Tiffany Haddish Show ‘The Afterparty’ Started as a Movie — How It Changed as an Apple TV+ Series

Apple TV+’s new show The Afterparty has an all star cast: Tiffany Haddish, Ben Schwartz, Sam Richardson, Ike Barinholtz, Zoe Chao, Ilana Glazer, Dave Franco, and more. A movie would be lucky to get a cast like that, and in fact, The Afterparty started out as a movie. Creator Christopher Miller said he wrote it as a movie and then adapted it for television.

Tiffany Haddish holds up police tape in 'The Afterparty'
Tiffany Haddish | Apple

Miller and co-writer/producer Phil Lord spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by Zoom on Jan. 13 about The Afterparty. They shared Miller’s original vision for the movie and how it grew as a series. New episodes of The Afterparty premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.

Christopher Miller wrote ‘The Afterparty’ before his other movies

Together, Lord and Miller made Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie, 21 Jump Street and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Miller wrote The Afterparty movie before all of those. 

“This is an idea that I came up with almost 12 years ago and had been ruminating on forever,” Miller told Cheat Sheet. “It made natural sense for me to direct but Phil was a big collaborative partner on it throughout from the very beginning, all the way, was with me on set. In many ways, it was not unlike any of the other things that we do which is a collaborative partnership.”

‘The Afterparty’ is a complicated mystery for Tiffany Haddish to solve 

In The Afterparty, Det. Danner (Haddish) investigates a crime scene at the afterparty of a high school reunion. Each suspect tells her their version of the events of the night of the reunion. Miller and Lord had to keep track of everyone’s story.

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“It was very Beautiful Mind-y,” Miller said. “We had multiple white boards and a wall that was like the master timeline of what actually happened and then how each character perceived it in their different index cards and different colors that represented different characters. It looked like an insane person had a conspiracy theory about the government or something.”

It was also much bigger than the movie version of The Afterparty Miller wrote in 2009.

“It’s a really complex puzzle and I’d written it as a movie a decade ago,” Miller said. “When we decided to expand it into a series so we could really dig in on each character’s point of view and not have it be limited by having to fit into an under two hour format, it required it to become even more complex because you needed each character to have time to see their worldview and understand them as a person.”

‘The Afterparty’ was a delicate Jenga tower 

The plotlines of The Afterparty were so complex that even the smallest changes complicated future episodes. 

“It made every note super welcome from your producer friend Phil,” Lord joked. “Why don’t you just? ‘All the dominos stack up. We can’t do that.’”

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Each episode of The Afterparty is a different character’s perspective. They could only go in the order in which the current episodes appear, because of the complex interplay between each perspective. 

It had to be exactly this order because each character was advancing the narrative and when you see these scenes a second or third time, it’s boring to see the same scene twice and not learn anything new and just see the same thing over again. So each time you see a moment in the evening, you have to learn something new and have a completely different perception of what happened and have a different understanding of the relationships. And so, for those things to work, you need them to happen in order so that the twists and turns all work. So the structure and the outline were pretty strong pillars. There’s all the specifics therein were things that evolved along the way and certainly got even more evolved once we cast this group of amazing actors. 

Christopher Miller, interview with showbiz Cheat Sheet, 1/13/22

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