While it’s an unwritten rule to not “play” favorites when reporting on the latest in Hollywood, the creators of Hacks make it awfully hard not to. Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky are three of the most genuine people I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with. Many might believe that the creators of a show (Hacks) that exceed everyone’s expectations with 15 Emmy nominations would be looking to score their next “big” project, but these three seem more at ease celebrating the success of others than their own. With a second season of Hacks on the horizon, the sky’s the limit for this team.
We were able to connect with Aniello, Downs and Statsky to discuss the recent news. Aniello and Downs were literally in a field right next to a flea market in Massachusetts. Statsky was in a more conventional location. The dichotomy in their locations felt as if it were ripped from an episode of Hacks. Who couldn’t see Deborah and Ava outside a flea market on a Zoom call after spending hours haggling over yet another salt and pepper shaker while Carl’s at home in Las Vegas handling the business affairs of Ms. Vance? Here’s our conversation.
Dewey Singleton: Can you tell me how you found out and what your thoughts were as soon as you heard?
Lucia Aniello: Yeah!
Paul W. Downs: We said we had to put down a candlestick because we are in Brimfield, Massachusetts at the Brimfield Flea Market and Antique Show in very Deborah Vance style.
LA: We actually had our little earbuds in and that’s how we found out. We screamed in a field.
Jen Statsky: My husband said, I’m going to watch the nominations. I said, Okay, I’ll be near you, but not watching. I’ll be in earshot, but not watching because I’m superstitious and scared. Then I heard it from his computer and Paul, Lucia and I immediately FaceTimed.
DS: Now, have you heard from any of the cast? Has anybody connected? Fill me in, fill me in.
LA: We connected with everyone.
JS: Talked with everyone. Jean, Hannah, Carl, they’re all very excited.
PD: We’re so proud of them. We’re so excited for all of them. They’re so, so good.
LA: It’s also so awesome that so much of our crew is being recognized. We have Adam Bricker, cinematography and Kathleen Felix-Hager for costumes and our casting office and production design, Jon Carlos. Everybody puts so much into it. So for the show just generally to get 15 nominations is we really honestly didn’t expect it and we’re just so happy that we’re all being recognized because they worked so hard and they’re so talented and cool and we love them.
JS: What if I was I don’t feel the same? We did it all. I am furious they’re taking the spotlight from us. One of the things we’re proudest of the show is, like she said, every department delivered on such a high level. The quality of the show is- I think you see it on screen. You hear it on screen because of them. So for them to be recognized, it makes this super, super special.
DS: Have any of your fellow nominees from other shows reached out?
LA: Yeah, I’ve been messaging with Steven Canals from Pose who I really love and I’m so excited that the show is being recognized and he is for writing and directing. We’ve been on panels together, but it’s so exciting it’s also going to be in person. Some of these people we’d been meeting virtually, we’re actually going to be able to see in person. So that’s really exciting. We’re really pulling for Pose. I mean, amongst a lot of other people.
JS: I’m trying to think. I don’t know if fellow nominees, I don’t know if I’ve talked to any. I’m going to try to track down Kaley Cuoco’s phone number and I don’t know her, but I’ll just call her to say…
LA: Hi, I’m Jen.
JS: Hey, I’m Jen. I’m also nominated.
PD: I’ve been haggling for bed warmers, belts, and that kind of thing. I will get to my fellow nominees.
JS: Paul’s been busy.
DS: Is Paul, while he’s haggling, going to bust out a Don’t you know who I am, I’m an Emmy nominee, give me that quilt?
PD: No, because that’s going to drive the price up. I’m going to say watch Hacks if you can, but please can you do half the price on this? .
DS: Is it surreal to be in this moment that you’re going to be a major factor in this Emmy award season?
PD: It’s hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s really-
LA: We’re having a really cool couple months. Italy won Eurovision, obviously we’re really excited about that. Paul and I are getting married in September in Italy. The fact that this is happening, just a couple amazing things in a row, and we’re really… A car is backing into us right now. So we’re backing up.
JS: Don’t get Run over…
LA: Life is so good right now.
DS: Could this show have been made on any other network other than HBO? Because I honestly don’t see how it could have been. They must have been great partners to work with.
LA: They really were. It’s hard to say if it could have been made anywhere else, but I think it’d be kind of nearly impossible to think of a way that we could have been more supported by both Universal and by HBO Max. Suzanna Makkos, when we pitched the show to her, I don’t think we even finished the pitch before she was already pitching back to us what these women are like and how she so loves these kinds of stories. We really never had a moment in terms of the show itself of not being on the same page as everyone at HBO Max. That really helped.
PD: Every single piece of feedback we got from Suzanna and Sarah Aubrey and Casey Bloys really was so true to the essence of what we wanted the show to be. Having them as partners who really got it from the beginning was something I think unique and really, really lucky for us.
DS: Thanks guys for taking a few minutes to chat.
LA: Thank you!