The Crew: Kevin James, Freddie Stroma Preview of NASCAR’s first sitcom
Kevin James didn’t want his third sitcom to be a rerun of King of Queens or Kevin Can Wait – and what could be more different than a series in the world of NASCAR?
On the heels of the Daytona 500, Netflix is set to release The Crew, a 10-episode comedy film directed by Jeff Lowell (The Ranch) that focuses on the fictional Bobby Spencer Racing team led by Crew Chief Kevin Gibson.
“I still like the format of being in the sitcom world, but work comedy is different for me,” James told TVLine. “This world is something I didn’t know much about … It was a great opportunity to do something different, but still familiar.”
In the pilot, Spencer (played by Bruce McGill of Rizzoli & Isles) steps down and passes the team on to his number-driven daughter Catherine (Jillian Mueller of The Last OG), a tech millennial who wants to change Kevin and his crew always have things done.
“[Kevin and Catherine] are on each other almost the whole time, ”says Müller. “I want to revise things and Kevin is old-fashioned so we keep bumping into their heads to see who is going best and how we’re going to keep this team afloat.”
James adds, “The old dog has to learn new tricks, but some of the old tricks still work. That’s the fight right there. You sure don’t want to be stuck with the old and outdated and out of date, but there are things you can learn from tradition. It’s a give and take. “
Among the most reluctant to accept Catherine’s changes is the trustworthy mechanic Chuck, who has his own way of doing things.
“Chuck’s thing is, ‘I’m going to get this car running.’ That new, fancy stuff? He doesn’t like that, “says portraitist Gary Anthony Williams.” Give me the tools, get my boys out of here and let’s get this thing going. Chuck has no time for fancy stuff or the new hood -Sponsor she’s going to come. That’s just not part of his MO “
Kevin is also concerned that Catherine will replace moronic driver Jake Martin (UnREAL’s Freddie Stroma) with up-and-coming Jessie (Alexa & Katie’s Paris Berelc).
“Jake is trying to keep his place and Jessie is trying to take it,” Berelc teases. “They have a fun little rivalry all season.”
For Stroma, who last played Bridgerton’s Prince Friedrich, working with sitcom veterinarian James was only half the appeal of signing up for his first multi-cam.
“I’ve never made a character like Jake,” he says. “I haven’t gone that far or played so much bullshit so it felt like something new and fun … with NASCAR it felt like a really cool mix.”
The crew’s first season of 10 episodes falls on Monday. Are you adding it to your Netflix watchlist?