Even when “Kidding” executive producer Michel Gondry isn’t directing an episode of Jim Carrey’s new Showtime show, the auteur’s presence can be felt. Case in point: Last Sunday’s episode, which featured a long, complicated scene shot in one take.
In the scene, guest star Riki Lindhome plays Shaina, a woman who’s inspired to turn her life around after watching an episode of “Mr. Pickles’ Puppet Time,” the kids’ show hosted by Carrey’s character. In one take, viewers see Lindhome’s world evolve as she renovates her apartment, starts exercising, invites friends over and celebrates her new life.
Behind the scenes, the “Kidding” crew physically transformed the set multiple times in real time. In this exclusive clip, the network gives a side-by-side comparison to how the scene looked on camera, vs. the hairy moments behind the camera as Lindhome and the show’s crew managed to pull it off. Watch below:
“We spent an entire Saturday choreographing [this] one shot,” said creator and executive producer David Holstein. “We brought it down from three minutes to a minute and 42 seconds. It involved 50 crew members, a special built set with walls that flipped, and it’s just this continuous shot of a woman over five years going from drug addict to better person.”
Episode director Jake Schreier said Holstein had been inspired to write something in every episode that was “very Gondry-esque,” and that Gondry had the idea of shooting this scene in a single take.
“I grew up watching his music videos,” Schreier said. “So I knew what he was going for. We were designing a Gondry homage as a time lapse.”
It helped, Schreier said, that he had access to so many of Gondry’s frequent collaborators, including director of photography Shawn Kim and production designer Maxwell Orgell.
“Everyone was pulling this together over the course of two weeks,” Schreier said. “It’s the kind of think you don’t usually have time on TV to do. It was like designing choreography, all building to one performance.”
Schreier said he was particularly impressed with Lindhome, whose performance was key to making sure the camera was ready to pan over.
“Look at how confident she is, she’s calling out that she’s ready way before she’s dressed,” he said. “It’s one of those shots that require so much work from so many people. When you pull it off everyone feel like they’re a part of it. Jim was no even in the scene and he came by.”
“I just don’t know what other show, what other comedy where you’d be allowed to do that, and spend the time doing it, and the nuance doing it, and the support. The best version of that is going to be so cool, but I think having Michel around let’s us get away with it.”
“Kidding” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime. Liz Shannon Miller contributed to this report.