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NYCC 2016: ‘Trollhunters’ Interview With Steven Yeun & Charlie Saxton
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Trollhunters, the upcoming animated series from Netflix and DreamWorks Animations, had a big presence at this year’s New York Comic-Con this weekend. The trailer and poster were revealed at a panel for the series, which launches on Netflix this December, and I got a chance to participate in roundtable press interviews with several members of the voice cast, as well as executive producer Guillermo Del Toro, who co-wrote the book upon which the series is based.

Up first were voice actors Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) and Charlie Saxton (Betas). Check out the roundtable interview here below.

Q: How is it working with Guillermo del Toro?

Saxton: I was very nervous and intimidated going into it, and it could not have been more relaxed, collaborative, fun environment.

Yeun: Yeah. Same. You know, just to be asked to be part of this is an honor, and then to go in there with such nerves, and to be totally just calmed by how wonderful he is, has been awesome.

Q: What’s better about animation versus live action?

Yeun: The hours are better. You know, they have their own skill sets. I think there’s a beauty in live action in that you get to play off of somebody, whereas, in voiceover, you are kind of in your own head. You are lucky to have a great director in that scenario. It’s apples and oranges. I like them both.

Saxton: They both have their pros and their cons. Like you said the hours are nicer.

Yeun: Wardrobe’s great.

Saxton: You get to work in basketball shorts, which I appreciate.

Yeun: Not as hot as Georgia.

Q: Did you read the book before you started?

Yeun: No… I did not.

Saxton: It’s a good book. I didn’t read the book beforehand, but I did read it once we started. It’s interesting because it’s pretty different from the series.

Yeun: Can someone send me that book? I want to read it.

Saxton: The book is definitely like a seed that sets the series in motion. You’re about to get your mind blown.

Q: How will the fans of your other show like this one?

Yeun: I think they’ll like the gore, the guts…

Saxton: Lot of gore – tendons.

Yeun: Have you seen spines before? You’ll love Trollhunters!

Yeun: You know what I like? In some weird, weird way, the show that I work on, The Walking Dead… it’s become family programming, even though technically shouldn’t be. Probably because it’s hitting on ideas and things that pertain to everyone. And that show doesn’t talk down to kids, because it’s not made for kids. And kids today are a little bit smarter. But what’s great about Trollhunters is that it’s the same way. They don’t talk down to the kids. And so everybody is going to be able to turn it on and watch it.

Saxton: Definitely. Fantasies reflect what we need to work on in person, because they clarify… you have good and you have evil. And then you have the fantastical good and evil. So with Trollhunters, you have the fantastical and the imagination, but what it does is so grounded in the human condition and the morals. And what it means to be a hero and step up when you have to, and the fear that comes along with what you think you’re not prepared for, but now you’re suddenly thrust into. So I feel like everyone can definitely relate to it… and not just kids, but adults. I’m very excited for people to see that.

Q: What is great about your characters?

Yeun: For me, what’s great about Steve, who’s a school bully, so that’s awesome (laughs). But he’s layered. He has a journey, so I’m not gonna tell you what happens.

Saxton: He’s not your typical bully.

Q: Do you guys have a different process for creating your characters for like a voice only, as you do when you are working on camera?

Yeun: No. No.

Saxton: No. I definitely do the same process of discovering this person – who they are, how they react in certain situations. It really isn’t that much of a difference when it comes to the craft, the heart of it all. You are trying to make the best version of whatever you’re trying to make.

Yeun: With animation too though, it’s slightly more collaborative than live action. With live action, you are left with what’s on the film. They might edit you. In voice, I thought I knew my character and when I saw the final product, I was like, Oh… there’s another layer to the character that I didn’t even think about. Which is really great.

Saxton: Yeah. Animation is cool. Me and Steve, we were really able to improvise, and do whatever we wanted. And that was really cool. The beauty of animation is that you can go back and keep adding and creating. So this one little improv line that I had is now an ongoing thing.

Yeun: I just imagine an animator cursing your name (everyone laughs) like, “Argh… why do you have to keep saying stuff?”

Q: Would you guys ever consider doing motion capture work?

Saxton: I’ve done motion capture work, when I was 16 I was in a video game called “Bully.” It was on Rock Star. I played a nerd named Melvin. If you punched me hard enough, I’d projectile vomit.

Yeun: Duuuude!!!

Saxton: That was a pretty interesting experience for a 16-year old boy in a skin-tight suit. It was great. It was awesome.

Image Gallery

Keep it here at Geeks Of Doom all weekend for our on-site coverage of NYCC 2016 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

[Images by Athena Costanza for Geeks Of Doom.]

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