AE: Speaking of funny, you have a group of great actors for 3Way.
NM: They’re all wildly funny. Maeve was big a surprise for us with her comedy. It wasn’t for me, because I know her in life — she’s very funny in life.
My house is a fun place to be, let me tell you, because all of these people on the show, with the exception of Cathy Shim — Jill, Maeve and Maile are at my house all the time. We used to throw these South of Nowhere screening parties on Friday nights — which the neighbors hated by the way, because it really was like — and I’m not kidding — was like a sorority or a frat party every Friday night … with the cast of South all here, piled on the couch drinking beer and watching the show.
3Way cast members (left to right) Maile Flanagan,
Maeve Quinlan, Cathy Shim and Jill Bennett
AE: That must have been quite a scene!
NM: It was … and so, having spent time with Maeve, Jill and Maile, it was always funny. It’s great because I’d watched Jill before I’d seen her do any of the vlogs. I hadn’t seen her doing anything except a couple movies that I’d rented — a lot of brave performances, a lot of great performances and a lot of challenging material — but I knew she was funny in life, and I thought, "Why isn’t anyone giving her a shot?" And then she had these amazing video blogs where we’re all just cracking up, so that was great.
Actually, I’ve got to say that all the women we’ve brought to the table have contributed so much to the development of the characters. There’s a lot of improv, trust me. This is a gigantic improvisational show. We have what we call the "episodes," webisodes with a beginning, middle and end — the story if you will — for 10 minutes. And then we have a section on the site which are "confessionals," sort of ripped from reality TV — which we love — when they put a camera on someone, and then everybody trashes the other person on the show.
Our characters are doing that, and they’re doing that in character, and literally we put a camera on them and [tell them that] here’s kind of what we’re thinking about, and "Go!" They’re really funny. I think you’re going to be surprised.
Also, the surprise for everyone will be seeing how funny Maeve Quinlan is. Her body of work is traditionally dramatic. She plays a lot of Lifetime movies, victim-of-the-week movies. She’s really funny in this. She a little bit Mary Tyler Moore. … She’s our straight eye into the lesbian world — a fish out of water, which is great for comedy in a perfect way to tell these stories. She gives everybody a run for their money. … She’s having to literally play the straight girl, and the straight man, in a lot of places.
Most people don’t want to do that, but she’s found a way to make the setups and the punch lines as interesting as everybody else’s insanity around her. I’m really proud of her, and plus, she’s been a great partner. She and I have been equal partners in this and really enjoying each other, and I think she’s had a good time behind the scenes.
AE: It must be exciting for her to be on the other side of things and push a project she feels invested in.
NM: What I love is that she was able to put on her producer hat very quickly. She’s also produced other things, too. She has her own production company as well … but to come in there and walk into an editing bay, which is something she doesn’t do very often — which the rest of us have done when you’re producing a show — and to be able to be objective about your performance on that take and be able to say, "You know what, cut it." Or, "I know there’s a better performance somewhere, or give the joke to somebody else." Whatever it is to make the show better … she’s been very good at that.
AE: So there are the three roommates, and then a fourth character?
NM: It’s an ensemble of four, but the 3Way name came from our version of Three’s Company, which was the two girls and the guy living together in the house, and Larry always being there or the Ropers always being there. … What we were really trying to do was to tell what happened to Maeve, moving her best friend in — who happens to be gay — and within almost minutes, the girlfriend has moved in with them. And now here’s the straight girl completely immersed with two lesbians and then, of course, their exes who never leave, either. Maile plays Cathy Shim’s ex who they just can’t get rid of. She never goes away.
AE: That sounds very lesbian, very true.
NM: It’s very true. The title of 3Way was just too irresistible, and our little homage for Three’s Company, but it is definitely an ensemble of four, and Maile’s character has been so much food and fodder for everyone. I think you get a scene with Maile and everybody’s comedy rises. She just demands it.