Watch My Show: Billy and Billie’s Neil LaBute on His Unconventional Love Story
When screenwriter and playwright Neil LaBute commits to TV, he really commits to TV. LaBute wrote and directed every episode of Billy & Billie, his new comedy about an unconventional couple in love. Adam Brody and Lisa Joyce play the lovers, who create a stir because they happen to also be stepbrother and sister.
Billy & Billie is part of DirecTV’s big push into original series via its Audience Network. LaBute (The Shape of Things, In the Company of Men) took our Showrunner Survey to explain why you should strike up a relationship with Billy & Billie.
I have time to watch one more show. Why should it be yours?
Because it’s romantic and funny and it will remind you why it feels so good to fall in love with someone. (It would also help us get a second season, so I will personally appreciate it as well.)
Who should be watching?
It should obviously be attractive to anyone named “Billy” or “Billie” or even those people named “William” (and hopefully to anyone else who has been given a name at birth).
What happens if we don’t watch?
The world will explode, literally. I’m not a scientist, but this is what I’ve been repeatedly told on good authority.
What’s the best thing someone has said about your show?
A lot of my friends and family love the show and the New York Times really seemed to like it, going so far as to call it very “droll.”
What’s the worst thing?
A critic with a silly name on a website with a silly name was not that very nice at all about the show. I put this down to the fact that he/she has a silly name and he/she writes reviews for a website with a silly name, which probably just makes them generally cranky.
Who was right?
I’m going to have to trust my friends and family on this one (and the New York Times is the paper of record).
What’s an alternate title for your show?
Billie and Billy. We almost went with this first to capture the feminist audience but we decided to go “traditional” at the last minute. As for the ampersand, what can I say? I love using logograms and “&” is the sexiest punctuation on earth.
Give us an equation for your show.
Downton Abbey divided by everything on that show plus Mike & Molly minus 300 pounds times Girls times Deadwood times Lost. Carry the one.
Come up with a premise for a spin-off.
Billie realizes she has yet another male sibling from her mother’s short-lived teenage marriage and immediately falls in love with him; to complicate matters, his name is also the same as hers but happily, he spells it incorrectly (“Billee”).
What credit of yours would you prefer we forget?
I have one acting credit on my resume—there is a reason for that. The worst job I ever had was working in a window factory and even that was better than what I did as an actor.
Tell us one thing about your cast.
Most of them are a brilliant bunch of theater performers from New York—many of whom I’ve worked with repeatedly—and it was very nice to finally pay them for a change.
On what other series would you like to be an executive producer?
Peaky Blinders or Ripper Street. I’m a sucker for period shows and since Copper went off the air I’ve been having to watch these two series on repeat.
Let’s scare the network. Tell us something that didn’t make it to air.
Adolf & Eva. It was a rom-com about those zany last days in Berlin but, strangely, so far no takers. (Although ZDF and Adult Swim were on the fence as of last week.)
Finish this sentence: “If you like________, you’ll love our show.”
If you like your sister, you’ll love our show.
Pick a show and start a fake feud.
Maury. The love story at the center of our series is a Maury episode waiting to happen, so we might as well get down to it and get it over with.
What other show would you like to do a crossover episode with?
The Walking Dead. Personally, I don’t think you can prove that you really love someone until you’ve saved them from zombies. (I also think that my fresh-faced protagonists would create a lot of sexual tension with any number of characters on that show.)
How will your show change the face of TV as we know it?
In this brave new world of auteur-driven material, I think Billy & Billie is one of very few shows that can boast, for better or for worse, every episode written and directed by the same person.
Billy & Billie airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on DirecTV’s Audience Network.
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