Interview: BREAKING IN's Alphonso McAuley and Adam F. Goldberg

TV by Jim Napier

This week I had the opportunity to interview Breaking In star Alphonso McAuley and Executive Producer Adam F. Goldberg. The show was created by Goldberg (Fanboys) and Seth Gordon (The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters, the upcoming Horrible Bosses) and stars Christian Slater, Alphonso McAuley, Bret Harrison, Trevor Moore, Michael Rosenbaum, Jennifer Irwin and more. Breaking is an off-beat comedy about a high-tech security firm called Contra Security that takes "extreme, and often questionable, measures to sell their protection services. In the interview I learned a lot about the cool show that airs Wednesday's on Fox. Keep reading to check out what McAuley (Cash on the show) and Goldberg had to say about this cool new show.

Here is what McAuley has to say when asked what he liked most about playing Cash on the show: what do you like best about playing Cash, and how much like your character are you?

I like that Cash is quirky and he’s a nerd, and also he’s a Fanboy. Those three things are pretty cool because they’re different from other characters that I’ve played before. And so I kind of - I get to have fun with that you know. And I would say probably about - yes, somewhat like Cash because I have a few figurines, a few comic books, things like that. 

 Adam Goldberg chimed in telling McAuley to mention his Star Wars legos. McAuley went on to say:

I do have some Star Wars Legos, and used to have some Superman briefs. Those were pretty cool, but they just - those got worn out, and I don’t know. I’m looking for some new - I got to get some like Chewbacca briefs or something. Or like - or maybe like a Han Solo - like an ascot or something like that. That’d be nice.

On May 4th there is a special Comic-Con and Goonies sequel themed episode. Here is what Goldberg had to say when asked a bit about the Comic-Con theme and the choice to include the Goonies aspect:

Well, that’s strictly me. I know when Peter Jackson was doing King Kong, he said like that’s the reason he became a director. For me, Goonies is the reason I became a writer. You know, that was the movie from my childhood I saw a trillion times, know every line.

And when we were doing this episode, which is about you know a movie being stolen. It was roughly based when - off of when Wolverine got stolen and went online. We thought, piracy was a cool kind of thing for the group to take on.

The studios were really hesitant. We tried to get Green Lantern and a bunch of movies coming out. But I think understandably, the subject matter of a moving being stolen and going on line was a little iffy for them. So I thought well, what’s the one movie that I feel like should be made and it’s not in current active development? And that was Goonies 2 for me. So it really became a way for me to have Goonies kind of play out to the group as this whole adventure happens for them.

So it worked out so well and I got to keep a lot of the Goonies props and signs. They’re all over my office right now, which is sweet.

Cash gets to wears some cool outfits on Breaking In. From tons of Geek themed t-shirts, a Star Trek uniform and Han Solo's outfit in Star Wars, to name a few. Here is what he had to say about his favorite outfits/costumes from the series, even going as far as to share a spoiler for the season finale:

Spoiler alert! I actually get to wear a full Voltron suit, which is like the...It’s so amazing

Goldberg went on to share why Voltron was included in the episode:

I wrote for the Voltron TV show, so I know the whole gang over that’s doing the new Nickelodeon show. And first, I wanted it to be an Optimus Prime, and it cost - it was like they wanted $30 grand or something, so I called my Voltron buddies and they were like - they immediately FedExed out this giant like suit. I don’t even know how you were able to walk around Alphonso. It’s so ridiculous. But it’s just unbelievable. So, I’m really excited about that one.

Goldberg went on to talk about the cast and why they work well in an office-style comedy:

Yes. The cast is amazing. I mean for me, I wanted to do a workplace comedy. Happy Madison and I were going to do a show together, and I met up with the Director, Seth Gordon, who did the King of Kong, which is one of my - literally one of my favorite movies ever. And he just knew about this world.

He’s really into doing documentaries on quirky kind of offbeat people, and he got to know a lot of these hackers who specialize in Internet - in cyber security, Internet security. So, we just got talking about - and these are kind of the people that I know in terms of you know geeks and it’s a culture that I love that I’ve written about in movies. And I am one, so it just seemed like a great match.

So for us, we pitch it to Fox as like the A-Team meets The Office. It’s just a group of oddballs. You could have the fun office story mixed in with a caper and just have a really fun fast half an hour of television. It just seemed like something that really hadn’t been done.

And you know its big challenge every week to mix an office story with a caper. But yes - but you know, that’s how it kind of came about. Just meeting Seth and him introducing me to this world, and me kind of taking the people that I know and kind of putting - setting up the characters.

And then of course, the cast. You know, Alphonso bringing - you know, the cast - just we got really lucky that everyone really pops and every character feels distinct and different, and their voices are really specific. So it’s - I got really lucky that way.

Here is what they said about the choice to use Comic-Con as a setting in the upcoming episode:

I mean, for me - it’s funny. I’ve been going to the San Diego convention for man, 15 years, and just watched it go from a thing where my friends would make fun of me for going to now having them go with me and having to show them around and stuff. So it - I just love that it’s become very mainstream. I mean, I prefer some of the smaller conventions personally, because I get to shop more.

And I love that -, even though this wasn’t specifically the San Diego Comic-Con, that’s kind of what we wanted to do. Just - it’s just big and fun, and kind of - like you said, the Mecca for movies and now TV. It just seemed like a great way to do caper and kind of explore all the things that I love.

We - just the episode is packed with you know Avatar, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; just all that stuff is really fun. I think for Fox, I think they were surprised at the tonnage of just how much stuff was in there, and I don’t know that they understood all of it. I don’t know that they get the Sloth or the Truffle Shuffle references. But you know all I can do is what I think is funny. What I want to - what I believe in - will work on TV, and just hope that there’s someone out there that will respond to it.

If not, like you said, it’s just me and my wife laughing at it at the very least. And getting Alphonso in ridiculous costumes is always fun.

McAuley's character Cash, gets to play a fun character in the Comic-Con episode. Cash is self-publishing his own super hero comic, and that’s why he goes to Comic-Con to try and set it up somewhere/someone to publish it. Here is what he had to say about his character Black Zeus (a rapper by day and a superheo by night):

Comic-Con people are going to get a kick out of this. He’s a super hero of comics that Cash has made up himself, and his name is Black Zeus. And I’m sure people will be quoting me on the theme song. “Black Zeus”.

Here is what Goldberg had to say when asked if the show planned on attending Comic-Con:

we went to WonderCon, and that was so amazing, especially watching - Christian had never been to any convention. And an unknown fact about him is he is as big as a Trekker there is. I mean, he’s a huge Trek fan. He loves - I mean, he’s the one who put in all the Highlander references in the second episode. He loves Sci-Fi. He loves fantasy.

So, he had never been to the - to any convention, and he literally was texting me like, “I just got a picture with a Gorn!” And he was just thrilled and he’s walk up to these actors with booths and pay money to like - he’d pay $20.00 to get a picture, - they were like, “I can’t believe Christian Slater is paying me money to take a picture with me.” So that was...

I think everyone has their thing from childhood that they love, or that movie or show now that they love. You know whether - it’s just what intensity do you kind of put that out there. I mean, Christian was the one that got the - that was his Captain Kirk chair that he had in his house that he made all these calls around town to get legal clearance for it, because he wanted Oz to be like a Captain Kirk.

So as far as going to San Diego, I would love that. I’m there every year as a fan, so it would be really cool to watch all the actors up on a panel talk about the show. That would kind of be a dream for me. So I hope that they pick up the show. That we can go.

I am planning on attending Comic-Con for the first time this year with GeekTyrant. Turns out that McAuley had not been to a convention before WonderCon. Here is what he had to say about that experience:

That was my first time as well. And I think the amazing element to it was that so many people wore - whatever costume it was that they had one, they wore it with great conviction. So they were like - they said, “No. I am the Dark Knight.” Or, “I am the Joker, (unintelligible).” You know, and I’m like, “What?”

Here is what they had to say when asked about how Geeky the references are going to get in the show:

I mean for me, nothing beats Community. No one can compete. So I - they get as obscure - I think they just did a Pulp Fiction wrapped in a My Dinner with Andre. I think...that’s as obscure as you can get, and I thought it was genius.

So for me, I mean we are on right now after American Idol. I wanted to make it a little bit more accessible. We’re doing a Tron thing. We’re doing Star Wars. The - you know, I’m trying to fill the show with these Internet memes especially on Alphonso’s t-shirts. So that’s the more obscure thing for me.

As far as movies and TV, I want that to be a little bit more recognizable and mainstream. But for me, it’s the - what you're talking about the Leeroy Jenkins, these Internet memes that I’m obsessed with that I probably spend way too much time online looking at and laughing at.

We did a Hedo Rick, that’s the ripping and the tearing guy. I don’t know if you know that one. I don’t think anyone but a small group will appreciate that. But you know, that’s - I like those shout outs and I love when I watch Community and I’m like, “Oh. I’m in on the joke,” and that’s really fun.

So, I’m trying to do that. Whether or not people know or respond - if you do, that just - I feel like that’s a cool club you could be in with these - especially with the Internet memes. But as far as the movies and the TV, I want to make it a little bit more accessible right now for the first six, and maybe next season we’ll get a - we’ll do a Solarbabies. I like solar - so there’s some obscure stuff we can get into. Sure. Right now I’m trying to keep it a little bit...

The Big Bang Theory has a Physicist on staff to make sure that the show uses legitimate theories and science in the show. Breaking In has a strong high tech element. Here is what they had to say when asked if the series has someone on staff to make sure the tech and programs used in the show make sense:

We do. We have a guy named (Eric Cabadus) who’s a - he’s a hacker basically. And he contacted us because he saw the pilot and he was like, “I just want it to feel real. And in the same way that you're doing shout outs to the Goonies fans and people who know the Internet memes, like I want to give shout outs to my friends who have program.” So he basically reads every episode.

And it’s so funny. He’s amazing. Sometimes - you know, we just don’t have time to - it always ends up I’m going to hack the firewall. That’s like the big joke. And you know, we want it - but if you want to make it sound real, it ends up taking about 45 minutes to explain. So, we really want to put forth that effort. I think we meet somewhere in the happy middle.

But especially all of the programs that they run, those are real hacking programs. Some of them are his friend’s programs that they’ve made. So it’s - yes. We defiantly - in the same way that Big Bang wants to keep - I know on their boards it’s all real, so we wanted to do the same thing.

And we’ve had to change some stories because he’s like, “There’s no way you - they could do this thing. What you're talking about just doesn’t exist in reality and we want it to seem real.” So we’ve had to - it makes the stories harder to break because it’s harder to outline just because sometimes it - you want it to feel easy but that’s not how it exists in reality. So hopefully, it should feel a little bit more real than the average show, because we do have our guy. Our super hacker.

Breaking In has a great cast that is really good with comedic timing. Here is what they had to say when asked whether they get the chance to do any improvisation or stick close to the script:

I’m laughing. I’ll answer for him. Yes, he ad-libs like crazy, and yes we use it. I mean, man; everything - especially Rosenbaum - actually everybody has their ad-libs. And you know on this show, I’ve told them if - I’m not down on stage all the time, so I said if you guys come up with something really funny, email it to me and we’ll put it in the show.

So yes, Alphonso is an amazing improver and we are using a lot. And as the writers, we’re all taking credit for the funny stuff that he says, and the other actors. So it’s awesome. But - I mean, “You're tapping the grave dance,”  I guess that was something you did with your friends or something? What was that story?

McAuley responded by saying:

That actually came out of - I was doing this film for - some of the geeks who know about Fat Albert and all of that. We were - so we were doing Fat Albert and that thing just came out of this - we were talking about R&B singers and how they moved their pelvis toward the audience, you know while they’re singing.

And so it just came out of like this - like R&B like movement that I kind of like did. And then we kind of evolved it into like this entire thing on the set. And we would just always do it like - sort of like really, really fast and it just - it grew out of that. Guys like (unintelligible), Marques Houston, Kenan Thompson; we were just all doing that move like throughout the film.

There have been many shows that have spawned out of other shows and other shows that had done cross-overs with other series. Here is what they had to say when asked about what other shows they would like to cross-over with on Breaking In:

For me it’d be Big Bang Theory. I mean - I - that’s my other - besides Community, that’s my other favorite show, and I just love all the characters on that show. And I think - I’d love to stack up you know, our geniuses verse their geniuses. I’m sure they’d crush us in a genius-off.

McAuley added:

We should maybe colab with Glee and do like a Breaking In on Ice or something.

As a reminder, Breaking In airs on Wednesdays (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) on Fox. Be sure to watch the first four episodes of the show here

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