‘Dummy’ creator Cody Heller shares the story behind her show, from how the idea came up to how it became a success and got to Quibi.
For Cody Heller, Dummy was the culmination of a “perfect storm.” The origin of the show, which is now on Quibi, started about 4 years ago when Cody stopped writing with her writing partner. She was turning 30 years old by then and had always had a writing partner throughout her entire career.
“I hadn’t written anything on my own for so long,” Cody said in an interview with Hollywood Life. “I had so much self-doubt and so much of this inner critic. It was so exciting and so scary to start writing something on my own, and then adding to that perfect storm is the fact that I just started dating Dan Harmon, who is now my fiancé.”
Cody revealed that one of the things that happened “very early on” in her relationship with Dan was that they wanted to be super honest with each other and share their darkest, deepest secrets. On their second date, Cody learnt that Dan had a sex doll.
“In the moment, I took it in stride and was like, that’s cool. I’m a sexually evolved and liberated woman and it’s fine. I made up a nickname for it and joked about it like it was no big deal. He talked about it on his podcast. It wasn’t like this big secret,” Cody says.
The writer soon realized that she couldn’t get the sex doll off her mind. “It wasn’t until a few months later when we got more serious, and I was spending more time at his house that I found I couldn’t stop thinking about her,” she said.
“At night, I’d be like, which closet is she in? I just thought about her all the time. All these things just happened at the same time when I was writing, and I had to write something. It became clear to me that I have to write about this intensely strange feeling of being jealous of an inanimate object, whereas a man I think can easily objectify an object.”
Cody wrote her story as a sample, and now it’s on Quibi. Anna Kendrick stars as Cody in the Quibi series. Anna and the real-life Cody went to dinner, and there was an “instant love connection” between them.
“Not only did I know she was going to be perfect to play the part, but it was also more just us really connecting, talking about our insecurities, talking about what it is to be a woman,” she said. “Just talking about all the themes that are in the show and realizing how aligned our sensibilities were in that initial meeting.
I was very excited because not only was she going to play the role of Cody, she was also going to be an executive producer on the project. She wound up being such an ideal partner in this project. It’s a dream come true to find someone who just brings out the best in you and who you bring out the best in them, and you’re constantly thinking the same thing.”
Dan’s sex doll played a big role in Dummy coming to life. Cody spoke about Dan’s reaction and what that meant to her. “He watched the show and he loved it,” she said. “I think that was a big thing for me. It wasn’t really his problem. It was my problem. I idolized him and saw him as this genius who was going to help me be a better writer.
But the truth is, no one can do that. You have to learn on your own. You can’t just take people’s notes and suddenly become a great writer. You have to do the work yourself. But overall, he’s been from day one super supportive, super amazing, and so proud of me. It’s the best possible reaction to me writing this very personal thing about us.”