Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt: 'Sprung' is a hopeful COVID comedy

Martha Plimpton can now be seen in the sitcom, "Sprung." Photo courtesy of Amazon Freevee
1 of 5 | Martha Plimpton can now be seen in the sitcom, "Sprung." Photo courtesy of Amazon Freevee

NEW YORK, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- Former Raising Hope co-stars Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt say they were excited to work together again on Sprung, the rare comedy that shows how regular folk - as opposed to the rich and famous - weathered the coronavirus pandemic.

"I haven't seen anything, necessarily, yet that had COVID integrated into the story, that was part of the story, but wasn't THE story," Plimpton told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.


"This gives people an opportunity to see the early struggles, the early confusion, the early questions of COVID, but in a context of figuring it all out and being able to laugh about it without minimizing it. That was really important."

Created by Greg Garcia, the show follows Jack (Dillahunt) and a group of his fellow nonviolent prison inmates who end up quarantining together after they are unexpectedly freed in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. Plimpton plays Barb, the woman who takes them in and supplements her meager income by snatching Amazon packages off of people's porches.


It isn't long before she convinces the ex-convicts to plan bigger crimes and while they might not all be ready to go straight just yet, Jack convinces them to steal only from those exploiting the pandemic, hoarding and price gouging. The rag-tag crew then uses the spoils from their thieving to help make the lives of strangers and their neighbors a little better.

The show premieres Friday on Amazon Freevee.

"It's kind of the area Greg is interested in -- real people and family in all its incarnations and the love that exists there," Dillahunt said.

Plimpton added: "He writes from a place of truth, honesty, generosity, good humor, good nature, he uses what's real and what he knows and what we know. In that sense, I think it's really lovely and he is a special kind if guy that way."

Garcia doesn't intend to imbue his stories with morals or lessons on how to live, but they show up in his work nonetheless, Dillahunt observed.

"He's just interested in the way different people survive and somehow he manages to infuse a lot of hope in the story," the actor said. "I'm hopeful for these people. I like them and I feel like they are going to be alright."


Plimpton said the show doesn't shy away from complicated subjects, but approaches it with humor and decency "without harping on it a lot."

Dillahunt described his character as a "badass who has gone to seed."

"He's the guy who's like, 'I don't want to do this, but OK I'll do it.' I like those kinds of people and I know for Barb -- 60 percent of the comedy in the show is on her shoulders. We needed a monster actress who could take that challenge. It's like it was nothing for her," he said of Plimpton.

Plimpton was happy to throw herself into the role.

"I love her ingenuity. I love her pragmatism. I love her directness. I love her sensuality. I love her middle-aged, single-mother, living-on-her-own independence, coming up with solutions on the spot, her love of having fun," she said.

"All of these are really extraordinary elements of Barb along with her extraordinary physicality, which at the end of the day, I've got to say, I really enjoyed doing."

Dillahunt, who is well-known for his performances in Deadwood, The Mindy Project and Fear the Walking Dead, said promoting Sprung alongside Plimpton was making him feel emotional because it made him realize that even though he works a lot, he doesn't always enjoy or appreciate the experiences.


"We've become great friends," he said of Plimpton.

"I don't know that I've ever had so much faith or a heavy reliance on a scene partner," he added. "She's like a source of food. Every take is different, every single one and I would have it no other way. I'm so happy to be back with Martha. I would work with her in everything for the rest of my life if I could. Greg can come along, too, if he wants."

Visibly tearing up, Plimpton replied, "I'm gonna [expletive] cry."

"We should all be so lucky to have a Garret in our lives," she added.

The stars had high praise for the rest of the cast, as well, noting everyone is hilarious and had his/her moments to shine on the show.

"We all feel crackling and alive and awake. I've laughed in Martha's face so many times," Dillahunt said.

"As an actress of my age, I'm 51, it's not very common to have a feeling of having a creative or artistic family at least in this way," said Plimpton whose credits include Goonies, Parenthood and Brockmire.

"Working with Garret and Greg, I feel very comfortable. I feel at home and like I can do whatever I need to do. As long as it makes them laugh, I'm good."


Sprung co-stars Shakira Barrera, Phillip Garcia, James Earl and Clare Gillies.

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