Office romances, coworker quirks and terrible bosses fuel workplace comedies, but for Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone, that simply wasn’t enough. In their new show for Netflix, God’s Favorite Idiot, average joe Clark Thompson (Falcone) suddenly becomes the planet’s last hope before hell literally freezes over. With the help of his coworkers, including the chaotic Amily Luck (McCarhty), Clark must figure out how to save the world.
Among Clark’s squadron of guides is archangel Chamuel, played by Yanic Truesdale. Ahead of the series’ premiere, Truesdale opened up to LA Confidential about reuniting with McCarthy on screen, the difficulties of fight scene training and what the show really is all about.
How did you get involved with God’s Favorite Idiot?
Well, there's this lady called Melissa McCarthy that I have known for 22 years. And it was just before Christmas, I was in lockdown in Montreal at my house, and I got a video from [her and her husband Ben Falcone]. I had no idea that they were in Australia because she had just shot Nine Perfect Strangers.
They're like, “How would you like to come to Australia and be an angel in our new show?”
Was that your first time in Australia?
It was my first time in Australia and to be quite honest, if I could move there I would. I loved it that much. Actually we all fell in love with Australia. They even looked to buy a house, and I was like, “When do I come back?” We really, really loved it there. It's gorgeous. People are the sweetest. You're so part of the nature, but in a way that I had never experienced. All these wild animals that can kill you in a minute, but somehow fun and beautiful.
How was it working with Melissa McCarthy again?
It was so fun. So, so fun for many reasons. I love the script and the project so much. We've remained friends all these years, but she's become “Melissa McCarthy” over the time.
Her having many hats on set— actress and the producer— and to see her at the top of what she does, it was really cool. I was very proud of her and proud to be there with her and to reconnect in such an idyllic setting like Australia and playing an angel and doing things that I had never done. The part required me to do a lot of stunts and harness work, which was all new to me. I was like a child flying in the air. So this was challenging, but at the same time so, so, so fun.
Last time I played with Melissa was in Gilmore Girls, obviously. And for me, another part that was very enjoyable to be working together again, is that the angel could not be further away from the character I played on Gilmore Girls. It was a really nice cherry on top that I had to play this kind, open-hearted, helpful, not cynical, not sarcastic guy. That's been really gratifying and fun on top of it all.
Did Melissa and Ben tell you why they thought of you as their ideal Chamuel?
[They] did not. I was just happy that they did. If I would have to guess, the character, his name is Chamuel and he is all about helping people and making them feel good and he's trying to facilitate the task at hand. And I think I have a very positive kind of energy as a person and in my friends’ lives, so maybe that's the connection. Chamuel is a positive energy. When he shows up, it's to be helpful.
I learned that he was based on a real archangel, I think Ben told me while I was in Australia. I am not a religious person, so I'm not familiar with all of the these aspects of religion, but it is fun to read about an angel that mythically exists. So I tried to inspire myself by thinking about all the archangels and what they represent and their function and the history, so it was interesting that way.
You do a fair amount of harness work and have a pretty big fight scene. What was training like?
Kudos to all of those action actors that are doing all of those Marvel movies. It's a lot of work, my friend. It's a lot of repetition and rehearsals because it's choreography. But because I'm an elderly person, I’m not 20 anymore, me and Leslie Bibb— she had a knee issue, I had a back issue, I had a shoulder issue. So we made fun of the two geriatrics having to fight for that, but it was great to do. It was a great challenge, but definitely a challenge for a 50-year-old body.
We had sessions three or four times a week with the stunt people and the head of the stunt department. They put together choreographies, but that [fight] scene had changed many, many times. The script was like five times longer than what it ended up being at first and then it ended up being too much, and so we had to adjust the choreography constantly. And once that was set, we rehearsed three or four times a week.
Would you describe God’s Favorite Idiot as a show about religion?
I would have to ask Ben. Personally, I don't think it's about religion.
I think it's very reflecting of the time we live in where it feels like all the norms and the world is going down the drain at so many levels politically and the war and the planet. So for me, I think it's a very endearing concept that suddenly this very normal guy is asked to help in a big way to basically save the world.
Of course, the fact that it's God, but God can have many forms for me. God is more like the universe, like a higher energy type of thing in a more spiritual way, so that's how I read it. But I think depending on your beliefs you will see that message or that storyline in different lights.
First of all, I hope it's a feel-good watch. I hope they laugh. I hope that they can reflect on the state of the planet and perhaps be like, “Yeah, it does need help and we do need to do our part individually.” Obviously, it's a comedy. This guy alone cannot save the planet. So I think the message is like, “Can you all do your part so that we save it collectively?”
How can something about the potential end of the world be feel-good?
Well, you're talking to someone whose go-to in life when I'm dealing with difficult stuff— pain, sorrow, whatever it is— my go-to has always been humor. I've laughed at funerals where I was the saddest in my life because I will find the humor in the priest or something that the priest says or something that I see in the church. I just zoom out and I find the humor in it, which helps me cope. So that's my go-to and so hopefully, people are a bit like me and they can watch this really serious subject and find the humor in it. Because once you can laugh, it's as if the part of your brain and your nervous system says, “It's going to be okay. We're going to find a way.” And that's what the show does.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Photos by Lisa Tomasetti for Netflix