“Blowing stuff up is fun, but this is really fun,” said MythBuster Tory Belleci, laughing as he volleyed a tennis ball with Cal men’s tennis coach Peter Wright.
The MythBusters’ Build Team was on campus Tuesday to film part of an episode involving a tennis myth. The crew, which also includes Grant Imahara and Kari Byron, worked closely with Wright as cameras rolled, filming their volleys.
Although the exact nature of the myth that the team is trying to bust cannot be publicly revealed, the crew needed to brush up on their tennis skills to prepare for a later part of the episode.
Director Lauren Williams, who knew Wright growing up in the city of Berkeley, easily reached out to the Cal men’s tennis head coach to secure the location on the UC Berkeley campus. She found it to be an excellent place to film the episode because of both Wright’s expertise and the natural beauty of the campus.
“Cal is incredibly telegenic,” Williams said. “If you go into a track, it’s this Greek-inspired track. If you go onto a court, it’s surrounded by beautiful trees. It’s a campus that’s not only a symbol of higher learning and achievement, but it’s also very visually exciting.”
The MythBusters are based out of San Francisco and found that not only was the Hellman Tennis Complex at Cal the perfect place to film but also that also coach Wright was the perfect person to teach them some tennis basics.
“(Coach Wright) was awesome,” Belleci said after filming. “Back in the shop, we were fumbling with the tennis balls, trying to get the rackets to work and couldn’t do it. We come out here, and in five minutes, we were looking like pros.”
Belleci had the benefit of playing tennis in high school, but Imahara and Byron were not so lucky.
“This was my first time on a tennis court ever,” Byron said.
But through working with Wright and associate coach Tyler Browne, the team was soon hitting well enough for the purposes of the myth.
“I have a grand total of seven hours of instruction in tennis in my life,” Imahara said. “And with (coach Wright’s) help, I look like I’m good at tennis!”
In addition to the great instruction they received, the MythBusters were also excited to work with a local university.
“We always want to foster relations with higher education in the area,” Byron said.
But after almost five hours of filming, the MythBusters hosts hit enough television-worthy volleys to call it a day. Although the later parts of the show could not be revealed to the public, the crew is anticipating performing an experiment comparable to, if not more exciting than, several of the other myths they have busted.
“We’re going to ramp up to something that I don’t even think has been done in real life,” Imahara said. “And it’s gonna be crazy.”
The episode is still a long way from airing, and it could be up to six months or even a year from premiering.