“I’m absolutely in love with those actors. If there’s an opportunity to bring them in organically, I would love to,” said Kapnek. She appeared on today’s panel with actors Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) and John Cho (Star Trek), who portray a modern-day Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins in this contemporary update of My Fair Lady/ Pygmalion.
The story on the updated story: After being the subject of an embarrassing viral video, a self-involved 20-something enlists the help of a marketing expert to revamp her image. One critic started things off by saying she thought the characters in the pilot episode seemed “nasty” and wondering if viewers would relate to Cho’s Henry calling Gillan’s Eliza a “slut,’ among other choice insults.
“So you loved it?” deadpanned Kapnek. She added that as in the original Pygmalion, the characters first appear with all flaws intact and evolve as episodes progress.
Another journalist suggested that the show might be improved by trimming from the pilot an extended vomit joke that culminates in bursting airsickness bags. Unfazed, Kapnek replied with mock surprise, “You want us to cut the vomiting? Really, it’s true you have to really like vomit to enjoy that moment. But I do, I like a good vomit gag. Plus it was incredibly cinematic release.”
A more pressing issue: Will a show called Selfie become dated as social media evolves (ed. note: like people will ever stop taking pictures of themselves on their smartphones)? Kapneck, who said she sees the series lasting “seasons and seasons to come,” said that the word is descriptive not only of the act of shooting pictures of one’s self, but of an entire rather inward-focused culture.
Earlier in the day, ABC entertainment chief Paul Lee had talked about diversity in ABC’s new comedy shows. At this panel, Kapnek was asked whether the fact that the romantic leads are white and Asian would play a role in the story.
No, Kapnek said. “I’m really proud of that element of the show.” It was hard at first to shake the idea of the original Henry Higgins as an older Englishman but, “once we opened our minds, let’s get off what Henry’s supposed to be,” Cho (whose casting was brought to the table by ABC) was perfect.