Regan Latimer on three seasons of “B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye”

 
 

AE: How did you decide you were all in for another season?
RL:
Production on Fletcher the web series halted when we signed onto a development deal with a producer here in Toronto. The potential TV series was never intended to be a continuation of the web series, but would be based on the original idea. That meant the storylines that we’d created and grown in the web series would be pretty much left hanging. We’re big fans of the cliffhanger, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I think we all felt the need to bring a conclusion to our original project and when I approached the cast and crew about doing a shortened third season to do that, everyone was happily on board.

AE: Is the TV development deal still on?
RL:
We were locked in the development deal for two years. It was a major learning experience and a lot of positive things came out of it. We had interest from certain parties, but moving forward meant making quite a few compromises. I can’t go into much detail, but I will say that I was not willing to change certain elements of the show just for the sake of appearing to have a more mainstream appeal. The beauty of the web is that it offers a certain creative freedom that is really hard to find elsewhere.

AE: Who writes the scripts — is it just you? Tell us a little bit about your process for getting into the voices of the different characters, that kind of thing.
RL:
I write all the scripts for the series. I start with an outline of the overall plot and character arcs for the whole season. Once those are established, I do beat sheets for every episode — basically outlining scene by scene what takes place, the major plot points, important bits of dialogue or character development and so on. Then comes the dialogue, piecing it all together into a cohesive whole. I do a lot of reading aloud in my best Fletcher and George voices while I write (I’m sure Lindy and Dana would cringe) in order to get a feel for how it’s all gelling. Once the scripts are ready, we sit down and do a table read with the cast to figure out what works and what needs changing. Lindy and Dana (Puddicombe) make suggestions and then I work with that feedback to create the final scripts. It’s a great process — I love it!

AE: How much improv gets into the final cut?
RL:
One of the greatest skills this cast brings to the table is their incredible ability to improvise. How much makes it into the final cut varies. We always rehearse and discuss improv ideas before filming. A lot of what doesn’t make it into the final cut of the episode does find its way into the outtake reel. These women are hilarious improvers. Case in point, in Episode 1 of Season 3, at the end of the scene where they meet Mrs. Kinsey, Dana does a spit take. It was totally unexpected and totally hilarious.

AE: How has Fletch changed over the series? Is she vulnerable enough to admit she needs George?
RL:
Fletcher has definitely grown over the course of the series, though she’s never been one to be that in-tune with her emotions. She’s more the “get drunk for a night and get on with things” type of processor. Has she become vulnerable enough to admit she needs George? Time will tell!

AE: What is your favorite episode so far?
RL:
That’s a bit like being asked to choose a favorite among your children. Really, the episodes that stick out for me are the ones that have those really great moments between Fletch and George. From their scaling a fence and falling over patio furniture to times when they’re struggling to understand their feelings and deciding whether or not to risk acting on them, I’m consistently blown away by Lindy and Dana’s ability to make us laugh one moment and really feel for the characters’ plights the next. Also, any episode that includes the moms – Mrs. Drew (Patricia Yeatman) and Mrs. Watson (Maria Heidler-Bell). Those women are an absolute riot.

AE: What’s most of your fan mail about?
RL:
For the past two years, a lot of the fan mail was asking us when there would be new episodes. Glad we finally answered that one! We also got to hear a lot of interesting stories from fans around the world telling us how they found us and how they enjoy the show. We recently received an email from a woman serving in Afghanistan, who told us about how she has to wait for the show to load up on their painfully slow connection out there. We love hearing from the fans.

AE: What’s their most frequent question? And the answer, of course.
RL:
“Will Fletcher and George get together?” I don’t know. It’s a mystery!

AE: For the sake of our readers, what’s everyone’s relationship status?
RL:
Another thing that must remain a mystery!

AE: Have you found any Fletcher fan fiction?
RL:
Yes! Love it! It’s certainly interesting to find out the direction some would have the characters go.

AE: You have said that a straight audience discovered the show — how did that happen? Is your audience pretty mixed, sexual orientation wise?
RL:
Yes, our audience is very diverse. B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye is not a “lesbian-only” series. In fact, one of our main goals in making this show was to not have the sexual orientation of the main characters be the major focus (as it has been in other series). Being gay is just one more aspect of who they are — it’s not an issue. Our show is a comedy, first and foremost, that a wide range of people can enjoy and relate to. We had a letter from a 68-year-old grandmother in Texas telling us how funny and entertained she is by Fletcher’s antics. That feels good for sure.

AE: Does Fletch have a Moriarty? Have we met the character?
RL:
Fletcher does have a Moriarty in the character of Doyle. Doyle is her nemesis, who seems to best her at every turn. We revealed their history in Season 2, Episode 9 in a hilarious flashback sequence. That was a fun one to shoot!

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