June 15, 2024

Interview: Amy Schumer and Michael Cera Discuss Season Two of Hulu’s ‘Life & Beth’

*This interview originally appeared on our sister website, Awards Radar.

The first season of Hulu’s Life & Beth followed the titular Beth (Amy Schumer) as she faced an existential crisis following the loss of her mother and the upheaval of her long-term relationship and her seemingly successful career. Her life took a turn when she met John (Michael Cera), a farmer and handyman whose life and personality couldn’t be any further than her own.

As Beth and John’s relationship grows more serious in season two, Beth begins to examine the possibilities of marriage and having a family as she and John seek answers for their communication problems. Beth does her best to keep her relationships alive while struggling to support friends and family who are all facing their own problems while entering their fourth decade.

The show, created, written, produced and directed by Schumer is semi-autobiographical, with approximately 50% of the storylines taken from Amy’s real life. Schumer has found solace in revisiting her past, and sharing her experiences with the world. “The experience has definitely been cathartic, especially the flashbacks,” said Schumer. ” I was kind of surprised by my reaction to recreating some of those moments. I think the most autobiographical stuff is is the flashbacks.”

Despite the fact that such of the material is based on Schumer’s own experiences, she was able to separate herself from the material as a performer and a director. “I do feel different from [Beth],” said Schumer. “Different enough. If anything, it might be like closer to who I was six or seven years ago. The only things that kind of rocked me was was when I was off camera and directing some of the flashbacks. It caught me by surprise. But it is loosely based on me and there are some moments that are very close to reality. I feel Beth and John’s relationship is different than mine and my husband’s, in great way.”

The supporting characters are highlighted more in season two, making the series more of an ensemble piece compared to season one, which was a conscious decision on Schumer’s part. “I think just getting to know these performers better on a personal level and understanding more of how talented they all are, I could really reach for the stars,” said Schumer. “They’re interesting, and you want to follow them around. I think I just learned a lot. This was my first time directing a narrative within with a long arc over many episodes, so I’m still obviously learning and getting stronger. But, I think I felt the confidence to follow their arcs more this season.”

Cera’s John is a version of Schumer’s real-life husband, Chris Fischer, and while an examination of John’s unique personality traits is highlighted this season, Cera did not feel a  responsibility to represent others with similar behavioral patterns. “The way I’m approaching it, I’m playing a specific person who’s very well drawn in the writing, and is inspired by a real life person who’s around to draw from as well,” said Cera. “And from Amy, who’s always there. I don’t think he’s a stand in for a group of people. I think he’s a person. This diagnosis that we learn in this season is a facet of him, but that’s not the final word on him or the totality of him as a human being. So, I think he’s a very well written and specific character, and that’s kind of how I’ve been approaching him, just drawing from that.”

There’s a lot of affection between Beth and John, and though John expresses emotions differently than then other people, Cera did not find that chemistry to be a challenge as a performer. “We have like a huge benefit of this being based on real people, and one of them being my scene partner, and the creator and main voice of the show, so it’s very alive,” said Cera “It’s very clear to me why they click you know, and it’s not a mystery at all. It’s very natural. And the way that he expresses himself is very direct, but he reminds me of people that I know and I’m close with so he’s always made a lot of sense to me as a person.”

Both Schumer and Cera are optimistic about the potential of a third season. “We’d love to do it,” said Cera. “Hope we get a chance. There’s a lot more to do.” “We’re all on board,” added Schumer. “We’re just waiting. Michael just keeps asking for more and more stuff. He wants his trailer to have a hot tub. You know, so we’re trying to accommodate.”

You can watch our full interview with Amy Schumer and Michael Cera below.

All 10 episodes of Season 2 of Life & Beth will premiere on Friday, February 16th, exclusively on Hulu.

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