Last week, I introduced you to Thea Mann—the SMAC team’s pop-culture expert and F.O.C.C. (that’s Friend of Courteney Cox, in case you’re wondering). For many years, Thea worked with Courteney’s company, Coquette Productions, so they are longtime friends and creative partners. Their latest collaboration is a project Constance and I get to be a part of, too, and we couldn’t be happier: Last Chance U, the new SMAC scripted series starring Courteney and executive produced by Thea. We were lucky enough to get the inside scoop straight from the source on what it is about this series that makes it so special.
Thea Mann: Friends is a cultural touchstone for generations of fans, Cougar Town was totally brilliant comedy, and now you’re starring in Last Chance U. What was it about this project that made you want to return to TV?
Courteney Cox: Last Chance U is a departure from anything I have done in the past. I am so proud of the characters that I have portrayed over the years, but I’m looking forward to playing a character as complicated and compelling as Brittany Wagner. She is a survivor; she’s a strong, self-confident, powerful woman who had to learn on the job. All of the compassion, energy, and verbal strength she gave the players was exactly the motivation she needed for herself. I am so inspired by Brittany’s story and I can’t wait to play someone from my neck of the woods.
T.M.: How did you first hear about the project?
C.C.: A while back, my agent was passionate about me watching Last Chance U and felt I was so similar to Brittany Wagner. Then, a year later, you called me with the same passion and said I had to play Brittany. So, I watched the show … and completely agreed. When we flew to Birmingham to meet with Brittany, it just felt right.
T.M.: You’re also an executive producer on the show, and partnering with SMAC. When did you first meet Michael?
C.C.:I haven’t actually met Michael in person, but I’ve spoken to him on the phone and share Instagram jabs with him. I can’t wait to meet him though; he’s obviously amazing.
T.M.: Creatively, what’s been the most satisfying part of making Last Chance U?
C.C.: Honestly, putting together a project can be challenging; trying to put the right team together always takes longer than you want it to. But I believe in this so much, it’s going to be well worth the wait.
T.M.: Should we tell the people where we are in the production process—and maybe when they expect to see a teaser?
C.C.: As soon as possible. I wish I could tell you when, but we’re still in the process of putting it together.
T.M.: What are you hoping viewers take away from watching the series?
C.C.: I want people to be invested in these characters, to be touched by them, and to be able to relate to them in some way.