WARNING: This interview includes spoilers from the finale of “Party Down,” presently airing on Starz and accessible for streaming on the Starz app.
- ‘Invincible’ Sets Season 2 Premiere Date at Prime Video, Drops New Teaser
- Chris Cuomo: ‘I Was Going to Kill Everybody Including Myself’ After CNN Firing
- CBS Sets Fall 2023 Premiere Dates: ‘Yellowstone’ Repeats Begin in September (TV News Roundup)
- Billie Eilish Breaks Down ‘F—ed Up’ ‘Swarm’ Character, Resonating With Storyline: Passionate Fans Are ‘Beautiful’ Yet ‘Really Scary’
- ‘Found’ Boss Hints at ‘Juicy and Complicated’ Relationship Between Gabi and Sir, Explains Decision to Spoil the Premiere Twist
The creators of “Party Down” have been deliberately misleading, and there’s a good reason for it.
Throughout the promotion of the third season of the catering-centric cult comedy — making a comeback on Starz after a hiatus of 13 years — the cast and co-creators have consistently fielded inquiries about the absence of Lizzy Caplan, the lone original star not featured in Season 3.
“Lizzy had prior commitments for the entire timeframe we had for filming,” revealed creator and executive producer John Enbom in a previous statement to Variety. “She was genuinely disappointed that she couldn’t join us. We were equally disappointed — we thoroughly enjoyed working with her.”
However, they had a clever surprise up their sleeves, as Caplan delivers a stunning cameo in the concluding episode of the season. “I can’t believe they managed to keep it under wraps,” Caplan expressed in an interview with Variety about the post-credits scene. “There are no secrets these days!”
In this scene, Henry (Adam Scott) is preparing food at a Hollywood press junket when Casey (Caplan) walks in. In the time between Seasons 2 and 3, Casey has become a renowned actor. She’s in Los Angeles to promote her “terrible” new show, “The Stabilizer,” and, following her unexpected reunion with her ex-flame, pledges to hang out with Henry the next time she’s in town, adding, “which will be very soon because I’m about to quit this thing.”
Caplan, along with Enbom and co-creator Rob Thomas, engaged in a conversation with Variety before the finale, unraveling how they managed to shoot the surprise cameo in a single day and dropping hints about Casey’s potential role in a prospective Season 4.
Interviewer: Lizzy, your absence from Season 3 of “Party Down” was widely publicized. Was your cameo always intended to be a surprise for fans?
Lizzy Caplan: Yes, it was always meant to be a surprise. I, too, can’t believe that they were able to keep it a secret. There are no secrets these days! And it wasn’t like this Fort Knox vibe on set, where people were having to lock up their phones. It was a whole New York crew, and everyone kept their mouths shut! So the cynical side of me is like, “Well, nobody cares!” But the uncynical side is like, “Aren’t humans generous?”
Interviewer: Was it tough for you to keep it a secret?
John Enbom: We have been fervent about wanting to keep this a secret—Adam Scott, I think, as much as anyone. In every office memo, Adam is adding, “Let’s not let this get out.” Trying to keep this a secret has been the subject of dozens of emails, I’d say.
Caplan: It was actually effortless for me to keep it a secret. I simply decided not to disclose it to anybody. I mean, I literally just informed my sister five minutes ago. What would be the purpose of sharing it? Why possess that information? There’s a natural inclination to tell others. So, I chose to keep it under wraps and surprisingly found it quite easy.
Interviewer: How were you able to fit this post-credits scene into your schedule? Was it shot in one day?
Caplan: I was in New York — we shot it in one day. We also filmed another scene, featuring paparazzi footage of Casey and her new boyfriend. We spent quite a while shooting that segment outside of Central Park. Some paparazzi caught wind of what was happening, but remarkably, no one said anything. They, too, kept their lips sealed. The producers initially considered featuring that scene at the start of the season, revealing that Casey was in New York with her new partner. However, that would have spoiled the surprise. Fortunately, none of it was used in the end. Looking back, it was a bit risky to shoot that additional scene.
Rob Thomas: Adam strongly felt that if people saw new footage of Lizzy in Episode 1, they’d be clever enough to deduce that we shot more.
In the post-credits scene, it’s essentially just you, Lizzy, with Adam Scott. Did you get to reconnect with some of the other cast members while on set?
Caplan: No, since we shot it in New York, it was a small splinter unit. Only Adam, Ken [Marino], and our producers flew in. It was a wonderful opportunity to dip my toe back into it, although I was also intensely envious that it was the only thing I got to do.
“Party Down” superfans might wonder, “If Lizzy could do this scene, why couldn’t she give us a whole episode?!?”
Caplan: It was the best we could manage. We squeezed this in. I was committed to “Fleishman Is in Trouble” in New York, and I was more than willing to travel on off-days to return to L.A. and make “Party Down” happen. However, with COVID, they really discouraged any travel. It was heartbreakingly impossible. So, I just hoped that [the “Party Down” team] created something so wonderful that Starz had no choice but to greenlight a fourth season. After watching all the episodes, I genuinely believe they did their job.
Come on, Starz! Give it the green light for a fourth season.
Would you consider returning to the series if it gets renewed?
Caplan: Absolutely. There’s no scenario where I wouldn’t be part of the fourth season of “Party Down.” You’d have to physically restrain me to keep me away. I don’t think they have any information about a renewal.
Have there been discussions about a fourth season?
Enbom: No, that’s from the Hope Springs Eternal department.
Thomas: I was going to say the Wishful Thinking department.
Enbom: Before we found out Lizzy wasn’t available, our initial idea was Casey and Henry meeting again for the first time at Kyle’s party [in Episode 1 of Season 3]. That was going to be the starting point for the season, and even after that plan fell through, we were still yearning for that moment — what it would be like for them to encounter each other again. That’s what excited us from the very beginning, and we remain enthusiastic about it. So if anyone out there is listening… Starz…
Season 3 concludes with a cliffhanger, as Casey expresses her desire to quit her acting job. How could she be integrated into future “Party Down” episodes?
Caplan: Fortunately, I’m not tasked with figuring out how to bring Casey back. It would be challenging. But I haven’t seen much about an actor who “made it” but feels entirely stifled and unhappy in her job. It would be really interesting to place her in a group of people who are still striving in different ways.
Thomas: Henry and Casey is likely what we would center Season 4 around. It’s one of the more compelling comedy romances on TV. We would love to revisit that.
Lizzy, how was it watching Jennifer Garner step in as Henry’s love interest?
Caplan: Surprisingly, it was a delightful viewing experience. She was so good, so funny, so charming, so beautiful. She — and all of the new cast — genuinely elevated the show.
I already asked John about this, but I’d like to get your perspective. Do you think “Party Down” is a cynical show?
Caplan: I think it’s so sad and beautiful but, ultimately, definitely optimistic. That is show business. There aren’t many industries where you can be deep into your 40s and still be one phone call away from it happening for you. In that way, I feel like the show can go on and on forever.
Note: These interviews have been edited and condensed.