Racket was excited when we got a chance to interview the creator and cast of the hit cartoon show Adventure Time. Last time we chatted with Pendelton Ward, the bushy bearded mastermind behind the series, a butt bumpin’ dance party broke out. This time we were able to sit down and have him share his hopes, dreams, and inspirations.
Cartoon Network willingness to embrace surreal quirky fun and weirdness has continued to be a winning formula to draw talent. Ward has been catapulted into the limelight to join the network’s roster of rising juggernaut stars beside his CalArts classmates and pals Thurop Van Orman (Flapjack) and J. G. Quintel (Regular Show).
True to Ward’s role-playing roots, he was inspired by an old-school style deck game called “Battle Cards” that featured different terrains that fit together to make worlds to explore when he created the colorful and imaginative varied landscapes made of ice, fire, and even candy in the fictional Land of Ooo. The name “Ooo” and Finn’s distinctive hat are a nod to an early short of his featuring an old character named Bruno the Bear.
Ideas for Adventure Time sometimes come directly from Ward’s dreams, giving the show a stream-of-consciousness style and charm. After falling asleep on a studio couch while working Ward had an idea for a race of tiny House People that ended up appearing in the episode “Donny”. Ward feels privileged to be able to have so many talented artists and people come guest star and help work on the show, and tries to create an environment for them to let their unique style and personalities shine through.
We also got a chance to talk to Jeremy Shada, the boy behind the hero, about his role voicing Finn. Unlike most other cartoon shows where voices are recorded in solo sessions, on Adventure Time the actors get to record in a room together which lets them play off the each other’s lines and have fun. Jeremy loves getting to have the chance to work with voice actors like John DiMaggio and learn from some of the best. His personal favorite Finn line is “Slam a Cow!”.
The original Adventure Time short was actually voiced by Jeremy’s brother Zack, and Jeremy ended up auditioning and getting cast in the exact same role for the series completely by chance. The greatest thing for him about being Finn is that it lets him have his own secret famous identity, but admits he enjoys when people get excited when they find out it’s him.
Olivia Olson plays Marceline the Vampire Queen and has done voice work for other shows like Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. If you ask her though she’ll tell you that getting to work together with everyone on Adventure Time is the most fun. For Olivia, getting to play a badass character with a great sense of style is exciting. Like her character Marceline on the show, Oliva can also be a bit of a prankster and loves music and singing.
In the episode “It Came From the Nightosphere” her demon father is played by Olivia’s actual dad, Martin Olson who also wrote The Encyclopedia of Hell. When I asked her about the experience of working with her father she said she couldn’t imagine a better fit, “It was pretty cool”.
Adventure Time‘s candy-coated fever dream style, innovative ideas, catchy music, and unique characters give the show wide appeal across all ages. Ward and the cast think it’s great that both children and adults can get jazzed about a cartoon and be able to share that experience.
Look out for a brand new line of Adventure Time toys that are being released this Fall from Jazzwares. Also, expect more characters, like a new fire princess, and an oddly familiar heroine named Fionna and her pal Cake. All of us at Racket are pumped! Adventure awaits…
-By Laura Gaddy