Michael Greyeyes, Jana Schmieding, Ed Helms, Sierra Ornelas and others discuss Rutherford Falls

Jesse Leigh and Dustin Milligan also share the good details with Native Viewpoint’s Vincent Schilling

As Rutherford Falls season 2 makes its way to Peacock TV, Native Viewpoint’s Vincent Schilling was able to conduct a few interviews with the show’s stars.

Namely, we spoke with Jana Schmieding and Ed Helms, Jesse Leigh and Dustin Mulligan and Michael Greyeyes and showrunner and co-executive producer Sierra Teller Ornelas.

A note from Sierra Teller Ornelas (Co-creator, co-showrunner and writer)

Hello!  My name is Sierra Teller Ornelas. I’m a member of the Navajo Nation. I am Edgewater clan, born for the Mexican Clan. I’m also a co-creator of the Peacock original comedy Rutherford Falls along with two scrappy unknowns Mike Schur and Ed Helms. When we came up with the idea for this show, we wanted to explore how the sins of American history reverberate in the relationships of folks living today, specifically the first peoples of this land, and how we all seem to cling to historical narratives at our own peril.  

Speaking of narratives, here is where I should probably rattle off a bunch of sad statistics about Native American representation in the media. It’s real bad: shows with Native people are almost always helmed by white men obsessed with imagery of us in the past, in the background, and usually dying before the third act. Rutherford Falls is none of that: it’s funny, smart, and infused with an abundance of Native Joy. At various points, while making season 2, one of our writer/directors Tazbah Chavez (Bishop Pauite) felt compelled to yell, “We never get this!” Meaning, Native people never ever get to see themselves fall in love, have sitcom hijinks, and find the most hilarious ways to make sense of their lives.  

We made eight episodes this year and they are all awesome. Get ready to watch Nathan (Ed Helms) jump out of a coffin at the worst possible moment, Reagan (Jana Schmeiding) get kicked in the face at a Rez Halloween house party while dressed like a bottle of ketchup, Bobbie (Jesse Leigh) run for mayor, while still being a teenager who’s excited to receive a Cameo from Olivia Rodrigo’s horse, and Terry (Michael Greyeyes) do the famous dance number from Dirty Dancing! 

I would also like to mention that Rutherford Falls features some of the best dang Ed Helms representation to date. He is so funny, a true rom-com leading man, and brings so much humanity to Nathan, a character who in season 1, blew up his brutal legacy and in season 2 is trying like hell to carve out a new one. 

I know you’ll laugh, you’ll swoon, and you’ll experience the best music, art, fashion, acting, writing, and directing that Indian Country has to offer. I hope you love Season 2 of Rutherford Falls as much as we loved making it. WE NEVER GET THIS! 

Ahéhee, 

Sierra Teller Ornelas 

Showrunner, Rutherford Falls  

Rutherford Falls Season 2: Michael Greyeyes, Sierra Teller Ornelas talk w/ Vincent Schilling

Rutherford Falls Season 2: Jana Schmieding, Ed Helms talk w/ Vincent Schilling

Rutherford Falls Season 2: Dustin Milligan, Jesse Leigh talk w/ Vincent Schilling

About Season 2

In Season 2 of Peacock’s hit comedy, RUTHERFORD FALLS, life-long best buds Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) and Reagan Wells (Jana Schmieding) help each other tackle work, romance, and major changes to their small town and the Native American reservation it borders, initiated by Tribal Casino C.E.O. Terry Thomas (Michael Greyeyes). 

About the Series: 

Co-Creator / Showrunner / Writer / Executive Producer: Sierra Teller Ornelas 

Co-Creators / Executive Producers: Michael Schur, Ed Helms  

Executive Producers: Mike Falbo, David Miner and Morgan Sackett 

Produced By: Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Pacific Electric Picture Company 

Launch Date: June 16, 2022 

Format: Comedy, 8 episodes x 30 minutes 

Filming Location: Los Angeles, CA 

Cast: Ed Helms, Jana Schmieding, Michael Greyeyes, Jesse Leigh, Dustin Milligan, Dallas Goldtooth, and Kaniehtiio Horn 

Rutherford Falls PeacockTv Screening Event

Press announcement from Peacock TV 

RUTHERFORD FALLS — Rutherford Falls Season 2 Premiere Event at Rolling Greens in Los Angeles, Calif., June 8th, 2022 — Pictured: (l-r) Ed Helms, Kaniehtiio Horn, Jesse Leigh, Dana L. Wilson, Mike Falbo, Jana Schmieding, Sierra Teller Ornelas, David Miner, Dallas Goldtooth, Julia Jones — (Photo by: Randy Shropshire/Peacock)

Last week Peacock TV hosted a premiere screening event with the cast and crew in attendance in Los Angeles.

According to the press announcement by Peacock TV attendees included a long list of Native notables as well as trailblazers in the industry.

Guests included Co-Creator, Showrunner, Writer and Executive Producer Sierra Teller Ornelas (Navajo); Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Series Regular Ed Helms; Executive Producers David Miner and Mike Falbo; Cast Members Jana Schmieding (Cheyenne River Lakota Sioux), Jesse Leigh; as well as guest stars Dana L. Wilson, Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota & Dińe), Kaniehtiio Horn (Kahnawake Mohawk), Bobby Wilson (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota), Julia Jones, and Migizi Pensoneau (Ponca/Ojibwe) and more.

Additional notable guests were in attendance, including Robin There (A Black Lady Sketch Show), Phil Augusta Jackson and Carl Tart (Grand Crew), Kiowa Gordon(Dark Winds), Bethany Yellowtail(Fashion Designer), Emily Heller (Comedian), Jenny Yang(Comedian), River Butcher (Comedian) and executives:   

Jeff Meyerson, Executive Vice President, Comedy DevelopmentMichael Sluchan, Executive Vice President, Scripted Series, Movies, Daytime & Kids, Entertainment Scripted Programming, ELG & DTCJim Donnelly, Executive Vice President, Comedy Development, Universal TelevisionErik Rechsteiner, Senior Vice President, Current Programming, Universal Television

The premiere event featured a Native-inspired RUTHERFORD FALLS celebration from the moment guests arrived:

Following a screening of the first episode, guests celebrated at an after party and were treated to delicious noshes under the stars, including a family Fry Bread recipe from Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo Nation of Oklahoma) of Wahpepah Kitchen and wine pairings by vintner Tara Gomez (Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians) of Kita Wines. 

Guests were greeted with iconic pieces from the show including the “Big Larry” statue and Minishonka flag, along with decor inspired by the town of Rutherford Falls, themed cocktails, and more.

Attendees were also treated to a live DJ set by Emcee One, who also played some of the original music from the show. 


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Follow editor and co-founder of Native Viewpoint, Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk on Twitter @VinceSchilling

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