TORONTO – David Brady of Toronto-based Cream Productions was on his way to work last month when he got a text from “Wild Things” host Dominic Monaghan.
“Do you think we’ll get us another season now that we’re nominated for an Emmy?” said Brady, recalling the message.
Brady texted back: “What?”
As executive producer of the OLN show, it was a “fantastic surprise” to get the message from “Lost” and “Lord of the Rings” actor Monaghan about their nomination for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, said Brady.
The award will be presented Saturday as part of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards, held a week in an advance of the prime-time awards show.
“Wild Things with Dominic Monaghan” takes audiences to some of the most remote corners of the globe on the hunt for unusual animals and insects. The first two seasons followed Monaghan’s quest to find a giant salamander in Japan, a titan beetle in Brazil and a giant spitting cobra in Kenya.
Unscripted programming means a delicate balance between intense planningand embracing spontaneity while shooting, said Brady.
“The biggest challenge is the unknown,” said Brady. “We can’t guarantee what we are going to get — whether it’s the animals we are after, the people we want to meet or the storylines we are after.”
But unanticipated drama can often make the best television. This was proven while filming a surgery on an injured elephant in Kenya for episode two of the latest season. The elephant was heavily sedated and after the surgery was given an injection to regain consciousness — which it did quite swiftly, becoming alarmed at the crowd and charging camera operator Frank Vilaca.
Vilaca dropped his camera as he ran for his life from the planet’s largest land mammal, which can weigh anywhere between 5,000 and 14,000 pounds. But Brady kept filming on his iPhone, which he had out and rolling for personal use.
“I’m not a trained cameraman but I will pat myself on the back,” said Brady laughing. “I ran and I filmed.”
The iPhone footage made it into the show, showing Vilaca narrowly escape the elephant’s fury as another crew member jumped in front of the elephant, managing to stop the animal’s charge.
Although it only lasted a few seconds, Brady characterized the experience as “shocking.”
“It definitely created some adrenalin,” he said.
Brady only makes it out to the field once or twice a season and witnessing situations like this gave him an appreciation for series host Monaghan’s dedication to his audience.
“He really does put himself on the line for the experience and gives that experience to viewers,” said Brady, noting that during filming for the second season, Monaghan was bit by a monitor lizard in Thailand which required 40 stitches to patch him up.
While developing the concept for the show and looking for a host, Brady came across interviews of Monaghan talking about his love for insects while shooting “Lost.” So, he reached out to Monaghan through his agent and Monaghan jumped at the chance, telling Brady this was his dream job.
“It has been incredible to work with Dominic,” said Brady.
A third season hasn’t been confirmed yet but producers are in talks with BBC and the Emmy nomination may boost their bid, said Brady.
There is certainly no shortage of material to cover in another season, he adds.
“Dominic is incredibly passionate and has lists and lists of things he wants to explore,” Brady said.