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Ben Stiller: Apple was patient in allowing Severance creator Dan Erickson the freedom to learn on the job

  • Severance famously came from a writing sample that Erickson sent around that he wrote while working at a boring desk job. "I mean, basically this is the first thing Dan Erickson’s had produced," says Stiller, who acquired the script for his Red Hour production company. "So, he was thrown into a traditional situation of running a writers’ room. For me, I don’t come out of that world, believe it or not. Like the writers’ room thing for me has never been something I’ve had a lot of experience with. I haven’t particularly ever really loved that process. I get what it is and it’s necessary when you have to create a lot of scripts. But Dan hadn’t run a writer’s room before. And so what Dan and I decided to do, after looking at a number of his scripts, was to go back to the drawing board. We had Dan basically rewrite almost all the scripts of the first season, and work with the writers, who are all really confident writers, but making sure that his voice was in them. That was something we all agreed on. All those writers contributed a lot and are actually coming back for a second season, but it was very important for Dan’s voice to be the main voice in there. I felt like the show needed to kind of go in its own direction, it wasn’t anything from Apple at all. And they have always had very smart notes, and they’re very sharp, but at the end of the day, this comes down to, basically, subjective choice in which way you want to go. And there was a freedom there. For whatever reason, there was the freedom that they gave us to explore that."


    TOPICS: Severance, Apple TV+, Adam Scott, Ben Stiller, Dan Erickson