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Freaks and Geeks Speak: Part Three

Over the weekend, a group of Freaks and Geeks alumni — cast members Linda Cardellini, John Francis Daley, Samm Levine, Martin Starr, Busy Philipps, Dave (Gruber) Allen, and Steve Bannos and creator Paul Feig — took the stage at San Francisco's Sketchfest to share their memories of the great, underappreciated show. I was there, and this week, I'm sharing some of their best stories with you. I've already told you how the series got started and passed on some tales from the set. In today's final installment, I have trivia from the show, plus news on everyone's new projects. Here goes:

  • Linda Cardellini still has the green Army jacket that was practically a part of her body when she played Lindsay. "I thought about bringing it," she told the audience, "but I thought I might look like a gigantic loser."
  • Sarah Hagan, who played the conservative Millie, was apparently a shocking amount like her character. Cardellini recalled that in one scene, Millie was supposed to ask Lindsay if Kim "fornicates," but Hagan (who, Cardellini recalled, hadn't talked much about sex at that time) accidentally asked if she "fornicated it." That take ended up in the show.
  • Busy Philipps only did the show because she ran into Cardellini in the airport in LA shortly before the show was supposed to start. Philipps' agent had been against her taking the role of Kim Kelly because it was initially only a guest spot for the pilot, but Cardellini — whom she'd known in college — insisted that working together would be fun.
  • Samm Levine and Martin Starr were both terrible about learning their lines and would typically just cram the morning of the shoot.
  • Linda mastered the art of never eating food on screen; in the dinner scenes, she mostly just pushes her food around and gestures with it, which Paul Feig pointed out is "very teenage girl." She said it was all because of an early job where she didn't realize that if she ate food in one take, she'd need to eat in every take; that experience turned her off lasagna for 10 years. Philipps said it took a Freaks and Geeks scene where she ate more than a dozen donuts over the course of shooting for her to learn that lesson.

To hear my favorite story from the whole discussion and see where you can find your favorite Freaks and Geeks now, just


  • Here's my favorite story from the whole panel: Cardellini said she was once stressing out about how to play a family dinner scene, thinking all sorts of deep thoughts about acting. At one point she looked up and saw John Francis Daley just shoveling meatballs into his mouth. With his mouth full, he looked up and exclaimed, "This is the greatest job ever! All you have to do is, like, act!" Cardellini says she still thinks about that when she's stuck on how to play a scene.
  • Speaking of Cardellini, she's in her fifth season of playing Samantha Taggart on ER.
  • Samm Levine recently appeared in Sydney White with Amanda Bynes.
  • Feig is directing the pilot of Kath and Kim for NBC and is working on another book. He's also had a couple of brief cameos in Judd Apatow movies, including Knocked Up and Walk Hard.
  • Daley recently sold a screenplay that Daniel Clowes is rewriting and Terry Zwigoff of Ghost World is directing. He also started appearing regularly on Bones last fall.
  • Philipps is pregnant!
  • As for those who weren't at the panel, James Franco is in production for the Harvey Milk biopic Milk, Seth Rogen is working on Zack and Miri Make a Porno with Kevin Smith, Jason Segel stars in How I Met Your Mother and Forgetting Sarah Marshall — and, the panelists joked, Judd Apatow is counting his millions.


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