When the one-hour long-form version of Easy to Assemble’s fourth season red carpet premieres Monday night, there will be literal and figurative synergy on display. The event is being held at the newly opened Sundance Cinemas at Sunset and Crescent Heights Blvd. and comes on the heels of an announced partnership between the show’s creator-producer-star Illeana Douglas and Sundance Productions.
“Sundance Productions are going to try and help me get the show on TV,” Douglas tells FishbowlLA via telephone of the comedy about her life as an IKEA employee. “But there are also other things that we would like to do together, sort of the expansion of things that I have written.”
Joining Douglas for the fourth season is the latest in a long line of name-brand Easy to Assemble co-stars: Broadway vet Roger Bart. He plays the producer of Douglas’ talk show This Side Up and coincidentally also guest starred this week as a sleazy talk show host on Law & Order: SVU, garnering immediate and colorful blog reviews.
“Roger and I met through doing another show called Celebrity Autobiography,” Douglas explains. “We just hit it off, had nice chemistry, and I wanted to introduce the character of the producer and possible romantic interest.”
The day after next Monday’s premiere, Easy to Assemble – directed this season by Melanie Mayron – will debut the first new online episode segment. Each season is a different length; this year, the one-hour film version will translate to 11 shorter successive Web installments, scheduled to roll out up until Christmas.
While making the program, Douglas has repeatedly crossed paths with her friend and fellow Internet show pioneer Kevin Pollak. He was a co-star on Season One, leading for example an Actors Anonymous group session; she did his Internet Chat Show, as did co-star Justine Bateman. And in Douglas’ current line-up of wrapped films, Pollak is a co-star in two of them (Chez Upshaw, Saving Santa).
“He’s come back to do hosted Easy to Assemble Q&As,” she says. “We’re good friends. I was saying to him back in 2008 that the Web was the future of independent film. I still believe that, although I also believe that they’ll always be room for the traditional, shared theater experience as well.”
Per usual, Season Four was shot on a tight summer schedule entirely at IKEA Burbank. “We get a lot of response from YouTube Sweden watchers,” Douglas confirms. “We’re also big in Australia. So many people these days are seeing shows in different ways… We’re shown in hotels on the channel Do Not Disturb. There’s also an iPhone app.”
“The show from my perspective is about me, Illeana Douglas, working at IKEA in an attempt to have a more normal job and be associated with more normal people,” she adds. “The title means kind of deconstructing myself and then, with the help of IKEA, putting myself back together from years of being in show business.”
“What I liked about the Burbank store is it is a very kind of flashy place. It’s Hollywood. You’re always going to see people shopping there for TV shows and so it’s very believable for me that I would start to do a talk show there.”
[Check out past episodes of Easy to Assemble here]