That ’90s Show Interview: Kurtwood Smith on Reprising Red Forman

ComingSoon editor-in-chief Tyler Treese spoke The 90s show star Kurtwood Smith about the Netflix sequel series, which is now streaming. The actor discussed reprising the role of Red Forman and how his character has changed.

“Hello Wisconsin! It’s 1995 and Leia Forman, daughter of Eric and Donna, is visiting her grandparents for the summer, bonding with a new generation of Point Place kids under Kitty’s watchful eye and Red’s stern glare,” reads the official synopsis. “Sex, drugs and rock’n’roll never die, it just changes clothes.”

Tyler Treese: I love that the show wasn’t just a knockoff of the original, it was a proper continuation. Everyone has changed, their lives have happened. Did you ever hesitate to repress Red? Or once you knew this was done the right way, were you on board?

Kurt Wood Smith: Oh, I was on board immediately. Yes. I mean, I knew it was going to be done the right way because we had people with the right pedigree there. Two of the creators of the show, Bonnie and Terry Turner, were back on board, and Greg Mettler, who was a writer on the show, was going to be our new showrunner. And of course, [the] show belonging to Tom Werner and Marcy Carsey. So it was okay there. I just knew it would be right and it was. The first script, I could see them just moving us right away and just settling on someone 20 years old – 17 years old, whatever it is.

You work with Debara Jo [Rupp] again, I thought it was great that you showed that Red and Kitty still have that spark. There are even some moments with some role reversals, like a few moments where Red is a bit soft. What did you like best about the updated dynamics?

I like it. It’s good to have something new, something a little different, because then we can see how he deals with that newness when he has it pointed out to him that “Hey, thanks a lot. You did this for me,” and I say : “Come out.” But at the same time he is touched. He complains to Kitty that the kids are back and interrupting his life. Then we find out that by the end of even the first episode, we can see that he’s kind of happy that they’re around, you know? Gives him some life right off the bat, but at least he gets to knock the neighbor in the head a few times. She’s obviously new to the show, Andrea [Anders], and she is just amazing. So we are also happy to have her.

That dynamic between you and Andrea was so much fun and I love that we got Don Stark back as Bob. What was it like to be reunited with him?

With Don? Oh my, that’s great. I love Don, and he’s one of those people I’ve seen very, very little of. So it was really fun to have him back on the show, and I’m sure we’ll see more, the same way it was with Tommy, Tommy Chong. Really good fun with Tommy. When I was at the premiere the other night, I was standing next to Tommy, and Tommy has a reputation for weed, so we’re standing there, and he’s got this leather purse hanging around his neck. So I thought, “He’s probably got some pretty good weed in there or something. Maybe he brought it to after the show.” But I said, “Tommy, what’s in that little bag?” And he said, “That’s my Tesla key, man.” Now he’s carrying around a Tesla key instead of a bag of grass I thought that was kind of funny.

It’s funny. The young actress in the lead role, Callie [Haverda] is as talented as Leia. What did you like best about working with her? It’s very similar to what you had with Eric, but it’s definitely a different dynamic.

It’s definitely different and we’ll see how it goes as we go. Right now, like Eric did a lot, she lives a little in fear of her grandfather. But at the same time, he’s so much softer with her than he was with Eric. [It] wouldn’t surprise me if we find out she has him wrapped around her little finger, you know? But I have to say this – I love Callie and Callie is amazing and so are all of them. All the kids, I’m so impressed with them. [Their] talent and their work ethic … the talent is obvious and their work ethic – they are there on time, they know their lines, they don’t screw around, yet they have fun. They enjoy each other’s company, they enjoy our company. So those were really good techniques.

What really impressed me about the show was that it works for people who have that ’70s Show nostalgia, but the new cast is able to stand on its own. How awesome is it to know that the original show’s legacy will just grow because of this, and it works on multiple levels?

I certainly think so. I’m very excited to see what the reaction is [is]. The response from the journalists we have interviewed has been so, so great. Everyone has been so excited about the show for us and we think it’s great.

I thought all the cameos throughout the season were great. What did it mean to be reunited with some of the old cast and that they are willing to support this and give it their full blessing?

Oh, I’m very happy. But I have to say, I’m not that surprised. I mean, especially, I think once they found out who was behind the show — the Turners and Greg — they felt comfortable coming back. Mostly it was their first big job, you know? And it changed the focus of their life, the direction of their life, I think, and then they definitely remember it.

Related Posts