The „Cloudy with a chance of meatballs” movies were a lot of fun, bringing back slapstick, cartoony humour to a landscape of animated films that was all heartfelt stories or pop culture jokes. Whether you’ve missed them or not, the characters of „Cloudy..” now have their own TV show on Cartoon Network, which takes us back to the past of the series’ protagonist, wacky inventor Flint. The series has already premiered in the US in February, but European audiences are yet to find out if it’s more of a „Carrie Diaries” or a „Better Call Saul” kind of prequel, quality-wise. Writer Alex Galatis and producer Mark Evestaff tell us more about how the series came to be, and what we can expect from it:
Q: One of the pitfalls of prequels is that we already where the story is taking us, and that can remove some of the interest in going forward. How are you trying to manage this with the Cloudy TV series?
A: The idea of doing it as a prequel was that we thought it gave us a much wider range, in terms of the kind of stories we wanted to tell. The original movies are very self-contained, and continuing the story just didn’t feel as expansive as it would have been if we went backwards. Now we get to see Flint as a younger man, we get to see how he became the inventor he is in the movie, and we get to see how he came up with some the inventions that we later see in the movies. We just thought it gave us a much wider platform to tell a story. We didn’t see it as a limiting thing, we saw it as opening up possibilities.
Q: Does the plot of the series fit in with the canon of the movies, or does it ret-con anything?
A: The characters, the relationships, the comedy, and the tone are consistent with the movies. It is its own thing, in the sense that we are creating our own stories, therefore our own world, but it’s completely consistent with movies. If you love the movie, you’ll really enjoy the series. If you’re watching the series and you think it’s a lot of fun, and then you watch the movies, that works too, you can come at it either way.
Q: Tell us a bit about the decisions that were taken when building the visuals of the series. How is the spirit of the films preserved in the visual aesthetic of the new TV show?
A: The movies are beautifully animated, we couldn’t keep up at that level of animation for TV, but the great thing about the movie is that it did borrow a strong 2D aesthetic for the characters and the animation. We had many assets to build on in order to go back and take a 2D approach. We took a lot of inspiration from the original production drawings that were done for the movie, but also gave them an updated twist, so they could work in 2D, have the squash and stretch, the secondary action, all the basic principles of animation. And really strong design, that was a big thing for the movie, and keeping the funny posing and funny acting as best we could.
Q: When the first film came out, it was a surprise hit. What do you think made it so popular, and how are you hoping to channel that for the TV series?
Q: The movie is so popular because honestly, it’s really good! It’s a great-looking movie, it’s very funny and it’s extraordinarily imaginative. We want the series to be every bit as good, we want it to be as imaginative and as creative, with just as much heart and character.
Q: What do you think the draw could be for viewers who have not seen the movie, or haven’t read the original book, and who are not familiar with the universe at all? Why should they watch it?
Q: Hopefully, if they just watch, the characters will get them involved, you don’t have to have seen the movie, or read the book, to fall in love with characters that have good relationships. One of the strengths of the series, and of the movie as well, is that there’s a breadth of characters in our world. A lot of shows have two, three, four main characters, we have such a wealth to choose from. If you fall in love with the world, you see Flint and Sam, family relationships, and relationships of the other characters in the town. So I think if you come to the series and you watch it, you’ll really enjoy it on its own. And in terms of enjoying the characters, Flint is an outsider, he doesn’t really fit into the town he’s from, Sam is an outsider as she’s just moved into the town, I think every kid can relate to that.
Q: How are the characters’ personalities different in the show?
A: It’s not as much that they’re different…From a starting point, what the series has as an advantage over the movie is that it’s 52 episodes- and if you’re doing 52 episodes, you get to see characters with a range of emotions, in a range of situations. So we get to explore the characters in a lot of different circumstances, just because we’re telling more stories. And another change we’re making, because Sam and Flint just met, and it’s a prequel, they’re not romantically involved at all, so we really had to build a relationship as a friendship, they really are best friends. That was a big thing for us in terms of the show, and the chemistry between the actors is great.
[This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.]
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs premieres on Cartoon Network in Romania in autumn.