Neil Patrick Harris Talks New Nerdist Puppet Series & Getting Joe Manganiello, Nathan Fillion To Cameo
Neil Patrick Harris in a promotional still for his web series, 'Neil's Puppet Dreams' -- Nerdist
He's a TV sitcom stud, an occasional award show host, a film star and, of course, a family man, but Neil Patrick Harris is adding another gig to his plate today with the premiere on Nerdist Channel (on YouTube) of his new web series, "Neil's Puppet Dreams."
The series, co-executive produced by Neil's other half, David Burtka, and co-creator/producer Janet Varney, will drop new episodes every week, diving into the actor's puppet-packed slumbering memories.
Along for the ride are Henson Alternative puppets and a host of guest stars, including "True Blood's" Joe Manganiello, "Drag Race's" Detox and Wilam, and Neil's "Dr. Horrible" co-star Nathan Fillion.
In a new interview with AccessHollywood.com , Neil explained the origins of the weekly series, which puppets were way too "filthy, sexually" on set, and how he got some very busy, and very handsome actors to make guest spots.
AccessHollywood.com: Does the origin of this have to do with you - as a dad - being around cuddly toys for the last few years?
Neil Patrick Harris: (Laughs) Weirdly, in my real life, I don't recall much of my dreams, but Chris Hardwick was trying to entice me with doing some content for his channel, on Nerdist, and his pitch to me was, 'What about a collaboration with you and Brian Henson and the Henson puppets?' I'm a big fan of him and that world and I said, 'Absolutely. What should we do?' And he said, 'Let's figure it out.' So we all met in a conference room at the Henson studios and discussed different ideas and concepts and this dream concept came up and it really sparked everyone's interest.
Access: There are some very not-G-rated puppets in this, including one named Lorainne Thompson, who looks a little like Betty White, dressed in a nurse's costume. Were you aware of how sassy that puppet was going to be? She's got a mouth on her and you can't always counsel the elderly.
Neil: It's a generation gap. I've met some very soft-spoken, genteel elder puppets, but I think, you know, she had a tough life and has done a lot of living and she's got the mouth of a sailor and it was difficult on set. We had to rein her in, but she was also filthy, sexually and that was difficult as well.
Access: Did you feel sexually harassed? Did you have to contact human resources?
Neil: She was really into the beaver puppet and I'll just leave it at that.
Access: Your whole family is in this. It opens with you addressing your children. And David is all over the series. How did you get him involved?
Neil: David's been involved since the beginning. He's one of the co-creators of the idea. He was not only an actor in it but a co-executive producer, so as my acting schedule is taking up a lot of my time, he was able -- even given his E! News schedule -- to be able to help deal with all of the elements pre-filming and including filming. We filmed all seven of these in just over two days. But there was a lot that had to be done in a very short amount of time and we had a couple months prior to get all of our puppet ducks in a row and that job fell squarely on the shoulders of David and Janet Varney who is our other co-executive producer. They did a great job.