Not only did we get more Zoey’s after Playlist was canceled by NBC following its second season, but the Roku movie Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas has nominated for two Emmys!
In addition to the nomination for Best TV Movie, part of what makes Zoey’s so good — the performances — was recognized with a nomination for Best Choreography (for Mandy Moore and Jillian Meyers).
“It really feels like a nice validation of all the hard work we put in, so we’re all really thrilled,” creator and writer Austin Winsberg tells TV Insider of the nominations. He shares more below.
Congratulations! Talk about the moment you found out.
Austin Winsberg: My wife and I were in bed and we were trying to update Deadline and figure out when it was gonna be announced and we couldn’t figure out when we were actually gonna see the categories. Then I got bombarded by about five texts within five seconds with people who found it faster than us.
Have you had any time to process the nominations yet?
I had a moment right before this morning where I was like, it was great that we even got to do the movie in the first place and it was nice to even be in the conversation, and I was trying to set myself up for disappointment and then go back to work today. And then yeah, I was just really thrilled and gratified and surprised.
Why do you think the movie resonated the way it did?
I think the movie is about issues that people can relate to. I think that certainly people enjoy a good holiday movie and things revolving around Christmas. In this particular case, the movie is about the family’s first Christmas without their father and what that’s like when someone who’s such a profound part of your life is suddenly gone. I think there’s been a lot of loss lately. I think that’s a universal idea that everybody can relate to, that first holiday without a loved one. So I think that probably that’s part of the resonance of it. And then I think that for the Zoey’s fans, being able to continue where we left off on this massive cliffhanger at the end of Season 2, to be able to see that storyline wrapped up on top of letting the movie be kind of standalone, too, at the same time, hopefully it appeal to Zoey’s fans and, and new people alike.
Has anything about it jumped out at you since the nominations were announced you hadn’t necessarily thought about before?
That’s a good question. Not yet. My main takeaway is just that there were so many people who — cast and crew — worked so hard on the show and then came back together to do the movie very quickly and so that we were able to have a lot of continuity and have it all feel very similar. I’m just grateful that we were able to get everybody back and very, very grateful for Roku and Colin Davis at Roku for believing in the show and believing in us and green-lighting a movie so quickly that they made it on the air by December 1.
And I have to say the performances were amazing. So I was really happy to see the choreography nomination.
Yes! I love Mandy Moore so much, and she’s a genius and she’s been my creative partner every step of the way from moment one with Zoey’s and literally couldn’t do any of it without her and she just takes everything and makes it better. We speak the same emotional language and I feel like she just puts it out there every single time. And I also have to give credit to Richard Shepard, who was our pilot director, who came back in to do the movie with us, too. Richard, Mandy, and I have such a connection and a beautiful shorthand with each other so it made the process just effortless and really fun.
Do any of the performances stand out now that you’re thinking back after the nominations?
I really love the mashup between Max [Skylar Astin] and Zoey [Jane Levy], when he sings “Just the Two of Us” and she sings “We Need a Little Christmas” and there’s that thing where all of the dancers are on the stairs together, and they’re all doing this dance with their hands. We looked at it in the editing room — to a frame there is not a person in those stairs that’s off from each other. They are so in sync, it’s crazy. And the fact that Mandy was able to choreograph all of those people so quickly and have it be that exact, is such a testament to her work.
I of course have to ask if there will be any more Zoey’s. I need more Zoey’s in my life.
[Laughs] We all do! I think we just have to keep putting pressure on Roku. I think there’s a desire for more. It gets complicated now because actors are off doing other projects. I know that Roku was really happy with the movie and it did well for them. So I think there’s always a possibility, but nothing to announce as of this moment.
And now after the Emmy nominations…
I’ve been saying this to Colin for months. I’m like, what does it take? Zoey’s Extraordinary Vacation! Zoey’s Extraordinary Halloween! Let’s do it. What are we waiting for?