Dan Levy Says He's Game for a Schitt's Creek Spin-Off

Brie Schwartz
·10 mins read

From Oprah Magazine

The legions of Schitt’s Creek fans—SchittHeads, if you will—who haven't caught up with the show on its U.S. network, PopTV, will finally get the opportunity to bid farewell to the Roses and Jazzagals when the sixth and final season releases on Netflix October 7. The series, created by Dan Levy—who also stars as David, writes, directs and produces—swept this year’s Emmy’s winning five statues, which the tight-knit cast jubilantly collected from their (COVID-19 guideline adherent) watch party in Toronto.

When I spoke to Levy last January, in a New York City hotel room that bore no resemblance to the motel at the center of the show, it was pre-pandemic—and the culmination of his work was about three months away from premiering on cable. Yet he spoke nearly presciently about the importance of embracing self-care and not letting decisions be ego-driven. He also shared his hopes that for the fandom, the finale of Schitt's Creek goes down as smoothly as a bottle of Herb Ertlinger's finest fruit wine, and also his plans for future projects.

"I do feel like the darker our times have gotten, the more unapologetic I’ve become in terms of my desire to put myself first. Obviously if it comes at the cost of someone else’s happiness, or time, or energy, that’s a different conversation, but I do feel like we have to find ways of making ourselves feel good because the world out there is a very scary place," Levy shared with OprahMag.com, obviously having no idea that the world was indeed about to become even more frightful than The Crows Have Eyes 3, Moira Rose's (Catherine O'Hara's) fantastical return to...a screen.

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It’s here. (c/o Interflix)

A post shared by Dan Levy (@instadanjlevy) on Jan 28, 2020 at 7:33am PST

The 37 year old Toronto native also said that nurturing his relationships is a key component to his personal maintenance. That, and like David, he loves a good bath and skincare regimen. "I value my friends. I really like the idea of calling people now, for some reason. I’ve moved away from texting and back into the adventures of actually speaking to people on the phone. I love human interaction. I don’t like to interpret things over text message. And over the past few years, I just crave human contact." Levy added, again before we were all in various states of quarantine, "I just value experiences. I think for me, travel has been the biggest indulgence in terms of how and where I spend a little extra money, because I feel like experiences and creating memories are the most tangible things we can do for ourselves," Levy, who has a fondness for Japan, said.

Photo credit: ABC
Photo credit: ABC

"All you can do is try to explore, and see things, and make memories with people who mean something to you and seek joy. And that’s been one of the through-lines of our show. People given, in our case, very limited resources. What do you do when you have nothing? You have to find each other. You have to find joy in the dark corners of life because the alternative is just too bleak."

For many, Schitt's Creek has been that joy—the escape into a universe of quirky characters, zippy one-liners, but mostly so much tenderness. With each watch, you feel like you're being enveloped in one of David's oversized draped hoodies and drop-crotch pants. Schitt's Creek is like a cuddle puddle at a time when touching has never been less de rigueur. Which is why it was so important that Levy's finale did justice for long-devoted fans.

Photo credit: PopTV
Photo credit: PopTV

Levy, whose father Eugene Levy is also a comedy writer (and who also happens to be David's dad Johnny on Schitt's Creek), said, "I did so much research while writing the finale. I really went back to all of my favorite shows that I felt wrapped themselves up in such thoughtful and creative and unexpected ways and I said to myself, I’m not going to be bogged down by the anxiety of getting it right. All I can do is hopefully do service to our characters in the best way I possibly can and respect them and our audience. I didn’t want it to be this big hullabaloo. I really wanted to just end with a great freaking episode for our show," which a wider audience will get to see on Netflix.

"As a writer, you feel like...should the whole thing be a dream? And I think that’s why you get those huge concept finales because it’s very scary to decide how something should end. But, I think in the vein of our show, simplicity is best, and just closing the doors to expectations and other people's thoughts and really sitting with our cast, sitting with our storyline, and saying what is the best possible journey for each of these people. Simplicity is key in those high pressure moments." And while I'll avoid spoilers for those who'll be watching the finale fresh this fall, responses across the interwebs were overtly positive. Even Mariah Carey sobbed contended tears.

Photo credit: YouTube
Photo credit: YouTube

"Simplicity is key in life, too," he added. "I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned, professionally speaking, is that when things get really really tough—and there were weeks when I was shooting the show for 10 days straight and I was going off of one and a half to two hours of sleep a night—and I started to find myself spiraling and my anxiety was overriding my sense of rationale...that’s when you have to stop and put the breaks on all of it. Halting the tornado, if you will, and examining it from all sides where you can figure out the best way of getting through it. That really helps, and I think that’s why a lot of people turn to meditation." Levy did try meditation, by the way, and said the practice helped him with mental clarity but he said he has a "hard time not laughing when things are very, very dead still."

As far as what's to come for the beloved characters, when asked if he'd consider a spin-off, Levy brightly said, "Sure!"

"I think in order to finish your story you have to know where people are going next, so I do know where everyone is headed. There’s a thousand different avenues I just think it’s about, is it the right time? Do we think we could give it justice? Do we think it would be the same quality of what the show was? And the answer is... I don’t know."

To highlight just how special the Schitt's Creek experience was, Levy shared an anecdote about one of his favorite episodes to shoot: Season 5's ender, "Life Is a Cabaret," in which they filmed full numbers from Kander and Ebb's 1966 musical in front of an audience, leading to a "a sense of nervous excitement from the cast that was actually putting the show on." Levy said,"There were cast members that weren’t even in the scene that just showed up to watch and cheer the others on. That sense of community that was created on the show, the sense of support...I know how rare that experience is and I just love that we got six years to have this incredibly collaborative, artistic, joyful ride that ultimately resulted in a kind of success that none of us saw coming."

And while Moira's wig boxes may be packed away for now, Levy's not done writing. In 2019, he signed a three-year deal with Disney's ABC Studios for script development and producing. He didn't offer specifics on what his future projects will look like–or if he even knows himself—but he offered some sage words from our very own Lady O.

"This is something I learned from Oprah. Whatever you do, make it of quality. The one thing I told everybody was that I don’t want to rush into anything. I don’t want to make any decisions that are propelled by my ego because I feel like people won’t remember me, or my name will slip from the news. In order to get Schitt's Creek going, I had to make the same decision." (Levy "walked away" from his co-hosting gigs for Canada's MTV Live and the After Show in 2011.) "In Canada, people knew my name. I was on TV, I could get reservations at restaurants. People thought what I was doing was sort of cool and interesting," he said of his decision to leave and create Schitt's Creek.

"Schitt's Creek spoke to me. I think when you have a closeness to what you’re doing, and you care a lot about what you’re doing, the relationship sort of works both ways. You’re putting a ton of time into the project, and at the same time the project tells you what it needs. And in terms of being a television host, I woke up one day and I thought: I’m done, and I listened to the voice. I walked into work and I resigned, and I told myself from that day on that I will never let my ego make any decisions for me. I think making that decision in that moment was saying, I'm going to put aside the fear that in a year I might never work again, or I might work in a café, and someone might walk into that café and say, 'hey weren’t you on TV' And I would have to take pride in the fact that I was on TV and I might not be on TV now."

Levy added, "It's not about what other people will think of you. It’s about being okay with who you are in any situation. So, I am now going back to that place I found myself when I left MTV, which is saying people know my show, people love what I’ve doe, whatever happens next will happen. In a way, it’s kind of out of my control. All I can do is the best possible job I can. All I can do is continue to tell stories that mean something to me, and hope that they mean something to other people, and make sure that whatever that is will be of quality, and I have the closure of going home at night knowing that I did the best possible thing I could do. And if people didn’t like it, and they didn’t respond to it, that’s on them. I can still sleep well at night."

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