Pushing Daisies: A Delightful Trip

ABC snagged 76 Emmy nominations last week, most of any broadcast network by far.

Pushing Daisies, ABC’s  freshman dramacom, snagged 12, five more than any one-hour broadcast series, yet the network wasn’t doing a whole lot of promotion for it.

The critics are trundling to the fantastical Warner Bros. set today, but I talked earlier to super-director Barry Sonnenfeld, who’s done features like Men in Black and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, in addition to a bunch of fantastical, if not always ratings successful, TV shows, including  The Tick and Maximum Bob.

Sonnenfeld s a funny, unassuming man, not what you’d expect from a big shot director. He seemed not to know that he had been nominated for a directing Emmy for Daisies, and he had no idea how much further ahead it was in the Emmy nom race than any other ABC show, snagging nods in hair, makeup, music, art direction and so forth because of the extraordinarily inventive way it creates an alternate reality.

But he does know how to  direct his actors, two of whom are going for Emmys, Lee Pace as lead actor in a comedy and tiny, yet voluptuous, Kristin Chenoweth as supporting comedy actress.

Pace plays a baker with the power to bring people back to life. Chenoweth plays a waitress at his restaurant, jealous of his abiding love for a woman named Chuck whom he has resurrected, played by Anna Friel. Chi McBride (Boston Public, House) is the venal private eye trying to make money off the baker’s gift.

“Oh, it’s not very hard really,” said Sonnenfeld, who has explained that he gets the show’s amazing visual palette just by “turning the color dial up to 11.”

“I just tell Lee to smile less. I tell Anna to embrace the karma that is Chuck, Chi to be less funny and Kristin to bump up her cleavage.”