Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor and songwriter Darren Criss and director Amy Heckerling (Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High) discuss their new Quibi show Royalties on the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s The Breakdown. Royalties tells the tale of two songwriters (Criss and Kether Donahue) trying to write music for pop stars.
Heckerling was thrilled to be tapped as the show’s director: “Darren called and said he had something and I love him so I was like ‘OK. I’ll do it.’ And then I read the scripts and I thought they were adorable. They were all like short little segments.”
“I wrote 10 songs in 10 days,” Criss says. “We would shoot and then that night I would go to the studio and make the songs ready for playback the next day. Toward the end, it started to bottleneck because then I started [filming the show] Hollywood as well.”
The show proved to be a labor of love, however; Criss admits he’s wanted this idea to come to fruition for a while — since he believes this industry story is rarely told. “There is a mechanical, utilitarian nature to creating songs that I think people forget about. There are obviously the tales of the great songwriters. Most songwriters are just trying to write a song to get it placed on an album [or] if they’re lucky maybe for a commercial. I really wanted to focus on those people.”
Amy added: “You’ve got to feel so proud. Everybody has this project in them that is their little baby. It’s very rare to get it out.”
Darren recalls: “I remember just pinching myself like, ‘Amy Heckerling is directing me in a thing. She’s now screwed; I’m on her resume for the rest of her life.’”
Royalties is available to stream now on Quibi.