'Wet Hot American Summer' (2001) had all the ingredients of a cult classic from the beginning: absurd elements, eccentric director, eclectic cast, a camp location and negative reviews by nearly every critic. Sure enough, nine years later, it's a legitimate cult classic, with the actors moving on to mainstream careers, the director, David Wain, doing studio movies and the DVD in every comedy and film nerds' library.
After their TV series 'The State' was canceled in 1995, David Wain and writing/producing partner Michael Showalter set their sights toward film and began writing "the silly little script" that became 'WHAS.' Wain said the inspiration for Camp Firewood came from the Jewish summer camp he attended as a child, Camp Modin, in Belgrade, Maine. He had hoped to shoot the movie there as well, but things didn't work out.
Instead, the producers found Camp Towanda in northeastern Pennsylvania, just outside the rural town of Honesdale. In order to use the location, the filmmakers told the camp's owners that the film would be a family comedy. Understandably, the owners said they were mortified when they saw the finished product.
categories On the Scene