Ahead of Saturday Night Live’s season 42 premiere tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Lorne Michaels about the changes he’s made to the cast this year as well as the his decision to cast Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, which was actually a suggestion by Tina Fey:
The idea came out of a conversation with Tina Fey at some point during the summer. Then I mentioned it to Alec but he’d already committed himself to a movie and [he and wife Hilaria] were about to have their third child. There were a lot of obstacles in the way to working it out. But I just thought he’d be brilliant doing it and I thought he and Kate [McKinnon] would be a match.
Michaels also talked about his decision to let go of Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah, saying that while he thinks “they’re both super-talented,” ultimately “if you don’t keep making changes you don’t change.” But why Pharoah and Killam instead of other veteran cast members? Michaels’s answer is, as you might expect, pretty vague:
Well, put it this way. Chevy Chase was there for a year-and-a-half. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were there for four years. Jimmy Fallon was there for five years. Fred Armisen was I don’t know how many years. It’s whether or not they’re — I don’t know. There’s people’s lives involved here so I’m not really… There are decisions that you intuitively come to, that now we have to do something different, that’s all.
Michaels was even more vague when asked if he regrets inviting Donald Trump to host SNL last year:
I don’t want to rehash those things. He is the nominee of the Republican party. We’ve always tried to be non-partisan. I think that he’s one of the most controversial candidates that’s ever happened. But you’ll see what we do this week.