In the Peacock original series Pitch Perfect: Bumpers in BerlinAllen bumper (Adam Devin) is back and in Berlin. Several years after we last saw him in the first two installments of the film franchise, Bumper is stuck in a rut and looking to revive his music career when he receives a phone call from Pieter Krämer (Flula Borg), convincing him to get on a plane and go all-in, so far from home. But once there, he learns that you really can have a riff-off anywhere, as he digs deep to see if he has it in him to write original songs that people will want to hear. .
During this interview with GameSpot, co-stars Devine (who also serves as an executive producer on the series) and Sarah Hyland (who plays Heidi, Pieter’s assistant and a talented singer, in her own right) talked about what happened to Bumper’s cat, how they came together on this project, after working together on modern familyseeing Bumper grow as a character, why working with Borg gave Hyland neck issues, the times they shared at the piano, singing in a dumpster, and shooting at a carnival.
Collider: Adam, I have to ask, what happened to Bumper’s cat? He keeps forgetting to have someone feed his cat all season long, so how many days have actually passed? Would the cat have survived?
ADAM DEVINE: Well, he also had an aquarium. He had no fish when he got home.
SARAH HYLAND: Just say you have a problem with mice or rats in your house.
DEVINE: No, he ate all my fish.
This poor cat had quite a story all season long.
DEVINE: That’s the whole deep plot of the show, what does my cat do at home?
You come together on this project after making modern family together. How did it happen? It happened because of that? Were you actively trying to find something to get together on?
DEVINE: Yeah. As a producer, as soon as I found out Sarah was available and interested, she jumped to the top of my list because we obviously have such great chemistry together and are friends outside of work. I was super excited to work with her again.
HYLAND: And as soon as it came to me, and they asked me about my availability and everything, I immediately said, “I’m not doing anything. Please let me do this. I just love Adam. It’s so much fun to work together and be part of the Perfect the franchise is so iconic. I am very, very happy that we are together again.
DEVINE: We’re back.
Sarah, what did it mean to you that you impressed Adam enough that he immediately thought of you for that?
HYLAND: That tells me I’m doing something right and hopefully not in the wrong profession. We wrapped modern family two weeks before the lockdown with COVID, so there was a lot of downtime for everyone. It was really nice to go back to work, and not just go back to work, but go back to work in another country, which was amazing. It was a country I had never been to before, and I always wanted to go there, so I was very grateful.
Adam, when we first talked about this show, you said that you never thought in a million years that you would find yourself doing a TV spinoff for this character. Once this opportunity presented itself, what really convinced you? Is there one aspect that ultimately got you excited about exploring this character in this way?
DEVINE: Yeah, it was watching Bumper grow up, and not just being the talented little psychopath we met in the first movie. It’s been seven years since we’ve seen him in the second movie. In the second movie, you saw the little crack in his facade that he has a soft heart and loves Fat Amy. But now, seven years later, everyone has moved on with their lives, and he’s literally stuck at Barden College as a security guard, and he can’t make it past college. In that, I was thrilled to show him growing, as a person and as a performer, and I hope the audience is thrilled to see that too.
Was it easier to find him, to get back into character, because he was stuck in one place, and you could go through that growth with him and not have to figure it all out first?
DEVINE: Yeah, sure, it was fun to show because what’s fun about Bumper is his ignorance of what a lunatic he is. He just thinks he’s a cool, nice guy when he’s not, most of the time. It was fun to show this progression. It would have been embarrassing, if now he is a pediatrician, he has his life fully in hand and he helps small children with their ailments. It would have been very weird. I think you had to show this progression.
After doing the movies with a band, what’s it like to pull them out of themselves and have them form real, real relationships with people?
DEVINE: I think that’s what we had to do. If we had tried to do the same thing we did for the movies, we would have failed. Because people are so loyal to cinema, it had to feel different, for people to get into it. I think we did a great job with Megan Amram, who is our showrunner and wrote every episode. She did an incredible job building this world with Todd Strauss-Schulson, who directed the first two episodes. Even though it’s a TV show, it’s going to look huge, and it’s going to look like a movie.
Sarah, your character comes into this story because she works for Pieter. What was it like working with Flula Borg? Is it difficult to work with him without cracking?
Hyland: Yes. It’s also difficult to work with him because it gave me a lot of neck problems because I had to look up all the time. He’s a big boy.
DEVINE: That’s why we love working together. We can look into the eyes.
HYLAND: If I’m wearing heels, we’re really okay. Flula is in the sky, up there with Jameela [Jamil], but he’s a great guy. He’s so talented, and it’s really fun to watch his brain work. He is very funny. We have such an amazing cast. Hit shows have really good cast members, who get along outside of it and enjoy each other’s company. It was just a lot of fun filming with everyone – Jameela, Flula and Lera [Abova]. We just said, “Hey, let’s do something weird and crazy.”
There are so many fun, funny, crazy, memorable moments, but my favorite moments are when the two of you are sitting at the piano and singing together. Sarah, what were those moments of filming like? Do you enjoy those quieter times, or did you have more fun in the wild and crazy times?
HYLAND: My favorite moments are definitely at the piano bench with Adam in the parks. It’s a bit far from Perfect world, in the sense that it just feels super grounded. I love him so much because you really see Bumper feeling human and vulnerable. It’s so beautiful to see Adam portray this and take Bumper down a notch to a peaceful, restful zone. But then one of my favorite scenes to shoot was also with Jameela in the bathroom. She was just this goddess standing over me looking down while I was right there at chest level.
DEVINE: With just your forehead in fame.
HYLAND: She’s also really fun to work with. We had a lot of fun doing this.
Adam, I especially enjoyed the moment with Bumper and Pieter singing “Sweet Child O’ Mine” in a dumpster. I found it quite fun and entertaining. What went through your mind when you were there?
DEVINE: There was a lot of that on this show, where you just do this crazy thing, and you look around and you’re like, ‘What am I doing? It’s the craziest. I’m in Berlin, it’s really cold outside, and I’m singing in a cold dumpster with my friend Flula, who I’ve known for years, doing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses. What world did I think this would be my life in? It’s a pinch moment for me. That’s what’s so fun about this career. It’s the opportunity to do things you never thought you could do, or even thought you wanted to do, or even knew were possible. For example, we’re going to sing on a float at the Macy’s Day parade to promote Bumper in Berlin, on the Peacock float. Never in a million years would I have thought I was going to sing a German song, in German, on a Macy’s Day parade float, but here we are. It’s my life.
How did you end up at a carnival in an episode? Was it built for the episode? Did it exist? Did you really have fun there?
DEVINE: It was a really fun day on set because we got to ride the slides and do some rides. Flula broke one of those little cars he was sitting on because he was too big. He exceeded the weight limit. But we were lucky because we thought we were going to have to build something small. We were like, “That might sound a little corny.” And then, at the last minute, this carnival came to town. It was the day before they opened, so they let us shoot there. We had the run of the place. It just so happened that it happened to us, what movie magic, as they say.
Pitch Perfect: Bumpers in Berlin is available to stream on Peacock.