It’s a testament to the strength of the material that actors of Daniel Radcliffe’s and Steve Buscemi’s stature are not only back for a third season of the excellent TBS comedy Miracle Workers, but were eager to return. Part of that no doubt has to do with the fact that the show changes setting, characters, and theme each season, but in speaking to them during the press day for Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail – which premieres Tuesday, July 13th on TBS – it was also clear that they just love working together.
Created by Simon Rich, Season 1 of Miracle Workers found Buscemi playing God and Radcliffe playing Craig, a low-level angel bent on achieving a near-impossible miracle. Season 2, meanwhile — dubbed Dark Ages – found Buscemi playing a lowly peasant and Radcliffe playing a prince who strives to connect with the people of his kingdom. In the first season the two actors only had one scene together where it was just the two of them, and while that improved in Season 2, going into the third season Buscemi and Radcliffe told me they specifically requested of the writers that they have more scenes with one another.
Ask and ye shall receive. Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail is set in 1844 and finds Radcliffe playing a struggling preacher who tasks an outsider (played by Buscemi) to lead his flock across the Oregon Trail. As it turns out, this mysterious newcomer is actually a wanted outlaw, and he and Radcliffe’s character vacillate between bonding and butting heads.
“The original pitch… started in the darkest way possible that an Oregon Trail thing could start,” Radcliffe told me during the press day for the new season. “And we do eventually get to that point in the season, but it was like great we’re going to be able to have the show we have – which is light and fun and sweet – but also go to some incredibly dark places, so that was very, very exciting. And we do!”
Oregon Trail is also different in that it’s the first season for which Rich is not the day-to-day showrunner, with writers Dan Mirk and Robert Padnick taking over showrunning duties. I asked Buscemi and Radcliffe if much felt different with Rich not there, but they both stressed how natural the handover felt given Mirk and Padnick’s history with the series.
Buscemi, no stranger behind the camera, revealed that he directed two episodes of Oregon Trail, while Radcliffe added that “hopefully in the next couple of years” he’ll get behind the camera and direct himself. “I have a script that I think I wanna try and make, so yeah I’ve gotta sort of stop talking about that and actually do it, but it’s at the point where it could be a real thing soon hopefully.” However, Radcliffe cautioned that he doesn’t think he’d be able to do what Buscemi does, which is act in scenes he’s also directing. “Certainly the first time I direct I would not also want to be in it.”
But with the 10th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 happening this month, I also asked Radcliffe what he remembered about the making of and release of that film, and he recounted a whirlwind just to get him to the final Harry Potter premiere:
“I remember a lot, obviously. The release of that film was insane because I was doing a musical on Broadway at the time, so they flew me back. They closed the theater for a few nights and flew me back and had the last premiere in London and it was just more people than I’ve ever seen anywhere else in my life or will ever see again outside of sporting arenas. So it was crazy and cool and I think the last film, as well, was filled with a kind of, ‘Oh it’s ending?’ sort of feeling. But even that didn’t become real until it actually ended, so it was strange and lovely and I have tons of incredibly fond memories of that last film.”
You can watch the full interview in the player above, and below is a list of what we discussed. Miracle Workers: Oregon Trail premieres on Tuesday, July 13th on TBS at 10:30pm ET/PT.
- What was their reaction when they first heard it was Oregon Trail this season?
- Did Season 3 felt different with Rich not showrunning?
- Do they have much input into the creation of their characters each season? They talk about requesting to work together more in Season 3.
- Does it feel like there’s a more explicit father-son vibe between their characters this season?
- Buscemi talks about directing two episodes this season, and Radcliffe reveals he’s preparing to direct a film of his own.
- Radcliffe reflects on the final Harry Potter film.
There are hints at some major changes to this 8-year-old sitcom in here.
About The Author