After years of being mistaken for each other, Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney are finally having a laugh. McDermott plays the macho pilot Captain Dave in Fox’s “LA To Vegas,” while Mulroney shows up in at least two episodes this season as a high-flying rival.
“It’s been 30 years of people confusing us,” McDermott says on the latest edition of IndieWire’s Turn It On podcast. “Obviously it culminated on the SNL sketch [2012’s “Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?” faux game show].” In the bit, Jamie Foxx’s character is a game show contestant who comes up with another name for the two of them: Derbel McDillet — which became McDermott’s Instagram handle for a time.
McDermott noted that he and Mulroney even shared the same agent early in their careers, the legendary Sue Mengers, who told them they had to change their names. “I was going to be Mick Dermott,” he said. “That was my genius plan.”
After so much confusion for so long, “LA To Vegas” is actually the first time both actors have worked together. “Our real hope is that it just deepens the confusion,” he quipped.
Created by Lon Zimmet and executive produced by Steve Levitan, Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, “LA To Vegas” is an ensemble workplace comedy that follows an budget airline crew and the crazy passengers to fly back and forth from Los Angeles to Las Vegas each weekend.
IndieWire recently met up with McDermott and Levitan at the Television Critics Association press tour to discuss the show’s opening success, the future of Fox, the story behind Captain Dave and of course, that stache. Listen below!
“What Dylan brought to it was a gravitas that the part needed,” Levitan said. “If he was a light guy I don’t think it’s as funny. He’s got to take himself very seriously, and life has to undercut him all the time.”
McDermott’s last several series were dark — “Stalker,” “Hostages,” “American Horror Story,” “Dark Blue” — which is why he jumped at the chance to have some fun on “LA To Vegas.” He even grew the moustache on his own for the part.
“I read the script and the moustache grew by itself,” he said. “I knew immediately who he was and what he needed.” Added Levitan: ” I get enormous joy out of it, it’s one of those things where he thinks it’s funny for about a week, and now he’s stuck with it!”
“LA to Vegas” premiered this month to 5.6 million viewers, making it Fox’s most-watched Tuesday comedy since 2015. The network is bullish enough on the show that it just ordered three more episodes to its freshman season, bringing the total to 15.
For Levitan, the success comes with a question: What happens to the Fox network, as well as his home studio 20th Century Fox TV, once Disney’s acquisition of the Fox studio is approved?
“We’re all still trying to figure it out,” he said. “I don’t expect there to be drastic changes overnight. I think it will be gradual.”
Levitan noted that he has a long relationship with Disney, thanks in part to “Modern Family,” which airs on ABC. He is also pals with Disney boss Bob Iger. “I’m not that worried, but I was very happy at 20th,” he said. “I’ve been there for a long time, people treat me very well there. It’s relatively close to my house. I’ve been very happy there. I have their trust and they let me do my thing. The idea that little family is getting rejiggered in some way makes me a bit nervous. But we’ll be fine. There are more important changes.”
“LA to Vegas” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.