Here’s what it was like to make ‘Wet Hot American Summer’

In just two short weeks, we’ll find ourselves back at Camp Firewood for probably the best summer of our lives. Netflix’s newest original series, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp drops onto the streaming site on July 31st, and we are so ready. It’s time to catch up with all our old friends, like Andy (Paul Rudd), Victor (Ken Marino), Susie (Amy Poehler), Ben (Bradley Cooper), Lindsay (Elizabeth Banks), Coop (Michael Showalter), and McKinley (Michael Ian Black). Just stop and reflect on the glory of that cast for a second.

For those arriving late to camp, this is what you’ve already missed: The original Wet Hot American Summer movie came out in 2001 (and yes, starred the cast above). The flick, which initially flopped at the box office, has since found a devoted, and loving, cult following. As Michael Ian Black described it to the New York Times, “You put things out. Nobody watches them. And then three years later, everybody tells you how much they loved them.”

And love Wet Hot American Summer we do. While OG Wet Hot American Summer followed the last day of camp, this 8-episode run on Netflix will show all our campers and counselors arriving for the first day. Writer/director David Wain calls it the origin story, “that nobody asked for.”

UMMM, we’re asking for it, and so are the movie’s stars, who are once again returning to the roles they played 15 years ago — teenage camp counselors. Just go with it. There’s something insanely hilarious about these actors being 15 years older as they star in the original film’s prequel. And are the actors excited to return? You betcha.

They shot the series over six weeks last winter at the Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, California, and it seems the reprisal of their roles has stirred up some OG semi-memories.

“I honestly remember so little of making the film because it was a nonstop party. I’m so glad people enjoyed it. I hope they enjoy this next bit of business,” Poehler told Elle. She described the feeling of returning to her role as Susie like a dream, “a beautiful, muddy, 13-year dream.” And hopefully she remembers a little bit more of it this time.

Then again, maybe that forgetting thing was just part of making the original. “I was certainly drunk a lot,”  Janeane Garofalo, who returns as Camp Firewood’s director Beth, told The New York Times, “I must have slipped and hit my head 8,000 times. I say that with no pride whatsoever.”

As for Rudd, he’s just impressed at the level of detail that went into recreating the wardrobe, the sets, the props, saying those are the things that makes this new experience more real than anything else.

“When I think back to the movie, I don’t think about [the tiny details],” he explained, “And yet, putting on those things make it tangible in a way that even having scenes with Zak Orth [who plays J.J.] doesn’t.”

In the end, though, all that matters to director Wain is if the fans are happy with the final outcome, because if it “gets seen by those who care to see it, then we’ve won.”

We’ll all be winners — and not just at the Camp Firewood talent show — when all 8 episodes drop onto Netflix on July 31st. We’re all adults here, so don’t be late.

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[Images via Netflix]

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