Hell Baby may seem like a silly, low brow comedy, but for its writers and directors (Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon), this movie represents a personal triumph for them. Both are known as the creators of television shows Reno 911 and The State, and they also wrote the screenplays for Herbie: Fully Loaded, The Pacifier and the Night at the Museum movies. But when it came to getting their screenplays to the big screen, they had to go through the usual obstacle course that screenwriters go through when making a Hollywood movie: rewrites, focus groups, executives telling them what doesn’t work and what really sucks about their script, and a whole lot of opinions that don’t help them in the slightest.
But when it came to doing Hell Baby, the two of them experienced something new: total creative freedom. There were no focus groups to worry about, no studio executives trying to steer them in a more audience friendly direction, and while they had to work with a very low budget and a really short shooting schedule, they still got to make this movie on their own terms. During my interview with them, I could see how much they completed revelled in the freedom they had. Hell Baby makes no apology for what it is, and it’s exactly the movie that Garant and Lennon set out to make.
The film also allowed them to work with many of their favorite comedy actors like Rob Corddry, Keegan-Michael Key and Rob Huebel. All three clearly had a blast making Hell Baby because they were given free rein to be as funny as they wanted to be. Key and Huebel ended up treating their interview with me as a performance of sorts, and I was amazed at how boundless their energy was. With Corddry, he shared how he got to make this movie in his favorite place in the whole world: New Orleans.
Listening to everyone here, it’s clear that Hell Baby was not even close to being your typical Hollywood studio comedy, and everyone involved in its production found tremendous joy in that. These were people freed from the shackles of meddling executives, and they loved being able to make the movie they set out to make without any compromise. It doesn’t matter how Hell Baby is received in the end because the filmmakers and actors have already won by doing things their own way.
Check out the video interview above, and enjoy!