'MythBusters' Star Adam Savage on His Broken Bones, Emmy Optimism (Q&A)
It's no myth that these are exciting times for the stars of Discovery Channel's venerable MythBusters, currently airing new episodes on Thursdays at 9 p.m. The show just earned its sixth reality-show Emmy nomination — this time in the newly created outstanding structured reality program category — and stars Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman have additionally been staying busy with their live MythBusters: Behind the Myths tour and a recent visit to this year's Comic-Con.
Savage spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, saying he's "amazed at how long we've been allowed to stick around, doing our weird little show." Savage also talked about an upcoming episode that won't please airplane travelers, his most recent on-set injury and why the revamped Emmy category is a step in the right direction.
MythBusters was recently nominated for a reality-show Emmy award. The show has been nominated numerous times in the past, but are you excited that the category has now been split [into structured and unstructured]?
Absolutely. I'm actually really, really glad that they split the category. I think that the Academy has been slow to recognize the weight of what we call reality programming, which is such a broad rubric as to be almost useless. Every year, we're up against five or six other shows that each represent its own genre often, and so the split, I think, is a step absolutely in the right direction. It's difficult to have a voice among the Academy voters against a bunch of network shows, but every year we're more and more proud of the product that we put out. This is our sixth nomination. Everyone says the honor is in the nomination, and for us, it genuinely is.
How has the show's live tour evolved over the years, and what can audience members expect?
We've rejiggered the tour significantly. We've toured it around about 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada over the past two years, and we're taking it to New Zealand and Australia this summer, and then touring another 25 U.S. and Canadian cities this late fall. And the theme that we have rewritten it under has to do with the idea that being able to make things in and of itself is like a superpower, kind of turns you into a superhero.
When we think about our favorite superheroes — people like Batman, people like Iron Man — we feel a connection to them specifically because of the skill set that we have. We feel like that's a universal feeling among people who devote their lives to being able to make the things that they need.
Which upcoming episodes in the new season were the most fun to shoot?
The two [episodes] that I'm most excited about — one is called "Traffic Tricks," in which we actually really take a deep look at the mechanics of traffic, the psychology of traffic and how to move cars more efficiently through space.
And I believe we close the season in early August with an episode called "Plane Boarding," where we got 200 volunteers. We actually mocked up a full-size airplane in a building on a naval base here in San Francisco, and we ran our 200-plus volunteers through every methodology of boarding an airplane to determine which is the best method — and also to determine which method people like the most. Because in fact, the method that is the fastest is not the most popular.
You've experienced some injuries and mishaps while filming the show over the years. Were there any calamitous moments in filming the current season?
It's funny that you ask that because in [the July 17 episode], I actually had a broken hand, and I broke it [on a bulletproof safety shield] while filming a few months ago. And I actually forgot all about the injury until the episode aired and people tweeted to me, "What happened to your hand?" And then hilariously, my mom called me and said, "You broke your hand?" [I said,] "Mom, I broke my hand months ago." And she's like, "Right, I knew that, but did you break it again?" I said, "No, no — oh, right, Twitter told you I broke my hand." Besides that and a few dozen stitches here and there, we've had a very good safety record over the years of doing the show.
After having filmed so many seasons of the show, is it tough to keep coming up with new myths to bust?
It's not difficult at all. They're everywhere — they really are. We have a master list; we keep updating it, and sometimes we put stuff on it that we have no idea how we'll test it. And then something else comes up, and we'll come to a realization, "Oh, that's how we test it!" We realized recently, we haven't blown anything up in a while. (Laughs.) Sometimes that happens.