In case you missed it, an all-new live-action puppet comedy sequence known as The Barbarian and the Troll premiered final Friday, April 2nd, on Nickelodeon. It options the voice of Spencer Grammer (Rick and Morty) as Brendar, described as “Gothmoria’s most feared and revered warrior,” in addition to Drew Massey (Sid the Science Child) as Evan, a bridge troll that might actually slightly be a singer. ComicBook.com had the chance the day of the premiere to talk with Grammer about every part from voicing a puppet to Rick and Morty to anime.
If you happen to’re interested in what the present appears to be like like, you’ll be able to try the trailer above, or the poster under:
Extra particularly, Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and the Troll was co-created and government produced by Mike Mitchell and Massey. As famous above, it stars Grammer because the voice of Brendar and Massey as Evan the singing bridge troll. Moreover, Massey is joined by fellow puppeteers and voice expertise Colleen Smith, Allan Trautman, Sarah Sarang Oh, Nicolette Santino, Peggy Etra, James Murray, and Jeny Cassady. The present additionally options the voices of comic Gina Yashere and Phil LaMarr. You possibly can try all of our previous coverage of Nickelodeon right here. And hold studying to take a look at the complete interview with Grammer!
The next interview has been evenly edited for readability and size.
ComicBook.com: Inform us about Brendar! I’ve seen the primary two episodes, however clearly, that is not every part.
Spencer Grammer: Properly, you’ve got seen yet one more episode than I’ve. I’ve clearly seen all of the episodes, however not totally put along with my voice as a result of I have been working kind of as they’re ending, and it is a very thrilling present. I’ve all the time beloved puppetry and puppet work. I beloved the thought of the tangibility of an object, and with the ability to movie it as a live-action sequence is admittedly, actually enjoyable. However it’s additionally voiceover, which I completely adore as my occupation.
So it is about Brendar the barbarian and her troll pal named Evan that she meets within the pilot episode. Evan does not wish to be a troll, actually. He does not wish to work on a bridge. So he burns his bridge down and pursues a music profession. And Brendar is on this quest to seek out her brother Kendar who has been taken by the demon Alvin. And on her quest she meets Evan at a tavern and he thinks she’s actually cool as a result of she kicks some butt, and so they develop into quest buddies, and so they meet a couple of extra buddies alongside the way in which. And there is so many enjoyable, foolish episodes. And quite a lot of actually humorous dad jokes, I wish to name them, that are those that make me snicker tremendous arduous as a result of I am sort of a dork. I legitimately have had moments the place I have been engaged on this present the place I am laughing so arduous. So it has been a pleasure. Truthfully.
On Voicing a Puppet for the First Time
Now you talked about that you simply had been actually excited to be a puppet. You’ve got by no means voiced a puppet earlier than, is that appropriate?
I’ve not. You already know, and I do not do the puppetry work myself, they shoot in Vancouver. Which is a complete different method of working as a result of it’s a must to have your arm up the entire time. It is very arduous. It is very tough. However I might like to learn to do this in some unspecified time in the future. However yeah, I’ve by no means needed to do a puppet voice, which has been a problem in the way in which that I’ve to suit my voice into the puppet’s mouth because it’s transferring. Which it’s a must to get good at timing and likewise typically there’s further mouth flaps. So typically we have now so as to add one other phrase in, or change a phrase. In order that’s been fairly enjoyable, actually. It has been very collaborative.
Truly, I simply acquired off the telephone with Phil LaMarr, who voices Steve the Knight. And he was saying that it helps that they do not have lips.
They do not, that is true. It does assist that they do not have lips, agreed. It is only a transferring mouth, so you’ll be able to sort of match no matter you need into there.
One of many issues that is attention-grabbing in regards to the present is that it is extremely… musical, to illustrate, and there’s a small little bit of you singing on the finish of the second episode. Can we anticipate extra of that sooner or later?
We’ll see. I sing a little bit bit extra later, which is about the identical as the opposite one. I sing a little bit bit once more later within the season, however apparently… Properly they did not know if I might sing but actually. I am not a tremendous singer. I can get by, I am good at karaoke. However they’re like, “Possibly there may be songs sooner or later. We’ll let you understand.” And I used to be like, “OK.” I might like to do extra singing, it could be tremendous enjoyable for me.
On Rick and Morty
At this level, you are finest recognized maybe for voicing Summer time on Rick and Morty. What was it wish to shift into this extra family-friendly function?
Oh, that is true. It’s extra family-friendly. I do know individuals ask me, “Is it for mature audiences?” And I used to be like, “Properly, I imply, not significantly.” It is truly good as a result of I really like Rick and Morty, I really like doing that, however I additionally would love my… I’ve very younger siblings, and buddies who’ve children, so it is actually enjoyable to know that I am doing a present that I can inform them to look at with their children. That may also be humorous as a result of there’s quite a lot of very proficient actors on the present, and the course was nice and there is just a few actually good old-school comedy that exists. And that is sort of the place I began watching. I used to be actually influenced by I would say Lucille Ball and clearly, my father does comedy as nicely.
So I grew up watching these sorts of exhibits, and he was an enormous Jack Benny fan, if you understand who Jack Benny is. However I’ve all the time been educated in that kind of theatrical, vaudevillian, method through the years, as a result of I went to high school for theater and I can apply that to this present quite a lot of the time. And it is good to have the ability to share that with the youthful audiences. I believe it actually provides them a fantastic basis for what they finally can study from Rick and Morty once they’re sufficiently old. However it wasn’t too arduous to shift. I’ve a nine-year-old child, so my life is fairly PG. Though he is rising up quicker than I can sustain with. So he is listening to loopy music and whatnot, and I am making an attempt to elucidate to him issues I most likely should not need to, however it’s okay.
It is humorous that you simply carry up that individuals ask you if Barbarian and the Troll is mature-rated. It’s a massive couple of months right here for you, Barbarian and the Troll at this time as we’re talking. After which Rick and Morty later this summer time.
In June, yeah.
Clearly, you are not going to be recommending Rick and Morty essentially to The Barbarian and the Troll viewers, however would you suggest Barbarian and the Troll to Rick and Morty viewers?
I might! I wish to have selection. I watch quite a lot of animation and so I wish to have quite a lot of textures. I truly simply completed watching Photo voltaic Opposites as a result of I hadn’t seen that but. And I actually loved it. It is a little bit bit, very raunchy in sure methods, but additionally I get pleasure from that sort of humor as nicely. However I believe if you wish to go to an animation that is a little bit bit totally different otherwise you wish to get pleasure from one thing with possibly your youthful children or simply some buddies, it is good. It is very humorous. You possibly can’t deny leisure worth, even when it does not have intercourse in it. Do we have now to have intercourse and every part? I do not know. It is round sufficient, is not it?
I’ve to think about having a nine-year-old after which being on these exhibits, simply past your individual house, it’s a must to be watching quite a lot of animation proper now. Is there anything that you’d counsel individuals try in the intervening time that you simply actually get pleasure from?
I’ve all the time beloved animation, I grew up on MTV. So I watched Beavis and Butt-head rising up, and Daria, and AEon Flux. And clearly, additionally I really like Scooby-Doo. That was most likely one other one among my favourite issues — I nonetheless watch it now. I do not even know if my son likes watching it as a lot as I do. We’re enormous Simpsons followers. We have watched each episode of the Simpsons, most likely a couple of occasions. I am making an attempt to suppose. Photo voltaic Opposites is nice. I actually appreciated that. I truly suppose the second season is admittedly robust. And among the individuals who’ve labored on Rick and Morty do some writing on that present, and clearly, producers and Justin Roiland work on that present, and Mike McMann, who’re all pretty those who I’ve recognized for the final 10 years.
I am making an attempt to suppose, what else have I been watching… It is tied between homicide exhibits and cartoons. I am probably not positive what sort of psyche that takes, however apparently, that is how I roll at evening. And I am not alone based on SNL. However yeah, I am making an attempt to suppose if there’s another exhibits that I have been watching, do you will have any suggestions?
Are you an anime particular person?
Yeah, I like anime as nicely. Yeah.
Properly, the brand new continuation of SSSS.Gridman, SSSS.Dynazenon, began at this time on Funimation.
Right this moment? OK.
I am going to go examine that out.
On Voiceover and the Pandemic
How did the pandemic have an effect on your work for the present? Clearly more and more, voiceover stuff is occurring from residence and issues, however what does that appear like for you?
I want to be in a studio. I simply suppose I do not wish to be performing and fearful about my ranges after I’m doing my efficiency. So I’ve all the time requested to enter a spot and I nonetheless do this. We had been recording Rick and Morty as nicely, and there is quite a lot of protocols in place in New York. And for the reason that virus, this began right here fairly massive initially final yr, we have realized quite a bit about the way to deal with the unfold. So I’m going right into a studio and document like I usually would have. I am presently vaccinated and quite a lot of the individuals who have to enter a office are additionally. So I do know it is much more protected for me to go and work there, however it’s simply me inside a sales space with the doorways closed, and a display and a few headphones. After which I am speaking to everyone on Skype anyway.
And I have been doing that for some time now, even whereas I have been doing Rick and Morty as a result of they document in LA. So after I go to LA I am going to document, I am going to do a brand new episode subsequent week, I will Los Angeles subsequent week, however it hasn’t actually modified my work schedule in any respect. The truth is, I have been doing voiceover now for the final about 10 years. And so I assume I simply acquired the one gig that’s actually protected? So it hasn’t been completely affected by the virus for me.
Proper. Excellent news! There is a horrible pandemic, and likewise it’s a must to work all through it!
Yeah, no, I used to be like, “Oh, dang.” However I do know there’s going to be much more voiceover work. I do know there was and there might be extra exhibits. Oh you what is one other present I beloved, I simply lastly caught up with Disenchantment and I actually loved that present. And I believe additionally The Barbarian and the Troll and that present have quite a lot of similarities. She’s acquired a troll pal as nicely. So for those who appreciated that present, I believe you will additionally actually get pleasure from our present as nicely.
It is humorous we had been speaking about this. It has that lengthy story type versus an encapsulated episode, the way in which that The Simpsons does. There’s kind of standalone moments, however it’s all about this whole journey. Which in some unspecified time in the future would possibly change transferring ahead, relying on how the present goes and the way that is obtained. However that to me is admittedly enjoyable. I get pleasure from after I’m on a journey with a TV present. I believe additionally it lends itself to binge-watching anyway. Simply having one tremendous lengthy film. So if you wish to get in on it and watch all of it you’ll be able to. Which I actually like about that sort of type of storytelling.
On How She Bought Concerned With the Present
How did you first get entangled with Barbarian and the Troll? Did they arrive to you? Did you simply get a casting audition from an agent? How does that work?
They really got here to me, and after I noticed it, I used to be like, “Oh, that is rad.” I used to be like, “I am completely into doing this.” And I used to be simply actually excited to be part of the present. Truthfully, they got here to me, they had been an enormous fan of my voice. I believe Mike Mitchell is an enormous fan of my work and I’ve a really attention-grabbing, odd method of talking I assume. The Summer time voice may be very valley girlish and has more and more develop into extra like that, whereas maintaining kind of my quick-witted sarcastic humor. Which I’ve basically. I do not know I used to be married to an Irish man for a very long time. So it’s a must to be fairly in your toes. However yeah, I believe that for those who’ve been working in a sure trade for a very long time, you study there’s quite a lot of tips and issues and methods to do nicely on the work that you have executed.
In order that they had been actually excited to have me and I used to be actually excited to be part of it actually. It has all the time been a dream of mine to voice a puppet. I grew up with The NeverEnding Story, and all these varieties of films that had been actually tangible. I all the time beloved Fraggle Rock and had Angelica’s… Do not forget that Angelica’s Treehouse?
Eureeka’s Citadel. Was that what it’s?
Is that the one the place the bat would fly into the roof of the fortress?
Possibly it was Eureeka’s Citadel. After which there was one other one which was… There was this tree, after which I additionally grew up with the Winnie the Pooh puppet one too. These had been the exhibits that I watched as a child. And I believe it is simply good we have now a lot animation in the intervening time with anime and every part, that to have one thing that’s an precise object on a display, and you may really feel the individuals voicing these puppets, it is nice. I really like the little faces they’ll make, with their chins, once they pull down as a result of they’ve a little bit sock state of affairs. It is actually humorous. There’s all these cute issues that Evan does the place his ears can perk up.
And people had been all created by puppet makers, I assume. I do not know, they will need to have an official identify. And apparently, Mike would simply draw on a little bit serviette, what he thought it could be. After which he would ship it out to them after which they’d create this factor and ship it. And typically they’d get actually jazzy outfits and stuff that. So I believe it is simply been an especially artistic course of for everybody concerned, and a welcome change from simply doing animation by way of the storyboards and when it is drawn and whatnot. And it simply takes a very very long time, even computer-generated animation. And so that is virtually like taking pictures a TV present. And it went a little bit bit quicker. I imply, arduous, arduous work and every part. However I believe simply actually enjoyable.
They gave me so many nice tales as a result of I might be like, “Oh, it is a actually nice location, the place’d you get this?” Or there is a half the place there is a puppet present inside the puppet present. And apparently, they’d run out of cash. In order that they went and labored on the weekend and made this entire different factor. And it truly enhances the storytelling a lot extra, that are the tips of, I believe… I am in graduate college proper now, however they all the time say, “The much less you will have, the extra artistic it’s a must to get.” And that actually helps the story.
I imply, Marvel’s acquired their factor going and that is nice, however if you solely have a lot, then it’s a must to work tougher to make it extra plausible. I would say the Blumhouse films sort of take that on board quite a lot of the time. And I believe it is a actually nice mannequin to make filmmakers be extra environment friendly and make the tales that a lot better.
On Voicing a Puppet at All
So that you talked a little bit bit in regards to the mechanical facet of voicing a puppet and that being fairly totally different, however so far as a voice, as a voiceover actor, do you method voicing a puppet any totally different than your different roles?
Properly, for Brendar, I did not need her to… I clearly get a few of my valley lady in there, however I needed it to be kind of a decrease register for her character. Extra just like the extra aggressive components of Summer time that I’ve. And extra near my voice basically. It is only a completely totally different method of doing it than voicing Summer time as a result of I already had a visible for what I used to be doing. Whereas after I go in to voice Summer time, I are available in and I make it up. After which they animate it to me. In order that was a problem, however welcomed, very enjoyable to… It is not a lot totally different. You need to leap up and down, it is quite a lot of work. I find it irresistible. Ultimately when the exhibits air, I document myself doing the loopy issues that I’ve to do. Like I’ve to scream quite a bit, make all these combating sounds, that are superior. And you do not get to do this in actual life. You do not go to dinner with someone, and you take your fork and you are like, “Yeah, forks out! Put it in my mouth.”
You are not like, “Ooh.” After which sawing and making noises which actually is one among my favourite issues. And you do not get the chance to do this in precise actual life. So I would say I do not suppose there’s a lot of a distinction between both of these recordings, however I do get extra alternative to make a lot of combating sounds in The Barbarian and the Troll.