Directed by Kyle Newacheck (Workaholics), the action comedy Game Over, Man! (available to stream at Netflix) shows what can happen when a star-studded event at an L.A. hotspot is taken over by armed gunman. Amid the chaos, Alexxx Kingle (Adam Devine), Darren Duncan (Anders Holm) and Joel Duncan (Blake Anderson) realize that it’s up to them to save the day by becoming heroes, if they can manage to survive the guns, explosions and all other manner of danger.
At the film’s Los Angeles press junket, Collider got the opportunity to sit down with Anders Holm to chat 1-on-1 about how Game Over, Man! evolved and changed, how their comedy has evolved, whether the movie has too much dick, why he likes writing for other people more than himself, and his most fun sequence to shoot. He also talked about his NBC comedy series Champions, co-created by Mindy Kaling and Charlie Grandy, and what he likes about the unusual family dynamic.
Collider: I’ve seen the first three episodes of your NBC series Champions, and I thought it was really sweet.
ANDERS HOLM: Yeah, we have a lot of fun and it’s got heart.
When you come off of a show, like Workaholics, and then the possibility of another show comes up, do you have to think about signing yourself away for what could be five years or more?
HOLM: Yeah. What gets you over that is a good script and good people behind it. Mindy [Kaling] and Charlie Grandy are just good at their jobs, so I don’t have to be. No. I do have to be good at my job, although sometimes I’m not. And then, we put together a cast that is awesome. When I read the Champions scripts, I was like, “Well, this kid will be amazing, if we find him. But right now, he just exists in our minds.” Then, we found a kid, J.J. Totah, who filled those shoes, so I’m just gonna ride his coattails. That’s my move, in this career.
It has such a unique family dynamic.
HOLM: Yeah, it’s cool. I know the billboard is two and a half white guys, but yeah, it’s a little different. The gym ensemble will start to fill out, and you’ll get a lot of different voices, which are fun, age-wise, race-wise, sexuality, and all that.
Are you finding it fun to play in all different kinds of comedy?
HOLM: Champions is a little bit more like these characters would be on the team of people who are sensitive about these cultural issues, whereas Workaholics was definitely guys who were oblivious. We had an episode where the guys went over to the neighbors house because they heard there was a party, and it was like mostly gay guys and they were like, “Okay, whatever. Let’s just drink up and have fun.” They start making a raucous, and then they wake up the next morning, and the gay guys who own the house are like, “You guys fucked each other last night.” And we’re like, “Wait, what?! No! Huh?” Then, we slowly come around to be like, “Well, we do love each other. Maybe we got carried away. Is that a crazy thing?!” And then, at the end, we come to terms with the fact that it’s all good. We’re like, “If it was going to happen, I’m glad it was with you guys. You guys are sweet. I feel like I remember you being very gentle with me.” Then, the gay guys who own the house are like, “Oh, my god, we can’t keep this up. You guys didn’t fuck each other. You guys were just assholes, so when you passed out, we shoved condoms up your butt with toothbrushes and tricked you into thinking that you fucked each other.” Not that you would ever be put in that situation, but guys who were like, “Wait, we fucked each other?!,” were put in that situation, had to deal with it and go through it, and come out the other side being like, “Well, I’m enlightened.” And people liked that episode.
You guys have been doing comedy together for a long time. How has it evolved, over the years?
HOLM: It’s gotten so easy. There was a window of time where it was like, “All right, I know what he’s gonna do,” and we all think that about each other and we look to each other to step outside of what we think we’re gonna do. I know that they think I’m gonna do something, so I’m like “How can I surprise them?” I know the only thing that keeps it exciting for me, whether it’s on this or another project, is when someone surprises me. If you’re just doing the script you read and hitting the jokes the way they’re supposed be hit, you don’t laugh. You go, “Cool! Nailed it! Great! We filmed that. Let’s put it out there for the world.” But when you can surprise each other, it’s more fun. You can have a little bit more ownership over the scene and just bring a little more life to it and a little bit more fun, that’s always so much more rewarding for me.
It seems that no one is surprised that Adam Devine is the one who ended up being naked in Game Over, Man!
HOLM: When I wrote that I was like, “Okay, we can shoot around this. We can infer that this is what happened.” Then, we were like, “Do we shoot it both ways, so we can have it? Is it too much dick?” And then, we were like, “Who cares? It doesn’t matter. This is what happened, this night, in this movie.” Nobody is like, “Hey, there were too many car wrecks in Los Angeles today!” It’s like, “That’s just what happened today. There were a bunch of car wrecks. So, we went full force with it. I remember on set, on the day, being like, “Let’s even have a low camera angle, where he walks directly at the camera, just to make sure everyone knows that we know it’s overkill and it’s too much dick.” It’s still debatable, if that’s a thing, I don’t know.
Were you surprised that nobody wanted you to cut down or cut out the male nudity?
HOLM: Netflix didn’t know we made this movie. No. Netflix was so cool. They read the script and they were like, “All right, yeah, we’ll make this. If you guys want to make it with us, we’d love to.” And were very hands off. They were helpful, in a lot of ways, production-wise, in getting it going. They trusted us. We worked with Scott Rudin’s company, and with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s company, and we called our own shots. We said, “All right, let’s make sure we don’t have the craziest kills up front, ‘cause then it just wears out its welcome.” You want a movie to escalate, or whatever. But as far as content and creepy characters, we just let it rip.
How much did the script evolve and change? Is what we see now pretty close to what you wanted to do, or did it change a lot?
HOLM: From jump, it changed. Originally, conceptually, it was going to be guys meet girls at a bar and say, “Hey, let’s go back to your place and party.” And we’d have a shitty squalor apartment, but one of the guys was house-sitting for a boss that lived in the hills and had a mansion. We were like, “All right, we need to get the girls there and get booze.” And they go to the house, and we get derailed and never make it to the house because shit hits the fan. We never even wrote that script because we knew we needed to up the ante. It wasn’t big enough. We liked all the action-oriented episodes of Workaholics, so we leaned into that. We were like, “The best action movie is Die Hard. Let’s do that! It’s a contained movie, so it won’t be that expensive.” So, we just did our comedic version of what that would be. And so, originally, it was at a hotel, but there was a celebrity telethon there. My character was a bartender there, Adam’s character was a wanna be entrepreneur, and Blake’s character was an anger management therapist, and no one’s life was going good. I was gonna be like, “Hey, there’s a party happening tonight at the hotel. You guys should come.” Then, the telethon would get taken over by terrorists and they were gonna siphon the money that was coming in from all the calls, and we were gonna have all these celebrities being over the top. That made it to script, but then we realized how unproducable that would be, as far as getting 25 celebrities of any kind of stature. And then, we changed it quite a bit. There were six or seven drafts, but the movie is about 85% of what the script was. That’s what I would say it shook out to.
Were there any cool action sequences that you wanted to make sure you wrote yourself because you just wanted to do it?
HOLM: This is a weird thing and I’ve gotta figure this out, but I write for other people so much more than I write for myself. I’m like, “I don’t care. You do this thing. That’s great!” The big set piece that I would have done was a fight on an escalator, where I save Blake, and then somebody gets shredded at the bottom of the escalator. We had to cut that for production costs and time. I like writing for those guys ‘cause then they’re stoked. They’ll be like, “I love this draft! You gave me that thing to do!” If they like something, they like it. If they don’t, they’ll go, “Can you make something like this happen?”
When you guys do a movie like this, and Adam Devine is naked and you’re all bonding in ways you never could have expected, did you learn things about each other that you didn’t know, before having this experience?
HOLM: No. There are seven seasons of Workaholics and we shared a trailer on that show, to cut costs, so we’ve seen it all. We were in each other’s faces. On Friday nights, we would usually kick it in the trailer, after we’d wrap, and have a couple drinks before we headed out. So, there were no surprises, except that Blake can grow some mean mutton chops. That was a surprise. I didn’t know that.
What was the most fun sequence that you got to shoot for this?
HOLM: There’s a bit where it’s our Dark Night of the Soul part of the movie. We’ve had it with each other. We’re spent. Alexxx has gotten on our nerves and I call him a loser, which is his trigger word. And then, he shoots at me, not to hit me, but to be as close as possible to scare me. Then, I’m shooting back at him, as close as possible, in a way to disrespect him. And then, we’re all shooting each other because we’re all pissed at each other, but we’re not shooting each other, ‘cause that would be crazy since, deep down, we love each other. That was fun to do, on the day, because it was hilarious and stupid. It’s the dumbest thing, ever, but then it was also coordinated. It was like Simon Says. And then, we ran out of bullets and were just mouthing off to each other. I can’t remember exactly what we kept in the movie, as far as the shit we were saying to each other, but we just let it rip, after that.
Game Over, Man! is available to stream at Netflix.