TV & Movies

Dan Levy and Annie Murphy Spill All the Secrets from Schitt’s Creek Season 4

Life in the middle of nowhere has never been this funny. The on-screen siblings dish the deets on the return of our fave Canadian comedy—like how David and Patrick's relationship will develop

Dan Levy and Annie Murphy on the set of Schitt's Creek season 4

David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy) in a scene from Schitt’s Creek Season 4 (Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

The start of the new year has come and gone, but there’s one more maj event we’re still counting down to: the return of Schitt’s Creek, obvs. After the bonkers fourth season trailer dropped, we had plenty of questions for the hit series’ stars Annie Murphy and Dan Levy (the former FLARE columnist also co-created the show with his dad, bona fide comedy legend Eugene Levy). The onscreen sibs and real-life besties gave us the scoop on what to expect from the hilar, homegrown comedy’s return January 9 on CBC.

Ebay is their wardrobe’s secret weapon

David’s drop-crotch pants, Alexis’s sundresses and Moira’s capes are all scored online—largely by one of the show’s sometime stylists, Levy himself. “There’s so much looking on eBay. It’s a habit, especially during sale season,” says Levy. “[Catherine O’Hara’s] dressed in Nicolas Ghesquière, Balenciaga and Raf Simons looks from collections that I’ve admired. For me, it’s great to get to explore my interest in fashion. At the same time, it’s just a very savvy way of costuming a show.” For her part, Murphy says she loves her character’s clothes from afar. “There are many things in Alexis’s wardrobe that I would take home, but I would get a huge, ‘Fat chance!’ from Dan.”

Dan Levy and Noah Reid in David and Patrick's store, Rose Apothecary, in a scene from the fourth season of Schitt's Creek

David and his love interest Patrick (Noah Reid) in a scene from Schitt’s Creek’s fourth season (Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

David changes his relationship status

David shared his first kiss with Patrick, played by Noah Reid, last season, and Levy assures us that our favourite gallerist-turned-shop owner isn’t parting with his adorbs new love interest any time soon. “It became clear to us, very early on that Noah [Reid] would be someone we were definitely going to fold into our world in a major way,” says Levy. “I think that telling a really truthful story, that just so happens to involve two men, is a great gift because it’s something that I didn’t have when I was growing up. I didn’t have anything to sort of look to on TV.” His pansexual character has contended with too-close-to-home hookups (with sassy motel owner, Stevie) and visits from hot exes (like Season 3’s hot photog, Sebastien Raine), and Levy says that David is opening some viewers’ eyes to the fact that sexuality is nbd. “People who had not necessarily been as tolerant or as open-minded to the queer community are finding an in because they fell in love with David, and they’re rooting for him and his relationship. To be a part of that conversation is really special to me.”

They still watch and learn from Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara

If you ask Murphy, Levy has two very different sides on set. He’s either wearing his “boss’ hat” as the series’ showrunner, or being “an absolute goof.” When they’re not in scenes together, she says you can catch them snacking at craft service, watching legends Levy and O’Hara create comedy gold—or sometimes both at the same time. Murphy tells us: “We’re usually posted up with a big thing of candy or popcorn behind the monitors, watching what’s going on.”

“The Number” is coming

The Schitt’s Creek Season 4 trailer was a true gem, but it teased a mother-son musical number that we *need to* see more of. Levy told us that he was originally meant to only accompany O’Hara on stage, but it was her idea to have him sing along. “I thought to myself, ‘As a person, that’s terrifying. I don’t think I want to do that. But as a showrunner, you’re right. That makes for much better TV.’ I don’t want to spoil anything, but you may see it again in a later episode.”

The show has some seriously famous Hollywood fans 

Celebs are *actually* just like us, cackling right along every time Alexis drops references to her past life of luxury (and relationships with various international royals) into casual conversation. Levy couldn’t believe when low-key icon Anjelica Huston told The Hollywood Reporter that it was one of her favourite shows. Meanwhile, RuPaul and Michelle Visage told Levy they’re fans when they had him on their podcast, What’s the Tee? “First of all, I was trembling,” he says. “It was the most surreal thing. Now I just have to work my way onto [RuPaul’s Drag Race].” Actor Will Arnett also tweeted about loving Schitt’s Creek, but Veep’s Tony Hale (who’s also Arnett’s Arrested Development costar) made Murphy’s day by following her on Instagram. “I thought, ‘That couldn’t possibly be Tony Hale.’ Then, ‘Oh my god, it’s Tony Hale!’ I obviously have zero chill and immediately sent him a direct message. He wrote back and it was the kindest thing.”

Dan Levy and Annie Murphy talk in their respective beds in a scene from Schitt's Creek

David and Alexis in their motel bedroom (Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

Dan’s greatest fear is alive in Schitt’s Creek

When Murphy watches the show back, the moments that make her laugh the most wouldn’t be obvious to the average viewer. “It’s always funny to watch the scene that you know took a thousand takes,” she tells us. “Or when you know the person you were acting with was just killing themselves laughing. It’s also funny knowing when Dan has just been attacked by flying insects, which is his greatest fear on Earth.”

Alexis is single AF

The timing always seems to be off for Alexis and her ex-fiancé Ted (Dustin Milligan). At the start of Season 4, she’s realized she’s in love with him but the sweet-as-pie veterinarian has moved on. “This is the very first time that she wants something that she can’t have,” says Murphy of her brokenhearted character. She throws herself into work and school to distract herself, and tbh, we’ve all been there–Murphy included. Small-town life has never sounded less appealing than when we consider how frequently we’d run into a local ex. But where Alexis might have an awkward run-in, Murphy says she’s only ever had welcome reunions. “I’ve been lucky in the sense that I’ve been able to maintain a friendship with most of my exes, so in a moment that on TV would be absolutely mortifying, it’s nice to see them.”

Annie Murphy looks confused in a scene from the fourth season of Schitt's Creek

(Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

Murphy got inspo for Alexis from your fave mid-aughts it-girls

Sure, Alexis can’t go long without mentioning her links to foreign royals, flings with Zac Efron or trips to St. Barth’s. But did you know that she has Kardashian Konnections? Before the world met Alexis Rose (and heard, “Ew! David!” for the first time), Murphy says her research for the role included a look back at mid-aughts paparazzi queens like Lindsay Lohan and the Olsen twins, as well as the ubiquitous Kardashian krew. “They gave me some good inspiration, so I do have to thank them for my initial research.”

The cast hangs out IRL…

Plan, join or bail, amiright? When it comes to getting together after work, Murphy says each of the cast has a specific role. Levy’s the planner who hosts dinners or brunches, with invites going out at least a week in advance, natch. “I’m pretty good at [making] more last-minute plans, which drive Dan crazy,” Murphy admits. She says Emily Hampshire (who plays Stevie) loves the ideas behind whatever plans are made, but ultimately opts to stay home. Been there, sis. Murphy says, “We’ve all come to recognize these things about each other, so it runs very smoothly.”

Eugene Levy, who plays Johnny, Catherine O'Hara, who plays Moira, and Annie Murphy, who plays Alexis, in a scene from Schitt's Creek season 4

(Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

And their group chats are lit 

Not only does the cast have several group chats going (including one between Levy, Murphy and Milligan that’s used mostly to tease each other, which Levy jokes is “to keep us all grounded”), but one is especially—stick with me now—animated. Levy says that he’ll often receive wordless messages from Hampshire because her Bitmoji says it all. “We’re always kept in the loop as to her general feelings, state of mind and being via these constant Bitmoji texts. She’s hysterically funny and I love her so much.”

As expected, Eugene Levy is THE sweetest proud dad 

Imagine a parent beaming with pride while watching their child perform in the school play. Now imagine that parent is Eugene Levy. Murphy says she loves catching her on-camera dad watching his kids’ scenes (Sarah Levy plays café waitress Twyla). “You know how dance moms stand at the back of the room and gently do the choreography that their kids are supposed to do? Eugene stands by the monitors and mouths the lines, with this very sweet, loving smile on his face. He’ll go through a scene over and over, right alongside them from behind the monitor. It’s so sweet to watch.”

Dan Levy and Catherine O'Hara film a scene in David's store, Rose Apothecary

(Photo: Courtesy of CBC)

Yep, some of David’s *almost* Lol-ing on-screen is real 

We’re not the only ones cracking up when Moira makes a grand entrance or references one of her starring roles (or when she called David a “disgruntled pelican?” STILL dying over that one). “For me, to be a character working around Catherine O’Hara in scenes is hard. I constantly have to check myself from breaking,” says Levy. “A lot of people on Twitter and social media have said [about moments], ‘Is David laughing? Or, is this Dan being totally unprofessional?’ I’d like to say the answer is somewhere in-between. Half character. Half me.”

It’s the most emotional season yet

You know Schitt’s Creek can be counted on to brighten your day, but this year, it’s also–TWIST!–bringing the feels. “I think it’s the most delightfully emotional season we’ve ever done,” says Levy. Murphy agrees. “It’s the funniest season, but there’s a lot of emotion that comes with it. It has good, cozy, happy feelings for the most part and I think we really need that now. I’m excited for people to see it.”

Related:
Dan Levy on Schitt’s Creek: “It’s Important to Tell Queer Stories”
The Globe and Mail Responds to Backlash Over John Doyle Calling Dan Levy “Fey”
Annie Murphy on What It’s Really Like to be a TV Actress 

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