Isla Fisher has a secret in "Wolf Like Me." File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Isla Fisher and Josh Gad said their new romantic comedy Wolf like Me, premiering Thursday on Peacock, was no laughing matter.
Fisher, 45, plays Mary, a widow keeping a big secret from her new boyfriend, Gary (Gad), a single father.
"We didn't want to play it for laughs," Fisher told UPI in a Zoom interview. "It's a risk. You think, 'Oh, I hope this pays off and it doesn't look too earnest or melodramatic.'"
Created by Abe Forsythe, writer/director of the horror movie Little Monsters, Wolf Like Me suggests Mary's secret could be deadlier than the usual rom-com premise. Gad, 40, said he had to trust Forsythe, as well as his co-star, to guide him through the show's wild tonal shifts.
"I think we're playing the truth of the characters," Gad said. "The true north was just trusting each other and giving into the necessity that the role called for."
Forsythe said the goal of Wolf Like Me was to delay revealing Mary's secret for as long as possible.
"I'm a big believer in less is more," Forsythe said. "It's a lot more horrifying imagining something than it is actually showing it."
Mary and Gary meet when Mary crashes into Gary's car, while his daughter, Emma (Ariel Joy Donoghue) is in the backseat. Mary resists Gary's advances to protect him and Emma from her secret, but Gary insists on supporting Mary.
"They both have such extreme baggage, and yet somehow their baggage cancels each other out," Gad said. "These two characters who start at these really low points can rely on each other, despite the fact that they're both in a chaotic situation."
Fisher said she believes Wolf Like Me is a story of fate. Even after the automobile accident, Mary and Gary keep crossing paths despite her attempts to stay away.
"They would never have made themselves vulnerable to each other if there wasn't an overriding sense that the universe wanted them to be together," Fisher said.
Even though Mary has a very specific secret, Forsythe intends her story to be universal.
"Everyone's got things that they bring from their past into relationships," Forsythe said. "The most important thing is allowing yourself to be open and raw and vulnerable to the person that you're with."
Set in Forsythe's native Australia, Wolf Like Me casts Gad and Fisher as Americans who work and live abroad. Forsythe said he originally set Wolf Like Me in the United States, but production company Endeavor Content suggested setting it and filming it in Australia.
Forsythe knew Fisher had played Americans before in films like Wedding Crashers and Confessions of a Shopaholic.
"Her American accents have always been strong but it was actually tricky for her in Australia because she was surrounded by Australians," Forsythe said. "So she kept finding herself sort of easily slipping back into the Australian accent between takes."
Fisher said she was happy to have an accent to focus on during Wolf Like Me's emotional moments.
"When I have to get emotional or vulnerable, it's easier for me to hide behind a dialect than do my own," Fisher said.
Fisher gets to perform a bit of physical comedy when Mary runs away from Gary. Fisher said she has been self-conscious about her run since she was in clown school in Paris.
"I actually hired a running coach who helped me learn how to run," Fisher said. "Ultimately, I think Mary looks cool when she runs."
All six episodes of Wolf Like Me are available Thursday.