What a pleasure to accept a proposal from The Consultant! We interviewed Christoph Waltz, Tony Basgallop, Nat Wolff, Aimee Carrero, and Brittany O’Grady to talk the sinister influence of Patoff, character complexities, and a surprising song cover! Join us as we break down this unconventional workplace horror…
In the aftermath of the shocking murder of CompWare’s CEO, “The Consultant” himself, Regus Patoff (Christoph Waltz), enters the fray. Patoff calmly strolls into the building, going straight into the crime scene, and makes himself comfortable. Despite claiming to simply be a consultant on “all matters of business,” there is clearly something off about Patoff from the second he arrives. Craig (Nat Wolff) can smell the strangeness from a mile away. Elaine (Brittany O’Grady), somewhat suspicious, nevertheless comes to Patoff’s every beck and call. Even Craig begins to be won over when he suggests an app idea that Patoff takes interest in. Sang rarely showed him the time of day, so Craig is anxious to impress the new man in charge. Less fond of Patoff’s methods are the remote workers—instantly let go if they cannot show up to work within the hour to fold into a normal work day—or the ones Patoff sniffs out and demeans. He claims to be here for the betterment of the company, to maximize the profits of CompWare, but might Patoff possess a more sinister agenda? As Craig and Elaine tirelessly work to uncover Patoff’s true agenda and the truth behind his contract with Sang while satisfying Patoff’s every whim, Craig’s fiancé Patti (Aimee Carrero) also becomes embroiled in the story.
Check out our interview with Christoph Waltz, Tony Basgallop, Nat Wolff, Aimee Carrero, and Brittany O’Grady after the jump!
What drew you to this adaptation, and specifically, how did you all discover Bentley Little’s horror novel on which it is based?
TONY BASGALLOP: I was introduced to the novel because I had made it known that I wanted to write a workplace thriller. One of the producers on our show said, ‘you need to read this, it’s a great book. I fell in love with the premise and the tone and the humor in it. Obviously the novel was published back in 2015. When I was adapting it, we were in the lockdown. So I wasn’t too sure whether or not there would be any offices left by the time we got there. I think I had to add that element of fear and the unknown, and slightly change the workplace. Like I said, I loved the novel. I love the cruel dark humor in the tone to it really going through me.
Obviously The Consultant is meant to make the viewer feel as uncomfortable and intimidated as possible. Can you each tell us a bit about your first time working with Christoph in character as Regus Patoff?
BRITTANY O’GRADY: Oh gosh, I don’t remember the first time! I remember meeting him for the first time, and I think I remember moments. I don’t remember the first scene we did. He’s just really kind-hearted and obviously, really great at his job. Fun, and engaging, and present, which is so nice to work with a veteran actor like that. It was a blessing for all of us.
NAT WOLFF: I remember doing those scenes in the Hummer in the third episode where he’s kidnapped me, and getting to the end of the day just shitting myself. Being like, I can’t believe that I’m actually having these long, incredibly dense, beautifully-written scenes with the Lebron James of acting.
AIMEE CARRERO: He was great! I was doing a play at the same time, and immediately, I introduced myself and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re doing a play. That’s a terrible idea to do a play and a TV show at the same time.’ He started telling me about his days as a theater actor in Germany. I think he understands that people are kind of nervous around him. He makes an effort to sort of meet you where you are and make sure you feel comfortable.
NAT: He’s coming to my play. The second preview on Wednesday. He texted me. I’m like, ‘why did you tell me that!’ I’m fucking nervous.
Christoph, you have played several sinister, calculated performances during your film career—I think my favorite was probably Hans in Inglourious Basterds—but something about Patoff is different. How did you determine your approach for this character?
CHRISTOPH: Thank you! I totally agree with you. The differences couldn’t be any smaller. But sinister… sinister is a lovely word. The sound of sinister sort of rustles a little bit. It makes it interesting. It’s intriguing. Sinister kind of leads you onto something else. So there you get it. It’s that much more interesting to that degree.
Brittany, do you think the changes Elaine makes as a person during the course of the season are caused by Patoff specifically, or by her own ambition?
BRITTANY: I think that Patoff is definitely the catalyst. I think the seed was already there, and he just continues to water it. And enjoys that. Elaine knows that it’s always there in a secret desire. It comes to fruition because it’s forced, the circumstances… the sunlight, the watering, the climate. It just started to grow. I think she was like, ‘oh, God. Oh no.’
In the final episode, a cover of “My Way” sung by Christoph plays over the credits. This kind of perfectly epitomizes the show as a whole—how did this come about, and whose idea was it to cover this classic song for the series?
CHRISTOPH: Well they used the music for the whole last sequence of it. Then one thing led to another, and I said, well, we actually should use this one verse. Let it end more open than with the usual belt of “My way.” In a recording studio, it’s easy, especially with these guys. They were so talented. They put this together in no time. We tried it out and it sounded good, and we played it to Tony and he liked it, too. And there it is!
This one is for Nat and Aimee. Obviously, Craig and Patti have a very complicated relationship, only made worse by Patoff’s presence. Craig seems resistant to make the changes Patti wants to see. Do you think they have a genuine love for one another?
NAT: I definitely do think they have a genuine love. I think they don’t completely see each other or see each other where they are. Patti wants Greg to be a version of himself that he’s just not there yet. She’s almost a little bit maternal with him. Whereas in his relationship with Elaine, there’s a friction there because they really see each other. That’s always scarier to be in a relationship with, because do you really want to be seen? It takes a lot of maturity and strength to be seen by your partner. It’s somehow easier to be in a relationship where you’re the caretaker, you’re the care taken.
AIMEE: We had a conversation. As soon as I got the job, it was like the second day, Nat called me just to talk about our characters. I remember we both talked about how it was important to us for it not to feel like a tropey sort of relationship. Like, ‘they’re on the fritz, which is why he goes to Elaine.’ We wanted to make it based on love, but they are on diverging paths. That’s okay. And that happens all the time. You know, you might really love someone, but they might not be the right partner for you. So it was important to us to play that as as genuinely as possible.
NAT: Like in real life in this sort of love triangle or friendship love triangle. You don’t know who’s supposed to be with each other. It’s complicated. A lot of grey area.
Tony, you are no stranger to the macabre crossing over into comedy, which is a very fine line you have explored at great length in Servant. What did you feel was different in tone and structure to make The Consultant stand out from other projects?
TONY: I think it’s the environment. Servant, I’d been stuck inside a townhouse in Philadelphia for years literally. You know the characters never left or the camera never left, which is a thing. This one, I wanted to get out in the world. I wanted to explore the workplace instead of the home dynamic, which I felt was very, very different.
As a writer, you always want the next thing to be completely different than the thing you’ve done before. I think the macabre sense, that’s just me. Whatever I approach, I look for the darkness in it. I for the things you shouldn’t say, the things you’re not supposed to think, and put those into the characters… explore the morality, and always make it slightly grey morality.
It was an honor to be part of the press junket for The Consultant, and to interview Christoph Waltz, Tony Basgallop, Nat Wolff, Aimee Carrero, and Brittany O’Grady over Zoom! Here’s to hoping that the series gets renewed for a second season, and possibly follows in the footsteps of Basgallop’s other horror-tinged project, Servant! The Consultant debuts exclusively to Prime Video on Friday, February 24th.
Look out for our full review on all ten episodes of the show, coming soon…