Marvel’s WandaVision is (at least so far) a recreation of kitschy midcentury sitcoms starring Scarlet Witch and Vision from The Avengers movies. We’re told it’ll eventually go off in a wilder direction, but the first few episodes are pretty much a spot-on imitation of I Love Lucy mixed with Bewitched. To nail that feel, though, the producers needed someone who had worked on the inside. So they called on Dick Van Dyke — older than dirt, yet spry enough to run down to the studio, trip over an ottoman, walk in and contribute.
Matt Shakman, series director, spoke with ETOnline.com about his experience working with Van Dyke. The first step was to inform him what WandaVision was. The second step was to inform him what the Marvel Cinematic Universe was. “He did say at one point during our lunch, “Oh, I hear you guys have had some great success. That’s wonderful. Congratulations. What did you just put out?” Van Dyke was told Avengers: Endgame, and think about that for a second — he was the one person on Earth who wasn’t aware of Avengers: Endgame in the weeks after its release.
At the time Van Dyke came on set, pre-production was nearly done and they would begin shooting soon. “We learned from Dick Van Dyke that their number one rule for how they approached anything was that if it couldn’t happen in real life, it can’t happen on the show. Which is this idea that you need to ground what you’re doing in real-life stories, but then that gives you the permission to be incredibly silly and to fall over the ottoman and do pratfalls. That was very helpful in how we approached the tone of it.”
One might ask why WandaVision didn’t take the opportunity to give Van Dyke a cameo appearance on the series while he was there. Maybe they DID think of that…Shakman would not confirm or deny. “I couldn’t possibly say. [Laughs] Couldn’t possibly say!” he told ET. Hmm.