When accomplished writer and director Neil LaBute stepped into the hotseat for his Reddit AMA yesterday, a lot was discussed—his impressive film debut, In the Company of Men, if he’ll ever adapt The Godfather, Nicholas Cage, and his feelings on the Mormon church. We also learned a host of Billy & Billie tidbits (as the creator was feeling generous). Let’s relish these five secrets before tonight’s finale.
Neil wasn’t worried about controversy: When one fan asked if Neil was concerned about the concept coming across as “too gimmick-y,” he took it in stride. “I didn’t really, because step-siblings are a funny little ‘taboo’ that really isn’t one at all. I thought it was a good hook for a series, a way to examine all the highs and lows of falling in love but in a, hopefully, fresh way. As far as ‘gimmick-y’ goes, I guess you’ll have to tell me…”
There is some improv: Surprisingly, the accomplished writer doesn’t mind letting his actors loosen up. “Sometimes we get too precious about our work and don’t allow it to breathe or [allow] the actors to have fun with it. I’m glad we did on this show.” Of course, he lets Adam Brody and Lisa Joyce play because he trusts them. “I was lucky to have a great cast and most of them are very good at improv’ing as well as their acting skills. There are lots of moments in the show where we’d let a scene continuing to play and get a really nice moment, or when someone would go off script with a new idea or joke.”
The Nirvana connection is real: Neil explained what eagle eye viewers might have noticed—each episode is named for a Nirvana song. Why, you ask? “Because I love the band, simple as that. I’m wearing a ‘Nirvana’ shirt as I write this. Beautiful music, meaningful lyrics. Never grows old for me. And they’re from Washington state, where I grew up. I also liked having a thematic thread for each episode of the show. It worked for me.”
It got personal: When one fan inquired why Gia Crovatin shows up so often in his work, Neil eventually admitted that they are indeed a couple. “I normally don’t answer questions about my personal life because it’s not anybody else’s business but this one crosses over because it’s also about my professional life as well,” Neil began. “Gia is an amazing actress—both beautiful and funny, and that’s a rare combination. She and I have worked together a number of times and that’s not strange for me because I’m someone who has worked with a number of actors and crew members multiple times.” He went on to thank the poster for calling them a “cute couple” and to explain how lucky he feels to be a part of one. “We are very lucky to get to work together and share time together outside of work, too. I’ve been in a long, sad, difficult divorce for several years and that’s finally coming to an end—It’s nice to have a ray of sunshine in my personal life but it’s also a thing that people are quick to judge and mock and so I, like most people in the public eye, do my best to just try and live quietly when I’m not putting my work out into the world.”
Will there be a Season 2? OK, Neil didn’t definitively answer this, but it is an option. “I hope so! Billy & Billie has been a really great opportunity for me to fully try my hand at television. We’ve discussed another year or two and I do have ideas where to take the story so it’ll depend on a lot of factors like actors’ availabilities and things like that but I would love to do another season of the show.”
Don’t miss the finale of Billy & Billie tonight at 8/7c on Audience (Ch. 239).