Prepare to feel old, '90s kids: the new stars of “Legends of The Hidden Temple,” Colin Critchley and Jet Jurgensmeyer, weren’t even born yet when the show first aired on Nickelodeon.
“I actually had told some of my friends in their twenties that had watched the show, and they went ‘Oh my gosh!’” Jurgensmeyer told Revelist at a New York Comic Con press event. “I was like, ‘You’ve heard of it. Did you watch it?' And they were like, ‘It was my favorite show in the '90s, are you kidding me?’ [...] ‘Great, I’ll get this part for you.’”
Critchley and Jurgensmeyer might be young, but they definitely respect the show’s legacy — in no small part because Kirk Fogg and Dee Bradley Baker, the original show’s host and King Olmec respectively, have returned to star alongside them in Nickelodeon’s new TV movie, premiering November 26.
“They are so good; they reminded me of the kids from the game show,” Fogg told Revelist of his young co-stars. “The first thing I said when I came out and met them was ‘Oh my god, these are like the game show kids, right here.’ They’re enthusiastic, but smart.”
“They’re bigger pros than we are,” Baker joked.
Critchley and Jurgensmeyer play Noah and Dudley, two brothers who ditch a boring jungle tour with their sister Sadie (Isabela Moner) and discover a way in to the real-world Hidden Temple for themselves, only to get trapped and forced to fight their way out of the Temple’s many obstacles. Fogg has an “integral role” in the movie as a tour guide for the Hidden Temple, and Baker also reprises his role as the voice of the temple guardian, King Olmec — although he didn’t actually have to be on set this time around.
“Before I was literally standing inside of Olmec’s head," he said. "I had a little chair, a little table, a little handle, and a monitor, and I could see what was happening; I could listen to what the producers were saying. For the movie, they just brought me in at post production and the movie was kind of already cut together. So it’s a much simpler, much quicker gig than it was back in the old days.”
Baker and Fogg might have fond memories of the game show, but both of them admit that it was a much more difficult experience than returning for the movie. In their heyday they would film about four episodes a day — although the first one took them 18 hours to get right.
“It became a machine eventually, so we’d crank those babies out,” Fogg explained. “We were on the Universal lot where it was shot in Orlando. They’d bring the crowds in and sit out there, and they would need to be kept happy for about 20 minutes, and then they’d move out and a new audience would come in. And then we’ve got a show ... with stunts and games, there’s questions, and then you’ve got to set up for the run through. This was not a simple show.”
“This was the ‘90s, too, and when I walked in there and saw the set, I was like, 'How are they going to make this thing work?'" added Baker. “They had trouble trying to get it up. I mean, it was like a Disney World ride. It was very theatrical. We’d have to shut it down — the door would close on somebody, and we’d have to reset them and all that kind of stuff. It was so intense.”
“But that's what was unique about it, and what I think people really loved about ['Legends Of The Hidden Temple'] ... it didn’t just look like a gameshow,” Fogg continued. “It looked like a jungle tomb.”
The new set is, of course, even flashier than the old one, but it still maintains the spirit of the original show, complete with Easter eggs carved into the sides that only hardcore fans will spot.
“We saw the sets and it was unbelievable,” Fogg said. “I was saying, ‘Please don’t let this be cheesy, please don’t let this be cheesy, this could be one and done here!’ And I got in there and went, ‘Oh, you guys, you love the show.’”
They weren’t the only ones — Critchley and Jurgensmeyer also became converts after watching episodes of the old series as research, and they gushed about their co-stars to Revelist.
“Watching Kirk do those scenes ... it’s like watching his past,” Critchley said. “He’s going back in time and bringing back so many memories for him, and you could just see it in his eyes.”
Of course, Critchley and Jurgensmeyer didn't have to do too much research about the original show's various physical competitions. Much like with Baker, things were a lot easier on the movie set for the kids since they didn’t have to deal with moats, mazes, and Temple Guards, instead relying on stunt performers for the bigger action set pieces.
But there’s one iconic aspect of the show that hasn’t changed in the slightest: Yes, the Shrine of the Silver Monkey is still a part of the Temple, and still that difficult to assemble.
“We could not put it together,” admitted Critchley. “Every time we would knock it over, so when I watched the game show I just relate to those kids. They could not put it together, and we could not either. There were like one hundred bloopers.”
Nice to know that no matter how often TV shows and movies get rebooted, some things always stay the same.