Exclusive: Interview with ‘The Hillywood Show’ on fandoms, parodies and David Tennant!
Have you ever wanted to see The Doctor singing “The Time Warp?” What about Sam and Dean Winchester dancing to “Shake it Off?” If this is what your nerdy heart craves, look no further than The Hillywood Show®.
The Hillywood Show is a Youtube channel featuring musical parodies of shows and movies. Beginning with impersonations of Johnny Depp and his many characters such as Jack Sparrow (Pirates of the Caribbean) and Edward Scissorhands, the channel has parodied franchises from The Hunger Games to Harry Potter with catchy song parodies and videos with quite a high production value. The masterminds behind the channel are sisters Hilly and Hannah Hindi. The duo write, direct and star in each parody, not to mention editing the videos and managing all of the social media/promotion. They usually play the main characters of the video and then have others play supporting roles. They have worked with actors such as Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles and Chris Rankin, and their “Sherlock Parody” featured a cameo from Sherlock writer and producer Steven Moffat. They started The Hillywood Show® at the end of 2006 and since then the channel has gained almost 1.5 million subscribers and hundreds of thousands of followers on social media.
Hilly and Hannah sat down with Nerds and Beyond to speak about their process, their fandoms, and perhaps their next parody.
When you posted the first episode of The Hillywood Show®, did you ever think you’d be where you are today?
Hilly: No… we did not think The Hillywood Show® would be around for eleven years at all. We’re so surprised how successful it still is, and how it’s growing. We thought The Hillywood Show® would end after a couple of years, but I guess God had other plans for us. Our overall goal is for The Hillywood Show® to get picked up by a network.
When you are brainstorming your parody ideas do you first think of the song you want to work with, or the show/movie?
Hannah: Hilly thinks of the whole idea. For her, the song comes first. It’s never a forced situation where we say, “We have to do this song with this movie or this movie with this song.” She will hear a song and start seeing pictures in her head.
Once you have finally landed on a song and what movie/tv show you’re going to do, how do you decide who’s going to play what part?
Hilly: We try to stick with the main characters so, with that in mind, it’s basically whoever has the best facial structure for the role and then we go from there. We believe when you’re trying to impersonate a certain character, you have to at least have one of their characteristics. So when we portrayed Mike and Eleven in “Stranger Things Parody” I said, “Well, Hannah, I think you could get away with Eleven because you have the shape of her eyes.” And she said, “You can get away with Mike because you have his cheekbones and a similar nose.” Very rarely do we say, “Hey, you can play Iron Man!” It really depends if we can even resemblethe character before we even go into the concept.
So, do you purposely pick the media around characters you might look like?
Hilly: It’s more than that. Once we have the concept we ask ourselves, “Can we even get away with it?” I mean – fans have been asking us to do Avengers for the longest time and we already know, as little teeny tiny women, we won’t be able to get away with those characters. So, yes, there are certain characters we know aren’t a possibility, and that keeps us from doing that fandom. But, we did “The Walking Dead Parody” and I was Rick, so it really just depends on how strong the concept is.
If you could have anyone guest star on The Hillywood Show® who would it be?
Hilly: To name a few, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant and Lady Gaga. I also think that it would be such a thrill if we were to create a Star Wars production, and we were able to have some celebrity cameos from the actual actors. That would be epic! But Benedict Cumberbatch, David Tennant and Lady Gaga, they’re a no brainer for us!
If you weren’t constrained by money, time, or resemblance, what is one parody you would love to do?”
Hilly: One of our dream parodies was the “Lord of the Rings Parody” and we’ve already done that. If we were able to have had the chance to have unlimited budget on that one, we would have flown our happy little Hobbit butts to New Zealand. We would’ve filmed in the actual Shire and had Peter Jackson work with us. So that would have been our ultimate dream. Now, we would probably need the unlimited funds for…
Both: Star Wars. Or something really big and scary like that.
What is it like to work with your sister?
Hannah: Hilly is one of the easiest people to work with. We’re not alike, even though we finish each other’s sentences – we just get each other.
Hilly: Hannah organizes my creativity. I’m the creative one who gives her the whole vision, but I can’t do what she does. I mean, you should see my office desk. We’re so different but that’s what makes The Hillywood Show® work. Without each other, we couldn’t do it.
Hannah: We’re one brain, like I’m the right side, she’s the left side.
Do you consider yourself to be part of any fandoms? If so, which ones?
Hilly: Mostly all of the parodies we’ve done are fandoms that we’re fans of: Doctor Who, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things, to name a few. We put so much effort into these shows because we really enjoy them and we want everyone to feel our love for them through our productions. We want to celebrate them and pay tribute to them in a fun, cheeky way.
With your experience both in fandom and as the center of a fandom, what would you consider to be the power of fandom?
Hilly: I think the strength of fandom is when you can relate to others. Once you get on board with a fandom and meet more people at conventions, you say to yourself, “Oh my gosh, you like Harry Potter? I love Harry Potter too!”. You don’t feel alone. That’s, basically, what fandom is: Not being ashamed of what you love and having thousands of other people love the same thing as well.
Hannah: It’s something about those conventions… there are so many people.
Hilly: People celebrate when you cosplay, and it makes you feel really good.
Hannah: It makes you feel like you’re not the only one!
What are you looking forward to making happen this year?
Hilly: We’ve got big plans…
Hannah: We’re already in talks for our next production. We’re scripting and trying to see the availability of things that are involved in regards to crew, studio and cameras. So, we have to make sure we’ve got it covered before moving forward. We’re also watching our funds – we’re completely fan-funded on Patreon by our fans, worldwide, which is amazing so we’re keeping our eye on that. However, we have a theme in mind, which we will be announcing to our fans, and are just waiting on the funds so we can start moving! Exciting!
Finally, are there any hints or clues as to your next parody you can share?
Hilly: I don’t think I’m allowed to say what it is quite yet. Hopefully, we’ll be announcing it very soon. I think fans will be surprised but super excited. I don’t think people are expecting it. It’s a twist – it’s a plot twist that we’ve been waiting and holding on to for a while!
You can check out The Hillywood Show®’s latest parodies, gag reels, behind the scenes and more here and if you are interested in supporting them as they create new parodies you can check out their Patreon page.
Hilly and Hannah recently announced their upcoming parody will be a second Supernatural parody! Check out the announcement video below!