‘Dummy’ Creator Cody Heller on Working With ‘Unwieldy,’ ‘Diva’-Like Sex Dolls for Anna Kendrick Quibi Comedy (Video)

“I salute any person who has a commitment to having a sex doll in their life because truly, it is a lot to deal with,” Heller tells TheWrap

Last Updated: July 8, 2020 @ 3:29 PM

When it comes to the logistical challenges of filming with sex dolls, Cody Heller, writer and creator of the Quibi comedy series “Dummy,” and her cinematographer Catherine Goldschmidt, probably know more about the process than just about anyone outside of the adult film industry.

During WrapWomen’s Awards Series Screening Q&A of “Dummy” presented by Quibi on Wednesday, Heller and Goldschmidt explained the painstaking process of working with multiple real-life sex dolls to make the 10-episode series that tells the story of the relationship between a woman and her boyfriend’s talking sex doll.

The story is based on Heller’s real-life relationship with her now-fiancé, “Rick and Morty” and “Community” creator Dan Harmon. Anna Kendrick stars as Heller while the Harmon character is played by Donal Logue.

“So in real life, my now fiancé Dan Harmon — this was five years ago — we started dating, and one of the things we decided super early on in our relationship, like the second date, was that we were going be totally honest and have a different relationship than we’d ever had in the past, and come out right away with all of our kinks and fetishes and deepest darkest secrets and get it all out on the table,” she said. “And one of the things that came up was that he had a sex doll.”

Heller clarified that the doll wasn’t a secret of Harmon’s that she exposed to the world and that he had already discussed it at length in his podcast.

She also explained that as time went on in their relationship, no matter how hard she tried to be “cool” about it, the doll began to haunt her.

“I give it a nickname, whatever, it’s like porn, it’s an inanimate object, who the f— cares. And then I find myself like six months into the relationship, now we’re getting more serious, I’m spending more nights there, and I cannot stop thinking about this f—ing doll,” Heller continued. “In real life, the glitter thing from the pilot — I saw glitter on his face, and I was like, what is this from? And I found out, and I was like, Oh my God, I feel such feelings about this. And I realized I had humanized this thing as a woman that he was able to objectify. And I was fascinated by this idea, and I was obsessed with her.”

Like her character in the show, she owed her agent a script for staffing season. And so, at Harmon’s suggestion, she decided to write a script where she could vent out her feelings with no expectations. The result was what would later become “Dummy.”

Heller and Goldschmidt also detailed the challenges of working with sex dolls. For one thing, they are apparently extremely heavy.

“I just remember, we were shooting a camera test at the start, which was supposed to look at normal stuff that the camera test looks at, you know, costumes, lighting, fun stuff. Instead, it just got completely, so obsessed with the doll’s skin tone. And also it was the first time that we were trying to get the doll to stand up,” said Goldschmidt. “She’s built to lie down. So yeah, there’s some funny pictures of my key grip trying to figure out how to prop her up and stuff.”

Heller explained that the dolls were all ordered from a website called siliconwives.com.

“When someone orders a sex doll, they’re probably not ordering a ton at a time. They’re getting one. One and done. So there’s no quality control,” Heller said. “So these dolls start arriving at different times and they’re made to order at different times, and they come in this coffin.”

It turns out that not all sex dolls are created equal.

“One shows up and looks like she has a really major sunburn, she’s basically lobster red. And then one of them is greyish — these are not human colors. So then we had to get more dolls, and we had certain dolls that we used as extra dolls in the background,” Heller continued. “I salute any person who has a commitment to having a sex doll in their life because truly it is a lot to deal with.”

Describing the dolls as “unwieldy,” Heller recalled the first time Kendrick ever tried to pick one up.

“I remember the first day of rehearsal, and it was just me, Anna, Meredith Hagner, who plays Barbara, and Tricia Brock, the director. And we brought the doll to be like, oh, this’ll be fun, we’ll rehearse with the doll. And Anna tried to pick it up, and couldn’t,” she said. “First of all, first thing we did was check her vagina and look everything over. ‘Cause I never in real life saw Dan’s doll. Then Anna tried to lift it up — there were a lot of scenes where I had her lifting it up before. And there was no way she could lift it up. I was like, well she’s so thin and little, I bet I can do it. So I go to show off, and I can’t even lift it up. They’re complete dead weight, there’s no center of gravity to these things. And then their skin gets so dirty so easily.”

In the end, though, it was an amusing experience that they won’t soon forget.

“Anna and Meredith would joke that Barbara the doll was the diva of the whole set because she required more work than anyone else,” Heller joked. “It was a really fun shoot because of doll Barbara and all of the hell she gave us.”

All 10 episodes of season one of “Dummy” are now streaming on Quibi.

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