‘Happy Together’ is the new show airing this fall on CBS. Based loosely on the living situation of the esteemed Harry Styles, the show stars Felix Mallard, Damon Wayans Jr. and Amber Stevens West. When popstar Cooper James comes to live with couple Jake and Claire as their lives get turned upside down.
Congratulations on the show! How did it all come about?
Felix Mallard: I finished my last show in November of last year and then we came to the states. I auditioned for a lot of shows. This is the one that stuck. The producer gave me a call, and then Harry [Styles] gave me a call and it was really wonderful. This show had the best story and I think it would be the most fun I would have on any job.
So Harry gave you a call? What was that like?
Felix Mallard: He told me what the show was going to be like and the loose inspiration of it. He said you know “We really like your stuff and hope you go forward.” It was crazy. I wasn’t really ready for it, and he’s endlessly charming.
Have you met him in person?
Felix Mallard: Once! He’s been on tour for most of the time that we’ve been shooting. He came on set after his world tour ended. He came and visited set and said good day to everyone. It was really quick because he had somewhere else to fly to. It was nice, but it was bizarre because he’s one of the most famous people on the planet. It was weird to chat to him, but he was lovely and really kind.
What is it like working with Damon and Amber?
Felix Mallard: They are so funny. And they care so much about these characters and doing them justice. It’s great being with people who are so passionate. Everyone on set cares so much and really wants to make it work and making the best story possible. They want a really fun show for people and for people to enjoy it watching it. I keep pinching myself every time I’m on it.
What are some of the issues we’ll see in terms of age?
Felix Mallard: Cooper comes into the household and likes having a normal life. He likes an ordinary life and all the things that we take for granted, he doesn’t have. He has been away from home since a young age and these guys are teaching him. There’s a scene where my character is going to a nightclub called ‘Bed’ and they’re going to bed. So Cooper comes and shakes things up.
Because your character is loosely based on Harry Styles did you take any attributes from him to get into character?
Felix Mallard: Absolutely none. The situation is based on Harry, but it is not Harry. I know a lot of people that are like Cooper, so I took stuff from those people and then my own ideal. It’s inspired by it, but we get to put our own spin on it. We get to create these characters and there is no expectations of it.
Have you gotten an influx of Harry Styles fans?
Felix Mallard: It is based on Harry, but it is not him. I think that the thing to remember is that those expectations would harm the show. You can’t live up to the expectations of that, and the pressure of that and that’s not what we’re trying to do. It’s relatable. These characters become a family. It’s refreshing to be able to see that on television. The absurdity of having Cooper there is really fun. It’s something that will resonate with everyone.
How do you feel about getting to keep your accent?
Felix Mallard: It’s incredible. It’s a double edged sword. When you come to America, you learn how to speak like an American, and you learn everything about it. And then you get to the audition and they were like “eh, do it in Australian!” But I put all this work in? But it is really wonderful, and I’m happy to have an Australian voice in American television. I like what it does for Cooper as well, and it puts him far away from home. It helps me resonate as well. There’s a lot of times where Cooper struggles with being away from home. And I’ve only been in America for seven months. Everything is a new experience and I really enjoy it.
How much singing do you get to do on the show?
Felix Mallard: There is singing. There is some music to it, and we just try to pace it. We don’t ever want one thing to overshadow the other. It’s so much fun and music is a big part of my life. I’ve been playing music for twelve years. I’m really fortunate to be able to do this with my character, so I hope we see more.
What instruments do you play?
Felix Mallard: I sing more so because songs need lyrics. But I’ve been playing guitar for twelve years and with that came bass guitar and then piano. I’m really excited to show that on the show as it’s a huge, huge part of my life and who I am. I’m lucky to be able to do that.
Do you relate to your character?
Felix Mallard: The more I learnt about the role, the more I resonated with it. Cooper is actually my middle name in real life. When I came to America, I set a return date to go home, which was April 18th and that was actually the day we got the gig. Damon’s character used to be named Peter so it was about Cooper living with his manager named Peter, my manager is named Peter. There was a lot of weird coincidences that I learnt about it the more I loved it. And then obviously he is a musician.
The show premieres Monday, Oct. 1 at 8:30/7:30c on CBS.