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How Martin Freeman Navigates Screaming and Cursing at Young Children in ‘Breeders’ (Video)

TCA 2020: ”He was fine with it, and then about two minutes later, he really was quite upset,“ co-creator and star says of FX son

Last Updated: January 10, 2020 @ 4:38 PM

Last TCA, we were treated to the pilot episode of upcoming FX comedy “Breeders,” which stars Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard as the very imperfect parents of two young, impressionable children. This TCA, we got the trailer and a panel — and an explanation on how Freeman and his fellow co-creators handle the on-screen screaming and cursing at kid actors.

“There are actually rules…about what they can and can’t see and hear,” Freeman said on Thursday. “So obviously if there’s a lot of swearing, a lot of cursing in the scene, we do a cleaned-up dialogue version, and then once the kids have left then we get to do the swearing.”

“We try to keep it as fun as possible,” he continued. “But there are also times where you have to instill in them that this is a serious [scene], that you’re going to be on the receiving end of a barrage of anger or temper.”

Freeman said that he and the pilot’s director had to apologize “a couple of times” to the kids because “it had got a bit out of hand.”

“That scene where I was screaming at them, cursing at them,” Freeman said. “Lovely little George [Wakeman], who plays my son…he was [initially] fine with it, and then about two minutes later, he really was quite upset.”

They simply explained it was all “play,” adding, “It takes a little bit of handling in that way.”

Wakeman, who is now 10 years old in real life, plays Luke. Jayda Eyles, who plays Freeman and Haggard’s daughter Ava, is now 6.

“Everything bounced off her,” Freeman said of the younger Eyles.

Watch the scene via the video above. That’s the trailer, and it is also new today.

In “Breeders,” Freeman stars as Paul, who is described by producers as a caring father discovering he’s not quite the man he thought he was. His partner in this impossibly steep parental climb is Ally (Haggard), who runs a recording studio, makes Paul laugh and has the ability to read a story to their children while she’s technically asleep.

Paul and Ally are juggling fulltime careers, aging parents, a mortgage, upheavals in their relationship and the unenviable curveballs of parenting their young children, according to the show’s logline.

It continues: When Ally’s estranged father Michael (Michael McKean) appears on their doorstep, the family essentially takes on a third child but this one comes with baggage and opinions. Paul’s own parents, Jackie (Joanna Bacon) and Jim (Alun Armstrong), are on hand to help out, but their generation does parenting a little differently…

“Breeders” debuts on March 2 on FX and the following day on FX on Hulu. Premiere day will include the first two of 10 episodes.