Movies & TV / News

Michael Showalter Discusses His Plans For Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

July 30, 2015 | Posted by Joseph Lee

In an interview with IGN, Michael Showalter spoke about his plans for Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. The eight-episode prequel series hits Netflix on Friday at 12:01 AM PT. It stars Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Nina Hellman, David Hyde Pierce, Joe Lo Truglio, Ken Marino, AD Miles, Christopher Meloni, Marguerite Moreau, Zak Orth, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Marisa Ryan and Molly Shannon. Here are some highlights:

On how much it changed when they learned it would be a series instead of a movie: “We wrote it as episodes. We took the larger story that we knew we had and we sort of made it into arcs and pieces, similar to the way we did the movie actually which is like every storyline was outlined individually so every storyline had it’s own beginning middle and end and the cards were just kind of shuffled around to kind of try to create episodes out of them but the advantage of the way we tell the story in Wet Hot is that all those storylines do exist sort of in a vacuum. We do have to be somewhat faithful to whatever time of day it is. We don’t want to have scenes that are culminating at night happening in the first two episodes. But we’re not bound to much by character continuity so you never have “oh no we can’t show this scene because Beth and so and so just ran into each other in the arts and crafts bunk.” That won’t happen because they’re separate. They’re kept apart and that’s by design.”

On working with everyone’s schedules: ” That’s a question that I think David would be more equipped to answer than me and that’s kind of his specialty I guess. There’s a kind of controlled chaos to the way he’s kind of able to wrangle all these different characters and I think both he and I enjoy the challenge of stitching together such an elaborate cast and put all the pieces together. There’s a certain illusion to it that makes it fun to view it as a puzzle in that way. in terms of the challenge of it, it’s no more challenging or any less challenging than any of it. It’s all challenging. It’s always a challenge but in the best way possible to mount a production like this when you have a bunch of cast members and speaking parts and all these different storylines and things you’re trying to juggle. It’s always a challenge but it wasn’t an insurmountable challenge or anything that ever threatened to — there was never that moment where we were like “how are we going to do this?” It was always something that felt achievable and really the scheduling falls on the shoulder of people other than myself so I was pretty unaware of whatever the real challenges of that were.”

On which backstory he’s excited about: “I like them all. I think the Lindsay backstory is really clever and it’s everything, tonally, that Wet Hot is about. It is a curve ball. It is absurd and silly but it is kind of rooted in these very emotional things of her not wanting to betray these friends she’s making and at the same time it’s kind of a trope. It’s a reference to Cameron Crowe and these other kind of movie tropes that I think inform so much of the comedy of what we do.”