In a feature Entertainment Weekly interview-story, the cast and crew of Smash revealed MANY interesting season 2 details, including those about the two new original musicals to be introduced, and just who will be playing Marilyn in Bombshell. Smash stars Megan Hilty, Jennifer Hudson, and Katherine McPhee also graced the front cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly.
Entertainment Weekly‘s 11 page spread featured new season 2 info on the new plot points and characters smashing their way onto the NBC musical-drama this February.
The musical Hudson’s character Veronica Moore will star in is called Beautiful and will feature “an Etta James-style singer in the 1960’s.” However, the musical had to change directions from its original plot surrounding “the first African-American supermodel” once showrunners decided to take Hudson’s character on a different arc.
The original song for Beautiful that was already shot and produced, titled “Take a Picture…It Lasts Longer” was cut from the season 2 premiere. Executive producer Josh Safran said “We all realized that maybe that [original] introductory number did not service Veronica Moore’s arc as well as this.” But “Take a Picture…It Lasts Longer” may still show up. “We went back and retrofitted a musical that closely mirrored Ronnie’s emotional landscape with her mother,” said Safran. In the mean time, Hudson will perform a tune called “Mamma Makes Three” in the premiere.
When asked about her role on Smash, Hudson said that “I found this role kind of intimidating, like, ‘Oh my God, I have to sing, act, dance, perform all at once.’ But I just loved what this show was about.” She will also be performing an original song “I Can’t Let Go” at the end of the season 2 premiere episode.
The show that will directly compete with Bombshell is called Hit List. It was described as being a Rent-esque production, “spearheaded by a bad-boy composer named Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan).” This show gave Smash the ability to cast younger actors, who have the potential to be more top-40 friendly. Executive producer Craig Zadan claimed “It’s a much sexier show, a much younger show, a much cooler show.”
With all of the changes in season 2, everything felt brand new on the set.
“It’s a different energy, which is kind of nice because at the beginning you feel like you’re a little bit of an outsider looking in,” Newsies star Jordan said. “I compared it to being a replacement on a Broadway show, which is always weird at first.”
The last batch of news the cast offered was a set of bombshells on its own. Katherine McPhee (Karen) criptically said that “The part of Marilyn is sort of up in the air again because Karen makes a bold choice to do something entirely different.” But just what could that bold choice be? And could it relate to this on-set spoiler we covered about a potential dream sequence? Lastly, Debra Messing confirmed that her character, Julia, won’t have any scenes with her Will and Grace co-star, Sean Hayes.
The cast and crew commented on the changes in season 2, and what simply didn’t work in season 1. Steven Spielberg, another executive producer, recalled hiring Smash’s new showrunner. “Safran pitched his point of view, and it was unanimous with everyone in the room that he had an authentic understanding of theatre and drama and comedy.” Commenting on the show’s past mistakes, executive producer Craig Zadan said “When we went to the personal stories, the show bogged down. And the show went from being incredibly special to kind of ordinary.”
On a lighter note, McPhee lamented about the first season’s infamous Bollywood number “A Thousand and One Nights.”
“People will criticize the Bollywood number, but in all honesty you don’t really know while you’re filming,” she said. “You think, ‘Well, on the page this could work.’ There’s a lot of things you think are going to work beautifully, and they don’t.”
Smash returns on NBC on Feb. 5 at 9 p.m. EST for a two-hour premiere, and will continue to air at a 10 p.m. EST slot. For the entire article, check out the latest EW issue, on stands this week.
Photos: Entertainment Weekly