Danny McBride has a gift for forcing the audience to root for the villains. He leaves you craving for his characters to have even one redeeming moment, so you don’t feel bad about loving these terrible people. Few shows achieve it like Vice Principals, and in its honor, here are 15 behind-the-scenes facts.

Danny Preferred Playing Neal Gamby To Kenny Powers

Danny McBride Vice Principals

HBO

While McBride loved playing Kenny, he said, “Playing Kenny was more difficult than I’d realized: You have these actors coming to set, and you just rip them apart. It was wearing on me. But when we shot Vice Principals, I told my wife, ‘I’m enjoying making this show more, and I feel more myself coming home.’ I think it’s because my character, Neal, as much as he’s a jerk, has a solid heart.”

How Danny McBride Got A Bill Murray Cameo

Vice Principals Bill Murray

HBO

In order to convince Bill Murray to make a cameo on the show, Murray asked McBride to hand deliver him the copy of the script to a baseball game later that night. McBride said, “I got one of those metal briefcases that people make cocaine deals with, and put the script in there.” A slew of TV crew members threw a mic onto Danny out of nowhere at the game. It turns out Murray was filming an episode of Anthony Bourdain's show. 

Walton Goggins Read For East Bound and Down

Walter Goggins Vice Principals

HBO

Goggins told GQ, "I actually read for Season Four of Eastbound and Down. I walked into this audition and there were literally five comedians from Saturday Night Live and me! I thought, "Well, this is never going to f***ing happen."

"But I was like, "Ah, f**k it. I don't care. Let's go in and let's play." I ultimately did not get the role. It went to Sudeikis. And they were wise to do that."

Vice Principals Ties to Politics

While McBride has said publicly that he’s not political, many have drawn a connection between Neal Gamby and Trump. In response, McBride told Rolling Stone, “How that relates to Trump, maybe, is that it’s always surprising and shocking when people speak their minds in a way that’s insensitive to how other people think — sometimes it can be so shocking it’s funny.”

Danny McBride Was A Substitute Teacher

Danny McBride Vice Principals

HBO

Danny told Rolling Stone, “It was important to me to explain to the kids that I wasn’t like their other teachers: I tried to make sure they thought I was cool. But all they cared about was if I smoked weed and what kind of car I drove. I couldn’t admit that I smoked, and I drove a Hyundai Elantra — so I wasn’t really impressing them that much!”

It Was Intended To Be A Feature Film

McBride and co-creator Jody Hill came up with the premise for the show ten years before its release but originally planned for it to be a feature. McBride told the New York Observer, “It didn’t work as a movie because there was just so much about these characters that we wanted to tell. When we extended it, that’s when it really came alive.”

Sheaun McKinney Was Given The Role By God

Sheaun McKinney Vice Principals

HBO

Sheaun McKinney was visiting Hollywood for an audition but was set to fly home the next day. He went to church with a friend and the speaker said “God is going to send an Earthquake to get rid of all your obstacles, but you have to act, and it’s time for you to move.’“ “Later that night,” McKinney says, “as I was just sitting in my manager’s apartment the entire place starts to shake, I’m sitting on the couch and the entire apartment is shaking.”

McKinney took it as a sign and stayed in LA for a few more months. Two months later, he got an audition for Vice Principals.

Walton Goggins Started Shooting The Day After He Wrapped Hateful Eight

Danny McBride Walter Goggins Vice Principals

HBO

Goggins told GQ, “I just literally wrapped Hateful Eight at 9:30 in the morning and went straight to the airport, got on a plane, landed, got to the house at 11:30PM. Frosted my tips and woke up at 6:00 the next morning just to become Lee Russell.”

The Comedy Is Scored As A Drama

 

Composer Joseph Stephens told GQ, “We weren't really going for the typical, upbeat '80s music you'd associate with a comedy show. We wanted to score this as a drama." To add to the high school theme a 25-person drum line from a local high school came into the studio to improvise, which produced much of the sound of the show.

According To A Real Principal, The Power Struggles Are Accurate

Danny McBride Walter Goggins Vice Principals

HBO

A former assistant principal told Thrillist "That actually happened at the high school I used to work at two years in a row. Both the principals left for other jobs in like the third week of July or beginning of August, which creates a power vacuum. A longtime assistant principal really wanted the job and the staff was supporting him for the job, and for whatever reason, he didn't get it because of some political bullsh*t and they hired a guy who wasn't very good."

Walton Goggins Loves Danny McBride

After wrapping, Walton Goggins said he loved working with Danny McBride and “would do another project with him in a second. Anywhere anytime, just a monologue, I would do an episode of Octonauts with Danny McBride.” We all know he was telling the truth as the two star in the smash hit The Righteous Gemstones.

Some Critics Claimed The Show Had Problematic Racial Themes

Danny McBride Walter Goggins Vice Principals

HBO

Goggins responded to the criticisms by saying, “I think those two or three critics that talked about that we're pandering to their constituents. In my opinion, they thought that they were, in some way, saving the day. They were looking for a pat on the back, standing up to the insensitive nature of this particular narrative when they had no f***ing idea what this story was about.

Why Vice Principals Loved Being Uncomfortable

Danny McBride Walter Goggins Vice Principals

The show's goal ultimate goal was to satirize small-town power struggles. Goggins said,  “True satire is supposed to make you laugh initially, and then make you just watch. And to ultimately make you feel extremely uncomfortable while giggling at the same time.”

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