Last year, Netflix gained both critical buzz and widespread acclaim when it opted to resurrect the cult comedy series Arrested Development. Seemingly not content to revive only small screen comedies, Variety reports that the streaming giant is in talks to create a series adaptation of 2001 cult comedy film Wet Hot American Summer.
Co-written and directed by David Wain (Role Models, Wanderlust), Wet Hot American Summer was set in 1981, and focused on the final day of the season at Maine’s fictional Camp Firewood. Playing the ragtag group of counselors and campers was a veritable who’s who of current and future comedy talent, including Janeane Garofalo, Molly Shannon, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Michael Showalter (the other co-scribe), Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper. Frasier star David Hyde Pierce was also front and center as Garofalo’s professor love interest, and Elizabeth Banks, H. Jon Benjamin and The Big Bang Theory‘s Kevin Sussman turned up in smaller supporting roles.
The above list is a true comedy all-star team, and a team that Netflix plans to reunite as much as of as they possibly can. Similar to what was done with Arrested, the tentative plan is to feature each character only in certain episodes, enabling producers to work around the busy schedules of film and TV regulars like Rudd, Meloni, Poehler, Cooper, and Banks.
Exactly which cast members will return is still up in the air, as the Wet Hot series is still in the early stages, and thus no I’s have been dotted or T’s crossed with actors or actresses. That said, many of them have ties going back to the MTV sketch show The State (another well regarded cult gem), and a lot of the others have worked together on projects since, so it’s not too hard to imagine a full reunion happening.
As you might imagine, creators Wain and Showalter will return to executive produce the series. Universal Pictures – distributor of the film – is currently mulling whether to come aboard the series or not, but the project is said to be going forward with or without the studio’s involvement. The series itself is designed to function as a 10-episode prequel to the film, and will thus amusingly feature most of the cast playing high school and/or college age characters, despite most being in their 30’s and 40’s.
There has been talk of making a prequel or sequel to Wet Hot American Summer for several years now, but for various reasons, things were never able to get off the ground. This is the first the idea has been broached as a TV series, but realistically, this may be the best possible outlet for such a niche vehicle.
Despite the big time cast, Wet Hot was both a critical and commercial flop, only eventually finding an audience years later on DVD. The chances of any studio wanting to invest even a few million in another theatrical release are minuscule. Whether Wet Hot‘s prequel will succeed financially or creatively is anyone’s guess, but it sure will be fun seeing 45-year-old Paul Rudd playing a teenage Andy.
Wet Hot American Summer‘s Netflix prequel has no current premiere date.