Cast and showrunners give some insight on how the story unfolds on Council of Dads.
The showrunners and cast of Council of Dads attended the 8th annual SCAD aTVfest in Atlanta to screen the pilot with fans and answer questions. Prior to the screening, we had a few minutes to talk to the “dads” along with showrunners Tony Phelan and Joan Rater.
You may already know that the “council of dads” is a group selected by a father, Scott Perry, who has a terminal cancer diagnosis. Scott chooses three special men to help father his kids after he is gone. The three dads are Larry Mills (played by Michael O’Neill), Anthony Lavelle (played by Clive Standen) and Dr. Oliver Post (played by J. August Richards).
Clive Standen as dad Anthony Lavelle
We talked to Clive about Anthony being a chef in the series.
Clive told us that his character trained in France with Joël Rubuchon, a 3-star Michelin chef. Now Anthony is in Atlanta operating his own restaurant named Pelago. Anthony is “trying to make a name for himself” and “very close to getting his own star”. Clive teased that Anthony being on the council of dads while also trying to achieve his career goals will likely create some struggles for him.
Michael O’Neill as dad Larry Mills
We asked Michael how early on we would learn the depth of their characters. Will it be a slow burn or do we know all about the dads right out of the gate?
Michael said it would be more of a slow burn in regard to both their “positive aspects” and “stuff they are struggling with”. He also pointed out that the immersion of these gentleman into this new organic family will also “bring up stuff from their own families”.
Tony and Joan employ collaborative approach
We asked husband and wife team, and showrunners, Tony Phelan and Joan Rater about their collaborative approach to storytelling on Council of Dads. Every family has their own rich story about raising children. What made you decide to reach out to the cast to get their stories?
Tony: We spent 10 years on Grey’s Anatomy. We ran the show for 4 years. And we found that especially on a show like that where all of us have been on the show for a long time, there comes a point where you have to say ‘What do you guys want to do? We have basically turned this puzzle every which way we can. What’s going to excite you and make you interested?’
Joan: Also, we have many characters that we are shepherding. They have their character and so they are thinking about it, you know. They have ideas for it and we have, ever since Grey’s, been inviting actors in and we’ve been given some terrific ideas every year.
Tony: Some great stories! And as J. [August Richards] said, every once in a while they’ll recognize something that they [told us], and the first time it happened, they were like, ‘I didn’t think you were going to use any of it’ and we’re like ‘Wait a minute, it’s all in there.’
Unfortunately, time did not allow us to pose a question to J. August Richards about dad Oliver. We did see him lead the charge, however, when the three dad actors entered the press room with singing and synchronized dance moves likened to The Temptations or the Pips (as in Gladys Knight and the Pips). It was pretty impressive and most certainly entertaining! The three actors have clearly bonded well over the filming of Council of Dads.
Council of Dads premieres March 24th on NBC at 10/9c following the season finale of This Is Us. The series will then resume on April 30th at its regular time slot 8/7c.
Council of Dads was 1 of more than 20 shows represented at SCAD aTVfest. The festival provides students a unique opportunity to learn from actors, directors and producers in the television industry. In fact, many SCAD
(Savannah College of Art and Design) students actually worked on Council of Dads. The show is filmed locally in Savannah.
Learn more about SCAD at the college’s website.
Find more on Council of Dads here.