“‘Well, that wasn’t very much fun to make,'” Steve Carell said to Greg Daniels at the conclusion of Space Force Season 1. Daniels was the creator of The Office, and as he told Collider in a new interview, he and his star set out to create a more improvisational atmosphere for Season 2 in the hopes of capturing the magic of their most famous collaboration. You can catch some of that silliness in the newly-released trailer below.
Space Force is a workplace comedy about those tasked with creating the sixth branch of the armed forces, which formed under President Trump and now continues under the new administration. “Steve and I were very much in the mind of not making it like The Office in the beginning, we were trying to make it very cinematic,” Daniels said. With a big Netflix budget, you can understand why they wanted to go for a highly-polished theatrical look, but it caused some unexpected problems. “When you’re shooting something like a movie, especially when you’re really caring about the look of it, there’s a lot of downtime while they’re lighting.”
He continued, “The thing that Steve is so brilliant at and was used to from The Office is the ability to kind of improvise with the other actors. Afterwards, we looked at what we had to work with, and we were like, ‘Well, the cast is amazing. The cast that we’ve assembled for Space Force, it’s a shame to make them just shoot one side and then wait and relight,’ as opposed to like having a more flexible shooting pattern where they can play off each other and have fun with it and improvise.”
That’s not the only switch in strategy. “The other big creative change we did was we brought in the guy who directed the pilot of The Office and a lot of our biggest episodes, this guy Ken Kwapis, and he’s so much about protecting the performance energy on the set for the cast so that they can relax and not worry about the mechanics of shooting it. He’s also super good at shooting comedy, which is somewhat different than the sort of like Kubrick-y kind of thing we were going for Season 1, right? We saw what was working and we tried to fix it.”