Chozen (FX) Interviews: Star Bobby Moynihan and Creator Grant Dekernion Talk Rapping, Animation and More

Chozen (FX) Episode 1 Pilot (3)

The premise for FX’s new animated series Chozen is high concept to say the least: a white, gay rapper is released from prison and sets out to spread his new life philosophy through his lyrics with a goal to become the greatest rapper of all-time. Recently, TV Equals joined a conference call with star Bobby Moynihan (Saturday Night Live) and Chozen creator, writer and executive producer Grant Dekernion about what viewers can expect from the outrageous comedy, working with Method Man and why Chozen will have appeal beyond its target audience.

Chozen premieres this Monday, January 13, at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on FX.

How Chozen Was Born

First time series creator Dekernion, always knew he wanted to do a series about the struggle of musicians, but he wanted his series to be outside the norm of what we have come to expect from shows about artists struggling to make it in their chosen business. “I’ve loved hip-hop my whole life, so I just started thinking about it,” Dekernion said. “Then I also wanted to create a character that I’d never seen before on TV, and I think “Chozen” fits that bill.”

Dekernion went on to explain Chozen will be a “delayed coming-of-age story a little bit” about a man trying to come into his own and restart his life after a stint in prison. Because Chozen is a unique character, Dekernion can tell an old story in an entirely new way.

What Makes Chozen (The Character) Special

Adding multiple labels to character doesn’t make them special, and with so many attached to Chozen there was the potential for him to fall into the realm of parody, however, both Dekernion and Moynihan feel the character is realistic in his own way. Moynihan elaborated by comparing Chozen to Kenny Powers from HBO’s Eastbound and Down.

“It’s like “Kenny Powers” is a real person,” Moynihan said. “The way people talk about that is like he’s a real person, and hopefully they’ll do the same about “Chozen.” It’s like this guy is a loose cannon lunatic, but he’s actually a pretty good person with a good heart, and it’s an amazingly fun character to play because there is this—it’s so insane and so off-the-wall but there is this groundedness [sic] to him, and there is this kind of own life philosophy that he has that I will say since I’ve gotten the show I have actually had the thought in real life of like, “I need to act more like this “Chozen” dude,” because he gets what he wants, and he gets results.”

Is Chozen A Show With A Message?

Only if that message is comedy. While Chozen will fight against the use of misogynistic and homophobic lyrics in rap music, his desire to address those issues comes from his relationship with his sister and his own desire not to label people. Chozen himself can be inappropriate at times, but Dekernion insists it’s only Chozen’s way of learning how to interact with people and strike up a relationship.

“I do think there are some ideas and messages that may be touched upon, but we write the show,” Dekernion told us. “The show is about one person and about one person’s experience, so it’s not—it has nothing to do with politics or anything like that. I think just because of the nature of the character and the way he goes about things certain things could hit people in a certain way, but that’s nothing intentional that we do from our end.”

Why Chozen May Appeal To Viewers Outside Of Its Demographic

FX is pairing Chozen with Archer, creating an animation block that seems most likely to appeal to a certain younger, male demographic, but surprisingly reporter after reporter revealed that they were shocked by how much they enjoyed the show, despite suspecting it wasn’t aimed at them. While this may have been shocking news to the interviewers, the interviewees didn’t seem quite so surprised. When asked what they hope viewers will take away from Chozen, Moynihan responded, “Yeah, as far as an animated comedy goes, to me it’s not like Family Guy, which is just joke after joke. It’s more of, like, this is a story about this guy’s life, and I hope that people want to see where he goes in his life, and I hope they continue to watch it so they can find out.”

Live Action Versus Animation

The basic concept for Chozen is grounded enough that it could have been live action, but Dekernion, despite having never worked with animation before, decided to make Chozen an animated series simply because it allowed the writers greater freedom. “Mainly we can go inside people’s heads, inside their dreams,” Dekernion revealed. “You could shoot that live, but it would be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, so we thought animation was a good fit.”

On Working With Method Man

The famous rapper Method Man is working on Chozen and collaborating with Derkernion (who does the rapping for the character of Chozen) on improving lyrics and more. His help has been crucial for the series, but Derkernion admits it can be surreal at times. “I mean, probably the funniest part is we had all these lyrics in mind, and he liked them, so he’s like, “Yeah lets go with this.” And it took me literally an afternoon of editing to be able to get a demo of what this could sound like, and I think Method Man did it in one breath in about 32 seconds.”

Chozen (FX) Episode 1 Pilot (6)

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