Filming the dark comedy thriller “Based on a True Story” for Peacock presented its own unique challenge: the unstoppable laughter between stars Kaley Cuoco and Chris Messina during takes.
According to director and executive producer Alexander Buono, the duo had incredible comedic chemistry, making it difficult to proceed with shooting scenes. Buono even joked that his role often involved being a wet blanket to direct them.
Cuoco acknowledged their constant laughter and described their partnership as unexpected and remarkable. She praised Messina for his humor, kindness, and dedication to creating a positive atmosphere on set. Both Cuoco and Messina were committed to looking out for their fellow cast and crew members, and they considered it an essential aspect of their work.
“Based on a True Story,” created by Craig Rosenberg, follows the journey of Ava (played by Cuoco) and Nathan (played by Messina), a married couple expecting their first child. Struggling with financial difficulties, they decide to launch a true crime podcast to improve their situation. However, they soon become entangled in the very crimes they are exploring, leading to unexpected and dangerous consequences. The show is produced by Jason Bateman’s Aggregate Films, with Bateman and Michael Costigan serving as executive producers.
In addition to their on-screen chemistry, Buono highlighted the contrasting acting styles of Cuoco and Messina. Cuoco’s approach was described as instinctual, while Messina brought a grounded and deliberate presence to his performances. Their differences complemented each other, with Messina grounding Cuoco’s spontaneity and Cuoco eliciting more comedic moments from Messina.
Messina fondly recalled Cuoco’s infectious laughter on set, explaining that making her laugh felt like a personal victory.
During filming, improvisation played a significant role, leading to unpredictable bursts of laughter. Tom Bateman, who portrays the character Matt, expressed uncertainty about how much of the improvised moments would make it into the final show. He referred to these moments as “unusable magic,” describing the struggle to contain laughter, especially when under time pressure and eager crew members awaited completion of the scenes.
Aside from being a fan of Cuoco’s work, Messina revealed that the show’s underlying theme of love drew him to the project. He found the idea of two people who had fallen apart and embarked on an absurd, dark, and unconventional path to reconciliation appealing. Messina believed that the heart of the story revolved around a love story, and this aspect resonated strongly with him.
Interestingly, Cuoco’s character, Ava, is also pregnant in the show. This mirrored Cuoco’s real-life experience of discovering her own pregnancy while filming. Cuoco viewed the experience as a welcome distraction and considered it a special moment in time. She embraced the opportunity to incorporate her pregnancy into the show, adding a personal touch to the character and leaving a lasting mark on the series.
Peacock will premiere “Based on a True Story” on June 8th, allowing audiences to witness the remarkable chemistry and comedic talent of Cuoco and Messina in this darkly comedic thriller.