Interview: ‘Spirited’ Songwriters Discuss The Fun Involved In Wishing Everyone a ‘Good Afternoon’

It may take three ghosts to redeem a miserly, old curmudgeon but is takes a team of talented songwriters to make his story sing. For Apple TV+’s Spirited, that team consisted of the Academy Award-winning songwriting/composing team of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman), plus Khiyon Hursey, Sukari Jones, and Mark Sonnenblick.

The team worked through Covid, often remotely, to turn this unique take on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” told from the perspective of the ghosts, into a mash up of holiday cheer and Broadway musical caliber songs. The soundtrack has an array of songs from the uplifting and festive to the emotional. Then there’s that one song that has audiences talking, and wishing each other a ‘Good Afternoon!’

The concept for ‘Good Afternoon’ was the idea of star and producer Ryan Reynolds who wanted to work the phrase into the soundtrack, because unlike how kindly it sounds, the it is quite dismissive and was even considered offensive in the days of Dickens. Pasek, Paul, Hursey, Jone and Sonnenblick worked endlessly to deliver on Reynolds’ request, compiling a 40-page Google doc of jokes and notes for this song along the way.

The end results is something right out of a slightly warped version of Mary Poppins infused with a ton of clever humor, some crude moments, but most of all uncontainable joy. The song comes to life on the streets of Victorian London with hundreds of extras, explosions, stunts, an extended tap dance sequence and even a cameo from an Academy Award-winning actress. If you think it sounds like merry fun, wait until you see it.

During my conversation with Pasek, Paul, and Hursey we discussed what went into making this song the most fun song of the year. It is a fascinating conversation that had me smiling from beginning to end. Their enthusiasm for the project can be heard in their voices throughout as they discuss paying homage to the musicals they loved, writing for Reynolds and Ferrell, the magic of seeing the song come to life on set, and so much more.

Watch the full interview below and be sure to get that Christmas Morning Feeling by watching Spirited, exclusively streaming on Apple TV+.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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