Story and photos by Jonathan Stumpf
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Lisa Coronado — an actress, producer, and West Seattle resident — is still marveling at the recent phone call she received from the owner of C&P Coffee Company, offering up the coffeehouse as a filming location and any services it can provide to Coronado and her West Seattle-based show “The Divine Marigolds,” which she hopes will make it to TV.
“I mean, where else are you going to get that except West Seattle?” asked Coronado during a break from a script reading of the pilot episode, titled “Finnegan’s Wake.”
They describe their show as “a heartfelt comedy about a tight knit Irish-American family set in the gorgeous Alki Beach area of Seattle, Washington.”
While still working on production for the pilot episode, it was the sense of community and family Coronado and her company Corwood Productions are trying to capture in the show that made West Seattle a natural fit as the show’s location.
Coronado runs Corwood Productions with lifelong West Seattle resident and former Husky Deli employee Alder Sherwood, and together they created, wrote, produced and star in the upcoming TV show.
“Family and community is such a huge part of what the show is about and that is what West Seattle is about as well,” said Will Chase, another producer on the show. “Where else would you find this community support for a program like this?”
“West Seattle is almost turning into its own character on the show,” said Coronado, who plays a pill-popping soccer mom on the show. “I think that is what makes it really interesting to me is that it will be a character.”
That community and family-based appeal the show embodies is what they hope will give it momentum to get noticed by a major network.
“The demographics are pretty far-reaching,” said Hugh Berry, writer and actor on the show, “and hopefully we’ll be able to appeal to a broad range of people.”
Six members of the 40+ cast and crew are West Seattle residents; the show itself will prominently feature Alki Bike and Board, The Celtic Swell, Husky Deli and various West Seattle residences.
The pilot episode follows members of the Marigold family as they deal with the her prolonged absence, marital woes, a sibling rivalry, annoying neighbors and an untimely death in the family.
When asked about shows that have inspired them, they wholeheartedly agree upon the short-lived but very popular “Arrested Development.”
“We wanted that awkward, bizarre family that you can relate to and love,” said Berry. “The thing we consciously veered away from was having quirks for quirk sake. We’ll dial that down a little bit and have it more realistic.”
While a significant source of inspiration for the show came from the families of Sherwood and Coronado, who both live in large Irish-Catholic families, the show is not character-based. “It’s based on the feeling of what it’s like and how much love you have for your family,” said Sherwood. “You still come together and eat dinner on Sundays, go to events, look out for each other.”
Additionally, Sherwood admits West Seattle is at times as inspirational as her family. “There is something really unique about West Seattle,” she said. “It is a family. The whole area is. I wouldn’t say that everyone knows each other because there are a lot of new people, but there is something about West Seattle that spawns creativity and inspiration. You just go out and walk around the neighborhood and you feel inspired by looking at what people have done with their homes or looking at the water down on Alki. I think there is something unique and special that will translate on TV.”
Berry said the show really digs into what makes things Irish and won’t be stereotypical but instead look what is the reality of someone who is Irish. “Are they every day, walking around waving a shamrock?” asked Berry. “Or do they just do their thing? I told him [the owner of The Celtic Swell] about the wake we’re having for our dog and he thought it was f***ing brilliant. It is totally Irish humor, that gallows humor. This is therir reality. We’re not leveraging it to exploit it and that seems right. It’s not painted on.”
Presently, they are shooting character vignettes to help with the promotional work of securing funding for the pilot episode. Once filming begins, they plan to use as many contractors from the Seattle industry as possible.
To help the cast and crew of “The Divine Marigolds,” visit their Kickstarter page and make a donation toward their goal of $10,000 by September 4; visit The Divine Marigolds’ Facebook page for the latest news.