MYTHBUSTERS’ Kari, Tory, & Grant Interview: Fan Questions <del>Answered</del> Busted!

MYTHBUSTERS – Men want to do it, women either are intrigued or turned off by it, and we here at Nerd Reactor frankly want to be a part of it! Mythbusters has turned into one of those wholesome shows people can tune in with their family on Wednesdays 9PM/ET on the Discovery Channel, or online at Discovery Channel’s interactive site. In one episode or another, the guys and girl of Mythbusters have answered or attempted to prove Myth, bust, or inconclusive to some of the puzzling movie scenarios, stunts, urban legends, and more. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage were the two pioneers who started to host the show back in 2003. These two have managed to keep their reputations, even when emoting safe & wacky fun, in an industry that produces inconceivable special effects. The television show series has spawned unforgettable seasonal episodes and also three young NERD rock stars – Kari Byron, Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara!

(L) Grant Imahara (M) Kari Byron (R) Tory Belleci

These three have all managed to work for the same industry as Jamie and Adam. Climbing through the ranks at sculpting and special effects studios, such as Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the trio has brought something to the Mythbuster white board that no other combination could ever do. Mythbust that! Their on/off-screen working chemistry makes for an enjoyable presence, and they all have the working knowledge to bust anything in their way.

Here’s what all three were talking about in this week’s Thanksgiving interview. You just finished wrapping up Pumpkin Chunkin. How was that this season? 

Grant: It was really cool. The thing that amazes me is the scale of these machines. You see them on TV, but when you see them up close, it’s incredible how big they are and how far the they fling these pumpkins.

Tory: It was absolutely terrifying. You get next to these machines and they are pretty much ferris wheels of death; just absolutely terrifying and you are standing right next to them waiting for a pumpkin to be thrown. It’s really bizarre.

Kari: But it’s so much fun! Especially the people who participate. They are just characters and they are so much fun to talk to.

Checking out some clips online from the recent event, there was one machine that really looked like a carnival ride gone crazy. 

Tory: Yeah, like a carnival ride gone wrong.

Haha. To the NERD population, you three are rock stars! With that, Kari you were recently on Conan right? 

Kari: Yeah!

Don’t know if many know that but he also called you the sex symbol for nerds when referencing this picture of you on FHM magazine. 

Kari: Haha! Yeah I don’t know about that!

Practicing humble humility at its best right there. Speaking of symbols, Tory & Grant, you two are symbols of awesomeness with all the things you two worked on with ILM (Star Wars, xXx, Van Helsing).

Tory: Yeah that’s kind of where we all got our background was doing special effects for around 10 years before Mythbusters started. It prepared us for this show because you kind of have to be a jack of all trades and figure out how to build stuff on the fly with such a short deadline. So it really did prepare us for the show.

Going into setting up the performances, research, mail-ins, and so on… Is there some kind of myth room filled with Math, Chemistry, Physics books that you three reference every day? 

Kari: Generally that stuff doesn’t come in books anymore, it’s just the internet. When we started we had tons and tons of books with urban legends and all sorts of stuff, but the show has been on long enough that we had to do our own research and tests…But once the internet became what it is – oh forget about it! Not only did it create new myths for us continually, but it also gave us the research tools we needed.

Grant: Certainly we can’t be experts at everything so when we need help it’s usually just a phone call away. Because of our longevity, we have established contacts with aerospace, ballistics, you name it. So whenever we are stumped by something, we can definitely call an expert and get a little help there.

Speaking of longevity, one of our fans asked, “You have been doing a few best of episodes lately, it got me thinking, what myths came in that you wanted to just tell the rest of the crew good luck with that one?” – Rob Moore (Marathon, Florida)

Kari: Oh well we definitely don’t get into things that when we get sent to our website of which we like to call oogie-boogies. You know, things like Big Foot and Chupacabra. We don’t touch those because we can’t build anything or scientifically test it. But generally most of the myths that come in we can figure out a way to do.

Another question from our fans, “How bad did it really hurt when you (Tory) tried to jump over the wagon on the bike but flipped it instead?” – Amanda Roberts 

Tory: You know when that happened it really wasn’t a part of the experiment. We were just down the runway prepping for the day and we were kind of bored and I started messing around with the bike. That’s when Kari and Scotty were egging me on to jump it, umm…

Kari: We weren’t egging him on, we rolled our eyes with sarcasm and he didn’t catch on. [All three laughing!]

Tory: So yeah after I jumped it and hit my face, everyone thought they would have to call the ambulance, but luckily I was fine and scrapped my arm & sprained my thumb. A couple weeks later I had seen my dad and he asked me what happened, because he had noticed my thumb and I just told him I got hurt at work. So when my dad saw the episode and realized it was a bike jump, he called me and said, “If you ever do anything stupid like that again I’ll come up there and break your legs!”

So your dad says that about a harmless bike jump. This coming from a son that deals with deadly explosives, high-powered weapons, and almost always dangerous surroundings. 

Tory: Yeah right! A bike and a wagon. Who knew!?

That’s awesome! In a good way, but we are all glad you are okay. Speaking about danger, Grant, you were Deadblow on the TV show Battle Bots! Do any of you call Grant by his alias Deathblow or do you have nicknames on set?

Grant: [Laughing] No! No! What’s funny about that show is you identify the builders by their robots, but you don’t necessarily call them by the robots name. But I will say that for a long time I didn’t know the name of my fellow competitors except for the name of their robot. But I don’t know if it translates to a nickname per se, and I don’t know if we have nicknames for each other on set.

While on set, during takes and everything else that goes on to put on the production, you three seem to have great chemistry together. Do you feed off each other? Referring back to finding research, do you take advantage of each other’s stronger assets and use them in the project at hand? 

Kari: I say ab-so-lute-ly! We all have such a different sort of perspective, skill sets, and even sense of humor that when we come together, things get really interesting. I think we are definitely challenging each other continually on what we are doing.

Tory: And a lot of people say that when we blow something up, you guys look super excited. People also ask if we are faking it. Well if you have ever been that close to one of those explosions, there is no way that you can fake that.

We don’t know who would want to fake those either. They are awesome! By the way, how is it having Jaime and Adam as your boss? Not saying they are explosive, but on IMDB profile bios of a few of you, well especially you Tory, you are called a Gopher. That first started as a guy who ran around doing things on the production. How does that make you feel?

Tory: When we first started we were builders assisting them. But around two-three weeks in they were like “you know what, this is slowing down production, you guys got to become hosts”. From that point on we became this separate team. Every once and a while we get together on projects and overlap each other.

Kari: We’ve been completely autonomous for years and years now. It’s funny. It is a leap that none of us would think we would have taken, but we definitely embrace it.

Grant: I mean, back when I worked for ILM, Jamie would hire me at night and weekends to come and moonlight for him in his shop. As you could imagine, I worked for him briefly. As a boss he is meticulous, methodical kind of guy. He does not settle, especially when it is his special effects shop on the line. He won’t settle for much.

Kari: I’ll have to check out the IMDB though, because Tory has never been a gopher. I mean the closest that any one of us has come is that I was an intern at M5 for a brief period of time before Mythbusters. [laughing] Maybe they meant golfer, an avid golfer.

Grant: AN EXCELLENT GOLFER! [all laughing]

Well we know the difference in the spelling, but we’ll have to double check what IMDB says. Grant, continuing on bosses, you were Craig Ferguson’s Robot Skeleton creator/builder. Were you also his voice too!?

Grant: No that was someone else. A voice actor by the name of Josh Thompson (Epic Mickey, Final Fantasy XIII, Family Guy, Cleveland Show). But I did all the mechanicals and created the look of the robot skeleton, including the mo-hawk and blue eyes. It was Craig’s idea, and he wanted to have a co-host. As he does, he enjoys pushing the envelope in that late night format. So he wanted a robot and asked, “Who could build this for us”. Craig himself suggested me.

Very cool. Before we let all of you go back to your cool jobs, Tammy Salt from Anaheim, California, asks, “How does one become a ‘mythtern’ (intern)?”

Grant: We don’t have any more actually.

Kari: It is actually quite difficult to get interns. It seems you can’t do that much in this state anymore.

Grant: Originally they came from Discovery, but now a days, the intern creek has run dry. It has become [laughing] too much of a liability.

Kari: Yeah I wish we could have them, I love them!

Thanks for your time guys. Eventually when Adam and Jaime want to pass the Mythbuster torch, because they have had enough and just want to chill out, hopefully we will see you three rise in their shadows and lead the next generation of mythbusting. 

Don’t forget you can check out the all new season of Mythbusters on the Discovery channel Wednesdays at 9PM/ET.

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