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. Yesterday, I told you how the series got started; today, I have tales of what it was like on set:
- While it seems like the whole cast genuinely likes each other now, that wasn't always the case. "It was really too much like high school sometimes," Cardellini said, with cliques and alliances forming and disbanding.
- Daley said at the time of the show, he was "14 years old and alone," and the big kids wouldn't let him hang out with them. But, he acknowledged, it probably would have been weird to have a young teenager hanging out with actors who were out of high school.
- Some of the nastiest disputes on the set came between Philipps and James Franco. At the time, Philipps said, they could barely even speak to each other: "It was legendary how much we hated each other."
To hear about the biggest dispute Philipps and Franco ever had, and to see where the characters might have gone had there been a season two, just
- Philipps said the worst things ever got with Franco was the day the two shot a scene from "We've Got Spirit." Her character was supposed to say something to Franco's and then whack him lightly on the shoulder. He responded by flinging her hand away, screaming "Don't you f*cking touch me!" and throwing her to the ground. Feig said he still has the copy of the film from that scene, which ended with Philipps lying on her back, alternately crying and laughing out of embarrassment, with her hands over her face: "It was like, flat on my back, wind knocked out of me assault by James Franco!" (She then pointed out that Franco recently sent her a very nice wedding present.)
- Had the show continued into a second season, one potential storyline for Kim Kelly was that she would try out for the school musical, get a part, and end up getting really into high school theater. She might have also finally gotten her picture taken for the opening credits, though Philipps noted that she thought having "and Busy Philipps as Kim Kelly" in the credits instead was kind of cool.
- Samm Levine said he would have pushed for Neal to lose his virginity and then lord it over Sam and Bill. Feig quickly noted that even if the show had gone for eight seasons, Neal never would have lost his virginity.
- Sam Weir would have started drifting more toward the popular crowd, Daley said, and "then having that mental conflict of, 'Should I stay with my friends?'"
- Martin Starr's Bill might have become a jock, especially if his mom had stayed with the gym teacher.
- Somewhere down the line, Mr. Rosso might have started his own Interlochen-style school with "a lot of poetry readings, a lot of back rubbing — wink! — where everybody could learn at their own speed," Allen said.
- Cardellini wouldn't reveal much about her hopes for Lindsay but said the joke on the set was always "that Lindsay comes back from the Dead pregnant."
Tomorrow: Freaks and Geeks trivia, plus what everyone involved is doing now.