Enver Gjokaj played Victor (and a whole bunch of other characters) on Joss Whedon's much-missed show Dollhouse. Now he's following in Whedon's footsteps, launching a new webseries called Previously On Point Dume. He told us it's "Twin Peaks meets Clue."
Previously On Point Dume's first brief video taste will go online on Monday, via FunnyOrDie, but we got a sneak peek at it, and a chance to talk to one of our favorite Dollhouse stars. Point Dume is a made-up soap opera about a community full of tawdry secrets, in which strange supernatural events are happening and the dead sometimes rise again. It's hilarious and tongue in cheek, with just the right amount of campiness and silliness — it did remind me a lot of Clue, actually. Here's the official synopsis:
Something is hiding in the wealthy beach enclave of Point Dume. A dark secret so so secretive it could take at least five seasons to reveal. When big city-boy Lazlo Wood returns home for his father's funeral, his nosy questions threaten to dig up more than just a corpse. What exactly is his step-mother Ginabeth hiding in the pantry? What exactly is Professor Pyle injecting local children with? And when exactly will Bron the Landscapist ever wear a shirt? These and other mysteries promise to almost never be explained in this new recap show for the greatest nighttime soap opera never seen, Point Dume.
Gjokaj plays the "Lothario landscapist," Ron, as well as Ron's nemesis/doppleganger, Bron. And indeed, he never wears a shirt, and the first segment includes full-on Enver-on-Enver action. "They're kind of like enemies-slash-weirdly attracted to each other, because thye're both complete egomaniacs," explains Gjokaj. "We've got some bizarre things planned."
Every "webisode" will be a "Previously On Point Dume" style collection of clips from the previous episodes — and there'll never be a full-length episode, at least not for the foreseeable future. Instead, you'll see the soap-opera parody's storyline unfold through these little recaps.
"I love soaps," Gjokaj tells us. "I always wanted to make one." But soap operas always have ridiculous storylines, with "inadvertent incest and paternity issues," not to mention characters dying and coming back all the time, and that seemed ripe for parody.
Gjokaj had been getting together with a group of friends and doing theater pieces together in their spare time between acting gigs. "Usually, we get people together and get them drunk at a bar, and do something fun and just creative," he explains. "We decided this time around, instead of doing a theater piece, to do an internet piece." He adds:
We're definitely not Joss here, but I was inspired by Joss and by Felicia, the way they got out ahead of the ball on the cutting edge of controlling their content.
"Mostly, it's just for fun. We're just trying to have fun and stay creative ourselves," says Gjokaj. "One of the hardest things about being an actor is, you have to wait until someone else says you can work. In order not to go insane, you have to have something, just on the side, that's light and fun and playful, and just an outlet," as opposed to endless auditions.
So now Gjokaj and his collaborators will wait and see if people like their "recap of actual episodes that don't exist," before hopefully going on to shoot other ones. "What I've learned shooting this and learning to produce... is that it takes a lot of work," says Gjokaj. But after making a lot of mistakes with greenscreen the first time around, his crew has learned a lot about how to do it easily, and he thinks the next installments will go a lot quicker. "Going forward, we've learned so much, we can't wait to get back into the greenscreen, because we made things so much more difficult than they needed to be. It's really fun to work on greenscreen. It's fast, and you can get really easily throw some random picture into the background and see how it looks."
"If all goes well, we'll ramp up production pretty much immediately." He hopes to get the next four episodes/recaps shot in late May or early June.
One thing the creators of Point Dume were insistent up on was that the series must have an actual plot that makes sense.
That was one of the things we agreed upon when we started doing this. A lot of us didn't find internet sketches too funny, because they tend to be so random all the time. We wanted to play this a little bit straighter and a little bit more on-the-nose, and less over the top, even though over the top things are happening... One of the things we are sending up and satirizing on the show are things like Lost, where it goes on forever. [On Point Dume], there's always something crazy going on, and we're not going to try too hard to come up and explain it, because Lost certainly doesn't.
Sadly when Gjokaj tells people the series is Twin Peaks meets Clue, "to our insane anger... nobody knows either of those things." But he adds, "if you don't know either of those, maybe it's just not for you. You're missing out anyway. You've got bigger problems."
Meanwhile, Gjokaj is shooting a guest spot on Lie To Me, where he has some war flashbacks, similar to the ones in Dollhouse. He also has a movie called Stone coming up in May, where he plays a younger version of Robert DeNiro's character in flashbacks. "I'm kind of looking for the next project," adds Gjokaj. "It's really hard, after Joss, to find a show you want to do." He's already turned down some projects because they didn't seem like the right step after Dollhouse. "Dollhouse was an amazing experience for me."