David Wain is finally creeping out of his longtime cult status designation and into the mainstream. 2008’s “Role Models” was a hilarious success and now he’s followed it up with “Wanderlust,” which hits screens tomorrow. Thankfully, Wain isn’t forgetting his roots or the fans that have stuck by him from the beginning.
Talk recently began to circulate last summer that Wain and Co. were starting to work on a sequel to the beloved 2001 cult comedy classic, “Wet Hot American Summer.” Michael Showalter confirmed these rumors just a couple weeks ago when he said it’s “absolutely” happening, and then Michael Ian Black countered, denying them via Twitter. So this morning, during a discussion with The Playlist, Wain broke the tie.
“What I’m saying is we’re writing the script and sort of making the initial preparations,” the writer/director confirmed. “No movie is a guarantee until it’s in theaters. But we’re at that stage of the process and we intend to make it. Can I guarantee that it’s going to happen? Of course not.”
When ‘Wet Hot’ was made, many of the film’s breakout stars (Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks) were relative unknowns, but much has changed in the past decade or so. Lucky for Wain, the cast and crew had enough fun making the first film that he’s hoping they’re willing to work on the sequel for next to nothing. Or actually nothing. “I think we’re going to try to approach it the way that we did the first one, which is to shoot it for a very small amount of money and have everybody work basically for free,” says Wain. “Otherwise, if we had to pay the going rate for the entire cast of ‘Wet Hot American Summer,’ it would probably cost like $75 million dollars. We can’t make the movie any other way. None of us will make any money and that’s the end of it.”
Some rumors have hinted that the follow-up would actually be a prequel with the actors (now aged by ten-plus years) portraying 16-year-old versions of their original characters. Unfortunately, Wain isn’t willing to confirm this rumor or offer any insight into what exactly the ‘Wet Hot’ sequel/prequel will be. “No. It’s under wraps,” Wain tells The Playlist. I support your right to ask and I want you to know that. [But] you failed.”
Along with “Wanderlust,” Wain and writing partner Ken Marino also recently completed a rewrite gig on the Adam Sandler/Andy Samberg comedy “That’s My Boy” for “Sex Drive” director Sean Anders. “After ‘Role Models,’ Adam Sandler and his team had seen it and liked the movie,” says Wain. “So we went and met with them and were basically brought in to do a draft of ‘That’s My Boy,’ which at the time was called ‘I Hate You Dad.’ It was a really fun experience and I’m really impressed with the movie they made out of it. We weren’t involved in the actual making of the movie, but Sean Anders did a great job.”
The original draft of “That’s My Boy” was written by David Caspe (TV’s “Happy Endings”). We asked whether stepping in to tweak another writer’s work gives them any reservations or creates any kind of rivalry to one-up the comedy. “I hope not. Every screenwriter gets rewritten all the time. It’s just the way the studio system works. Not with films I’ve done like ‘Wet Hot,’ but normally in a studio comedy in particular, it’s typical for there to be dozens of writers,” Wain explained. “At some point in the process of ‘Role Models,’ I think there were something like 32 writers involved. So I think everyone knows that if you get involved in a studio writing project, you’re not necessarily going to be the last writer on the script.”
We’ll have more this week from our exclusive interview with David Wain discussing his new film with Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd, “Wanderlust.”