You put Craig Robinson and Adam Scott in a TV show and it doesn’t have to be a big idea — they’ll make it funny. Their previous shows were about an office and a park — Office Park, anyone? Their new show, Ghosted, is a little more complicated.
Robinson plays Leroy, a former cop now working as a mall security guard. Scott plays Max, a former scientist discredited for his theory on aliens. The Bureau Underground recruits them to join the agency, which knows ghosts, aliens, and other supernatural entities are real. They’re Men in Black without the suits.
Robinson, Scott, and costar Amber Stevens West spoke with Rotten Tomatoes before the premiere of Ghosted. Here are eight things they uncovered about the Bureau Underground’s haunting and hilarious cases you’ll see on Ghosted.
Ghosted counts on Robinson and Scott to bring the funny, and they’re happy to oblige, but they want you to know they take the ghosts and monsters seriously.
“It is hard because you have 21 1/2 minutes, and we want it to be actually kind of scary,” Scott said. “We don’t want it to be corny or spooky. I think we keep going back to the fact that The Twilight Zone was a half-hour show, and they managed to do a lot there. They managed to introduce, tell a story, and have a resolution in a small amount of time.”
Max and Leroy are genuinely scared to see these creatures for the first time, but even the agents who’ve been on the case for years get chills. West plays Annie, a Bureau Underground veteran.
“I think things are still spooky and still scary, just like they would be for any person who encounters something that’s unpredictable,” West said. “I think it’s what keeps the job fun. You never really know how something else is going to react to this situation. She enjoys that part of it as well.”
When people get scared, they make jokes. That doesn’t mean Max and Leroy are buffoons. Heroes still make jokes to diffuse tension. When humor is a defense mechanism, the audience wins.
“I’d be lying if I said I’d never thought of being an action hero,” Robinson said. “[Ghosted is like] a good action movie with jokes.”
“Action-comedy for sure, that’s kind of what inspires all of us,” Scott said. “We all love action-comedies from the ’80s. Craig’s been in two of the great ones in the last two years, Pineapple Express and This Is the End— both those movies really got that balance really, really well.”
“Don’t you put yourself in the movie character’s position?” Robinson asked. “I do it all the time, imagine what I would’ve said or done.”
On their first undercover mission, Leroy and Max play photocopier repairmen. Max takes the improv a little too seriously and slaps Leroy good. Robinson admitted the slap was real.
“I was like, ‘Just go for it, man. Make it real,’” Robinson said.
There was another scene where Leroy returns the favor, but his slap was movie magic.
“Then a few days later, it was my turn to slap him, and they found the right angle,” Robinson said.
Scott added, “So I got to slap the sh– out of him, and he did not get to touch me.”
Aliens, ghosts, and more are coming for season 1 of Ghosted. Robinson shared some of the first few creatures Max and Leroy encounter.
“A succubus, a 19th century ghost, a sea creature, like [that] lives at the bottom of the sea,” Robinson said.
The succubus gets too close for Leroy.
“I fall in love with the succubus — spoiler alert,” Robinson said. “I do fall under her spell.”
Annie may have the solution when it comes to each ghost.
“She’s pretty smart when it comes to figuring out the mystery behind why the ghost is there, the monster or the creature, whatever it is,” West said. “The show rides this line of — ‘surrealism’ maybe is the word — where it’s a very grounded real world. It takes place in a very real world, but it’s this undiscovered unknown part of it; with that, the sky’s the limit. We can have so much fun and capture and chase any sort of paranormal being that we want.”
With action heroes, Robinson and Scott find themselves doing their own stunts. And it doesn’t have to be a fight scene or a high fall to be dangerous.
“There’s a crazy stunt in the next episode,” Scott said. “There’s something coming up in an episode where Craig and I get dragged through the forest on the ground by an unseen force. They rigged up this rig that’s going to pull us through the forest, and I don’t know how we’re going to do it without profoundly getting injured.”
Robinson isn’t worried though.
“It’s like you ride on a skateboard almost, but through the woods,” Robinson said. “They build a skateboard for your whole body. I think they’re pretty good about making sure everything is super safe.”
If you’ve got to go up against the undead, it feels a little safer carrying a big gun. Where do they get those wonderful toys? The Bureau Underground equips Max and Leroy with plenty of ghost-busting weapons. Annie is the Q who makes them all.
“She’s a weapons and tech specialist,” West said. “She’s the one building all the really fun and interesting things that are going to destroy or kill or capture whatever monster it is of the week.”
Whenever there’s a scene in Annie’s office, you might want to freeze frame and take a look around.
“My character has her own office that’s all full of crazy weaponry and fun alien memorabilia,” West said. “I think my office is the coolest of everyone’s on set. I’m very proud of Annie’s little space. I just can’t wait to learn how to play with all this stuff.”
Since Ghosted is inspired by the action-comedies and supernatural fantasy that was at its peak the ’80s, the show is not above paying direct homage to specific films from the surrounding decades. Scott has some hints for the Easter Eggs in the pilot, but after that you’re on your own.
“I think at the end of the pilot, there’s some Close Encounters in there,” Scott said. “Even the music in the moment that Max sees the spaceship, there’s a slight little coda of music that’s a tip of the hat to ’80s Spielberg movies, particularly Close Encounters — which is ’70s, but still.”
When you’ve got Craig Robinson and Adam Scott making jokes, it can be tough competition for the rest of the cast. West said she and her costars get some good ones too.
“I get my fair share of jokes,” West said. “There’s a lot of fun that I get to have with the character Barry, Adeel [Akhar]’s character. The two of us are kind of paired together a lot and the dynamic between us is quite funny. I get my fair share.”
Ghosted is essentially a workplace comedy. The workplace just happens to be an underground ghostbusting agency, and Max and Leroy are the new guys.
“I think she’s just indifferent [to them] right now in the very beginning,” West said. “[Max] was a believer but unsure of its truth, and now he’s here and he’s a believer, so I’m excited about someone else who is aware of what we’re doing. But at the same time, he needs to put in his work and prove that he belongs here, because Annie takes the job really seriously and she’s been there for a long time. She’s an important member of the Bureau Underground. Both Adam and Craig need to prove themselves, so I think Annie’s very much like, We’ll see what happens. They seem fine.”
Ghosted premieres Sunday, October 1 at 8:30 p.m. on Fox.