How I Met Your Father, the creators: "With Hilary Duff and Kim Cattrall we hit the jackpot twice"

How I Met Your Father: the poster of the series

Making a spin-off / revival / sequel also called requel lately, is always a bet, especially when you go to touch real cult. It is the bet that Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the creators of How I Met Your Father, born from a rib of How I Met Your Mother and also landed in Italy on Disney + Star from 11 May, have decided to take in hand. We caught up with the two creators on Zoom to talk about the process of making the show and its relationship with the original series, including quotes, casting, easter eggs, drama and comedy, the classic sitcom format and much more. Here is what emerged from this interview with Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger.

How I Met Your Spin-Off

The slogan used for the promotional campaign for the new Scream was “The killer is on this poster”. How I Met Your Father could have used “The father is in this poster”. What do you think?

Isaac Aptaker: You should get hired by the marketing department (laughs). The same thing occurred to me when I saw the poster and the film.
Elizabeth Berger: It would have been a brilliant idea! (laughs)

What were the biggest difficulties you encountered in making this spin-off considering how loved the original series is?

Isaac Aptaker: We certainly felt the pressure to make it happen for what had come before us. At the same time, however, we knew it was impossible to replicate that kind of magic. So in the writing we didn’t think “we need a Barney, a Ted, and so on …”. But we loved the storytelling of How I Met Your Mother and we tried to reuse that kind of storytelling, of the idea that a person would tell their child how they met the other parent, keep that tone of the story, we had Pamela Fryman the director of the original sitcom ready to return for us in all ten episodes. We wanted to use all of these elements in creating an entirely new story, set eight years after the original series ended, which had to be different because it’s the world that has changed.

Have you ever imagined the series as a single camera rather than a multi-camera comedy?

Elizabeth Berger: I would say no, we felt that the format was intrinsic with the story told in the original. Multi-camera comedy has a specific feeling when you stage it, in terms of welcoming and familiar feelings, when people gather in front of the TV, and relax and see stories that will make them feel good, so it was a natural choice to continue in. that format.

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How I Met Your Parents

Speaking of which, in How I Met Your Mother there was a lot of comedy but above all a lot of drama, especially since the death of Marshall’s father. In How I Met Your Father, the poster reads “It’s a funny story after all,” so this is something that’s been there from the start?

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How I Met Your Father: A scene from the series

Isaac Aptaker: The poster was supposed to read “The father is on this poster” but let’s move on (laughs). Seriously, there’s another show that I love that does this, This Is Us, that goes from drama to comedy all the time. In all successful sitcoms you have to care about the characters, and in order to do that you have to feel both happiness and pain with them when something bad happens to them. We love this aspect of the original series, where we weren’t afraid to tell complicated and painful aspects of life, to take the time to let the characters breathe, and here we tried to do the same.

In fact, I noticed that the relationships between parents and children are very important in this spin-off. What can you tell us about this aspect?

Elizabeth Berger: I think the families we come from have a huge influence on who we become, so it was important for us to explore the backgrounds of these characters. For example, for Sophie, the audience will discover that she has a really complicated relationship with her mother. I think our relationship with our mother affects all the relationships we will have in her life, and in fact Sophie will be marked by her relationship with her parents in the way she seeks love.

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How I Met Your Casting

How was the casting process? How did you choose Hilary Duff and – a choice that I personally loved – Kim Cattrall as Sophie?


How I Met Your Father: the first photo of the protagonists on the set

Isaac Aptaker: We hit the jackpot with these two, we were doubly lucky. The first stroke of luck was that Hilary Duff had just finished with Younger after seven seasons when we started working on this project. Disney was thrilled to have her aboard her and when we introduced her to How I Met Your Father she said she would read the script that same night. They usually never do it in Hollywood when they say that, but Hilary is a unicorn, so she did it and the next day she told us she wanted to play Sophie. He was almost Serendipus (laughs). Similarly, when we started talking about the future Sophie, we sat down with Hilary and brainstormed who could play her grown-up version of her in a fun and charismatic way, and we came up with the name of Kim Cattrall. . We went to her convinced that she would never accept … and instead a few weeks later she was in the wardrobe and on the set to shoot. It was surreal.

Did it go so smoothly with the other performers at the casting as well?

Elizabeth Berger: The others were more of a quest. We wanted to put together a group of people that viewers cared about who were fresh and fun. It has been a long process, we have seen a lot of auditions, we have done it through Zoom given the absurd time we are living in, and this is an even more difficult way to judge. But these performers were really good at creating a certain Zoom chemistry with each other and with Hilary. But with the multi-camera format, we wouldn’t be certain until we were on set, and on the first day of shooting the first episode, we were all visibly excited and I think it transpires from the episode.

How I Met Your Future

Another aspect that I liked was the references to the future in which the adult Sophie lives, such as the fact that technology does not work as it should, just like in our present. Are you telling us that despite how much we may evolve, certain things will never change?

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How I Met Your Father: A picture from the series

Isaac Aptaker: We’ve had voice technology for a while now, but I can’t get it to work well personally, so it will probably always be like this … or maybe it’s my voice’s fault (laughs).

Already in the first episode there are easter eggs from the original How I Met Your Mother series. Should we expect others, maybe cameos?

Elizabeth Berger: We want to make it clear that we are very open to possibility. We made it clear in the first episode that our characters live in the same universe as And eventually mom comes and that means places and people could appear. Already in the first season we can say that there are some surprises that we think will make the fans very happy.

This is a type of series that needs to be thought out and written well in advance. It has already been renewed for a second season. Do you already have in mind a number of seasons that you would like to last and if we will discover the identity of the father only at the end of the story?

Isaac Aptaker: Great question! As for the number of seasons, it goes beyond our payroll (laughs) but we can say that, with 20 episodes ahead of us, we are planning many aspects and storylines of the characters in advance. Hopefully at that point the audience will continue to invest their time in the serial so that they can continue planning, because there is still a lot to tell about these characters and the episodes are very short. With the first season we have only scratched the surface being six protagonists and we want to know more.

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