HOLEY MOLEY Creator Chris Culvenor on Embracing the 'Incredibly Fun and Ridiculous' with Animated Stephen Curry - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOLEY MOLEY Creator Chris Culvenor on Embracing the ‘Incredibly Fun and Ridiculous’ with Animated Stephen Curry

June 25, 2020 by  

Holey Moley 2 Animated Stephen Curry

Credit: ABC

As filming for HOLEY MOLEY season 2 was about to wind down—with executive producer Stephen Curry set to film his segments, which were set to include greeting winners of each episode, as well as a bits about the new courses—the show’s team was faced with a problem: production across the world started to shut down due to COVID-19.

Curry, who was an active part of season 1, “really wanted to be in the show, and he’s always been very, very involved right from the conception,” HOLEY MOLEY creator Chris Culvenor explains. So the team started brainstorming COVID-friendly ways to inject the NBA superstar into the show. “We landed on animation as a really good solution. The show itself is incredibly whimsical, wacky, and allows a lot of creative fun and comedy. On a show like ours, seeing Steph Curry with an animated dragon doesn’t feel out of place.”

The result? One of the best parts of HOLEY MOLEY’s delightful second season. (Dubbed, of course, HOLEY MOLEY II: THE SEQUEL.)

Like much of the show itself, the producers leaned into nostalgia for the look of the animated world. “The animation style was really defined and led by our showrunner Charles Wachter,” Culvenor says. “If you look at the animation style, it’s very reminiscent of SCOOBY DOO and the cartoons of the ’80s; I think that really plays into the nostalgia of it all as well.”

Though many animated shows can take up to a year to produce installments, these quick segments had to be turned around much faster—and in the case of the initial HOLEY MOLEY episodes, there was only a few months between decision to pivot to animation and the air date.

To help facilitate Curry’s portion, a COVID-friendly crew (a producer and a single camera) went to his home to record all of his voice-over work, as well as film a couple live-action segments for the show.

“I’m really excited that we were able to get him in the show, because he is such a crucial part of the show’s DNA,” Culvenor says. “It’s one of those things where challenges often bring even better solutions. In animating [those segments], we’re able to take it to an incredibly fun and ridiculous place. And Steph has always been to ready to embrace the humor as well. Certainly, it was a production challenge, in turning around animation extremely quickly, but we were working with fantastic animators to conceive and visualize the crazy ideas.”

In fact, the animated segments have allowed for even more of Curry’s lighter side to become public. “One of the great things about HOLEY MOLEY is it’s allowed the world to really more of Steph’s comedic side,” Culvenor admits. “Everyone knew that he was a obviously an incredible [athlete], gives a great interview and is always charming and funny. But in the first episode [of season 2], we literally had him riding a dragon and revealing that they were his best friends. This speaks to the goofy and fun side of Steph Curry that you don’t normally get to see on the basketball court, where he’s a bit of an assassin.”

While Curry has been a public figure for well over a decade—giving the production team plenty to work with in order to properly capture his likeness—the show’s contestants were a bit more of a wild card.

“The contestants, certainly when they signed up for HOLEY MOLEY, never imagined themselves in an animated scene with Steph Curry and Sir Gopher,” Culvenor says with a laugh. “But the thing is, the sort of contestant we’ve attracted to HOLEY MOLEY—and certainly the type of contestant we like to select for HOLEY MOLEY—is someone who really embraces the fun, silliness, and the competitive nature of the show. So everyone who competed on HOLEY MOLEY, and by the time [we told them] had the experience of going to the crazy course was like, ‘Oh, okay, yes, sure, you want to animate me.’ By that point it doesn’t seem that far out there. Every contestant was super, super excited to be part of it.”

“They’re with us for quite a few days as we kind of shoot the show,” he continues. “So while we don’t have the same sort of likeness pool of images to pull as we do with Steph, we do have, I think, enough that the animators felt comfortable to really capture the essence of their personality. And the nice thing about that SCOOBY DOO style that we’ve landed on is that everyone can be plugged into that visual style really, really nicely. So I think it’s one of the winners’ favorite things is the fact that they appear in an animated short with Stephen Curry and Sir Gopher.”

But—potential production-restrictions aside—would they continue on with animated Steph if the show can get the live-action version next season? “The great thing about HOLEY MOLEY is we love to be unpredictable and surprising the audience,” Culvenor teases. “I’m sure that animation will play a part next year. I imagine it’ll be involved in a different way. I’m excited to get to discuss that with the team.”

“One of the things that I’ve always been proud about with HOLEY MOLEY is a show, from a comedic standpoint, can be enjoyed on a lot of different levels,” he continues. “Obviously, the physicality of the holes, but there’s also some fun comedy threads, whether it’s through the animation or [announcers] Joe [Tessitore] and Rob [Riggle] that audiences also love. That commentary team is absolutely genius at what they do. They’re such a pivotal part of the show.”

And there might be another fun surprise or two ahead. “What’s coming is an incredible, incredible finale,” Culvenor previews. “Someone is going to get [the] $250,000 [grand prize]. So that in itself, is a must watch episode. And we will see animated Steph pop up in new fun ways in that last episode, too.”

HOLEY MOLEY, Thursdays, 8/7c, ABC


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