'Killing It': How Python Hunting and the American Dream Inspired the Duo Behind 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' (Exclusive)
Peacock's new comedy Killing It may be about hunting really big snakes, but it's also about the "American Dream." Killing It showrunners Dan Goor and Luke Del Tredici opened up to PopCulture.com about how the Craig Robinson-led comedy first started with the Brooklyn Nine-Nine duo learning about Florida's real-life python bounty, designed to quell the invasive Burmese python population in the everglades.
"It was just such a strange and scary and evocative thing, and it just seemed like an interesting world for a television show," Del Tredici recalled of the original concept behind the show. Goor added, "And a powerful metaphor for the kind of struggle that people are willing to undergo in order to achieve their dreams." Bringing on Robinson, who plays a down-on-his-luck entrepreneur looking to fund his next great idea with the snake hunting competition prize money, was a no-brainer.
"Craig is such a lovable everyman, and we wanted to sort of make that show, but at the same time, we wanted to be very clear-eyed about how realistic that actually is for people," Del Tredici noted, "and how hard it is for the vast majority of people to live out this fantasy where you transcend the circumstances of your birth, and just through hard work and the universe takes care of you because you wanted it badly enough or you worked hard enough. That's not most people's stories, and so we wanted to figure out a way to make that clear."
Robinson told PopCulture that his own experience in the entertainment industry was a major inspiration behind his character Craig. "To be in this business, you have to be relentless, so I just tapped into that," he said. "This guy, no matter how many times he gets shot down, it doesn't stop him. When he figures out he's going to be hunting snakes, he had just gotten shot down again, but he figures something out."
Claudia O'Doherty plays Jillian, Robinson's Uber driver turned snake-hunting partner, living out of a billboard towed by her car after a string of bad luck. "Jillian's version of the 'American Dream' is kind of different, because she's not trying to make it so much as she's like just trying to survive and she needs food and would love to not live in a billboard that's attached to her car," the Australian actress told PopCulture, adding, "I think it's interesting that even if you have 12 different gig economy jobs, you can't necessarily pay for shelter in America, which is pretty bad. I mean, obviously, it's a fictional show, but I don't know that's that fictional an idea."
Stephanie Nogueras, who plays Craig's ex-wife Camille, had similar real-life inspiration behind her fictional family's story. The struggles and financial hardships of most of the characters in Killing It remind the actress of her own family. "I would say almost all of them have had difficulties financially," she shared with PopCulture. "My family is Puerto Rican. English is not their first language for many of them. So some of them did not complete high school ... they've been through quite a bit."
"We can see the 'American Dream really is an illusion," she continued. "I think that a lot of people are confused about what the 'American Dream is and how to make their families happy and to enjoy life. Financial wealth really is not the answer. I think it's about patience, being forgiving, being optimistic like Camille, and really supporting her ex-husband. Life is full of different journeys. We're all on this rollercoaster. But I think from my family's experience, I've seen that really love and support is the key to success." Killing It is available to stream now on Peacock.