Galavant, easily one of the most original and hilarious shows to hit the small screen in a long time, had fans not only longing for more of the show but for more of the show's lead, Josh Sasse. With his undeniable English charm, quick wit, and effortless portrayal of the lovelorn 'Galavant,' audiences had little choice but to swoon. Thankfully for fans everywhere, I had the opportunity to ask Sasse how he kept a straight face during shooting with so much funny going on and what it was like to be part of such an exciting project.
The Reel Spin: Galavant is one of the most fun projects I've seen on television in a very, very long time. What has it been like to work with the likes of Dan Fogelman and Alan Menken and be part of such a genius show?
Josh Sasse: I'm glad you enjoyed it; we took a big swing with this project, so it's good to be getting a positive response. Working with Dan and Alan was a very creative process, they are both incredibly collaborative, so every day was full of searching for the right notes, both comically and musically. Dan spent a lot of time casting this, because what was important I think was that all the comedic styles would bounce off one another... although there is a general sarcastic humour throughout, it was about reaction, and as such, Dan was comfortable with all of [us] exploring the material and really having fun and seeing how far we could push it. The same is to be said of Alan, although you have this composer with nearly two dozen Oscars in his bathroom, [he's] still sitting there in a little recording studio, working through melodies and changing and rewriting harmonies to suit your voice. There never came a time artistically where any of us felt inhibited, and that just doesn't happen these days.
TRS: You are phenomenal at saying the most ridiculously funny lines with complete conviction. One of my favorites lines was when your character, 'Galavant,' was asked why the trail mix was missing all the raisins, and your reply was simply, "Heroes get the raisins." How do you keep a straight face?
Sasse: Basically, I don't. Me delivering the line is probably the only 5 seconds in the minute when I'm not laughing. The only way I know how to survive the day is to goon around, and no one is safe from pranks or jokes - thank God this is a comedy really...
TRS: I love the way the show plays against stereotypes, whether it's Madalena' (Mallory Jansen) being anything but a damsel in distress or 'King Richard' (Timothy Omundson) being less than fierce or 'Isabella' (Karen David) having to whip the hero 'Galavant' back into shape. Was that decision made early on... to break stereotypes and push boundaries while maintaining hilarity at all times?
Sasse: Absolutely. The entire premise of the show was that it was an inversion of the classic fairy tale, and with that self-deprecation comes unlimited possibilities for humour. What's more it's not ingratiating, especially for 'Galavant' & 'King Richard,' and that's what really drew me in, I think it's great to not see the hero and villain be 'cool' - it's far more funny that way.
TRS: Galavant has been blessed with tremendous guest stars, but I particularly enjoyed your battle scenes with John Stamos' 'Jean Hamm.' They were terrifically anticlimactic. Was that as fun to shoot as it was to watch?
Sasse: Those days were bananas. One was a heat wave, and the next was a 5 hour thunderstorm - both of which in 40lbs of constricting armour. But the rest of it was hilarious, I couldn't keep a straight face opposite John, and he was doing his best to make me crack. It was a bit of a on set gag that I would crease so easily, so everyone pitched in. But the final joust was a secret between me and John, so we had a riot. Under our helmets we were lying in the mud in hysterics.
TRS: I know after every episode the songs continued to play in my head... they are so infectious... Did you enjoy the musical aspect of the show? Did you find yourself going around randomly singing the songs to yourself as well?
Sasse: I did enjoy the musical aspect yes, though it demands a lot from you - I eat no dairy [or] spice, and I drink upwards of 3 litres of water a day to keep my voice in condition, not to mention the warming up... Musicals are not for sissies, you really have to become an athlete, and when you're rehearsing sword fights and dances and filming 14-16 hours a day, it's hard to stay afloat sometimes. And yes... the songs have a marvelous way of gluing themselves to your ears. I had to play a lot of Van Morrison to drown them out!
Follow Josh Sasse on Twitter: @joshuasasse
For more on Galavant and to watch full episodes online, click here.
Interview by Pamela Thomas