Anna Kendrick Said Everyone on the Set of ‘Dummy’ Hated the Sex Doll

Anna Kendrick has played many roles during her career, but Dummy is one of the strangest. The TV series, which debuted on the short-lived streaming platform Quibi, chronicles her character’s relationship with a sex doll. You’d think acting opposite an inanimate object would be easy, but Kendrick and her castmates had some problems with the doll. 

Dummy proved to be a divisive show, appropriate given the bizarre concept. The chances for a second season are slim but not impossible. 

What is ‘Dummy’ about?

Anna Kendrick Dummy TV show sex doll
Anna Kendrick | CBS via Getty Images

Dummy is a left-field comedy based on a real-life experience when creator Cody Heller found out that her partner, Dan Harmon of Community and Rick and Morty fame, owned a sex doll. Kendrick plays a version of Heller, Donal Logue plays Harmon, and Search Party‘s Meredith Hagner provides the voice for the doll, named Barbara Himmelbaum-Harmon. Dummy was originally imagined as a TV pilot, rewritten into a movie, and then split into 10-minute episodes to fit Quibi’s format. 

In a Vanity Fair video about her career, Kendrick discussed what it was like to make Dummy. It turns out sex dolls are more high-maintenance than you might think.  

“The real challenge ended up being the part that we thought was going to be the easiest part, which is that I’m acting against an inanimate object. Like, that seems like we can have the shortest shooting schedule,” she said. “I showed up, I talk to a potato, it’s great. Except that a real sex doll is not just like a potato or a dish or whatever.”

Sex dolls are not like potatoes, and the production crew’s inability to get the sex doll to stay in one place for any stretch of time became a real challenge on set.

“This diva would not sit still, would not hold a position,” Kendrick explained. “Everybody on set was like, ‘I’m going to kill her. I’m going to kill her.'”

Sex dolls are harder to work with than they appear

The sex doll struggle was so intense that the production had to add more staff to get the desired shots.

“We had to hire a second prop person just to help deal with this doll. Because it seems like, yeah, you throw her in a closet. And then we do a whole scene where I find her in a closet and she talks to me and she just doesn’t want to do that,” Kendrick explained.

“And it took like two and a half hours to get her set up to the place where she would just freeze like a mannequin, which you think would be the whole thing that she does.”

They eventually found a groove and completed the series. (The one season of Dummy consists of 10 episodes.) Kendrick left the project with a newfound appreciation for people who incorporate sex dolls into their lives. 

“I really tip my hat to people who commit to having a sex doll in their lives, because it’s a handful. They’re so much heavier than you think they would be, and [they’re] unruly. Really good for you for being that committed.”

What did viewers think of ‘Dummy’?

Dummy is surreal and over-the-top, so it’s no surprise it drew polarizing opinions from those who’ve seen it. Some viewers found the ridiculous and perverse exploration of feminism thought-provoking and uplifting (per Uproxx), while others saw the show as an Anna Kendrick vanity project and nothing else (per Beeding Cool).

Will we see Dummy Season 2? It’s unlikely. Quibi couldn’t make it a year before shutting down in December 2020. The shows then moved to ad-supported channels on Roku, but most people don’t even know those channels exist, let alone watch them enough to create a groundswell of support big enough to demand a second season.

Kendrick seemed to get something out of the experience of making the show, so she might be slightly disappointed by the ersatz cancellation, even if you could see it coming once Quibi entered the marketplace with a thudding silence. On the bright side, she won’t have to work with such a difficult co-star in the near future. 

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