Die Hart's Eric Appel Shares Hilarious Struggle of Directing the "Top Squirrel in the Business"

Die Hart, the new series from Quibi, finished releasing its episodes this week and ended up being a super fun ride. The show followed a fictionalized version of Kevin Hart who enlists in "the world's greatest action star school" with the hopes of expanding his career. During the show, Hart had some adversaries, including his action school teacher, Ron Wilcox (John Travolta). However, a fun bit throughout the show was that Hart was afraid of squirrels, and it was pretty hilarious when he was forced to come face to face with one. Recently, ComicBook.com had a chat with the show's director, Eric Appel, and we couldn't help but ask if directing a squirrel was the biggest challenge of the show.

"They kept assuring me that that squirrel, which by the way, the squirrel's name is NutNut. It's a real live squirrel. They kept assuring me that NutNut was the best squirrel in the business. NutNut does a lot of commercials, this is like the top squirrel in the business," Appel explained.

"That said, it's still a squirrel at the end of the day, extremely difficult to film with a squirrel. Squirrels do not respond well to direction from humans, and that's actually, a lot of our CG budget went into painting out the... there's a string that's tied to the squirrel. The squirrel is basically on a leash whenever you see it, and they had to go in and paint out the leash. So the squirrel won't run away into the woods while we're filming."

"There were three squirrel handlers with butterfly nets," Appel added. "Yeah, just in case, to catch the squirrel if it ran away. So I would say that you are correct in your assumption that the squirrel was the most difficult thing to film."

For some reason, I cannot stop thinking about NutNut! We tried to find his acting reel but didn't have any luck. Either way, we learned a lot about squirrels in Hollywood this week.

During the interview, Appel also talked about working with the show's human actors:

"I think Kevin is one of the funniest people I've ever met and we were just constantly laughing on set," Appel shared. So if that comes across on screen, I would say that, yes, Kevin played it very true to himself in that he is hilarious all the time, the crew was constantly laughing. Nathalie [Emmanuel] was constantly breaking and laughing when we'd be filming a scene."


Die Hart is now available to stream on Quibi.