On Sunday night, one of HBO’s biggest shows, ‘Silicon Valley,’ will premiere its fourth season for the world to see.
But a lucky few got a sneak peek of the first two episodes Tuesday night at the Alamo Drafthouse.
In a sit-down interview with KVUE, stars Martin Starr, who plays Gilfoyle, and Zach Woods, who plays Jared Dunn, discussed what fans can expect.
“We do have some fun guest stars. Haley Joel Osment is on it this year,” said Starr.
“He’s amazing on it,” added Woods.
While the show is now one of the most popular on television, Woods said he had hesitations initially.
“I wasn’t sure people were going to like it, because I’m not particularly interested in tech. But because I think it’s an underdog story, and people like underdogs. Also because everybody has a phone in their pocket with a bunch of apps on it – so the world of tech, even if you’re not interested the actual industry, you’re familiar with the consumer side of it. So I think just a lot of access points even for people like me who could actually care less about the actual tech industry,” Woods explained.
Despite being one of the show’s stars, Woods said he doesn’t watch the show himself. So if he doesn’t watch it, does he even know if he’s in it.
“No – for all I know, this can be an elaborate prank, where they like bring me to a set just to like ridicule me,” Woods joked.
With razor-sharp wit, we wanted to know much is scripted and how much is off-the-fly.
“It’s mostly written. There’s a lot of improvisation that happens, but it’s mostly to keep things fresh for us so when we do say the line the 13th time, it’s still as funny,” said Starr, who credited the show’s writers for the strong content.
While the show is based in California, it first premiered in Austin at South by Southwest. Woods shared a memory of that experience.
“I remember when we were waiting to go on, I was listening to a guy doing a practice pitch for his app, and he said ‘this is the Gandhi of apps.’ And I was like, oh it really is like Silicon Valley here. It’s grandiose,” Woods explained.
So what can fans expect in season four?
“The season stars with Richard departing from the company to do his own thing. And so whereas in previous seasons they were dealing with sort of external challenges, this time they’re trying to see if they as a group can pull it together,” said Woods.
“Do you have family or friends who now just give you laptops to fix or phones to fix, just assuming you know how to do it,” KVUE’s Michael Perchick asked.
“I keep giving mine to Zach to fix, and I haven’t gotten any back yet,” said Starr.
“Yeah, I immediately sell them,” replied Woods.
“Oh,” Starr said.
“Yeah,” Woods said.
“How’s that market looking? Because I have a broken laptop-,” Perchick asked.
“I’d say just selling broken laptops isn’t good,” Woods said.
“I would say don’t give it to that guy,” Starr said while pointing at Woods.
So if you see any of Martin Starr’s electronic devices, you know where they came from.
The premiere was livestreamed to 16 Alamo Drafthouse theaters across the country from the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, where the screening was followed by a panel with Starr, Woods and producer Mike Judge.
So what did we see in the first two episodes? We’ll save you the spoilers, but here is some of what you can look forward to:
- The future of Pied Piper (the immediate future, at least)
- Richard’s future as CEO of Pied Piper
- The return of a memorable character
- Always blue! Always blue!
- A radical makeover for one main character
- A fast rise– and fall
- More of the Bachman and Jian Yang relationship
After those first two episodes, we can’t wait to see the rest of season four, but the panel afterward was even better.
Judge, Starr and Woods answered questions from Twitter users and audience members and gave some insight into the fourth season, past episodes and the process of making the show.
“We cut it pretty close this season,” Judge said. “We’ve only locked four of [the episodes].”
“We write all summer long and then we shoot in the fall, then we edit and we end up with, like, three weeks off,” Judge explained. “This is like making three movies a year. But it’s fun, I love working with these guys.”
“I never dreamed in a million years that I’d be working with and for Mike Judge,” Starr said.
“There was like some anxiety for me when we started because, you know, it’s a bunch of comedy guys, like young comedy guys, and that can sometimes be like a feral, uh, environment,” Woods said. “It was such a welcome surprise…to discover that we’re all a tender group of people. Like, everyone’s really kind to each other, it’s not competitive, people pitch each other jokes sometimes. Like, if we’re improvising someone will have an idea for somebody else. It’s nice to be with a group of people who are equally delicate flowers.”
When asked about how much of the show is written versus improvised, Woods said, “It’s almost all written, but they’re very indulgent.”
“It’s just fun to be able to play around with it a little bit and try new things, but the writing is so good to begin with,” Starr explained.
“In the first season, the weird way your character developed was you doing weird improvs about having ghost skin,” Starr said to Woods about the character of Jared Dunn. “And those things ended up becoming how they saw Jared.”
“You’ll get better performances, I think, if the actors feel comfortable and they can just spew it out,” said Judge. “There’s this feedback loop where one of the actors will try something and it’s good and we’ll just write to that.”
One of the most compelling questions was whether the cast has sleepover parties.
“Every year that’s how we end the season,” Starr revealed.
A Twitter user asked the group what they enjoyed most about working on the show.
“We did the pilot, the show was greenlit, and we spent the summer writing without knowing…it was a scary feeling, you know, it’s like ‘okay, we’re gonna make this show no matter what.'” Judge said. “For me, like, the moments when we’re writing and we go ‘Oh s–t, I think we have something here’ those are always good, because everything else is just doing the work and those little inspiration moments are probably the best.”
Judge also revealed that he picks out most of the music used in the end credits.
“It’s a combination of just stuff I like. But what’s happened is a lot of people in the music world who’ve liked the show have given us stuff,” he explained. Judge said that in the last season, they premiered the song ‘Nobody Speak’ by DJ Shadow and Run the Jewels. The songs at the end of the first two episodes of season four are also world premieres.
“Usually I just look for something that feels right and has a good vibe,” Judge said. “Every now and then you get lucky and kind of score the end of the episode with the beginning of the song.”
When asked about which of the actors is most like the character they play, Woods had an interesting answer.
“The first season, TJ Miller came into my trailer and I was on a yoga mat reading a journal of reassuring quotes with a bunch of scented candles lit…”
“What were you listening to?” Starr interrupted.
“Indigo Girls,” Wood answered, and continued, “So I’d say probably Martin.”
If we learned anything Tuesday night, it’s that these guys are awesome and you don’t want to miss season four of ‘Silicon Valley.’
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