At what point did the thought of a Wet Hot sequel or prequel enter your head? It couldn’t have seemed very feasible back in 2001 after the movie tanked.
Wain: Even though the movie did tank, I was always happy with it. I felt that even from the earliest days, there was a small, but very loyal group of fans that liked it. Over the next few years it started to have a second life. I don’t remember a specific time, but there was always this interesting discussion about doing something else because it was such a fun, rich world for us. With all the great actors, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. It just took all these years to finally come together.
The original plan was to make a second movie. How did that transition into a Netflix series?
Showalter: That really came from the emergence of Netflix. Their creative model really lent itself to what we were thinking, which was to have way more material than we could fit in just one movie. This was more like a miniseries or serialized story, and not an open-ended network TV show that just goes on forever. It was perfect.
Wain: Without Netlix, we might have done this as a feature. Whose to say if that would have been easier or harder to make, but it would have been a different thing.
Did you worry that getting everyone in the cast back would be impossible?
Wain: Yeah. We just weren’t sure until we tried. But they were all psyched when we reached out. We talked about this with them in various ways over the years, but we made sure everyone was excited about it before we even reached out to Netflix. Once they said yes, it was this incredible logistical challenge of getting everyone in one place at one time. They’ve all got real busy careers. It just required us to sit down with ourselves and the first assistant director and just make that puzzle come together.
Did you have to use green screen technology to put two actors into the same scene that weren’t available on the same day?
Showalter: Umm…It’s not that I don’t want to answer that question, but I just don’t want people watching the show trying to figure out how certain things got shot. Part of the fun of Wet Hot is how many crazy things are going on. In a way, there’s a bit of magic to that. I kind of don’t want to give away the trick.