Interview with cast Con Man season 2
Conventioneers can be an odd bunch. And few know this better than Alan Tudyk, star of the short-lived, yet much beloved television series Firefly. But rather than point a ridiculing finger at convention goers, Tudyk decided to instead focus on the lives of the convention guests, giving a behind-the-scenes look at what being a “convention celebrity” (not to be confused with an actual celebrity) is like. In Con Man, the wildly popular web series that was successfully crowdfunded last year, the creators decided to shed some light on this scantly publicized part of convention life. After a very popular first season, the crew is back with a second season that premiered on Thursday, December 8th.
Series co-stars Nolan North, Felicia Day, Mindy Sterling, Laura Vandervoort, Alison Haislip, and producer PJ Haarsma spoke to reporters to discuss the reception of the show thus far, their experiences in making the first season, and some details on the upcoming season.
Do you have any con stories that season two reminded you of?
PJ Haarsma: All the events that we do in each season of Con Man have some kernel of past experience with Alan and Nathan’s life and they go and take it and extrapolate it to something that’s even more funny. So every little incident is similar to something that happened to them at a Con somewhere.
Laura Vandervoort: I’ve had some weird experiences at Cons. My first convention after being cast as Supergirl, a guy came up to me and had my face tattooed on their leg. Someone had me sign their arm and they came back a couple hours later and had tattooed that on.
What are your thoughts on typecasting? Do actors resent being cast in a certain way?
Felicia Day: There is a double-edged sword, basically, you are kind of judged on yourself. I think sometimes, if you have a very distinct personality, it can help you but at the same time, it can be a little limiting. I created all my roles to get away from a stereotype and ended up creating another stereotype, the hacker, geeky girl.
Mindy Sterling: Sometimes it’s lovely, because it keeps us busy and it keeps us working. But then, creative wise it can be a little stilting because we’re not challenged to do something else, because people don’t see you that way.
Laura: In the sci-fi genre, the fans are so incredible, and so knowledgeable. It is nice to be in that genre because they really do appreciate you, and support your work. Once your typecast, it is difficult. We want to play different people, and challenge ourselves. It’s nice to be able to change, but again, work is work.
Alison Haislip: When you’re typecast within this geek/nerd world, you have the best fans on the planet. You’re guaranteed to work in some capacity when this is your fanbase because they are so loyal and all they want is more and more. So if you are going to get typecast, it is the best world to be in.
How have the fan reactions been for Con Man as compared to your other roles?
Felicia: I think people have really enjoyed the performances and they see something they recognize in the show. It comes from a place of love. In more mainstream culture, geeks and geek culture is kind of disdained upon. Alan definitely writes and makes the show from a point of view of love. His only self loathing is towards himself. It’s a fine line but he’s not making fun of people, he’s making fun with them. It’s really obvious that people are behind the show.
Nolan North: A lot of the fans that I met are really stoked, because a lot of them were backers of the original campaign. I think they feel a certain ownership to the stories and to the characters. They were such a big part of making it happen.
Alison: One of the most incredible acts of fandom. A woman was at our panel dressed as Wray Nereley in spectrum. At this point, one image of Alan had come out in this costume. The fact that this women had replicated it in time for our panel was incredible to me.
What are you most excited for fans to see in season two?
Nolan: I think it’s cool they get to know a little more about Jerry Lansing. A couple of the episodes go a bit deeper into what his life is like outside the cons, and I think that’s cool.
What was the casting process like for season 2? Was it hard to get everyone you wanted?
PJ: We’ve run out of roles for the friends that we have. Everyone that was asked to do Con Man was hand picked and everybody was very receptive and positive to it because they saw how much love that we all had put into it. We thought it was going to be a lot harder to get people to come and do our little show, but nobody said no to us. They were eager to do it. And when season 2 came around, it was more of the same. It was a very positive experience.
Who did you get to meet or work with on Con Man that you are a fan of?
Alison: I didn’t get to work with him, but I was really stoked with I got to meet Nolan at our first panel. I told him that. I love the Uncharted games, so meeting Nolan was a highlight.
Nolan: That’s so sweet. Thank you. Mine is just as sappy. Mindy Sterling. I was always a fan of hers, I knew that she had done so much improv. Of course there was the Austin Powers movies I worked on a couple cartoons with her. When Con Man came around, and she was perfect for this role, and we got to get in and work things together and just sit there and laugh. She’s a great talent. Fingers crossed for season three, more Jerry and Bobbie.