“Modern Love,” coming to Amazon Prime Video on October 18, is inspired by the popular New York Times column of the same name. This half-hour romantic comedy series explores love in all of its complicated and beautiful forms, as each standalone episode brings some of the column’s most beloved stories to life with a stellar cast.We caught up with the series stars Gary Carr (“The Deuce,” “Downton Abbey”), Brandon Kyle Goodman (“Plus One”), Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (“Ocean’s Eight”), Cristin Milioti (“Black Mirror”), Laurentiu Possa (“Killing Eve”), and Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”)
John Carney (Once, Sing Street) serves as writer, director and executive producer. Additionally, Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Divorce), Tom Hall (Sensation) and Emmy Rossum (Shameless), directed episodes of the series. Horgan directed the Tina Fey-John Slattery led episode, which she also penned. Hall also wrote his episode and Rossum will direct an episode written by the late Audrey Wells (Under the Tuscan Sun, The Hate U Give).
Todd Hoffman executive produced alongside Carney and Trish Hofmann serves as co-executive producer. Sam Dolnick and Choire Sicha of The New York Times also serve as executive producers and Modern Love column editor Daniel Jones serves as consulting producer.
The Knockturnal: Congratulations on Modern Love. It was so cute to watch. I loved it, cried, lived with it, yelled at it. What was your first reaction to the script when you got it?
Anne Hathaway: I cried. I did cry, I was very, very moved by it. I just thought the character was incredible, and I’d wanted to work with John Carney for so long. It was very easy. Yes. The first thing I did was jump on my email and write back to him and said, “Yes.”
The Knockturnal: In the show, you guys meet in the supermarket. I was wondering if you were in the supermarket again and you were perhaps looking for a date, which aisle would you venture to?
Anne Hathaway: Bulk.
Gary Carr: Frozen food for me. Because you can get close, and go, “Oh, it’s cold in here.” I know that’s creepy, but-
Anne Hathaway: But it’s also honest … I like that you’re repping your true self. This is the thing, it’s the thing about the bulk aisle, because I’m just like, “All right, you’re trying to escape packaging like me.” In your case, you’re like, “All right, I don’t cook, and neither do you.” The bulk aisle, where it’s the plastic bins and they’re full of cashews or dried lentils or stuff like that, and you have to bring your own bags.
The Knockturnal: In your episode you get stood up. I was wondering, what’s the best excuse you have ever given to somebody for standing them up or what’s the best excuse you’ve ever gotten from somebody?
Gary Carr: I’ve never given a good excuse for standing someone up. It’s always been bad. Yeah. I’m just… always feel awful as well.
Anne Hathaway: No, I don’t. I mean the only reason I’ve ever stood someone up was probably because I was hungover.
Gary Carr: Right. Yeah, that’s a good reason to stand someone up.
The Knockturnal: Modern Love is probably the cutest thing I’ve watched in a very long time. What was your reaction when you first got the script?
Andrew Scott: Oh, it was such a sweet little script. Really, really full of flare and delicacy and it’s full of love. It’s really what it is full of and yeah, it’s really turned out beautifully. Brandon is extraordinary in it.
Brandon Kyle Goodman: No, I was excited because it was the first time in a long time they got a script that had nothing to do with me being black. And it was just kind of like this story about this guy Andy and Tobin. And it was just about their humanity and them wanting to start a family. And so that was super exciting because as you can imagine, I get a lot of, “He’s black.” And then I’m like, “Yeah, great. Tell me more.”
The Knockturnal: In your episode, it touches on homelessness. Has your view changed since doing the show? And what did you learn about homelessness during the show?
Brandon Kyle Goodman: No, I mean I think for me they’re people and they have a story and they have a struggle. And I think we exemplify that with Carla … she’s a person and she has a full story and there’s a reason to why she’s homeless, which it seems is by her choice and that’s how she lives. And for some people, it’s not that. If anything, it just deepened the empathy for somebody who doesn’t have a place to call home. I think for our episode, it’s easier because Carla’s making that choice as opposed to not being able to make that choice.
The Knockturnal: If the episode had a sequel, where would you see your characters going in the next episode possibly?
Andrew Scott: Although we could move to Hawaii or somewhere if we wanted to film there.
Brandon Kyle Goodman: I would like to move to Hawaii. I would like to move to Brazil.
The Knockturnal: I’m sure you guys got to spend a lot of time with each other. What did you learn about each other and what do you guys admire most about each other after doing this project?
Andrew Scott: I’ve seen Brandon in a couple of things before we worked together and he’s got this incredible energy on screen, which you don’t get off-screen, but that’s okay. As long as he can turn it on. That’s the main thing. I know he brings what he has as a human being, which is incredible warmth and empathy and he’s hilarious, great at improvising. It was a total joy to work with him.
Brandon Kyle Goodman: Besides Andrew being the sweetest and the kindest, he’s a masterclass to really watch, like he really … takes on the character. And what I love most is when he’s not speaking in real life as well. No, but the quiet moments where he doesn’t have dialogue and you’re just like watching him react and listen. It’s beautiful. And so that’s what I learned and took away from him as an actor. It’s not about when you’re speaking, it’s about when you’re listening and how do you fill in that scene with just existing, he’s really good at existing. I’m glad you exist.
The Knockturnal: Congratulations on Modern Love. It’s unbelievably heartwarming. What was your first reaction to the script?
Cristin Milioti: I was so excited to explore a relationship that wasn’t romantic, that you couldn’t label, but that was just as beautiful and profound and I just don’t think you get to see an exploration of these people who come from such different backgrounds and completely opposite ends of the earth seemingly who really affect each other and move each other and support each other and listen to each other. And I thought that was very exciting and sort of out of the box.
Laurentiu Possa: Same here, when I read the script first, I didn’t like this old man. He’s just poking his nose where he shouldn’t. He should leave her alone. She’s young, she’s dating obviously not all dates are perfect. But then as I went further and further, I really liked that though. This is the essence of love and despite the fact that I thought this is for America — I live in London — well, I’m sure that hundreds of people there can do this part, but I liked it so much I thought I would gun for it.
The Knockturnal: We were having a huddle outside. Everyone’s talking about your episode and everyone was like, “You know what? I was surprised when it didn’t go romantic.” You guys have such great chemistry. Talk about getting to know each other through this process.
Laurentiu Possa: We were thrown into the deep end from the beginning. The first day was the hard, the heaviest scene.
Cristin Milioti: And we hadn’t met, we met in the makeup trailer that morning and then we’re like on the street doing the scene from the last episode where they bump into each other outside of the clinic. And so that was the first thing we dove in with and it was just really a blessing in a way. I mean, terrifying to like start anything with something.
Laurentiu Possa: No preparation. There’s no build-up to that, for us actors.
The Knockturnal: You have to create it. Yeah.
Laurentiu Possa: When you watch the movie you see.
Cristin Milioti: Yeah. … you know, we were talking about this earlier, like I do think that, that’s a blessing in some ways because sometimes, I mean, I love prep. I love as much time as possible to figure things out, but we really had to just sort of follow our first instincts and just go for it. And I think that that can be very good.
The Knockturnal: Doing this show, have you learned anything new about love? And do you have a better understanding? Or do you have a new meaning for it?
Cristin Milioti: I just think that’s the importance of opening up to people that you may not open up to otherwise. They are seemingly an unlikely duo and it’s really important to forge connections with each other. I think it’s so easy to lose sight of … I was saying this upstairs, I got yelled at this morning by a woman in the park. Her dog snapped at my dog and she yelled at me because she was like, “He did that because your dog’s on a leash.” And she was like, “My dog’s off leash and you should know that, like if a dog is off…” It was very confusing and my first reaction was like, I was such a bitch … And then as I walked away, I was like, “Oh, she must be going through something like truly horrible to [be] like [that]…” And that we answer aggression with aggression a lot. And that actually if I took the time to get to know her, I bet we would have more in common than we thought. And this show is a reminder to move more through the world like that, I think especially now.
Laurentiu Possa: Listen to people.
Modern Love is produced by Amazon Studios, Storied Media Group and The New York Times.