Being Naked And Unconscious On Netflix’s Obliterated Was The Role C. Thomas Howell Was Born To Play

By now, it’s possible you’ve seen Netflix’s latest action-comedy, Obliterated. The series follows a team of special operative government agents as they attempt to track down a nuclear bomb threatening to destroy all of Las Vegas. The problem is, they’re doing it after a night of partying in Las Vegas, in which they drank a shocking amount of alcohol and took a bunch of drugs. Sounds like a recipe for success, right?

Warning: The following contains light spoilers for Obliterated Season 1, which is streaming on Netflix now.

The most shockingly inebriated person on the team is none other than the bomb specialist himself, known only by the name Haggerty. Played by C. Thomas Howell (Red Dawn, E.T., The Walking Dead), Haggerty’s portrayal might come as a surprise. Now only does he get fully naked on the show, but he also spends the majority of Season 1 passed out in a drug-induced stupor.

While that might sound like an unexpected role for someone with Howell’s resume to take on, Obliterated co-showrunner Jon Hurwitz told GameSpot that it turned out to be the role of a lifetime for the character actor.

“He’s a really smart, savvy guy who’s been around in this business for a very long time,” Hurwitz explained. “The moment he read the material for Haggerty, he’s like, ‘This is gonna be huge for me. This is a character unlike anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to play. I understand this character. I know what to do with him.'”

What followed, the co-showrunner said, was essentially an “R-rated Weekend at Bernie’s,” as the team dragged him around in an inflatable raft or carried him over their shoulders. And, of course, there’s also the truly gross scene in which his coworkers have to wash his own feces off of him in a Las Vegas fountain.

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“What was amazing was seeing him be so hilarious in the first episode, go there, show it all, and do all that but then spend four episodes where he’s just unconscious for a long time,” Hurwitz said. “Every scene that Haggerty’s in while he’s unconscious, he’s present, he’s there, he’s doing things. So, as an actor, there’s this challenge that he had. And luckily, he has a big toolbox of tricks in his repertoire where he was able to make moments out of these things.”

For Hayden Schlossberg, another of the show’s trio of showrunners, it was reminiscent of another project he and Hurwitz wrote almost two decades ago.

“Working with C. Thomas Howell reminded me of working with Neil Patrick Harris when we made Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. It’s tough to remember but, back then, when we shot Harold and Kumar, Neil had never done anything really comedic of note,” Schlossberg said. “So you didn’t think of him as a comedy star. But we purposely wrote something that we knew would be hysterical for him in that movie. And same with C. Thomas Howell. I just know of him from, like, a lot of dramatic works and stuff over the years. But we knew that this was a very showy, crazy, wild kind of character. We hope people watch this and you’re just like, ‘Woah, that’s C. Thomas Howell doing this? Awesome!'”

Let’s all hope Obliterated gets a Season 2, if only so we can follow Howell’s adventures as Haggerty even further. It’s hard to imagine how that particular character could fall any lower, though it’d be fun to see the writers try.

Obliterated is streaming on Netflix now.

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