Adam Scott Breaks Down the Long and Winding Road to ‘Party Down’ Season 3

The actor tells TheWrap about working with Jennifer Garner and why he’s glad the “Party Down” movie never happened


Revivals have been all the rage in Hollywood for the last few years, but for “Party Down,” there’s essentially been talk of some kind of reunion or continuation since it was canceled in 2010. At long last, 13 years later, Season 3 has arrived.

The half-hour comedy series launched in 2009, a story of Hollywood malaise as told through the eyes of the workers at a catering company, with each episode taking place at a different event. Ahead of its time, the ensemble cast ranged from Adam Scott to Lizzy Caplan to Jane Lynch to Martin Starr, all of whom would go on to star in massively successful shows of their own in the ensuing years.

While the series wasn’t formally canceled until after Season 2 aired, Adam Scott said he had an inkling during the filming of the second season finale that they wouldn’t be back.

“There was a feeling — at least with those of us who were in the know about what was happening at Starz — there was a sense that this may be it,” Scott told TheWrap. “So much so that I remember getting one of the last scenes … I say something about Jane like ‘She’s gonna be OK’ and I was choked up, I was starting to cry because I felt like this might be it.”

Perhaps the saddest part was that by the end of Season 2, Scott said the cast was “at its peak of having fun with each other and loving making the show and not knowing if anyone would ever really see it, and not caring because we were loving it so much.”

Indeed, the actor – who would follow “Party Down” with an iconic role on “Parks and Recreation” – says that making the show for each other was “more than enough” and they were eager to keep going, despite middling ratings.

But like other cult favorite shows of the 2000s and 2010s, “Party Down” found an audience on home video, racking up a devoted fandom through DVD sales. Not long after the show was canceled, co-creator John Enbom started writing a “Party Down” movie as a way to continue the story, something Scott said came close to actually happening (“Like so many things, it just ended up kind of falling apart for one reason or another”).

But the failure to get the “Party Down” movie off the ground ended up being a blessing in disguise. In hindsight, Scott said he’s glad it didn’t happen.

“It occurred to us that maybe a movie wasn’t the best format for ‘Party Down,’ because the device of the show is so perfect that the guys came up with, which is one party per episode, new environment, new cast of characters, new set of problems,” Scott said. “Every episode, it’s a brand new set of circumstances. So when thrown into a three-act movie that’s sort of out the window, right? You could do a few different parties, but then you have to have some arc taking you from one party to the other, you have to have glue to connect them all together. So do we go home with Kyle and see his apartment? Do we see Henry and Casey at dinner? Like, do we want to see these things? Or do we just want to see these people how we see them in the show, which is just how they behave when they are at work with each other? I think that is what we all kind of came around to feeling, is that the best place for the characters and for the show is half-hour episodes.”

Adam Scott and Jennifer Garner in “Party Down” Season 3 (Starz)

As soon as the movie went away, the team starting thinking about new episodes, but that idea too floundered – “I think it was a little bit before streaming was as prevalent as it is now,” Scott explained. And then the Vulture reunion happened.

The whole cast got together in 2019 for a reunion special for Vulture, and it kickstarted the creative juices once again. Scott and the show’s creators – Enbom, Rob Thomas, Dan Etheridge and Paul Rudd – all started getting together on Zoom to toss ideas around. After a series of conversations, Enbom went away and started to craft a third season’s worth of episodes.

“John took like this dump truck of info and ideas and went off and crafted a story,” Scott said, adding that they all trust Enbom so much that they felt comfortable just rattling off ideas and letting him coalesce that into a cohesive story.

That story begins right before the pandemic, with Season 3’s first episode taking place at a party for Kyle’s (Ryan Hansen) big superhero debut catered by Party Down. The rest of the season then takes place post-pandemic, as Henry, Kyle, Ronald (Ken Marino), Roman (Starr) and Constance (Lynch) are back at Party Down with a couple of new hires – Zoe Chao’s Lucy and Tyrel Jackson Williams’ Sackson — and struggling through it, as always.

Not back is Lizzy Caplan’s Casey, as the actress had a scheduling conflict with another series. In her stead, Season 3 becomes a romantic comedy with Jennifer Garner playing Henry’s potential new love interest, who was their ideal casting choice for this new character.

“Jennifer was the person we were talking about as Evie should be ‘someone like Jennifer Garner,’ someone with poise and sophistication and super funny and all that stuff, never thinking that Jennifer Garner is someone we would get,” Scott said. “Little did we know the she likes ‘Party Down’ and wanted to do it, and so then we kind of felt like we had to get our act together and behave ourselves because Jennifer Garner was now on the show.”

The relationship between Henry and Evie is different than the one between Henry and Casey, largely because “Party Down” Season 3 explores feelings of anxiety and restlessness in your 40s as opposed to your 20s or 30s. And that emotional core was something Scott was excited to dig into this season.

“I think all of us now being 13 years older, we know that just sort of physiologically life feels different at this age than it did back then,” the actor explained. “And restlessness is something that is just through a different prism at this age than it was then, so I think Henry feels that he’s settled, and he’s done with one thing or the other. And then, you know, the unexpected can happen and before you know it, you’re sort of reassessing, which happens a lot to people in their 40s and having to start over in some ways or just reassess where you are and what you’re doing.”

Given how enthusiastic the entire crew was about coming back, could a fourth season be in the cards? Scott says they’d be down while acknowledging that making Season 3 was a herculean feat of scheduling.

“I think everyone would probably be open to it. I mean, getting everyone’s schedule lined up for these six weeks was a feat of engineering and scheduling, so I think the biggest hurdle would be finding another chunk of time where everyone could do it, because that was tough, that was the biggest hurdle to making this season,” he said.

Indeed, Scott is currently at work filming the second season of the acclaimed Apple TV+ drama series “Severance,” and the rest of the “Party Down” crew has fruitful careers of their own. And yet, there’s a joy to making the show that keeps pulling this group back together.

“I think all of us are always up for more ‘Party Down.’”

Season 3 premieres Feb. 24 on Starz at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with new episodes released weekly and also streaming on the Starz app.