'MythBusters' Q&A: Jamie Hyneman & Adam Savage

For more than a decade, “MythBusters” Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage have delighted fans by testing out legends and myths on their Discovery series. And time and time again, the gents have heard that their show is one families — especially celebrity families — tune in to watch together.

“That is a regular refrain from people all over the world we get — that we are family viewing in their house and some of our fans, Craig Ferguson and David Letterman, have said that they practically raised their kids on science, watching ‘MythBusters,’” Adam explained when he and Jamie spoke with AccessHollywood.com. “I even hear from like Waldorf parents that they’re supposed to not [let their kids] watch television, but they say that they don’t consider ‘MythBusters’ television and they allow it.”

There’s another lesson too in their series – how to work together with people you have differences with.

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“We get on each other’s nerves and everything all the time, but whenever that happens, we say so and we deal with it and move on,” Jamie explained, when Access asked about the key to their lengthy partnership. “There are times that we really dislike dealing with each other, but we make it work.”

In fact, Jamie believes that those differences help them solve problems.

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“The very things that are irritating to each other are things that come to — they become an asset because the other person doesn’t have that… and so, I think that’s one of the key things. Adam — he’s fast, he’s energetic… and that sometimes is an asset,” Jamie added.

Adam and Jamie have recruited celebs from several big television shows into their problem-solving mix in recent months, and they addressed how those came about, and which celeb (hint: from an HBO show, which concludes this Sunday night) they might want to go after next for “MythBusters.”

AccessHollywood.com: You’ve had some great guest stars from AMC on – Michael Rooker from ‘The Walking Dead,’ and Aaron Paul from ‘Breaking Bad.’ Whose idea was it to bring those guys to ‘MythBusters’?

Adam Savage: Well, [‘Breaking Bad’ creator] Vince Gilligan had done an interview, I think, at some point in Season 3 or Season 4 of ‘Breaking Bad,’ [and he was] asked if he could do one crossover show, what would it be, and he said ‘MythBusters.’ And, in fact, we had actually toyed around with the idea of a ‘Breaking Bad’ special a few years before and couldn’t get Discovery interested in it. But when Vince said that and with the success of ‘Breaking Bad,’ the interest level rose and it turned out that we had a mutual admiration society between the production of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘MythBusters.’ … They were really fun to work with.

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Access: And with ‘The Walking Dead’ — how did that happen?

Adam: Well that turned out as a zombie special that turned out to be [a] perfect dovetail with ‘Walking Dead’ specifically, because, Jamie and I know [‘TWD’ executive producer and special effects guru] Greg Nicotero. He’s an old school FX guy. Cut his teeth on a lot of the same kind of projects that Jamie and I did. Greg is a friend of ‘MythBusters’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ people are also. It’s another mutual admiration society, which is one of the weird and fun parts of this job.

Access: Doing what you do, which shows can you enjoy as TV viewers, that you are fans of?

Adam: There’s quite a plethora. My wife and I are moving through Season 2 of ‘House of Cards.’ We’ve been avid fans of ‘Girls,’ ‘Mad Men,’ ‘True Detective.’ It’s all over the map. It’s a wonderful time for television right now.

Jamie Hyneman: I’m not quite as wide in my interests in television as Adam is, but some of the standouts like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘True Detective’ – those, for me, are examples, I think, that are — there’s a lot of thought that goes into those programs. They’re very carefully crafted and that’s the kind of stuff that I enjoy.

Access: Can you guys watch a show like ‘Game of Thrones,’ which in Season 2 had some big explosions, and not think about it in a ‘MythBusters’ frame set?

Adam: I’m always ready to suspend my disbelief. I love ‘The Avengers.’ In fact, I enjoyed ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ even thought it was ludicrous. I have no problem suspending my disbelief, even having been an effects tech, even having spent all this time debunking Hollywood movie physics. Still, my biggest problem with bad movies isn’t the effects and the explosions or the physics, it’s the plot.

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Jamie: In my case, I’m actually quite a bit different in that regard because I don’t really care so much about the plot. While I can appreciate and respect a good plot, I’m more excited about some of the visual imagery, the feel of a different place and time and world than in the one that I am in, that is either beautiful or unique. Everything from stuff like ‘The Hobbit,’ for example, or even ‘Harry Potter.’ It’s not like I think those are necessarily great movies, while they’re fine, I enjoy some of the scenery and just being able to go to something that seems like a real world, but that’s different and interesting.

Access: Who would you like to have come on ‘MythBusters’ from a modern day TV or film?

Adam: Everybody.

Access: I’m guessing there’s probably not a lot you could do with a Kardashian on ‘MythBusters.’

Adam: This is true. We’d love to do another ‘Breaking Bad’ special and bring on Bryan Cranston this time.

Access: Is there anyone on a current TV show (that’s still going) you’d like to bring on?

Adam: We haven’t actually discussed that, so I’m not sure that I have a ready answer… except that ‘True Detective’ has been killing me how beautiful and strange and wonderful it is. I’ve never seen Matthew McConaughey be better. I suspect he’d be fun to have on the show and so would Woody [Harrelson].

Jamie: Yeah, that’s the first thing that comes to mind for me. That’s a really nicely made show and those guys seem like they’re on top of it.

Access: So, one last question before I let you go — are you guys kind of the stars when you are in a collection of celebs? Do you get people coming up to you and telling you, ‘I love the show!’

Adam: Yeah, it definitely happens. There’s definitely a contingent of dudes too, when we go to the industry parties at Comic-Con. We’re definitely set upon by the dudes who are super-psyched to talk to us about stuff we’ve done on the show. That’s really entertaining.

Access: There’s cool geek celebrity girls at Comic-Con too.

Adam: Oh, yeah. … Don’t get me wrong, Aisha Tyler has become a good friend and she’s a huge fan of ‘MythBusters.’ It’s not, by any means, a male-centered thing. It’s just the genre of dudes who you can see are like, ‘Oh! The ‘MythBusters’ are here’ – it’s very clear.

Jamie: There’s something a little different with us though. I guess it would be the same with reality shows in general, but it’s the fact that people that have been watching us, while we’re celebrities, they know, actually, who we are. … If you’re talking [to] like, say Brad Pitt or somebody like that, it’s like, yes they’re celebrities, but the fans may not approach them feeling like they actually know them. And we’ve experienced getting off the plane in like South Africa, to do a show, and getting mobbed by people that consider us family because we’ve actually been in their home, with their families, in there relaxing. … And we are who we seem to be, so they actually do know us.

For more information on Mythbusters, visit www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters. Catch the season finale of “True Detective,” this Sunday night at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.

-- Jolie Lash

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