends. Starr also discusses how the series’ structure changed with TV today, character arcs, and what it’s like working with Sylvester Stallone on Tulsa King. For all of this and more, check out the interview in the player above, or read the full transcript below.
COLLIDER: I want to start with congrats on being able to make another season of Party Down. I’m a huge fan of the show. I’ve seen the first five episodes of Season 3. I laughed like a crazy person. So I’m just going to say congrats.
MARTIN STARR: Thank you. Yeah, I mean honestly, that’s the reaction that gives me confidence that maybe the fans will also feel the same way. I’m so happy. That’s the biggest worry is that we’ll be released and people will be disappointed because they’ve been waiting for it for so long. It’s the only thing that people come up to me, and they’re like, “Are you guys making more of Party Down? I love Party Down.” I’m like, “I hope so, man. I want to be there more than you want to see it.”
So, here we are. We finally did it. I hope it’s received well.
Well, my thing is that I’m a greedy SOB.
STARR: Six isn’t enough.
Image via Starz
Do you think there’s a chance of more? Was this like a one-and-done thing?
STARR: I hope there’s a chance of more. This isn’t, obviously, a decision that I get to make, but I do hope that with a good reception, as we come out into the world again for Season 3, if the fan base is there, and grows a little bit, I hope that we will have the opportunity to do a fourth one. That’s the dream.
I would have been happy with 20 episodes, but I’ll take the six. Whatever I can get. I definitely want to know, what was it like the night before you were getting ready to step on set for that first day of filming? Had you rewatched the first two seasons, were you a little bit nervous to go film or was it all excitement?
STARR: For me, it’s excitement. It isn’t nerves like when I was younger. I don’t know, I guess I grew up out here, too, so it’s a different vibe. Every time before the first day of any job really, this one in particular, I just can’t get sleep. I’m too excited to figure out what’s going on. I think there’s more anxiety with other jobs because you don’t know what you’re getting into, and so day one could be anything, but especially with this, it’s just excitement, you know? I just want to get back to playing with my friends, like this is summer camp at its best.
Yeah, that didn’t answer the question, what was your question? Where do I go now?
Image via Starz
No, no, it totally worked. So I don’t want to do spoilers, but one of the episodes of the first five has to do with everyone doing drugs, and–
STARR: [Laughs] It’s weird that you would pick that episode. Anyway, continue.
I want to specifically talk about when you read in the script that everyone’s going to be high. Are you excited about that, or are you a little bit nervous because you have to be sober while portraying being fucked up?
STARR: We have to be sober? I mean, it was fun. I think it’s even more fun because at the end of Season 2 is the “Constance Carmell Wedding,” and I’m really high in the bathroom writing my manuscript, and that was just me. So I think there’s something more… I mean, that was fun, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something more fun about everybody kind of going on a journey like that together. It almost feels like you really are doing mushrooms together – oops, no spoilers – but that you all get to like travel that road together. It makes it more fun because you’re all exploring what that reality feels like while you’re eating mushroom chocolates by the truckload.
How much did John [Enbom] tell you about the arc, and what was going to be happening before filming began, and how much were you finding out script by script?
STARR: I mean, I had a conversation with him before we started shooting, and he hinted at the evolution of Roman, and the teasing of certain plot points that are really fun to play out. I think the most fun going into this third season is, it was less about standalone episodes the way the first two seasons were, where the real arcs only existed for Adam [Scott] and Lizzy [Caplan]. That romance was the real development that happened episode to episode, but in this new season, I think we all have arcs on some wavelength that are… It’s just more fun to play in the development of the characters and the development of the stories as a whole, and how they intertwine.
I totally agree. It’s also how different television is from when you guys first made Party Down to where it is now.
STARR: Yeah, it was also built with a different, specific formula. I think the structure of the show was meant to allow for different people to come in, in case somebody couldn’t make it for Season 3, should we get picked up for that third season way back when. Now, the show doesn’t exist unless we get our people back. It really is about the crew, that’s how we have this opportunity to come back is, because of the success of the first two seasons. So you can’t just do it with a whole new group of people, I don’t think. But thankfully, for me, because I got the call to come back.
And, you know, hopefully, if we get to do another season we’ll be able to have Lizzy back, and have it be a proper reunion of everybody. Hopefully, she doesn’t set the standard where somebody else can’t do it next season, or something.
Image via Starz
You’ve done a lot of stuff in the last 20 years. If someone has never seen anything you’ve done, what is the first thing you want them watching, and why?
STARR: I don’t, I’d rather just talk to them and have a conversation. Don’t watch anything. What am I the most proud of? That’s a hard question.
No, not even that. Maybe there’s a role that didn’t get enough people watching it and you want them to see that.
STARR: I did, an episode a year on Life and Pieces, and every year I got to do a really fun character there. I’m unrecognizable, I think. My friend Justin [Adler] created that show and asked if I would come and play a pest exterminator. I had it contingent on the pronunciation of a particular word, which really was where I derived a lot of the character from, and I just got to play. I just like playing.
I mean, Party Down is really a great place for anyone to start with any of our careers. A lot of the spider web of talent, opportunities, shows and movies that come from this group [are] really incredible, but I think Party Down really stands alone in a really special way for all of us.
I definitely have to say congratulations on Tulsa King.
STARR: Hey, thanks so much. Yeah, it’s crazy. I didn’t expect it to get this kind of following. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think [Sylvester] Stallone still deserves the audience that he’s getting here, but I guess I just didn’t expect it. There’s so much to watch now. You kinda don’t anticipate anything being stand-out.
When Stallone signed on for that I was like, “And I will be watching.” I watched the whole season because I’m a fan of Sly, and he doesn’t do TV.
STARR: Yeah, he’s great. I really enjoyed working with him.
Image via Paramount+
Do you know when you start filming the second season?
STARR: We don’t have dates yet. I think they’re working out so many details. We don’t even know where we’re going to do it this year– or, this next season. So I’m excited to find out everything. I don’t think they’ve dug into scripts or anything yet. I could be wrong, but you know, the impending writer’s strike certainly would urge anyone to get moving.
Party Down Season 3 premieres on Starz on February 24.
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