Over the course of several decades, director Ken Kwapis has established a career working in both film and television, with plenty of feature work including Follow That Bird and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but also notably directing the pilots for two truly game-changing series: The Larry Sanders Show and the American adaptation of The Office.
It was the latter assignment which led to his most recent project: the second season of Space Force, created by The Office‘s Greg Daniels and Steve Carell. While the first season had plenty of charms, including a truly stacked comedy ensemble including Carell, John Malkovich, Ben Schwartz, Diana Silvers, Tawny Newsome, Jimmy O. Yang, and Don Lake, those involved have been open about knowing that the second season could improve on the first.
As Kwapis explained to Consequence in a one-on-one Zoom interview, Daniels and Carell enlisted Kwapis to take a different, more character-focused approach to the series. While he’s straddled the line between two seemingly different worlds for a while (his new book But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct explores that journey in depth), Kwapis took the opportunity to direct the full season as a film and television hybrid, while making sure to amplify the show’s comedic potential.
“I just love how many wonderful craft choices you make as a director that an audience feels, even if they’re not aware of the choices that you make,” he says.
In the interview below, transcribed and edited for clarity, Kwapis explains what kind of changes he implemented for Season 2, what the collaboration process was like, and his hopes for the show’s future. He also reflects on what it meant to direct The Larry Sanders Show at a time when TV and film were seen as very different worlds, and how an episode of the short-lived NBC series Eerie, Indiana led to him getting that life-changing job.