On a conference call yesterday, Al Jean, executive producer of The Simpsons, spoke about Julian Assange’s cameo on the upcoming 500th episode. “Obviously, he’s a controversial figure and that was discussed before we agreed to let him do it,” said Mr. Jean. (The Simpsons‘ corporate cousins at Fox News have aired a call for Mr. Assange’s assassination.) “It’s a funny cameo and it makes no judgments in the case against him.
“We had to record it over the phone—it was a cloak and dagger thing—but we specialize in finding people that can’t be found.” Other tough-to-access Simpsons guest stars have included reclusive author Thomas Pynchon, British politician Tony Blair, and guest illustrator Banksy, whom Mr. Jean claimed never to have met. His recent favorite, though, may be Ted Nugent, who called into a table read from a helicopter on a hunting expedition.
While The Simpsons underwent contract renegotiations last year, the recent Christmas special “Holidays of Future Past” was set to be the series finale. After much back-and-forth, the cast all signed on for a deal that will take them to 559 episodes at least. “Had the cast not signed, I would have wanted to stop the show,” said Mr. Jean.