For many who grew up in the ’90s, the Nickelodeon film Good Burger holds a special place. Based on the characters from the All That sketch comedy show, the film starred Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell in this fun buddy comedy. After 25 years and garnering a major cult following, it didn’t come as a surprise when Paramount+ announced Good Burger 2 with Kenan and Kel reprising their characters as they once again try to save the eponymous restaurant.
During New York Comic Con, we had the pleasure of participating in a press roundtable with other outlets to discuss the film with Good Burger 2 writers Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert and director Phil Traill. For Kopelow and Seifert, who penned the original Good Burger film, it truly felt like coming home. During our conversation, the filmmakers discussed returning to the beloved franchise 25 years later as well as teased what fans can expect.
Q: What was the impetus for a Good Burger sequel?
Heath Seifert: Honestly, we’ve always had Good Burger at the front of our minds. We’ve always been coming up with sketches and bits in all the years when we weren’t doing stuff. To the point where we were actually having a meeting about something else and Good Burger came up and we said, “We actually have an idea for the next movie.”
Phil Traill: It also helps that [Brian Robbins], the director of the original movie is now President of Paramount. He loves it as a fan of his own work.
Seifert: He’s very protective of it. We did the All That reboot a few years back as well and one of the thing we wanted to do with that was bring back some sketches from the original and Good Burger was a no-brainer.
Kevin Kopelow: When Kel put on the Good Burger outfit again and came out it was like being back on set in the ‘90s. It got other people’s attention and that’s kind of what spurred it on again.
Seifert: It got people excited about it again and I think maybe it was a little bit of a catalyst for Kenan and Kel talking about it again.
Traill: There’s definitely an appetite for it because when we were filming, the streets outside the Good Burger restaurant were packed. People were coming in and screaming and ruining takes. You felt this massive fanbase but people wanting it to work.
Q: It seems like the demand for Good Burger 2 has always been there. When did the idea of a sequel come to you?
Kopelow: We’ve always wanted to do this. We should be on Good Burger 9 by now! We also needed an idea that moved up with the times because we did come up with the idea 7-8 years ago.
Seifert: It’s a process of getting a film made.
Kopelow: And you have to get everyone on board too. You want everybody excited, not just Heath and I.
Seifert: It has been 25 years of people saying, “When are you doing a sequel.”
Taimur Dar: It goes without saying getting Kenan and Kel on board was the most essential but you still managed to get a number of other actors to return from the original film. Due to various reasons, not every actor could come back such as Abe Vigoda since he passed away a few years ago. I’m a big fan of actress Linda Cardellini.
Seifert: As are we.
Dar: I didn’t realize her role as Heather, the mental asylum patient, was her feature film debut. Can you say whether she’s reprising her role in Good Burger 2 or if there were any other actors you wanted to bring back but couldn’t make it work?
Traill: Linda is not coming back but there are lots of people who are. Lori Beth Denberg as Connie Muldoon.
Seifert: There are a lot of incredible celebrity cameos.
Traill: Carmen Electra comes back.
Seifert: When we sat down to write this, we watched the first film again several times and thought about what we could bring back and what made sense and what’s a fun bit that creates an exciting, surprising cameo. There are a lot in the film.
Traill: There are a ton of new cameos as well of people who had they only knew how big Good Burger was going to be, those people would be asking how they could get it in. Now we had calls asking how they could be part of it.
Kopelow: When we wrote it, we hoped Lori Beth would do it. We’ve kept in touch with her over the years. She really did seem game for it because we worked with her too on the All That reboot.
Q: Do you know why it’s being released on Paramount+ instead of also getting a theatrical release?
Seifert: Honestly, I think films are coming out straight on streaming now. So, I think they’re treating it like a film that just happens to be out on Paramount+.
Traill: It would be amazing to be in theaters. People who’ve seen it in focus groups have been saying what an amazing sleepover movie this would be. I think the group mentality of watching it will be really fun for people. It generates such good feeling in the audience.
Q: How did you bridge the gap between original fans and potential new and younger viewers?
Seifert: We wanted to tell a story that was a big, fun hilarious adventure. If you haven’t seen the first film, you’re going to love it and we’ll have a whole new generation of fans waiting for the third one. We wanted to make sure we did right by fans of the original because we know there’s huge nostalgia. We’re very protective of the franchise. There’s a lot to reward fans of the original.
Traill: For example, there’s a scene on the rooftop at night. If you watch the new movie and have never seen the first one, that’s just a lovely scene of two guys sitting on deck chairs on a roof at night.
Seifert: People who haven’t seen the original aren’t going to be confused.
Dar: As a testament to how much I loved the original Good Burger, I actually read the novelization as a kid. I remember the book included scenes that ended up being cut like Linda Cardellini’s character escaping the asylum. In fact, if you look closely, you can see her in the final scene at the end.
Kopelow: She was in there!
Dar: For Good Burger 2, did you pretty much film everything in the script or was there anything that didn’t make the final cut?
Traill: That’s a good question. We filmed everything and everything made it. But right at the last minute we cut a few little scenes of the baddies. The only thing that ended up on the cutting room floor is a few little scenes of the baddies being super bad because we decided to stay with Kenan and Kel and their spirited adventure.
Seifert: I’m curious what outtakes exist from the original movie because that would be fun to see.
Traill: The film moves really fast. There are jokes coming at you the whole time. I’m sure there are little jokes that didn’t make it because the pace of it is so crazy.