STILL UP Producers Break Down Season Finale Twists and the Show's Future (2024)

This year’s best breezy, lighthearted comedy just wrapped its first season.Still Upfeels like a natural successor toTed Lasso, tinged with some rom-com elements and wacky comedic hijinks. The series stars Antonia Thomas as Lisa and Craig Roberts as Danny, two best friends bound by their insomnia. Throughout the season, their friendship deepens, taking on new colors and layers by the delightful season finale, “The Wedding.”

In “The Wedding,” we learn how Danny and Lisa met and came face-to-face with Danny’s ex-girlfriend, Chloe (Daisy Head). Lisa navigates her strained relationship with Veggie (Blake Harrison).

Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with producers Arabella McGuigan, Paul Schlesinger and Phil Clarke about the twists inStill Up‘s Season 1 finale, Lisa and Danny’s relationship and a potential second season.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I’ll say it regardless: there are spoilers in these here parts. Proceed with caution.

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This interview is condensed for length and clarity.

Melody McCune: Firstly, Danny’s bungled proposal at the wedding is simultaneously hilarious, embarrassing and heartbreaking. What was it like shooting that scene, and was “Never Gonna Give You Up” always the intended song for that bit?

Arabella McGuigan: Melody, it’s almost as if you’re psychic. No, it wasn’t always the only song. Craig, on that day, was even more of a superstar than he normally is because this was shot very early in our process — bizarrely like shooting the end before we started.

The process of clearing music takes ages. There were several options. I don’t think it would be fair to Craig or Rick Astley for me to tell you what the other options were. It wasn’t necessarily going to be the one that went out, but we were all happy with it when that was the one in the edit.

MM: It’s such a great moment.

Paul Schlesinger: Craig shot the scene three times. That’s without extra takes on each version. It’s terrific—a really good moment.

STILL UP Producers Break Down Season Finale Twists and the Show's Future (1)

MM: We also learned in the episode that Lisa lent a hand in Danny and Chloe’s breakup, which serves as a launchpad for Lisa to share her feelings for Danny. Why have that as the moment where things change in their dynamic?

Phil Clarke: That’s a good question. I think the last episode answers the question many people had at the beginning of the series, which is, why are these two people talking to each other? They get together. I think what’s satisfying or intriguing about the ending is you realize that Antonia’s character has a lot to do with Danny’s anxiety, which you never would imagine initially in the way they talk.

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But she carries a lot of responsibility for how we find him. There must, for her character, be an element of guilt as well. It’s her who’s confined him to his flat if you want to look at it a certain way.

PS: She’s done the wrong thing for the right reasons. It is an origin story, as you’ve already indicated, at the end of the show. It does answer the question of how they met, but it also reveals how the seismic shift in Danny’s life put him in this place of isolation. I think it was nice to have that reveal and the effects on their relationship with their revelation.

AM: Lisa’s culpability in Danny’s situation deeply nuances the next stage of their relationship, whatever that might be. There’s a big chunk of that episode where it seems like he can’t get over that. He can’t forgive her for that. There’s a satisfying feeling as a viewer you get in a final episode where what you learn at the end nuances the way you look back through what you’ve known about characters at different stages you’ve already seen.

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MM: I love that scene when they dance together in their houses. How was that shot? Were Antonia and Craig given free rein to bring their dance moves to the table?

PS: That’s a tribute to John Addis, the director. He managed to shoot that in, essentially, on phones and laptops to make it feel like they’re in the same room.

That was symptomatic of a lot of the way he shot the series, but it came to a head beautifully at that point in the final episode. As soon as we mentioned what track we were going to use, Antonia immediately got excited about it. “That’s the perfect track. That is absolutely what she’d be listening to at that point, playing it to get him to dance.”

There’s something wonderfully nerdy about Craig’s dancing and his initial reluctance to get up on his feet. It’s a sweet moment between them.

AM: In fact, like so many other instances where the camera is only pointing at one of them, the other one was not far away and visible on the phone. While Antonia was dancing in her living room, Craig was in the voice booth on the other side of the studio and could see her, and she could see him. Although the cutting back and forth is a tribute to how John shot the two sequences, they were there for each other to promote the performance.

STILL UP Producers Break Down Season Finale Twists and the Show's Future (2)

MM: Is that how much of the show was shot since the characters weren’t in the same room together?

PS: Absolutely. I think it’s a tribute to how natural and spontaneous it feels. You’re unaware or thinking, “Oh, they’re not in the same room.” It feels like they are. If that’s the experience for viewers, I think that’s worked well.

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MM: This finale also includes some rom-com moments, like Danny running to Lisa’s place. Were there any particular romantic comedies that served as inspiration for this episode?

AM: Well, strangely not, because it has evolved as a friendship. It’s a friendship that is smothering romantic feelings. What really drove the running, which, of course, now we look at it as, “Yes, it is a classic rom-com moment of revelation,” that produces huge physical effort for one of them to get to the other.

But the point for us was that the physical effort for Danny is tied up in how his anxiety is now busted because he has a different confidence in himself and a mission. It is the mission that is played out through that running. The mission is, “My feelings toward this friendship, which has got very complicated, are greater than my fear.”

How do we want him to run? Where do we want him to come to? What should get in the way? All of those things are tied up with who Danny is as a person rather than what genre we are sitting in.

PS: I’ll briefly add that this is a mirror image of episode six, where he leaves the flat, and it’s a nightmare. As Arabella has eloquently said, this is spontaneous. He’s not even having to think about it. He suddenly remembers this is a novel experience for him to be out there.

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There is a lovely moment on the bus, and there’s absolute silence while he looks around, and then a smile emerges on his face. You think that, without any lines or music at that point, it is very eloquent. You’re right in there with his experience and what he’s feeling. I hope there’s more to it than the run to the would-be girlfriend.

MM: Of course. I’m glad you brought up that bus scene. I loved his leaning over the other guy to look out the window. He was so excited as he realized, “Hey, wait a minute, I’m out in the world, and it’s not so bad.” That was such a great moment.

PC: Even in the end, it’s unlike other romantic comedies. They still miss each other. The first time he leaves the flat costs him a lot. He gets to the laundromat, and she’s not there. Then, the second time, he gets to the house, and Veggie has come back. Even when they’re that close, there’s still a window between them. It’s an almost romantic comedy.

PS: And they’re talking on phones through the cloud, which is the other symbol of it.

STILL UP Producers Break Down Season Finale Twists and the Show's Future (3)

MM: I love how Veggie and Danny’s declarations mirror each other in this episode when they say, “I’ll always be your Veggie” and “I’ll always be your Danny.” What was the impetus behind staging them in that way?

PS: It feels like a reveal for us because that’s the advice Danny gives Veggie at the end of episode seven on reconnecting with Lisa. He gives advice to Veggie nominally, if you like, as his “rival” to engage with Lisa. That’s a rather sweet moment in itself. But when that comes back at the end of episode eight, Lisa realizes it was Danny’s idea to give him that line. I think that’s a moving moment.

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MM: Absolutely. On a separate note, Antonia and Craig have great comedic timing throughout the series. Do you have any favorite funny moments with Lisa and Danny?

AM: That’s a really good question. They’re (the characters) each dealing with a lot of discomfort themselves. But when they’re teasing each other, the spikiness in their friendship comes out. It’s on the bus in episode two when Danny’s getting tied in knots about the mound. Lisa is equally in a state of distress because of the loss of the dress and trying to figure that out. She takes the mickey out of him. I think they do that without losing the inherent friendship and platonic love. That’s a lovely bit that’s different from the rest of it.

PS: I love that moment too. She says, “No, it shows great confidence. You’ve shared that you might have cancer as a first line on a date.” It’s a nice tongue-in-cheek moment for her.

AM: There is a similar tone of mickey-taking in episode three when he’s getting ready for Amy to arrive, and again, tying himself in knots about how to behave well. She riffs him about that. Of course, the friendship is very, very much strong enough to withstand the teasing.

PS: I love that in that episode — her listening to Danny waxing lyrical about how brilliant Amy is and how funny she is. You see it played by Antonia brilliantly, how she’s absorbing that information and wanting to remain encouraging on the surface, but underneath thinking, there’s a bit of jealousy. That’s beautifully written and acted.

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PC: I think my favorite one is the episode where she gets drunk and stoned. You see what it cost him to rescue her. She doesn’t need to be rescued.

MM: One more question. Since the finale is pretty open-ended, is there a possibility we could see a second season?

PC: We would love that. I think that’s down to Apple, but we definitely think the story is not over.

PS: We’ve got tons of stories.

MM: That’s wonderful.

PS: I also want to mention that in the writing mix, there’s Bryce Hart as well as the show’s creators, Natalie Walter and Steven Burge. He came on board and, toward the end of the series, came up with a really good end.

Thank you, Arabella, Paul and Phil, for chatting with GGA!

Still UpSeason 1 is now streaming on Apple TV+.

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What I do: I'm GGA's Managing Editor, a Senior Contributor, and Press Coordinator. I manage, contribute, and coordinate. Sometimes all at once. Joking aside, I oversee day-to-day operations for GGA, write, edit, and assess interview opportunities/press events.

Who I am: Before moving to Los Angeles after studying theater in college, I was born and raised in Amish country, Ohio. No, I am not Amish, even if I sometimes sport a modest bonnet.

Bylines in: Tell-Tale TV, Culturess, Sideshow Collectibles, and inkMend on Medium.

Critic: Rotten Tomatoes, CherryPicks, and the Hollywood Creative Alliance.

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