Co-stars bond on sibling sitcom 'Ben and Kate'
This image released by Fox shows Dakota Johnson, as Kate, in a scene from "Ben and Kate," premiering Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m. EST on FOX. (AP Photo/Fox, Jennifer Clasen)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — In no time, Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson were tight.
That's good, since they star as brother and sister on their new Fox comedy, "Ben and Kate."
Ben is a free spirit, a good-cheer gadfly blowing in and out of town without notice. Younger sister Kate is uptight, a bit shell-shocked by life, and no wonder: She's a single mother struggling to raise her little girl on a shoestring.
What will happen when, after Ben's latest drop-in, he decides to stick around, re-establish ties with Kate, play surrogate dad to her daughter, and maybe even grow up a little himself?
To judge from the "Ben and Kate" pilot (airing Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. EDT), the result is funny, frenetic and — bottom line — familial.
"It was very natural," said Nat, thinking back to last spring when the pilot was shot. "It felt like Dakota and I had known each other a long time, rather than a few days."
"We have a — is there a word for a sibling sort of relationship?" asked Dakota, who, pretending to consult her smartphone, then proposed: "Siblingry!"
"We are close enough now that Dakota feels it's OK to say how long my ear hair is, out loud, to a large group of people," Nat stated. "THAT'S how comfortable we are!"
Co-starring with them on the series are Echo Kellum as Ben's loopy pal and Lucy Punch as Kate's hot-chick BFF. Maggie Elizabeth Jones plays Kate's adorable daughter.
This image released by Fox shows Nat Faxon, left, as Ben, and Dakota Johnson, as Kate, in a scene from "Ben and Kate," premiering Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m. EST on FOX. (AP Photo/Fox, Beth Dubber)
But the magic of "Ben and Kate" is the connection between Nat and Dakota, who, joined by a reporter at the Twentieth Century Fox lot for an interview in August, had been freshly reunited that morning to resume the series grind. On the white board in a tiny conference room, they beheld a smiley face accompanying this message: "Welcome Back, Ben and Kate. Season 1 and many more seasons to come!" They had just come from a reading of their first post-pilot script.
The 36-year-old Nat, wearing chinos, polo shirt and a generously toothy smile, had come to "Ben and Kate" with credits including the films "The Babymakers" and "Bad Teacher" as well as a short-lived sitcom "Happy Hour."
He said he had auditioned for Ben "early, early on," then learned he had won the role on Feb. 27 — one day after he collected an Oscar for co-writing the George Clooney film "The Descendants."