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Chris Elliott: King of the 11-Minute Episode

The star of Adult Swim’s Eagleheart shares his thoughts on cop shows, hot daughters and brevity.

Photo Courtesy of Adult Swim | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012
Eagleheart may just be the most violent and funny show on TV. The fact that each episode is a mere 11 minutes makes it perfect viewing for waiting in line at the psychiatrist. Chris Elliott plays a gung-ho U.S. Marshall who isn’t afraid to kill, maim and destroy all manner of crime in this over-the-top surreal show on Adult Swim. It’s even crazy by Adult Swim’s standards. (Spoiler Alert: Season 2’s first episode deals with violent cakes.) The first season is now available on DVD just in time for the Season 2 premiere this Thursday at midnight. What can you expect from our new favorite Marshall? Chris Elliott fills us in.

Don’t Call it a Cop Show
CHRIS ELLIOTT: It’s not a cop show. We use that basic premise of cop shows to support the crazy, surreal stuff that happens. But it’s not a cop show. We stopped pretending it was a cop show around the end of the last season. Now we’re taking even sharper turns with the stories. It’s crazy. And the writers add so many surreal elements. As long as it fits in 11 minutes, it’s good to go.

Season 2? More like “Season Eww”
This season is meaner, bigger, badder and bloodier. There are a lot of “head pops” in this season where someone’s head explodes. The first episode of this season has one of my favorite death scenes, when [OMITTED TO AVOID SPOILERS] blows up. I’m a fan of full body explosions.

Other Favorite Eagleheart Deaths
I love the Death Punch from the first season. It’s this very specific move that has wonderful results. I’m always impressed with our special effects and directing. Everything looks like a feature film.


Dreams Can Come True
I always loved cops, and cop stories. I grew up watching Mannix, Hawaii 5-0, and Adam 12. I’m not doing an impression of those characters on Eagleheart, but surely that’s where some of the inspiration comes from.

Tears of Clown
I don’t get offered many dramatic roles. As soon as my face pops up in a movie, everyone knows I’m the funny guy. I was in Michael Mann’s Manhunter. That’s a pretty serious movie. And yet when I show up, modern audiences are like, “Hey! It’s Chris Elliott. This’ll be fun. Haha!” I once went in to talk to the producers of Third Watch, and they asked me, “Who do you see yourself playing?”

I said I wanted to play a police officer.

They laughed and said, “How about a sociopath or a serial killer, instead?”

[Editor’s Note: He also played a Navy guy in James Cameron’s The Abyss, but even in that he had a semi-funny line when he calls Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio “the Queen Bitch of the Universe.” That is all.]

11 Minutes is All You Need
The show’s pace is hectic and fast. If you blink, or turn to grab a beer, you’re going to miss a joke. I love that. We only have 11 minutes, so you need to pay attention. Some laughs come from the fact that it’s only 11 minutes. The editing is so tight and funny.

No End To the Madness
I want this show to go on forever, like Law and Order or Murder She Wrote. It’ll only get better. The older I get, the funnier the entire show’s premise is.

Proud Papa
When I first heard that my daughter (SNL Cast Member Abby Elliott) was going to be in Maxim, I was a little worried. But when she showed us the pictures, they looked great. She’s beautiful. So no, I’m not going to hit you. (Check out the photos here.)

Cabin Boy 2?
No!

Photo Courtesy of Adult Swim | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2012

Season One of Eagleheart is now on DVD. Season Two begins Thursday, April 12th, at midnight on Adult Swim.