When you look at the first episode of Eastbound & Down and the final episode, it’s surprising to see just how much emotional ground that show covered. If the entire series had been set at that high school and just dealt with Kenny Powers coming to terms with his own life’s left turns, it would have been a beautiful ending, but much smaller scale than what the show eventually became when it ended three seasons later.

One of the benefits of the way they shot their new HBO series Vice Principals, which they wrote and directed along with David Gordon Green, John Carcieri, and Adam Countee, is that they knew right away how they wanted to end the nine-hour movie they were making, and they shot the entire thing in one long stretch. Both seasons are done. You’ll get two nine-episode runs, and when that’s finished, the story is over.

And they promise that you have no idea where that ending is going to take you.

I really like the sort of storytelling that these guys are known for, and I fully acknowledge that what they do is not for everyone. But that’s kind of the point. So much of what is produced these days is produced in an effort to reach the most people possible, to make the most money possible, to be as broad in its appeal as possible. People treat it like a science. There is a formula that international financiers look at to try to make that happen. It’s a constant push if you’re looking for any serious money at all, and these guys… they don’t care. They’ve found a place where they can tell the kinds of stories about the kinds of characters that interest them, and they’re taking full advantage of the freedom that affords them.

We get a wee bit spoilery here, but I’ve only seen the first six episodes myself. I also try to keep most of the conversation general, more about the craft than the story points. We talk about how you get Bill Murray to make an appearance in your show, the weird and wonderful Walton Goggins, Danny McBride’s shock at learning he was going to be in an Alien movie, and Jody’s upcoming feature The Legacy Of A Whitetail Deer Hunter.

It’s great fun, and I can’t wait for Vice Principals to premiere on HBO on Sunday, July 17.

A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.