You can tell Harrison Ford is enjoying himself on this show. How was it writing for his voice?
Goldstein: Yeah, I hate to say it, it’s easy because it’s him and it’s kind of easy to write to his voice and he’s so f***ing good. I’m not saying it’s easy, easy, but it’s a pleasure because you’re excited to go, “He’s going to say this and he is going to make this f***ing really funny or really moving.” He’s Harrison Ford.
Neil, how did things change once you saw the actors start to bring the characters to life?
Goldman: I would say the big picture is mapped out largely, and that doesn’t change too much. We do try to leave ourselves some room for discovery as we go. We give the actors a little bit of free rein on set and sometimes they do things at times that we’re like, “That’s something that should come back or that we should develop further.”
We try to plan but without restricting ourselves from learning and discovering new things. The end product is a nice combination of both the planning and the stuff that arose as these guys truly started to own their characters and bring them to life and make them feel to us like real people.
Brett, talking about going with your gut, now having an experience with Bill [Lawrence] on a show everyone has an opinion about, does having experience with that massive amount of feedback change things at all for you?
Goldstein: No, I think, look, “Ted Lasso” is such a phenomenon and totally unexpected and no one expected it to be the thing that it is. I also think that’s a once in a lifetime thing. I’m not expecting anything else to have that kind of reach and connection. We never wrote “Ted Lasso” with that in mind. If you start aiming for that, then that way leads to madness.
I think you have to stick to your instincts and go, “This is a story I want to tell.” It’s always up to the audience, whether it speaks to them or not. If it speaks to a tiny audience that love it passionately and you’re still allowed to work for a living, then f***ing great.
I think anytime you start trying to write toward or to hit some target, then — just look at every success story in entertainment: It’s always a thing that no one expected. Always. And then everyone tries to replicate that thing and they get it wrong, and then something else comes along, a Western, and suddenly people go, “Oh, Westerns! It’s always Westerns, right?” And you go, “No, it wasn’t, when that first Western [came around], you didn’t want a Western.” Do you know what I mean? You just have to try and tell the stories you want to tell.
“Shrinking” is now streaming on Apple TV+.