A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: Allison Miller on How Hot Wheels Helped with Her Directorial Debut - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS Post-Mortem: Allison Miller on How Hot Wheels Helped with Her Directorial Debut

April 27, 2022 by  

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS 60 minutes spoilers

A MILLION LITTLE THINGS – “60 minutes” – Gary hits multiple roadblocks while trying to meet an important deadline; Eddie makes a surprising discovery at Katherine’s house, and Rome struggles to connect with an impressionable group of young artists on an all-new episode of “A Million Little Things,” airing WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC/Darko Sikman)

[Warning: This post contains spoilers for the Wednesday, April 27 episode, “60 minutes.”]

As A MILLION LITTLE THINGS’ Gary (James Roday Rodriguez) and Maggie (Allison Miller) took a big step forward in their attempt to become parents on the Wednesday, April 27 episode, “60 minutes,” Miller took a big career step off-screen: the hour was her television directorial debut.

“Directing on our show was absolutely a peak experience in my life,” Miller notes. “One of the best times I’ve ever had on a set, and I hope I get to do it again.”

Here, Miller breaks down the complexities of directing “60 minutes,” and what’s next for Maggie and Gary…

When you looked at the script, what was the most difficult or challenging element of directing this particular episode?
The big sets with lots of background were the things that I was intimidated by.

Initially, the traffic jam that we had involved a lot more movement and a lot of cars—there were so many cars—so we ended up doing a little test with some Hot Wheels and laid it all out. It ended up being one of the most wonderful days because of the work that James and Lizzy [Greene] were doing inside the car. And we had a lot of really beautiful shots using crane on that day. That was so fun.

It was sort of the same at the school with the food truck [scene] with Regina, Val, and Tyrell—[plus] we had a new guest actor coming on, and I hadn’t worked with her yet, and we had a ton of background. We had constant threat of rain, and then eventually a thunderstorm, which doesn’t ever happen in Vancouver, but did on that day. It was two big, big days. And watching it come together was so gratifying; the way that everybody works on our set is really impressive and collaborative.

To dive a little deeper into the car scenes, those are frequently complex to deal with, both with the limited space and also complexity of the multitasking the actors need to do. What was your process for handling those variables?
Well, the good thing is having actors who are just incredibly gifted at what they do—I never had to worry about what was going on inside of the car. And on that same note, we have a DP and a crew that are incredible with lighting and rigging.

We did a lot of the car work on on a soundstage using an LED screen, which is a great way to shoot a lot of the car interiors, because it’s just so controlled. You’re not dealing with traffic or sirens or anything that you get when you’re on a process trailer or some sort of rig outdoors. And then when we were doing the exterior car work, it was really was pretty controlled the whole time.

We chose locations that were reasonable, and I think a lot of that work comes in the prep, where you’re working out the logistics before you even get there to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as possible…and it just really did.

Was there anything in particular you took to be a big lesson from your first time directing an episode of TV?
I learned so much—let’s see, where to begin? [Laughs.] I think finding the right locations is an enormous part in making everything work cohesively. So I think spending a lot more time focusing on where things are going to be set up is a great lesson to take forward, especially on our show. We have so many sets built already and a lot of interiors, so making the most out of your exteriors and knowing what you’re looking for ahead of time, that’s something I’ll take forward.

Also, working with actors in a new capacity; just seeing really how everyone works differently and you have to give notes differently. You have to know how some actors really want to talk everything out. Other ones are just like basically give me one step away from a line reading and we’ll just do it. And I knew that from my side of things [as an actor], but knowing how to answer the questions that come your way is is a great skill, and I admire directors who are not actors who come in and direct us.

Looking to the episode itself, Maggie and Gary found out from Gary’s test that they might have some issues if they decide to pursue having a biological child. What can you share about their next steps, whether it’s IVF, looking into adoption, fostering etc.?
I think the two of them really do want to try for a biological child, initially, and they’re going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. So we’ll see where that takes them.

AMLT boss DJ Nash teased the season finale is the biggest cliffhanger the show has done so far. What can you preview about the hour?
[Laughs.] What’s not going to get me in trouble? Yeah, it’s a big cliffhanger. DJ was correct.

Without spoilers, I’m curious how—or if—your approach to those cliffhangers has changed throughout the years. Do you get the script and immediately call DJ for answers, or do you prefer to wait, in part so you don’t have to lie to anyone about what’s ahead?
[Laughs.] I always want to know the truth. And the question is, will DJ give it to me? Sometimes I know what’s happening. And sometimes I think I know what’s happening and I don’t.



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