Reinstein and his friends had been mulling over a TV show for years. “We tried various iterations, but couldn’t find something we liked,” he said. He then watched a short-lived Bravo cult show “Fishing With John” hosted by John Lurie, which took famous friends like Matt Dillon, Dennis Hopper and Willem Dafoe on offbeat fishing expeditions despite Lurie knowing the peach.
These three men aren’t outdoor enthusiasts either, so “Chillin Island” takes on many of the same elements as “Fishing With John.” “We want to take people out of their element and see what comes out of it,” Reinstein said.
Young Thug was totally into the journey as they wandered through a desert setting in the first episode. The opening scene shows the three hosts flipping a dune buggy. “Young Thug came on set immediately afterwards,” Reinstein said. “We were giddy.”
Lil Yachty explores a swamp, which Wright calls on the show “the toilet bowl of the gods.” One of the guides helping them calls him “Yachter”.
“He was amazed that someone was doing this stuff on purpose in the swamp,” Reinstein said.
New York rapper Lil Tecca and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig are battling at sea. And Killer Mike and Gunna joined the gang last Friday.
“You look like the Christian Camping Coalition,” Killer Mike said when he first saw the trio. But he was not at all ready to venture outside.
Instead, he steps back and allows Gunna to take over in his “small town-sized backyard,” Wright recounted. “I think I speak for all of us when I say I’m very impressed.”
His backyard, in fact, is home to a herd of cows. They end up trying to fish and the three hosts enter a tent. That’s when the episode gets super surreal because they end up at the Blue Flame strip club with Killer Mike, leaving Gunna behind in the woods.
Reinstein had bigger plans for travel destinations like Iceland and Hawaii, but “the reality of budgets and schedules” kicked in, he said. “It ended up being dictated more by how close to where the guests were and where they could go. We had to adapt it to them.
He was also happy to appoint Wright as the narrator.
“I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was a kid,” Reinstein said. “My dad was watching his little shorts. And I speak in a pretty tongue-in-cheek tone, so in a way, it’s like the architect of my vocal style. Not that I do it intentionally. I just talk like that.
>> RELATED: My Interview with Wright from 2018
The season finale airs January 28, and the series to date is available on demand on HBO Max.
10:30 p.m. Fridays on HBO through January 28 and available on demand on HBO Max