The Extra Special Interview


By Bill Keith

Oftentimes, you really are taking the piss out of the public perception of the actors who appear on your show. Has anyone ever been uncomfortable with what you've written for them?
Nope, Orlando Bloom even said 'Make me worse. You can go further.' He said, 'I feel like you're holding back with me!'

Clive Owen makes a fantastic appearance in the finale. He's terribly upset to be playing opposite a woman he finds to be too hideous to even to play his prostitute.
I think that's the most perfect comedy sketch we've ever written.

Is it a bit awkward to actually cast the extra to play a woman too ugly for Clive Owen to act opposite? Do you sit down with her beforehand?
No, no, not at all. Here's a confession: we got there on that day's filming, there were four extras standing there, and the assistant director came up to me and Steve and said 'Which one do you want to play her?' and I went 'Oh god,' and tried to back away, and Steve looked at me and said, 'You're brave in the writing room.' But in my defense we do get a lot of those extras from an agency called Ugly.

In another lifetime, you were the front man of Seona Dancing, an '80s Cure-meets-Pet Shop Boys pop band. How would life be different for you if it had taken off?
If it had made it any more than it did it would have been very difficult to come out as a comedy performer, but I'm not really ashamed of it. When they show me a picture of it on chat shows and I go 'Oh my God,' people think I'm embarrassed about how I looked then. But no, I'm embarrassed about how I look now. I loved looking like that! I was thin! I had lots of hair!

Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale premieres on HBO on Sunday, December 16th at 9:00 pm ET/PT.

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