Lodge 49 is a dramedy series centered on Wyatt Russell's Dud, a drifter ex-surfer struggling to bounce back in life after his father committed suicide and his family pool business went under. Upon discovering a ring for the Order of the Lynx, Dud finds a potential path to an idyllic life for him and those around him.

Alongside Russell, the cast for Lodge 49 included Brent Jennings, Sonya Cassidy, Linda Emond, David Pasquesi and Eric Allan Kramer.

Related: 10 Best TV Shows Canceled Before Their Time, According To Ranker

As the series gears up to make its UK TV premiere on July 31, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with creator Jim Gavin to discuss Lodge 49, how Paul Giamatti helped the show get made, his hopes for completing the series and more.

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Brent Jennings and Wyatt Russell in Lodge 49 Season 1 Episode 2

Screen Rant: I will happily admit that I have been a huge fan of Lodge 49 since it launched here in the States. When it first came on, I was actually in college going to Cal State Long Beach. So it has a little extra special place in my heart for its setting.

Jim Gavin: Yeah, you were a 49er.

Yeah, exactly! So the show has so many unique characters, unique concepts, how did it even really first come about for you?

Jim Gavin: I think two things. One, I think this is a very personal show, it very much comes out of my life and growing up in Southern California. And it's especially about a period in my adult life kind of post the crash of 2008 and things my family went through, as far as foreclosures and bankruptcies and losing, in some ways, a sense of the future and trying to figure out how to get through that period. It also features all the jobs I've had in my life, newspapers, plumbing, temping, restaurants, etc.

So there's that and then just a long-term interested in kind of weirdo, Western esoterica and that combined with a fascination of these dusty old lodges that are still around. You still drive by them every day, they look kind of derelict, but I always felt like they had a story to tell inside. So the combination of all those things kind of led up to this moment of a scene where a young man knocks on the door of one of these places and an older man, who's been through the wars, opens it. And that's it, that's kind of the beginning of the story.

What was it like developing the relationship between Ernie and Dud throughout those two seasons?

Jim Gavin: It was a lot of fun. It's absolutely central to the show, I tend to write about mentor relationships. The first season, we didn't know who Dud and Ernie we're going to be and the second season, we knew it was Brent and Wyatt, they're both amazing, so getting to write for those actors in particular, I think it deepened every aspect of what we thought was possible and directions we could go with them. That was the great joy of the way Wyatt and Brent totally embodied the relationship at the heart of the show.

What I love about that is that Wyatt Russell was on the rise, but he still wasn't quite a household name. What was that like getting him to lead as Dud, since a lot of that show is carried on his back? Did you find that the producers were hesitant at all or was everybody all in on Wyatt?

Jim Gavin: He was the only one. We never considered anyone else, and this was before we even started talking to Wyatt. There was kind of a weird Lodge 49-esque thing where once we kind of knew the show was getting picked up, it was like, "Okay, there's only one dud." And just through a coincidence, one of our writers, her boyfriend was a journalist and met Wyatt somewhere and somehow he mentioned to Wyatt, "Oh, my girlfriend's writing for the show." This is Alina Mankin, she's a brilliant writer. [Her boyfriend said], "She's writing for the show Lodge 49" and Wyatt was like, "Whoa, someone's making that?" Because he had read the script somewhere and loved it, so then we're like, "Oh, we need to meet."

So me and Peter Ocko, the showrunner, met Wyatt, I can't remember where we went Patrick's Roadhouse, I think, off the PCH. I remember walking up to meet Wyatt and there's kind of two homeless guys outside sharing a cigarette, just sitting on the curb and then I figured out one of them was Wyatt, who was just hanging out with a local. [Laughs] Everything after that just kind of fell into place, it just kind of was always gonna be him and it could only be him I feel the same way, even though it took different paths to get to all of our cast, that's how it feels now, it's like it was all kind of meant to be.

They all fit their roles so perfectly, I couldn't agree with you more. Speaking of roles, I think one of my favorites, even though it was shorter, was Bruce Campbell as The Captain, being an Evil Dead fan. How did that casting came about, did you also write that role with him in mind or was that something that you had a few other people in your thoughts?

Jim Gavin: We didn't write with Bruce in mind, but obviously it was a character that gets built up through the season, like, we need to pay this off in a big way. If I remember right, I think that was Mr. Paul Giamatti making a call and once we realized it was possible with Bruce Campbell, yes, we went after it. We're all huge fans, he's a legend, he just adds something that he can only do. In an alternate universe, his character would have come back at some point. But yeah, who knows?

 

Paul Giamatti as L Marvin Metz in Lodge 49

Since you mentioned Paul Giamatti, that's another element of the show that I've always been intrigued about. He's an executive producer, but you've also got him as the narrator for Ernie's audiobook and then he becomes part of season 2. How did he get involved with Lodge 49?

Jim Gavin: When the script was going around, no one wanted it, no producers wanted it. It got to Paul Giamatti and Dan Carey, who loved it. I think we shared a lot of the same interests and they're book guys, they're like big book geeks. I think that aspect of the show spoke to them, so they were on at the very beginning and then we went out with it and, again, no one wanted it, everyone passed immediately.

The only person who took a chance was Susie Fitzgerald at AMC, she kind of became our fairy godmother. The creative team at AMC was amazing and we always had Paul in mind and his character comes to the fore in season 2 in a way that was about as much fun to write as anything I will ever do. [Laughs]

Was there was there any time during the development of either season where the network had reservations about any of the material? Because some of it does get pretty out there.

Jim Gavin: No, I think creatively, they let us make the show that we wanted and for that, I'm eternally grateful. I'm not gonna lie, it getting canceled will always be a thorn in my heart, but at the same time, I can't ever really complain about anything because of how miraculous it was that we [made it]. [Laughs] We always felt like we were a money-laundering scheme or something, like it just didn't make sense to make the show. But yeah, creatively, AMC is incredible and they had to make business decisions down the road, which is what happens, and you have to be an adult about that. But when we were making it, it was heaven.

Speaking of the cancellation, how much of the future for the show did you have mapped out in your mind?

Jim Gavin: We definitely had an ending, I've always had the ending in mind. Things change and shift for various reasons, but I think the main [road] where we wanted to go was pretty well laid out. We were imagining it as four seasons with these alchemical guideposts for each season. We had a lot figured out, that doesn't mean we had everything figured out. [Chuckles] With TV it's like, "Oh, you can't get that actor, so you have to make a change," things like that. But I think the spirit and destination on the show, the characters and their endpoints, were in our in mind? So that's what is the bummer, obviously.

How has it been seeing the cult following that's gathered for the show in the years since its cancellation? Because it always got great reviews, but ever since it hit Hulu in the States, I've found that there's been a lot more people talking about it and showing their love for it, have you noticed that at all?

Jim Gavin: I have and it's really incredible. This is weird to say, but there's a perverse part of me that I've always liked to dig for more out-there stuff, obscure or whatever, but the weird kind of psych garage band that never made it in its day and somehow gets revered. Falling into that category, for me, is not a tragedy, the people who find the show, I think, find it in and really respond to it and when you find someone else who feels the same way, it's special, it is a link, to make a pun. So I've loved seeing that. I think we always knew that was going to happen, Peter Ocko and I, like we knew and I hope it just keeps growing. I am as delusional as anyone, I would like to figure out a way to end the story with our cast in some way, but if we don't get that chance, I think what we've made, I think it'll continue to maybe bring some joy to some folks, and that's all I can ask for.

While you do hope for a chance to wrap it up the story, I'm curious, you just mentioned the four-season plan, but would you find a way to rework it into a film if given that opportunity, since some shows have closed out with films instead?

Jim Gavin: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like the old British model of two seasons and a Christmas special is appealing as a capper. So yeah, some sort of mad two-and-a-half, three-hour freakout would be just the thing. [Laughs] No one's knocking on the door at the moment, but like I said, I think anything's possible, the more people are finding it, I think the more possible that becomes, and that's why I'm so excited that now people in the UK can watch both seasons, because they haven't been able to. I think only the first season was available for very recondite reasons I can't fathom but yeah.

That was actually going to lead into my next question. How are you feeling leading up to its newfound release?

Jim Gavin: This is exciting news, I just found out. There's currently like three sets of DVDs of the whole show making their way around various parts of London and the Midlands. [Chuckles] That's a slow process, people just sharing DVDs, so this will hopefully accelerate things. The show actually has a lot to do with the UK in many ways, the kind of founder of the Order's from there. The show was going to go back there, so whether that is appealing or not, I don't know, but I'm excited for an audience over there to find the show, for sure.

Lodge 49 Synopsis

Wyatt Russell in Lodge 49

“Lodge 49" is a light-hearted, endearing modern fable set in Long Beach, California about a disarmingly optimistic local ex-surfer, Dud (Wyatt Russell), who’s drifting after the death of his father and collapse of the family business. Dud finds himself on the doorstep of a rundown fraternal lodge where a middle-aged plumbing salesman and "Luminous Knight" of the order, Ernie (Brent Jennings), welcomes him into a world of cheap beer, easy camaraderie and the promise of Alchemical mysteries that may — or may not — put Dud on the path to recover the idyllic life he's lost.

2022-07-27T19:03:57.000Z

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