ABC’s new comedy “Mr. Sunshine” is set mostly at a sports arena. Co-creator and star Matthew Perry notes, however, that arenas tend to have a lot of other things going on between games: concerts, monster-truck rallies, circuses and the like.
Perry hopes those things can provide good backdrops for comedy — but they can also serve as a bit of wish fulfillment for the show’s cast. Perry, who was a highly ranked junior tennis player as a teenager, gets to hit with Jimmy Connors in an episode, and his co-star Allison Janney — who plays the arena’s loopy owner, Crystal — sings a duet with James Taylor.
Janney says she was excited by the prospect of singing alongside the multiple Grammy winner — but also nervous.
“That was probably the biggest, most daunting task I’ve had so far,” Janney said Monday (Jan. 24) in a chat with reporters. “I mean, I’m an actor who can sing, but I’m definitely not a singer, and holding my own with James Taylor was an extraordinary challenge. And I had to do it — it wasn’t like I could say no.”
To hear Perry tell it, though, Janney did just fine. “The character we’ve had the most fun with is Crystal, because Allison is so good that she can make the biggest, most crazy things … [and] make them sort of grounded,” he says. “I actually got to sit and watch James Taylor and Allison Janney work on a song together and then perform it on the show. That was one of the real joys of the first 13 episodes.”
“And Matthew got to play tennis with Jimmy Connors, who’s one of his heroes,” Janney adds. “We’re just going to keep giving ourselves dream scenarios with this.”
“Mr. Sunshine” premieres Feb. 9 on ABC.