'Community': Guest star Josh Holloway and creator Dan Harmon on the paintball season finale


Image Credit: Lewis Jacobs/NBC

Slap on some goggles and peer out cautiously from behind the corner: It’s almost time for Paintball: The Sequel! A year after Community’s splendid splatterfest “Modern Warfare,” the NBC comedy aims to outdo itself with a two-part season finale (airing May 5 and 12). The first half, titled “A Fist Full of Paintballs,” features a special guest star, Lost’s Josh Holloway, who plays a “mysterious, serious” paintball player named Black Rider. Holloway and series creator Dan Harmon spoke with EW about the big game.

On the casting of Holloway

HARMON: “We knew we wanted somebody special for this role, because it’s a mysterious stranger who’s thrown a wrench into the paintball game…. I don’t know how we bagged him. It seemed like he was on Lost and then he was lost and then we found him, and I don’t know what we did to deserve that.”

HOLLOWAY: “I got a phone call from my agent. They said, ‘Community, it’s a big paintball thing and you’re a mysterious character,’ and I’m like ‘I’m in!’ … This show is just hilarious and it’s a sleeper hit to me. And I had worked with Chevy [Chase] a couple years ago on a movie called Stay Cool and we just hit off and laughed because he’s Chevy, you know? He and his wife were big fans of Lost so he asked me questions about that and he’d give me hell about my inability to be a better actor. He was just funny as hell … I was excited to work on the show not just because he’s on it, but it’s really smart and the actors are so great and so talented. I’m like ‘Damn, they’re funny! I don’t know if I’m funny.’”

On Black Rider

HOLLOWAY: “He’s a mysterious, serious guy — but then it gets funny.”

HARMON: “He’s badass. He’s from somewhere else so he’s not your typical Greendale screwball. He’s definitely got his stuff together, and he knows how to shoot a gun and he’s got the right equipment. He’s a formidable, shadowy threat. He seems to out-Winger Winger a little bit…. [Black Rider] and Jeff [Winger, played by Joel McHale] onscreen together is pretty funny — you can definitely see the overlap that two flint rocks have — that creates friction and it’s classic stuff. Having another fellow with such looks in the story certainly brings out the worst in Jeff.”

On this year’s paintball game

HARMON: “The Dean is intent on having this one go a lot more smoothly, but he fails. What was supposed to be a smaller, quicker, safer game becomes quite the opposite: it’s bigger, longer, and more brutal.”

On working with the Community cast

HOLLOWAY: “They’re smart and fast. I felt a little behind the times. They’re referring to all these shows and actors, and I’m like, ‘All I’ve been doing is watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Wonder Pets with my daughter!’”

On the possibility of Holloway returning to Community next season

HARMON: “I’m looking forward to having him back if he’s so inclined, because he’s got a lot of comedy chops. He was a lot of fun to work with.”

On the possibility of Holloway guest-starring on other comedies

HOLLOWAY: “Oh god, I’d love to be on 30 Rock. Who wouldn’t? Modern Family is awesome. I’ve always been interested in comedy … [I’m available] for fun guest-starring roles. Really, the TV thing I’m holding off of is the six-year relationship with one character. I just wanted to give myself some breathing room as an actor first.

On the concept of a two-part paintball finale

HARMON “It’s designed to exist both as one story but also two separate episodes. [The first] one has a Sergio Leone Western motif, so there’s more emphasis on tension, scarcity of ammo, and who might draw on who. But the second one erupts — the Western motif falls away and an out-and-out war happens. There’s a kind of an epic, wartime, band-of-rebels-against-a-larger-force Star Wars feel to the second one … If we only did the Western one, there might have been some people who said, ‘Oh it’s great, but it’s not ‘Modern Warfare.’ And then there’s other people who, if we had only done ‘Modern Warfare,’ would say, ‘Eh, same thing again.’”

On addressing Pierce’s turn to the dark side

HARMON: “This so-called Pierce problem that’s been talked about in critics’ columns is in fact building to a climax in this final story. That’s the drive of both of the stories in a large way. People have pointed to the fact that Pierce [Chase] is sort of villainous this season, which I did on purpose because I like him that way. But I think the only people who felt like that are people who feel like it’s being ignored by the group. And so we’re using these stories to have the group acknowledge it.”

On the risk of repeating themselves with another paintball episode

HARMON: It’s always worth considering, ‘Let’s not go back and try to recapture lightning.’ That’s a good way to fall on your face, but at the same time … the idea that we wouldn’t be able to top ourselves was too tempting to me as a self-destructive producer. I’ve tried so many times to fail on this show, and every time I try really hard to screw up, we get a really good episode. I was so busy walking around with knots in my stomach about the fact that we were about to air a My Dinner With Andre episode that the potential embarrassment of trying and failing to [pull off] another paintball was small potatoes. I fully accept the potential of failure all the time. I just feel like ‘high risk, high yield’ is a better philosophy in entertainment. We’ve doubled down quite a bit on this show and we’ve got a big stack of chips, so we’re just going to keep doing it until we lose.”

For more on Holloway’s Community guest spot, check out this week’s issue of EW.

(Twitter: @dansnierson)

Comments (39 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2
  • harry

    Josh Holloway FTW!!!!

  • K

    Dear Internet,

    I will watch Josh Holloway on anything. Please put him on my tv or my computer as much as possible.

    Thank you.

    • Galina

      Hi Carmen,If you are looking for the Italpasta Oven Ready Lasagne, yes we do! They are laautlcy on in-store feature right now for 1.99 Each!Let me know if there is anything further,Brian

  • Amy

    I am all for another paintball war as long as it is different and brings character development. But hey, Sawyer is in it so how can it be any less than epic? Can’t wait. I hope poor Annie lasts longer this time. And I can’t wait to see Jeff and Black Rider interact.

    • Becca

      Same I hope Annie is able to kick butt! I’ll always take a good paintball episode as long as Jeff and Britta do not always end up sexing each other.

  • Steph

    GO JOSH! A perfect marriage right here.

  • tracy bluth

    I. Can’t. Wait.
    I need Josh Holloway back on my TV every week!!!!!!

  • alex

    um, he seems really awesome and grounded in real life. why is he making me love him more? oh this unrequited love.. him + community… i don’t know how i’ll deal

  • Dr. Linus

    I’m a big fan of Holloway, I loved his portrayal of my favorite character on Lost. I look forward to seeing him do others. This will make me tune in to Community finally (although I know I should otherwise).

  • LOL

    After the way the school was trashed in the first paintball episode, there is no way they’d have another. It’s such a stretch that I don’t think anyone would buy it.

    • D’s Advocate

      I think you’re overthinking the whole verisimilitude thing here.

    • Ceecile

      Do you actually watch Community? Because I have hard time believing you would buy most of what happens on the show..

    • Gunner

      Yeah..because the zombie episode was more believable right?
      This is Community..better yet..this is GREENDALE we’re talking about. Stop over-analyzing things and just laugh at a great comedy show.

    • alex

      This LOL guy always makes dumb comments. Everyone should be used to it by now.

    • Johnification

      Actually, I totally buy that Dean Pelton would try again for “the paintball tradition”.

      • Brint

        I wonder if this will get him a cover story in Dean magazine?

  • rhonda

    and the day improves.

  • FR

    Josh is awesome but Dan is even awesomer. :) I hope Annie gets to make out with the Black Rider, it’s been a dry year for her. Take that, Jeff “Nipple play” Winger!

    • Viola

      hahah I don’t think he was high or drunk I just LOVE Josh, and I think the character of James Sawyer Ford rlaely suits him well.Oh, and by the way Lost is a rlaely great series, both the producer and actors did a rlaely great job and I can’t wait for the 4th season to come out, cause I’ve seen a lot of trailers and everything and it’s seemed rlaely awesome and intense!Take care every1. Bby*

  • Eric P

    Love the show. Annie’s my fave… But less of Chang please…

  • Jen

    Can’t wait to see this – and love that Chevy Chase is a LOST fan. I hope Josh and Chevy have scenes together.

  • Vixela

    That’s exactly why I love Community so much, Dan! Others might feel that this season has been less consistent when compared to season 1 but season 2 has delivered a multitude of great episodes that the mediocre ones are fine by me as long as they continue to be willing to bet big to win big and are not scared to fail once in a while.

  • mia

    What an amazing combination. I can’t wait to watch!

    • Ece

      Just thgouht you should know that when I clicked on the map for the Uxbridge store location it took me to map quest and the directions were for your Bloor Street store.

  • pbev7

    I love Josh Holloway. Anyway I can see him on TV is a special occasion. Community rocks too. WIN, WIN!

    • Hania

      Hello, no complaints here. Just want to say that the store on Bloor is great and has been at times a real ilfesaver! And keep stocking the Fraktals!

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