Season 2 of FX's Australian import, Mr. Inbetween, kicked off recently, and series creator, writer, and star Scott Ryan, along with co-star Brooke Satchwell, spoke with Screen Rant about what fans can expect from the darkly funny hitman drama this year. The series came to the States in 2018, with a six-episode season that left many viewers wanting to see more of hitman Ray Shoesmith (Ryan) and his journey through the Australian underworld, as well as his bizarrely normal home life. That home life not only includes his daughter and ex-wife, but also his current girlfriend, Ally (Satchwell), who likely has an inkling about Ray's dark side, but is still in the dark about what he does for a living.
As a writer, Ryan has a keen ear for dialogue, which gives this particular account of criminality an overabundance of personality. In addition, he and director Nash Edgerton know a thing or two about pacing, as they're able to pack an incredible amount of story into a show whose first season was roughly three hours long. Fans hoping for more of Ryan's shady characters will get what they wanted in season 2, as Mr. Inbteween comes with a larger episode count - but it also has more of just about everything else, too.
Ryan and Satchwell spoke with Screen Rant before the season 2 premiere, and the pair discussed Ray and Ally's chemistry and their unique relationship. They also discussed why it is that the show's character can be so menacing yet so appealing at the same time. Check out the full interview with Scott Ryan and Brooke Satchwell below:
How do you both approach the show's domestic scenes? How do you make two people sitting at home watching TV feel real, but also make it entertaining?
Brooke: Well, for me personally, I trust Scott's words. I'm lucky enough that I've got a lot of faith in him as a human being, a writer, and an actor. I mean, that's exactly how Scott writes. Nothing he puts in any of his scenes is extraneous or overly didactic. It's very much as it would be in the moment. And if it doesn't ring true to him, it doesn't make it on the page. So I can absolutely trust that and then sit in a room with him and basically do my best to have him not call bullshit on me, basically.
Scott: Yeah. I think, I mean the thing that makes it easy too, I mean, is having... Like Brooke and I know each other really well and we're really good mates, and that really helps when you're doing those things because we have that kind of rapport with each other, which means that it's a very easy process just to sit down on the couch and have some inane conversation, because we have had so many inane conversations on couches over the past, I mean months or so. So, it's not some kind of foreign alien situation for us. What was a foreign alien situation for us was having to shoot the sex scene. That was weird.
Brooke: Well, I think it was really lucky for us too, the evolution. It's kind of been this lovely, very natural reality and the evolution of our friendship offscreen between series 1 and 2 as there has been for the characters between series 1 and 2. So we didn't know each other coming into series 1 and our relationship has evolved since, and we get to take that into series 2 which is just great.
Scott: Yeah. It definitely helps that became history.
There seems to be an underlying suggestion that Ray and Ally are starting to look at their relationship as a more longterm situation. What sort of future do you think there is for these two? Is there a future between them given what Ray does for a living?
Scott: I think it's too hard to say at this point what future there will be. Whether it's about how long term it will ultimately be, especially if we go and we do another season of the show. So yeah, it all depends.
Brooke: Yeah. I think what's really nice about where Ray and Ally sit at the moment is they're very present to one another. They're very accepting of who they are as individuals and very much whole human beings in their own right and obviously that lives outside of the understanding of the true nature of Ray's work. It is that pressure on the inner world of Ray to what decisions he's going to make to keep these parties compartmentalized. And I guess that's mostly what is revealed through series 2. And then they get to know each other more because they're sharing more parts of their lives. But obviously that critical piece of information is still very a much in the dark.
In terms of the process of getting into a character like Ray, what goes into making a guy like him so captivating? How do you write somebody who comes across as physically threatening, while also making him a character people want to spend time with and watch on a weekly basis?
Scott: Well, see, I'm happy to be contradictory with that. That comes naturally doesn't it mate? Yeah. Myself basically. I'm just taking notes as I go, really, that's it. Look, I think it's contradiction. I think what people find interesting about him is the fact that he can go and be incredibly cold blooded and then he can come home and go... Do things with Brittany where she's getting bullied and have these tender moments in a way. I think that's what you want in a character.
Brooke: He's very honest with all the people in his life in his own way. I mean, he doesn't pretend with Brittany, he doesn't kind of give her the sanitized version of parenting. He's a straight shooter in his dealings with her as much as he is with Bruce about his illness and navigating that. And again, just being real with Ally and present with her. It's really interesting how he does that for all the secrets he keeps.
Scott: Yeah. Well he doesn't really, I don't think, I can't remember him actually lying to Ally at all.
What's your approach to addressing the notion of violence without becoming preachy or anything like that?
Scott: Look, in regards to violence, it's a tough thing because yeah, you don't ever want to do some whole preachy thing. Yeah, that's interesting-
Brooke: Well, I think what's been really is this series has reached audiences and that response has been elicited. A lot of that is coming from the honesty in Scott's writing. And again, like I said, it's kind of a real no bullshit element where it's the integrity of each moment. It is as true as it possibly can be. So I think in the context of these plot lines playing out, it gives the opportunity for an audience to sit there and actually draw their own lines in connecting a lot of those ideas and observing what that means in the circumstance, what that kind of behavior means to them, and how they feel about it. That leaves a lot of space for that and that has been a really interesting thing. I know we noticed that with series 1.
There were a lot of comments on that, and Scott's very consciously waving these really intricate recessional commentaries on society and our culture. But I think it also, by nature of the streamlined and clean writing that Scott delivers, it leaves space for that conversation to evolve in people's minds, as well as give them space to kind of open up to something that we just don't have a lot of room to have discourse about without resorting to outrage or fearing that we're going to insult people. You kind of allow that platform in a funny way. I don't need any credit for that, I guess.
Scott: Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree. I agree totally with that.
Tell me a little bit about the process of making a season of Mr. Inbetween? How long does it generally take to write? And how much are you collaborating with others like Nash and Brooke, and the other people in the cast?
Scott: Well, yeah, I mean I've talked to, I guess most of the main cast at some point in the development of the script, there was stuff that I'd spoken to Brooke about, on a number of occasions about the scripts and with others, Justin Rosniak, he plays Gary. I'd had a conversation with him about, so basically, the way it works is, you take as much time as you have, which is basically as a writer is not enough. And you try to basically write the best season of TV that you can.
And basically how it works is once I've done a draft, I'll hand it off to Nash and Michelle. They'll give me some notes, I'll go and do some more work, then we'll hand it off to FX and then I'll give it some notes and I'll work on those. And I also work with a script editor, Brita McVeigh. So, I'll send them out to a whole bunch of people and get feedback, and so it's definitely not just me working away on my own in a dark room.
Brooke: Though what you deliver is pretty well rounded, by that set anyway and extraordinarily fast. I think you're due a holiday.
Scott: I'm due a holiday or a coma. One or the other. I'll get in the hospital and just say, "Look, I want an induced coma for two weeks."
What is it about season two that you would both most like to have audiences take away from the story?
Scott: I don't think there's any one particular thing. I think there's a lot of things going on in this season. Yeah, there's a lot more going on in this season and season 1. It's kind of jam packed. So yeah, I'd much rather people not focus on one particular thing.
Brooke: Yeah. What's probably most exciting for audiences for season two is they've got more episodes. They actually get... You have more episodes than series one, and that's something that I know a lot of the audience was craving. So that's probably the biggest take home.
Mr. Inbetween continues next Tuesday with 'Don't Be a Dickhead' @10pm on FX.