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Schitt’s Creek exploded into our cultural consciousness in a dark era of doom and gloom. With Brexit, the return of Crocs and lockdown after lockdown, one reliable, beaming ray of hope was its star and co-creator Dan Levy. With the TV show, which explores the story of a family who lose their riches, but *spoiler alert* gain so much more, the star managed to save our weary souls and spark joy where there was little else.
Since the first episode aired in 2015 Schitt's Creek transformed from a little-known Canadian sitcom into a nine-time Emmy-winning Netflix phenomenon – winning 65 industry awards in total. Over the years it's been praised for its rare and positive portrayal of an LGBTQ+ experience, endless servings of escapist fashion, and above all, its belly-laugh one-liners.
The show might have come to an end last year, but Levy’s new book, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards, promises to fill the Schitt-shaped hole in our aching hearts. Co-written by Levy’s father Eugene Levy, who co-created the TV series and plays his character David’s father Johnny, the coffee-table book is essentially the Schitt’s Creek bible of insider scoops fans have been waiting for.
Want to hear the coining story behind the iconic phrase, ‘Ew, David’? Desperate for just about any information available on the incomparable Moira Rose? Well, look no further than this book to find out all the behind-the-scenes anecdotes.
To mark the release of Best Wishes, Warmest Regards, out now, ELLE UK caught up with Levy to find out more about the Kardashians, Levy fashion collaborations and more.
First of all, was the show at all inspired by the Kardashians?
'Before the Kardashians, the closest we got to understanding or seeing how people in the one per cent lived their lives was through Robin Leach’s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians have given us a much more intimate look at how the extremely wealthy live and Schitt’s Creek is a play on that relatively new general collective consciousness that we all have.
'The great thing about the Kardashians is that they have a strong sense of family, something reflected in our own characters too.'
What role did fashion play in Schitt’s Creek?
'I knew from day one that fashion was going to play a pretty pivotal role in the storytelling of the show, mainly because people express themselves through clothes. There's so much that you can mine about a person by how they choose to present themselves. I'm not a fan of expositional dialogue, I don't love when characters have to explain who they are and what they want or where they came from. The clothes allowed us to constantly remind the audience about where these people came from.
'For David and Moira in the early seasons, clothes were protective and severe to create an armour-like quality. With David, it was a conscious effort to slowly ease that up and soften the edges as he ingratiated himself into the community. With Moira, it was absolutely the opposite. We stayed as aggressive as we possibly could from start to finish, because she never wanted to fully become part of this town.'
Can we expect to see a Dan Levy fashion collaboration one day?
'I can't draw, I'm not good at designing clothes, but I did have something to say in the eyewear space. That's why I dipped a toe in the design world with my glasses company [D.L. Eyewear]. It was my way of contributing something to a community that I love and admire so much.
'If the show was on any longer, who knows what would have happened? The number of people who suggested I put out a line of sweaters… I thought about it for a minute.'
Talk us through the show's incredible wardrobe
'As a fashion lover myself, I wanted people who understood fashion to see pieces from collections that they might have loved from seasons past, that really helped to authenticate the validity of where these people came from. I never wanted it to feel like we threw a strand of Zara pearls around Moira’s neck, but expected you to believe that she came from millions and millions of dollars. The challenge there was we had no budget.
'It was essentially 365 days of trawling through eBay, refreshing various consignment apps and popping into sales to make sure that we got real pieces that spoke to who these people were. Finding these pieces for cheap was one of the great challenges of the show.'
How does your new book convey the same warmth as the series?
'What I love most about the show, and what fans have responded to, is the fact that we never cut any corners with our story and character development, we thought everything through. And our fans tend to have a better understanding and encyclopaedic knowledge of this television show than I do. We've done a lot of interviews and met a tonne of fans, so we knew the book had to be chock full of details that took the conversation one step further.
'We reached out to every cast and crew member and said, "Do you have anything that we haven't seen yet? Have you taken photos that we don't know about? What do you have that we can put in this book to share with everybody?"'
What’s in the book that a Schitt’s Creek fan would get excited about?
'There are many secret details that that people might not know about. But also lots that the fans will recognise. For example, over the course of six seasons, Alexis has given what feels like hundreds of personal stories about her various antics all over the world. We created a spread of Alexis’ adventures plotted together on a map. We also did the same for David’s sweaters and Moira’s wigs.
'For the wedding scene at the end of the series, Katherine drew a sketch of a huge Pope’s hate for the hair and costume departments. Once you see the sketch, you realise how vague the idea was, but the final design actually turned out shockingly similar to what she drew. It’s personal details like that that I love.'
What stories will you write next?
'I'm developing many projects right now and a lot of doors have opened for me since the show. But at the end of the day, I have to remember that making a show that strikes a chord with people in the way Schitt's Creek has happens once in a lifetime – for the best of us.
'For me, it's not about one upping what I've done, but simply telling something new and hoping that the people appreciate it in a similar way. I'm not ashamed that this might be a character that people come to know me as for many, many years. I made something that touches people, I made as real contribution with something good and that's great.'
Dan Levy’s new book, Best Wishes, Warmest Regards is out now.
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