[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Big Leap Episode 6 “I Should Have Gone to Motown.”]
The live after-show for the premiere of The Big Leap (the one in the Fox drama) goes about as well as you’d expect. In other words, there’s a reason producer Nick Blackburn (Scott Foley) says “I should have gone to Motown” a lot earlier than he does.
Everything takes a turn when Brittany (Anna Grace Barlow) goes off-script and reveals Gabby’s (Simone Recasner) secret (her high school teacher is her son’s father). Even Nick feels bad about Gabby, prompting Wayne (Kevin Daniels) to call attention to that “shred of dignity” from the producer. Yes, Nick is showing signs of changing from that producer who didn’t want to be part of this show in the beginning.
“This was sort of a ‘take this job or you might not get another job,’ but it’s turned a real watershed moment for him in his career,” Foley tells TV Insider.
The actor breaks down “I Should Have Gone to Motown,” teases what’s ahead of Nick and Monica’s (Mallory Jansen) relationship, and more.
I feel like Monica and Wayne usually have the best lines, but Nick has some pretty good ones in this episode.
Scott Foley: I call episode 6 “peak Nick.” He’s had some caffeine, he’s had some Adderall that he got from Alan. He is in full force. And I agree, Monica and Wayne usually get these great lines, but Nick gets his fair share.
“Sleep? What do I look like to you, a basic cable or streaming service producer?” and “I had all the coffee.”
[Laughs] I’m glad you picked up on that. It was really fun and this was actually a really tough episode for me to shoot just because he’s supposed to be all energetic and hyped up. Usually it’s a line here, a line there, you sort of interject between characters. There were these huge chunks of dialogue that I had to do while I’m walking and talking to multiple people. It was fun.
What can you say about the aftermath of that live after-show? How’s Nick going to navigate it?
He’s got a price to pay. Especially with regards to Zach, played by the wonderful Thomas Lennon, who’s the network executive in charge. It’s the end of this episode where he says “it was genius, it was genius.” And for [Nick], it was a wake-up call for realizing that he’s been a reality producer for a long time, he’s done multiple shows, some more successful than others, but really this was his, at least in my mind, awakening that, “Oh man, good TV isn’t necessarily good TV. Sometimes bad TV can be fantastic television.” So for me, that was a real eye-opening moment for him.
And the next episode is titled “Revenge Plot.” What can you tease about what Nick and Gabby are up to?
Gabby comes to Nick in Episode 7 and says, “Hey, I want to get back at Brittany for releasing my secret on national television.” And they come up with this amazing plan that takes a couple of twists and turns, but it’s the first time we really see Nick in cahoots with another member of the cast. So it’s a really interesting, interesting twist, and it’s actually one that I called the producers about: “I’m a little concerned about the fact that this character’s being a nice guy all of a sudden. He’s not the Nick that I’m used to.” It was so much fun, but it took a little bit of adjustment on my part.
Wayne mentions that he’s showing “a shred of humanity.” How might people react to a different side of Nick?
My wife, when I told her about it, was like, “What? No, I want the bad Nick. I want the Nick that everyone’s up against.” And that’s the Nick that I love, but I think character-wise, how everybody reacts to me is interesting. They realize they have to look at him with a bit of a wary eye, not necessarily take everything he says at face value. I think there might be a little crack in that facade. I’m hoping there is.
Nick and Monica’s relationship is so much fun. They had a somewhat sweet moment almost in the live truck when they were laughing after she sprayed him with water in this episode. There was just something different about it from their other interactions.
What draws him to her?
Initially the thing that drew him to her was, at least the way I played it, that there was going to be no strings attached. It was like a show-romance. It would happen here, and then it was done. But as things progress between the two of them, we start to see a different side of Nick and actually a different side of Monica, which I love. She’s the one who gets the fantastic lines. One of my favorites is when Raven [Karen Rodriguez] says, “Maybe we can put a stripper pole here on stage,” and she says, “Shut your mouth, no!”
But we see a side of humanity between them and a flirtation that wasn’t evident in the beginning of their romance. First of all, Mallory is an amazing actress and so prepared and just knows who her character is inside and out, but getting to watch the evolution of this relationship, you’ll be able to see really how far they’ve come and the genuine interest that they have for each other, and I think it’s really sweet.
How big of a change will we see?
I wouldn’t say it’s a big change, but yes, there are going to be discussions. There are going to be concessions made between the two of them. At the end of [Episode] 8 or 9, we’ll get a much better picture of who they are and where their relationship is headed. I think, from things I’m reading online, people are invested. The producers did such a good job of writing really great characters and the romances that blossom from those characters, and I think Monica and Nick are no exception to that.
Speaking of relationships, this episode ends with Simon [Raymond Cham, Jr.] and Justin [Adam Kaplan] and Gabby and Reggie [Ser’Darius Blain] kissing, and Paula [Piper Perabo] sending Mike [Jon Rudnitsky] away, which I imagine will all make for some really good drama for Nick.
Does he love that, or could things get too complicated and too drama-filled even for him?
No way. The more complicated and drama-filled, the better. I think that’s something that he knew, but he had reinforced with regards to the last episode and Brittany throwing the chair and her letting out Gabby’s secret. The great thing is that we’ve got all these showmances, and one of the things Nick said in the first or the second episode, is it’s what he needs. He needs a fistfight, he needs an eating disorder, he needs so much stuff. And one of the things he needs is the drama that happens anytime there’s a relationship, be it good or bad.
Zach says no one’s ever going to forget about Atlantis. Is there anything Nick can do to change that?
I don’t think so. I think that’s a carrot that they dangle in front of him — you do this, maybe they’ll forget about it, you do that, maybe they’ll forget about it. Atlantis is always going to be Nick’s Achilles’ heel.
It’s not just something that we hear about. We actually saw what happened.
Yes! You saw the nightmare, the trainwreck that was Atlantis. It was just that for Nick, too. I have a feeling he spent an entire year lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, staring at the ceiling, thinking like, “God, is my career over? Is this the end of it?” We’ll see.
We saw Nick with his daughter a couple episodes ago. Is there anything else coming up there?
Yes, she comes back in Episode 10, which we’re filming right now. And I was nervous how that relationship was going to play on the screen. The wonderful actress, Blaire [Brown], is so sweet, but reserved, and I was worried that maybe her energy wouldn’t fit in with the show, but it turned out so well and I was so glad to have her back. She’s Nick’s rock. I’m hoping that if we’re lucky enough to get a second season, they bring her back even more. … I love who Nick is around Henri.
What can you preview about what’s coming up as we near the Swan Lake performance?
There’s a possible elimination of a cast member. There’s a wedding. There is a death. Nick is figuring out where he fits in all of this and not just as a producer, but mentally and emotionally where he wants to live with regards to this production. That for me has been a real interesting thing to play because at the beginning, he’s just the producer and he’s doing whatever he can to make good TV, but he’s found himself really connecting with all of these characters one way or the other, some more than others obviously.
We haven’t shot the finale yet. I haven’t even read it. But I think there’s a real opportunity for Nick to change his mindset and become someone who doesn’t necessarily scare everybody. There’s a way to do his job without hurting people, without exploiting them to the nth degree, which is what he’s done his whole career. And I think it’s a real eye-opening moment for him.
The Big Leap, Mondays, 9/8c, Fox