David Gordon Green has praised Amazon’s approach to his pilot for Red Oaks – one of the company’s new batch of five TV pilots released on Thursday 28th August.
The sitcom, produced by Steven Soderbergh, is set in a 1980s New Jersey country club. It stars Craig Roberts (Submarine) as David, who is both reeling from his father’s heart attack and conflicted about what major to declare in the fall.
Myers gets a summer job as an assistant tennis pro at the Red Oaks Country Club in suburban New Jersey and while there, he meets a colourful cast of misfit co-workers and wealthy club members including an alluring art student named Skye (played by guest star Alexandra Socha) and her corporate raider father Getty (played by Paul Reiser). Richard Kind (Luck), Jennifer Grey (It’s Like, You Know) and Oliver Cooper (Californication) co-star.
“It’s an eclectic ensemble!” Green told VODzilla.co as we discussed his new film, Joe, out now in cinemas and on VOD.
“I like what they do,” the director said of Amazon. “They just play the pilot and see if anyone likes it.”
Amazon has so far run two batches of pilots, which are available to stream to everyone, including non-Prime Instant Video subscribers. Whichever videos get the highest ratings by viewers are then green-lit for full production. Red Oaks will form part of its third group later this year.
“Greg Jacobs told me this idea on the set of Behind the Candelabra and I told him it was great and that he should start working on it immediately,” said Steven Soderbergh.
“Then, while we were on the set of The Knick he gave me the script he wrote with Joe Gangemi and I said, ‘This is ready to go, let’s find a director.’ We very quickly agreed to approach David because the humour was sharp without being mean, and we felt he would understand and appreciate that.”
Green told us that the nature of the show gave him more freedom than conventional productions.
“Tonally, you can blur the line between comedy and drama a lot more when you don’t have a test screening audience telling you what’s funny, you know?” he said.
“You can go sensitive and subtle, you can go with letting a moment breathe. Especially with Amazon, where it doesn’t have to be 28 minutes and 30 seconds an episode. There’s no reason it can’t be 31 minutes.”
“To be able to collaborate with Steven, David and Greg, three of the most highly-regarded creators in Hollywood, is an absolute pleasure,” commented Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios.
“It’s certainly a new experience,” he added, “but it seems like a really good operation over there, really cool executives letting us do our thing. I had a lot of making the pilot, so we’ll see what happens.”
Read our full interview with David Gordon Green.