Hollywood might not be known as the most patient of industries, but sometimes, good things do come to those who wait. Like “MacGruber” fans, who have spent the last decade beating the drum for a sequel to the Jorma Taccone-directed comedy, a cult classic that made less than $10 million when it was released in theaters but has continued to win fans for its ability to turn one “Saturday Night Live” sketch series into an actually viable feature-length film. Bolstered by a wacky charms of star and co-writer Will Forte, “MacGruber” is now poised to get another life, this time in the form of a television series that promises to be just as out-there and adult-oriented as its comically bloody cinematic predecessor.
“The state of ‘MacGruber’ right now is, we’re trying to see if somebody will let us make it as a TV series,” Forte said in a recent interview with IndieWire. “We have a really fun idea. We actually went out and pitched it a couple weeks ago. So, we’re figuring out that situation right now. That’s our hope is to get to make that. That’s always at the top of our list.”
While a potential “MacGruber” sequel has been bandied about since the feature film version of Forte’s popular “SNL” sketch of the same name was released in 2010, the project has seemingly never been as close to fruition as it is in now. One silver lining to the cancellation of Forte’s Fox four-season Fox series “The Last Man on Earth” is that Forte and co-writer John Solomon, who also worked on the Fox series with Forte, have time to try and make the series actually happen.
“Now we’re all in a place where we could do it, and we got together and thought out some ideas and pitched them out,” Forte said. “We’re waiting to see if somebody’s going to let us do it. We’re just waiting for somebody to let us go nuts. We’re ready to go.”
While co-writer and director Taccone has previously talked about the possibility of a series, Forte has a more clear idea of the kind of place that would play home to such a bawdy concept. Forte said that while the ideas he, Solomon, and Taccone have cooked up for their “MacGruber” followup are much more conducive to a television series, it’s highly unlikely that the trio would return to network television again, despite Forte’s admiration for what he and Solomon were able to do on Fox with “Last Man on Earth.”
“I definitely was very proud of what we got to do with the show, especially in a network TV setting,” Forte said. “I felt like we did some pretty weird things, which you don’t always get a chance to do in that kind of setting. ‘MacGruber’ is such a filthy situation, and I don’t know, there’s no way that this would ever be a network TV thing. This would be more likely some place that would let us say the F-word, and talk about penises for 90% of the show. That’s likely not gonna be a network thing.”
The cancellation of “Last Man on Earth” also allowed Forte to take on his latest film role, a supporting turn in the charming paranormal comedy “Extra Ordinary,” written and directed by first-time feature filmmakers Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman. Forte was on a break from the series — the actor joked that he “didn’t realize was gonna be a permanent break” — and was already planning on taking some time off in Ireland when the script came his way, complete with an off-kilter villain role for the comedian.
The film, which also stars Maeve Higgins and Barry Ward, will premiere later this week at the SXSW Film Festival — incidentally, the same festival that premiered “MacGruber” — as part of the Austin festival’s narrative competition section. Mixing paranormal chills with clever gags, “Extra Ordinary” follows lapsed medium Rose (Higgins), who has given up talking to ghosts until distraught dad Martin (Ward) begs her to help find his missing daughter. Look no further than Forte as one-hit-wonder pop star Christian Winter, who has taken the concept of making a deal with the devil to literal ends, and is in desperate need of a teen virgin sacrifice to get him back on the charts.
For Forte, Ahern and Loughman’s comedy was good enough to get him to abandon his vacation plans, a comedy that spoke to his sensibilities in an entirely new way.
“I read the script, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to do this thing,'” he said. “It was so wonderfully stupid. I just loved it, and then when I found out that the guys who wrote the script were directing it, too, it was a total no-brainer. The script is so fun, and written so specifically, I knew that these guys would be really fun to work with. …I love stuff that’s just wildly stupid in the right way.”
Check out IndieWire’s exclusive first poster for “Extra Ordinary” below. The film will premiere at SXSW as part of the Narrative Feature Competition on Sunday, March 10, with additional screenings to follow.