Only in Hollywood could someone tell you to sneak off to a dark corner and make out with someone and have it not only not be considered sexual harassment but actually be a potentially helpful tip for one's job. But that was exactly what happened (well, with some paraphrasing) to Ella Rae Peck when she booked the pilot of NBC's new comedy Welcome to the Family.
On the show, Peck's character is a young woman in love, and she had to sell that emotion immediately, despite not really having time between booking the job and shooting it to get to know her co-star Joseph Haro. So pilot director Michael Engler thought he'd help things along a bit.
"We met initially when we were auditioning; we auditioned together as a chemistry read and kind of instantly liked each other, and once we had a couple of table reads, the director Michael Engler sat down with us and asked us to take a minute every once in awhile and go off into a room and make out, just so we'd seem familiar and get to know each other, so it was believable that we were really in love," Peck said of herself and Haro when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with her in Los Angeles.
"We didn't end up doing that, but we did hang out quite a bit and got to know each other."
Not only are Peck and Haro's characters in love on the show, but they are expecting a baby together. In the pilot, both graduate from high school, only for Peck's Molly to drop the baby bomb via text message as he is mid-graduation speech.
Peck shared that Molly is "whole-heartedly committed to making this family work." But she's also a young, go with the flow kind of girl who might appear flighty to most-- even before pregnancy brain sets in.
"When I read the breakdown of the character when I was auditioning, she was described as 'lazy brain', which I thought was kind of diplomatic but also very clever because it's not necessarily that she's ditzy or dumb or anything, it's just that she happens to be sort of free-spirited and a little bit lazy, so she doesn't necessarily investigate all of the things she claims to be passionate about in a way that she probably should," Peck said.
"She's not very thorough, and she's also unapologetic about who she is, and I think that also can come off wrong. But she doesn't worry about what people think about her. I like her because I'm just as flighty and dim as she is in a lot of ways, but she doesn't care."
Much of the humor in the pilot episode is at the expense of Molly who uses the wrong words at times and whose parents say are "Arizona State's problem now" (before they find out she's pregnant, of course), and Peck hopes that continues as the season unfolds.
"She's young; she's 19, and besides figuring things out intellectually, she's never had back problems...or knee problems, and now she's having a baby. I think it a lot of the comedy can come from the physical [aspects] of it," Peck said.
Molly isn't the only one having a baby, though. The end of the pilot reveals that her mother (Mary McCormack), too, is knocked up. For Peck, who just moved to Los Angeles two days ago, one story she hopes to see explored for this Father of the Bride II mother/daughter paired pregnancy part of the story would be "two pregnant women hiking on Runyon Canyon."
"The city is such a key part in the pilot; there's a reason why this show is set here in looking at the kinds of people the families are...and how funny would that be!?" Peck said.
Welcome to the Family premieres on October 3rd 2013 at 8:30 p.m.
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