After recounting the slow death of the Tower Records chain in All Things Must Pass and before his Eagles of Death Rock: Nos Amis airs on HBO, Colin Hanks took a pit stop between his feature docs to make the ESPN 30 for 30 short The Amazing Adventures of Wally and the Worm.
Worm meaning Chicago Bulls defensive champ Dennis Rodman and Wally meaning Wally Blase, the assistant trainer for the team during its 1990s glory days.
On tackling Blase’s story, Hanks said, “It involves helicopters and Lamborghinis and it’s all before cell phones, so it’s not going — I can’t recreate it, there’s nothing I can do. Then someone at ESPN says ‘Why don’t you animate it?'”
Told by both Blase and Rodman with the assistance of photos against a hysterical feature toon of themselves, Wally and the Worm follows the time when Blase was entrusted with babysitting Rodman “for a week and a half doing his physical rehab during the day and then doing the stuff that gets you into rehab at night,” says Hanks. Similar to the rules that came with Gizmo in Gremlins, the one rule Blase had to abide by with Rodman was ‘Don’t take him to Las Vegas.’ Break that, and Blase ran the risk of being fired. From the minute Rodman was on rest, he pulled Blase into an off-the-rails jaunt of nightclubs, wild women, stubborn security guards, Prince and Jay Leno.
“(Former Bulls head coach) Phil Jackson said it best: It’s Almost Famous meets Get Him to the Greek,” says Hanks who here discusses the making of the short and his approach to documentary filmmaking.