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Koala Man Creators on Casting Hugh Jackman & Their Animation Influences

We caught up with Michael Cusack, Benji Samit, and Dan Hernandez about their upcoming sequence Koala Man whereas we have been at San Diego Comic-Con this 12 months. The idea for Koala Man first appeared on the Australian comedy anthology sequence known as Fresh Blood. The episodes of the season have been additionally meant to double as potential pilots for future TV sequence. “Koala Man” was about Kevin, a divorced dad, who spends his days at a boring job and his nights as a superhero with a Koala masks. Originally created by Cusack, the sequence has now been picked up by twentieth Television Animation for Hulu to be produced.

The Koala Man sequence now follows a household man who lives a not-so-secret id because the titular hero who possesses a burning ardour to snuff out petty crime of their small city of Dapto in Australia. The sequence casts Cusack because the voice behind the titular character but in addition employs the skills of Succession‘s Sarah Snook and Demi Lardner as relations. Samit and Hernandez function showrunners, having labored on tasks like Pokémon Detective Pikachu, The Addams Family 2, and Central Park collectively.


We requested the trio about what it was like casting Hugh Jackman within the position of Big Greg, whether or not they received the triple menace to sing, what their influences have been, and what they have been enthusiastic about for Comic-Con.

RELATED: Hulu Orders Adult Animated Show ‘Koala Man,’ Justin Roiland Executive Producing

Collider: It’s nice to see you guys. So first off, I simply must ask about getting Hugh Jackman on the present. I’d love to listen to the story behind that. How’d you guys get him? Was he arduous to get?

MICHAEL CUSACK: Yeah, I feel the story goes, we went out to Hugh, as a result of we needed an enormous Australian star as a result of that is an Australian present so we purpose for the celebs. I’m fairly certain he confirmed it to one in every of his children, and so they have been like, you must do that as a result of it’s totally particularly Aussie. So, it was one in every of his children who satisfied him to do the position, which we’re very grateful for.

BENJI SAMIT: Yeah, we kind of created this a part of Big Greg for Hugh. As we have been writing it, we have been like, “This is obviously got to be Hugh Jackman,” as a result of the character is like probably the most Australian man on this planet. And it is like, who’s the king of Australia? Hugh Jackman.

DAN HERNANDEZ: And additionally it was a type of issues the place there have been lots of people telling us to mood our expectations about it. “Okay, yeah, we’ll try you know, you know, but don’t… It’s Hugh Jackman, one of the biggest stars in the world.” And then I feel he was the best sure that we had out of anyone. He cherished it. He received it. He cherished Michael. He simply cherished the present, and he was in. We could not consider it.

So I’m guessing there is no singing concerned then?

HERNANDEZ: I would not say that there is no singing concerned.

SAMIT: We weren’t going to forged Hugh Jackman and never have him sing a tune.

HERNANDEZ: He additionally introduced rather a lot that wasn’t on the web page. Just as a result of he’s such an incredible performer. I imply, he is simply the very best of the very best. So however, you understand, watch this house for Hugh singing.

Any Wolverine jokes? I gotta ask.

CUSACK: I imply, it is a superhero present. So I suppose like, the undertones are there, however no direct Wolverine references. We did not need to appear too fan-boyish on him.

SAMIT: Yeah, we needed to be cool.

HERNANDEZ: Yeah, we needed to fake to be a lot calmer about your complete scenario than we have been.

So, Dan and Benji, you guys are showrunners. What has it been like working on this present coming from working on huge tasks like Pokemon Detective Pikachu?

SAMIT: I imply, it has been wonderful. We’ve concurrently, by means of our movie profession, we have additionally had a protracted TV profession the place we have written on a number of exhibits and produced a number of TV. This is our first time showrunning. It’s been a number of years now since we first sat down with Michael, he had this concept for a present, and we developed it collectively. It’s simply been a tremendous partnership, the three of us, like constructing this world, crafting the present, placing all of it collectively. Movies are nice and tremendous enjoyable, and so they’re rewarding in their very own manner, however whenever you’re showrunning, and also you’re answerable for the whole lot, it is a completely different feeling.

HERNANDEZ: Well, I’d additionally say that, in TV, you’ve gotten the chance to inform an extended type story. I do not suppose we deal with it like one lengthy film, I feel we’re very pleased with the TV method, and you understand, episodic, and every episode has its personal nugget. However, over the course of eight episodes, you’ll be able to spend a number of time with these characters you can’t in a film that is simply gotta transfer, gotta transfer, gotta transfer. So I feel that a number of the emotion within the character moments from the primary episode to the eighth episode, it virtually sneaks up on you the way a lot you are beginning to care about these characters and the issues which can be taking place. So I feel that TV is a good medium in that respect. That’s why we love telling tales in an extended type manner.

And Michael, having performed Koala Man in Fresh Blood, which is the place we first noticed him, how has it been seeing it transition from only a single episode to a full-blown present?

CUSACK: Yeah, it has been a tremendous expertise actually, as a result of going from what I do, which may be very tough and artful – it was a curler coaster to get it into extra of a mainstream method. Like, how do you do a present [that] comes from very small, artful roots [that goes] to an even bigger viewers. It was actually an enormous studying curve for me personally, however wonderful too. It’s simply, precisely what I needed to do after I was a child, have a twentieth Century Fox present. It’s simply insane having an Australian present on American TV, I feel that is the weirdest half.

Yes, you will positively introduce some folks to Australia-isms. But talking about childhoods, I do know you guys are all into animation. I need to know what influences did you’ve gotten whenever you have been rising up? Do you’ve gotten a favourite TV present or favourite film that influenced you?

SAMIT: I’d say we’re all that age the place The Simpsons, I feel I may converse for in all probability all of us, was such an affect on our comedy, on our storytelling. That launched this complete world of grownup animation or animation with an expanded viewers. Yeah, that may be the large one for my childhood.

CUSACK: Yeah, The Simpsons positively. South Park was an enormous affect on me. I in all probability watched South Park after I was too younger. My dad let me watch it, however my mother did not. It was like the key factor. What Matt [Stone] and Trey [Parker] did with that and like what you get away with was such an affect to me as a child. It’s South Park, Futurama, all that.

HERNANDEZ: That was the identical for me. But, I feel on this specific case, I additionally actually loved issues like X-Men: The Animated Series, Batman: The Animated Series, Heavy Metal. So it has been attention-grabbing in a present like this, which is a superhero present and there is a number of motion, and there is a number of non-comedy – issues which can be humorous, however we form of deal with it fairly critically. That’s been actually useful for me having been capable of deploy these numerous pursuits into this present.

SAMIT: Yeah, particularly, we actually try to mix the animated household sitcom that individuals all know very effectively at this level with a superhero so. Those traditional superhero cartoons. Those two have by no means actually been married earlier than, in the best way that we’re doing it, and it is actually thrilling.

That’s thrilling, and people are a few of my favorites as effectively, so I’m joyful to listen to it. So, coming to Comic-Con, you’ve got received a bunch of followers and collectors right here. Do you guys have issues that you just accumulate or issues that you just’re on the look out for right here at Comic-Con?

HERNANDEZ: Oh, I’m going absolutely off on Comic-Con, as a result of I have never been in in all probability 5 years, and definitely with the pandemic… So I’ve determined that I’m allowed to spend all the cash I’d have spent within the previous 5 years mainly at the moment. I’ve already, I wasn’t on the ground for 5 minutes earlier than I dropped some cash. I’ve received a fee ready for me from one in every of my favourite artists. It’s going to be an extravaganza. I’m an enormous collector. I needed to promise my spouse I would not get an excessive amount of stuff. But I’ll break that promise.

SAMIT: You virtually actually effectively.

What about you guys?

CUSACK: It’s like coming to Vegas. So you must spend some huge cash on simply nonsense, after which remorse it whenever you get residence. I’m really in all probability like 10% extra excited to be on the ground than all of the press stuff simply because like I used to do it, and it hasn’t been taking place for years. So yeah, I’m gonna purchase rather a lot, a number of junk.

HERNANDEZ: We’re doing a procuring day quickly. Soon.

SAMIT: I’ve small children and I can use them. ‘Oh, no, I’m shopping for this for them. It’s not for me, these toys.’

HERNANDEZ: It’s additionally Benji’s birthday. So, he is received one thing coming to him. I do not know what but, however after I see it, I’ll know.

Well, joyful birthday! And thanks a lot for talking with me about Koala Man.

CUSACK: Thank you!

HERNANDEZ: It was a pleasure! So a lot enjoyable.