Wet Hot American Summer is the obscure cult classic you can't help but love. It took quite a while to really gain recognition in the movie world, as it technically flopped when it came out in 2001. The film stars a huge cast with major names, but at the time, many of these actors and actresses were just starting out, so no one really knew them. Maybe this contributed to its initial lack of success. However, these days, with the help of its now star-studded cast, the movie was able to regain its way into our hearts and eventually lead to a Netflix series reboot with a prequel and a sequel.
Set in the early 1980s, Wet Hot American Summer is a tale about the adventures of summer camp. When a team of way-too-old camp counselors who are clearly not qualified to work with children arrives at Camp Firewood, shenanigans ensue. Here are some wet hot hidden details about Wet Hot American Summer you probably didn't notice in the original movie.
10 KATIE AND LINDSAY WERE ALMOST FLIPPED
Originally, Marguerite Moreau and Elizabeth Banks auditioned for each other's roles. So, we almost ended up with two completely different characters. After Moreau read the part for Lindsay, the showrunners insisted she read for Katie instead. In fact, Amy Poehler also initially read for the part of Katie, before casting directors told her to give Suzie a try. It's a good thing everything worked out the way it did, or we may have seen a completely different movie.
9 ELIZABETH BANKS WAS STILL WORKING AS A COCKTAIL WAITRESS WHEN SHE WAS CAST
Her name is very well known now, but at the time, Banks was yet to break out in the film industry. At least in a major way. She'd been cast in a handful of smaller roles before Wet Hot American Summer, but none of them were anything major. In the meantime, she was living in New York City and working at a cocktail bar to help pay off her student loans until she found that breakthrough role.
8 JANEANE GAROFALO WAS DRUNK "90% OF THE TIME" DURING FILMING
Garofalo doesn't drink anymore. But she claims that 90% of the time filming the movie, she was drunk on whiskey. In an interview, she stated that the conditions were freezing and it was constantly raining, so she warmed herself up with "a lot of whiskey." And it wasn't just her. According to many stories and interviews, shooting the movie was basically one big party. All of the cast members actually stayed at camp together and would drink a lot at night. There are even reports of nighttime bunk-hopping for the then-single future celebrities.
7 RAMBO WAS A HUGE INSPIRATION FOR GENE
Gene, played by Christopher Meloni, is the deranged, Vietnam veteran cook who also suffers from PTSD. To get into character, Meloni looked to one of the most well known Vietnam veterans in cinematic history – Rambo. So, he ended up with a camp cook based on Rambo. Who else would you really want making your summer camp meals, anyway?
6 MOST OF THE MINOR CAMPER'S NAMES WERE IMPROVISED
At one point in the movie, Beth, Garofalo's character, is calling out for some of the campers to start bringing out their suitcases to put on the bus. However, these minor campers weren't really named in the script. So Garofalo improvised during filming and started yelling out random names. Among the improvised names are David Ben-Gurion (the first Prime Minister of Israel) and Rabbi Menachem Schneerson (a well known Rabbi from the 20th century). She read some of the other names from a plaque at the campground where they filmed.
5 WE DON'T KNOW J.J.'S REAL NAME
J.J., played by Zak Orth, is the counselor that always has something rude to say and doesn't really have a personality outside of being the prototypical mean sidekick. He doesn't really do much on his own and is always just with the other people. Maybe that's why we don't know his real name. Of course, J.J. stands for something. But in the movie, we never figure out what that is.
4 BRADLEY COOPER SKIPPED A GRADUATION FOR FILMING
He was virtually unknown before Wet Hot American Summer. Now, decades later, Bradley Cooper is a major star. At the time, though, he was graduating from The Actors Studio. The filming of the movie conflicted with the date of his graduation, so he ended up skipping it. In fact, rumors have it that it was his sex scene with Michael Ian Black that he had to film on graduation day. This was his very first movie role, so it's understandable that he would prioritize it.
3 BEN AND MCKINLEY MARRY EIGHT WEEKS AFTER MEETING
The relationship between Ben and McKinley is one of the most precious ones in the movie. Their secret marriage is a big twist reveal in the second half of the movie, and everyone completely and fully supports this union, no matter how much of a jerk they are. But what you may not realize is that their wedding comes just eight weeks after they meet, on the first day of camp. That's a pretty short period of time to get to know someone enough to want to spend your life with them. Although to be fair, this is hardly a legally binding marriage.
2 ABBY MAKES OUT WITH AT LEAST FOUR PEOPLE IN ONE DAY
Despite seeming to be younger than the other counselors, Abby is by far the most promiscuous and sexually confident. In the one day over which the movie takes place, she makes out with at least four other people. She also implies to Victor that she'll help him lose his virginity, but by the time he gets back to camp after going into town, she's already making out with someone else. She is also spotted making out with Lyndsey at the talent show. It's clear she will do what she wants, when she wants, and won't wait on anyone specific to make that happen.
1 BRADLEY COOPER CLAIMS HIS KISS WITH MICHAEL IAN BLACK WAS HIS FAVORITE ON-SCREEN KISS
In 2010, on Live! With Regis & Kelly, Bradley Cooper told Kelly Ripa and Regis Philbin that his kiss with Black was his favorite out of all of the on-screen kisses he's ever filmed. Considering how many kisses that is, this is a big deal. These two characters had probably the most honest and tender relationship out of every other character in the movie. So it's even more heartwarming to hear Cooper say that.