The Oscar-Nominated Director of ‘Tár’ Co-Starred in Conan O’Brien’s Rejected Cult Comedy Series
Instead of just making a biopic about Whoopi Goldberg or Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, we got a nearly-three hour movie about a totally fake EGOT winner — Tár starring Cate Blanchett as the world’s most problematic conductor. The highly acclaimed Tár is up for a haul of Academy Awards this weekend, including a nomination for its director Todd Field.
Before he was helming films like In the Bedroom and Little Children, Field was a working actor; you might recognize him as the blabbermouth piano player from Eyes Wide Shut who can’t be trusted with a simple orgy password or voicing Ol’ Dripy in Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Field also appeared in a little show called Lookwell, a failed TV pilot that subsequently became legendary amongst comedy fans.
Produced by Lorne Michaels and created by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel back when they were still lowly Saturday Night Live writers, Lookwell starred Adam West in all his hammy glory as Ty Lookwell, a washed-up network TV star. Meta similarities aside, West’s Lookwell is a former 1970s cop show actor who cluelessly attempts to solve real-life crimes — the kind of guy who responds to the news that his favorite hair spray is no longer in production by dramatically intoning: “Those fools…”
Field plays Jason, one of Lookwell’s acting seminar students, who gets roped into aiding him in several half-baked, costume-heavy schemes. Presumably, had the show been picked up, Jason would have turned into the Robin to Lookwell’s Caped Crusader — but it was not to be. Lookwell was hilarious but ahead of its time, and it ultimately “fell victim to changing executive regimes at NBC.”
But in retrospect, this may have been for the best for Field. After all, who knows if he would have gone on to become an Oscar-nominated filmmaker had he been locked into a 10-season run of an Adam West comedy? Though, to be fair, Field did manage to co-create Big League Chew without falling into an exclusively gum-based career.
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