Thursday, December 19, 2013

Q&A: Adam Savage talks science and Breaking Bad before the Mythbusters tour stops in Charleston

Busted

Posted by Melissa Tunstall on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 11:09 AM

click to enlarge Adam Savage (right) - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Adam Savage (right)
We're constantly told urban legends and stories about what happens in life. Do pop rocks and coke really mean you're a goner, is food really still clean if you follow the five-second rule, are elephants are afraid of mice (thanks, Aesop.), but which of these are actually true. That's why we love Discovery Channel's Mythbusters. They scientifically answer the questions that keep us awake at night. Ready for its 11th season premiere in January, the guys from the show are also doing a tour around the U.S. We spoke with Adam Savage before Mythbusters: Behind the Myths made its way to the Holy City. Here's our Q&A.

City Paper: Have you been to Charleston before?
AS: Not since I was a little, little kid. We came down to visit my mom's college roommate when I was about nine or 10.

CP
: Will you have time to explore on your stop?
AS: We are doing 28 cities in 31 days. I am trying to get out and about at least once in each city. I look for bookstores and thrift stores. I hit the ground and walk for couple of hours. It's easy on a tour like this to calcify in a bus..I'm trying to countervene that.

CP
: How did you get into special effects? Were you always interested, since you were a kid?
AS: As a kid, I was making things that I had to have. Toys that no one had that I needed, which transformed into sculpture which had a lot of connection to the movies that were inspiring me, from Star Wars to Blade Runner on up...yet it took me a while to find an environment that was acceptable to me in special effects and that was actually working with Jamie [Hyneman]. It's funny because Chris Hadfield [a Canadian astronaut] has a thing that says 'the details of my life look linear, but believe me they are not.' And my life is like that. It's easy to look and see that I loved special effects and Star Wars and got to work on it there, but there were a lot of left turns and a lot of times I almost gave it up because I didn't think it was going to work out.

CP
: Do you have a favorite myth you busted or moment?
AS: After all this time, I cannot think of a single favorite moment. I will say there are a few episodes that stand out to me as episodes I like to think represent what the show is about, [like] the Breaking Bad and the zombie special. They both represent shows we both really like and tackle interesting physic things we like to test. And the upcoming season premiere starts with a Star Wars theme. We're hoping for another Breaking Bad one.

CP
: After 11 years, is it getting harder to come up with new experiments? Do you like the challenge?
AS: We like the challenge. It's not that it's harder to find stories, but we like trying to tell them in new ways. The difference between then and now is the narrative. We like to tell them in a different way. We argue back and forth the most about what's the most interesting part of each story. I say argue, but really figuring that stuff out is the most fun.

CP
: Do you have time to do experiments on the road?
AS: We're always working. In fact we're going to start filming in early January. We've never stopped filming, in eleven seasons we've filmed 46 weeks a year. The whole idea of a season doesn't have a beginning or an end. By July we'll have officially made something like 260 hours of the show.

CP
: What should people expect on the tour?
AS: It's funny because people don't really have a clear idea of what to expect. I guess that's a clear result of when we started writing we didn't know what we were going to do. We had to give up the idea of bring the show Mythbusters to the stage. It's generally an experimentation show, we don't have a science background, so we don't know what's going to happen. Of course, going on stage we need an outline…that story is one of perception. Performing good science means looking at something from every angle and also getting rid of biases. On Mythbusters, Jamie and I are the audiences avatars; we are the experiential factors of the show. On the stage we cannot do that, so we answer that by lots of audience perception. We mess with them, we pit them against each, we literally alter the way they see. And we go out with a … I guess I shouldn't say that.

Savage did go on to tease that, "We have a big bombastic ending." Want to see the tour in person? It stops at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Sun. Dec. 22. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and ticket prices range from $46-$126. For more information, visit the North Charleston Performing Arts Center website

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