FLASHBACK: Paul Rudd and Molly Shannon Relive ‘WHAS’ Real-Life Camp Experience

by Stacy Lambe and Denny Directo 11:05 AM PDT, July 30, 2015
Playing FLASHBACK: Paul Rudd and Molly Shannon Relive ‘WHAS’ Real-Life Camp Experience

What’s it like to film a movie about going to summer camp? As it turns out, the whole experience was quite like camp for the actors and crew on set of Wet Hot American Summer. Well, camp for a bunch of adults.

“We shot the movie at an actual camp and it really was it just had that camp feeling with the actors,” Molly Shannon explained to ET in 2001 ahead of the film’s theatrical release, “because we all stayed in the cabins, hung out at night, went out for dinner, and went to these little diners.”

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It turned out the bunks was where the real party was at.

“Living in the bunks, especially with the other cast and stuff was the best time I've had making a movie,” Janeane Garofalo said. “Honestly. We had the most fun in our bunks at night and it rained constantly. The conditions were so miserable weather-wise.”

She wasn’t lying about the weather. Though it was about a summer camp, director David Wain revealed it rained for all 28 days and the actors’ breath can been seen in certain outdoor scenes because it was so cold.

However, it didn’t deter the fun and excitement had on set. “It really was a special experience shooting it,” Shannon said.

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“This was like going to summer camp, and even though it was later on in life, I’ve had that camp experience,” a 32-year-old Paul Rudd explained at the time. The seemingly ageless actor was among several of the film’s adult stars who had actually gone to camp growing up.

“I was a camp counselor in junior high for three weeks,” Rudd shared. “I quit. It was awful. I had a group of first grade boys -- they were way too hyper.”

It sounds like he drew inspiration from his own experience to play hormonal and rule-breaking Andy.

Ultimately the film was a dud at the box office -- only making $295,000 in theaters -- but it eventually found an audience on DVD, becoming a cult classic and later landing a prequel on Netflix.

“I think there's an audience. I definitely think there's a place for irreverent subversive comedy and it's smart,” Rudd said, almost knowing that it would eventually connect with fans.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp will debut on Friday, July 31 only on Netflix.