Pitch Perfect: Bumper In Berlin Showrunner Megan Amram Expands The Franchise [Exclusive Interview]

Megan Amram is a weird person, and I say that as a compliment from the bottom of my weird little heart. The hilarious writer known for "Silicon Valley," "The Good Place," "An Emmy For Megan," and the best meme in the entirety of the Trump Administration is now a showrunner, bringing "Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin" to Peacock. With a trilogy as popular as the "Pitch Perfect" films, Amram was tasked with the difficult job of figuring out how to keep the same energy and sense of humor as the 2010s film series, while following the journey of Bumper Allen, who started out as the movies' main antagonist. A series centered on Bumper doesn't sound like it would work, but with Amram at the helm, "Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin" does the impossible and breathes new life into the decade-old series.

"Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin" has all of the aca-hilarity of the original trilogy, but feels like its own adventure. Flula Borg gets to be an absolute gift, Sarah Hyland sings absolutely gorgeous songs, Jameela Jamil gets a diva role that plays to her comedy strengths, Adam DeVine allows Bumper to grow beyond our wildest imaginations, newcomer Lera Abova is about to be every queer gal's new crush (sorry, Emma D'Arcy), and Amram somehow got Udo f****** Kier to play in her wild, musical sandbox. I sat down with Amram over Zoom to talk about her process of crafting the series, and yes, to gush about the living legend, Udo Kier.

'How do you make this necessary?'

"Bumper in Berlin" feels like just such a fantastic extension of the "Pitch Perfect" universe without feeling like a weird cash grab. How did you determine which connective tissue from the films to include in the series?

Well, because I'm talking to /Film, which I am a super big fan of, I will say that you bring up a point that was very important to me, which is I did not want this to just be something for the sake of continuing "Pitch Perfect." I'm obsessed with "Twin Peaks: The Return," and we could talk about that for many minutes, but I think something about it that I had in my head in doing a spin-off-type show was, "How do you make this necessary to the time that you are doing it?" So for me, I was a fan of "Pitch Perfect." I loved the music. I am a huge fan of Adam DeVine. And the exciting thing about doing a show sort of 10 years after the movies first came out is you really were allowed to use that time to deepen the character and see Bumper and Pieter in different sorts of modes than you'd seen them in the movies.

'I really fangirled out at him'

Okay. So. You got Udo Kier to play Pieter and Thea's dad. Tell me everything. Was the character written for him? Did you have to ask him personally? How did this happen?!

Thank you for asking me about Udo. I'm so excited to talk about him. Okay. Again, because I'm talking to /Film, I love "Melancholia." I love a lot of the really dark things that he's been a part of, but he's also an iconic German actor. We wrote this character who is very silly and is Pieter and Thea's father, and I very much wanted Udo to be in it, not knowing if he'd be interested in a silly comedy show. But he was so excited to do it and he lives in America, so he flew out to Berlin to be in the show and I asked him so many questions about iconic directors he's worked with. So I really fangirled out at him.

I like, audibly screamed when I saw him on screen and despite those dark roles, my favorite fun fact is to tell people he was an evil bird on "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated."

He has done so many things! And also, you take a photo of that man and he snaps into model mode so quickly.

Oh my god, yes!

I took a random photo just being like, "Can I remember this moment in the trailer?" And I [looked at it and] was like, "Oh, this is a perfect photo and could be on the cover of Vogue."

It's the eyes. They just pierce into your soul.


It's a show about friendships

So I love that you love the "Pitch Perfect" films, and I think at the heart of those films, there's so much unpacking of sisterhood and women in competition. Obviously, this is a series about Bumper, so it's not so much about that. But none of the women on the show feel like weird manic pixie a capella dream girls for him. Was a conscious thought you had about how the women fit into this story?

That is so nice to hear. And not only was it a conscious thought, but it was something that was at the forefront of my mind all the time in writing it and shooting the show. There's another type of story that I do think fits into "Pitch Perfect," that I also love talking about, which is healthy male friendships that are not making fun of it, that are not homophobic, that are just men being genuinely supportive and sweet to each other. So that was one aspect of the gendered characters I was excited about.

But then for our female characters in the show, even though they're not the characters whose names are in the title, I really wanted the heart of female friendship to still feel incredibly present. Thea, Gisela, and Heidi are so different, but when you get them together, Thea and Heidi especially, you have a few scenes where they're just being friends together, and I loved it. It's like two very different types of women. They act differently, and they look different, but they are able to find very specific things to love about each other. That was very exciting for me.

"Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin" will premiere on Peacock on November 23, 2022.