Thursday, April 08, 2021

The Barbarian and the Troll | Cast & Crew Interviews | Nickelodeon

Enjoy a selection of interviews with the cast and crew of Nickelodeon's brand new puppet comedy series The Barbarian and the Troll! Tune into all new episodes, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT, only on Nickelodeon! Click here for more info!


From BSCKids:

Sydney Mikayla And Tristan Allerick Chen Talk The Barbarian and the Troll – Exclusive Interviews

The Barbarian and the Troll is an amazing show and we were lucky enough to get some time with Sydney Mikayla and Tristan Allerick Chen to talk about the show with them.

Sydney Mikayla (General Hospital, The Gabby Douglas Story) voices the role of Olivia, a confident, no nonsense 12-year-old who through the Gothmorian Forest with a fierce old goat named Helen. Tristan Allerick Chen voices Kendar, Brendar’s optimistic and wide-eyed younger brother who was captured by an evil demon when he was 6 years old.

Let us get into the interviews with Sydney and Tristan below:

Photo Cred: Tim Schaeffer Photography @timschaefferphoto

BSCKids: Tell us a bit about your character on The Barbarian and the Troll?

Sydney Mikayla: I play Olivia in The Barbarian and the Troll. Olivia is a no-nonsense, confident young girl we meet in the forest. Her honesty and sarcasm are what make her so fun to play, and she’ll definitely have the audience laughing.

How did you get the role and what did you think when you read about what the show was going to be about?

My fabulous agents submitted me for the role and when I got the audition I studied Olivia’s lines, tried out some different voices on my own, then submitted the audition from my home studio. When I first read about the show, I wondered if it might be the typical princess and prince story, but it’s nothing like that! Instead, it’s a fun way to incorporate puppetry, comedy, and storytelling in a way audiences have probably never seen before.

How do you explain to your friends what the show is about? How would you explain your character and what your character adds to the show?

I would tell my friends the show is about a troll named Evan who wants to become a musician, and meets a barbarian named Brendar. Together, the two go on a quest to conquer a demon. I think Olivia provides Evan with some much needed honesty and that will hopefully help him to achieve his ultimate goal.

How is it working with Spencer Grammer and Drew Massey? From the episodes we have seen everyone works so well together, why do you think everyone meshed so well?

Unfortunately because of COVID-19, I had to record remotely so I didn’t get to work with them in person. But I am so excited to be a part of the project because they both have such amazing credits. Fun fact, my mom actually worked with Drew for a few years on Sid the Science Kid, and I remember going up to Jim Henson Studios to watch them work. So it’s really cool that now I get to work on a project that Drew helped create. I’m hoping to do more episodes of The Barbarian and the Troll and get the chance to work with everyone again.

Anything funny that has happened while the cameras were off that you can tell us about?

I found out the director of The Barbarian and the Troll, Mike Mitchell, also directed one of my favorite movies. I don’t know if that was as funny as it was a major shock!

Why do you feel like this show works so well with puppets?

I think the directors, actors, and puppeteers really make the puppetry work amazing. During the recording session, I watched the puppets on screen and had to sync my voice with the actions of the puppets and puppeteers. It was so interesting as an actor to work this way, and I think the audience will enjoy watching this show as much I did performing in it.

What other Nickelodeon show would you love to guest star on as your character?

I think that Olivia would be great on SpongeBob. She could keep the Krusty Krab in check, and make sure the Krabby Patty formula stays safe.

Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you?

People will be surprised to learn I wear size 11 shoes!

Why should everyone tune in to watch Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and the Troll?

COVID-19 has been tough for all of us. Tune into The Barbarian and the Troll to have a good laugh, forget about your problems, and enjoy spending time with the whole family!

Photo Cred: Joanna Garel Photography

BSCKids: Tell us a bit about your character on The Barbarian and the Troll?

Tristan Allerick Chen: Kendar is a very optimistic person who has been stuck in a dungeon for a long time and when he steps out into the world, he is in awe of everything around him.

How did you get the role and what did you think when you read about what the show was going to be about?

I have an amazing agency who I signed with at the beginning of the pandemic. Melissa Berger Brennan is so supportive and they all get me lots of opportunities for wonderful roles like this. It’s refreshing to see something so unique. I like the idea that it’s all puppets set in realistic environments.

How do you explain to your friends what the show is about? How would you explain your character and what your character adds to the show?

It’s an adventure show focusing on a strong female character in a quest to find her brother who was kidnapped as a child. Kendar adds a sense of mystery throughout the show. Finding him is the main goal of the show so far, so it’s really exciting to see it all unfold.

How is it working with Spencer Grammer and Drew Massey? From the episodes we have seen everyone works so well together, why do you think everyone meshed so well?

I’m in a booth by myself when I voice Kendar’s character because of the pandemic, but everyone on Zoom was super chill and there to have a good time while creating a fun show. They really put me at ease.

Why do you feel like this show works so well with puppets?

The puppets are a perfect blend between animation and live-action. They have the same type of energy as animated characters but it’s still somewhat grounded in reality since the puppets are real.

What other Nickelodeon show would you love to guest star on as your character?

I would love Kendar to guest star in the show SpongeBob SquarePants because it would be a wacky encounter and really fun to see the characters try to teach him a little bit about the world outside the dungeon.

Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you.

I love playing piano and composing my own music. Singing helps me focus but not so much for the people around me because I’m loud. I’m very, very loud.

Why should everyone tune in to watch Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and the Troll?

Everyone should tune in to Nickelodeon’s The Barbarian and the Troll because it’s a really funny, fun and clever show that always leaves you wanting more. And I’m in it sooooo….that’s good too!

Special thanks to Sydney Mikayla And Tristan Allerick Chen for taking the time out of their schedule to talk The Barbarian and the Troll. The quest is yet to come in Nickelodeon’s all-new live-action puppet comedy series, The Barbarian and the Troll, premiering Friday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

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Hot Premiere: The Barbarian and The Troll

Gilbert Flores/Broadimage

Co-Creator and Executive Producer Mike Mitchell (Trolls, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) celebrates the premiere of The Barbarian and the Troll Tuesday night at Nickelodeon’s drive-in screening premiere at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. He was joined by the series stars themselves, Evan the Troll and Brendar the Barbarian, who greeted guests at they drove in for the exclusive screening & experience.

The quest is yet to come in Nickelodeon’s all-new live-action puppet comedy series, The Barbarian and the Troll. The series follows Evan, a bridge troll in search of adventure, and Brendar, a fierce female warrior on a quest to defeat the evil demon who has imprisoned her brother.

Drive in / Gilbert Flores/Broadimage

The Barbarian and the Troll premieres Friday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

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Inside ‘The Barbarian And The Troll’ (Exclusive) | Access

 
Access Hollywood got the exclusive inside scoop about the new Nickelodeon’s new live-action puppet comedy series, “The Barbarian and the Troll,” which premieres April 2, at 7:30PM ET/PT. Creators Mike Mitchell and Drew Massey spoke with Access about the series and what fans can expect to see. Production assistance provided by Peach Hill Media/Status PR.

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From The Beat:

REVIEW: Nickelodeon puppet comedy THE BARBARIAN AND THE TROLL guaranteed to entertain kids and adults

Premieres tonight, at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT)

Puppetry in children’s entertainment is often seen as a throwback to a bygone era. That’s not to say that puppetry as an art form has completely disappeared but it’s nowhere near as prevalent in kid shows as it was when I was growing up in the ‘90s. I fondly remember enjoying the colorful felt characters on Eureeka’s Castle and Weinerville on Nickelodeon, the channel that has come to be known as “The First Kids Network.” Appealing to modern youth sensibilities is the challenge faced then by Nickelodeon’s new puppet comedy show The Barbarian and the Troll.

Set in the fantasy world of Gothmoria, the series follows Brendar and Evan, the eponymous barbarian warrior princess and troll respectively, as they encounter magical and wacky characters on their epic quest to vanquish the evil demon that has imprisoned Brendar’s brother. The show is the creation of Mike Mitchell and Drew Massey both of whom boast impressive credentials. For the last three decades Massey, who also does double duty voicing and performing Evan the troll, has showcased his talents as a puppeteer on acclaimed productions, perhaps most famously The Muppets. Mitchell meanwhile is a CalArts alumnus with an eclectic resume working in the fields of both animation and live-action in various capacities but typically as a director. Despite divergent career paths, Mitchell and Massey have remained friends and colleagues for years and this show is the passion project combining the skills of two creative minds at the top of their game.

Pictured: Drew Massey and Mike Mitchell © Gilbert Flores/Broadimage Nickelodeon’s “The Barbarian and The Troll” Series Premiere Drive-in Screening 3/30/21, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena CA, United States of America

There’s a tendency in children’s media to talk down to kids. Thankfully that’s not the case with this show. In fact, there are a number of jokes and references that are more than likely to go over the heads of the younger viewers. Take for instance Evan’s line, “I’ve got 99 problems but a bridge ain’t one.” I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that the majority of Nickelodeon viewers weren’t even alive when that Ice-T song came out, much less pick up on the allusion. The show’s humor is very reminiscent at times of Dreamworks Animation films, not surprising given Mitchell’s past work in various Dreamworks productions most notably the Shrek films. It’s a delicate balance to entertain both children and adults while not completely alienating either, one that Barbarian and the Troll deftly navigates.

Apparently the creators retitled the show from the originally announced Brendar the Barbarian when they realized early on the popularity of plucky troll, Evan. At first glance, Evan appears to fill the archetypical “bumbling sidekick” role to the heroic Brendar. A tried and true formula that could easily go wrong, but it isn’t played just for laughs. Massey brings depth and nuance to the character I certainly wasn’t anticipating from a puppet comedy. Evan’s frustration with his predestined station in life as a bridge troll and his desire to become a musician that alienates him from his troll king father has calls to mind Hermey the Elf from that timeless Rudolph Christmas special. It’s a universal theme that will undoubtedly strike a chord with Millennials at this particular point in time when everyone feels stuck and has to put their dreams on hold. Between Baby Yoda Grogu last year and now Evan, I never guessed I would be affected so deeply by two different puppets. I would not at all be surprised to see Evan plush dolls flying off the shelves come this holiday season.

While Evan is the textbook definition of “adorkable,” Brendar (voiced by Spencer Grammer) is the complete opposite. In Parks & Rec terms she’s the Ron Swanson to Evan’s Leslie Knope, an apt comparison since Brendar does share similar qualities with Swanson such as hilarious deadpan delivery and a no-nonsense personality. Not wearing her emotions on her sleeves in contrast to Evan certainly gives Brendar a Mandalorian-esque aura that may make it a bit difficult for the audience to connect with the character at least initially. However, a running gag of her “absurdly complex backstory” yet to be revealed hints at deeper layers that will be uncovered slowly as the show progresses, not dissimilar to the Mandalorian.

The early episodes also scratch the surface of the budding friendship between Brendar and Evan that is very much akin to an older sister/younger brother relationship. I can’t help but sense an underlying found family theme at the heart of the show very much in the same vein as the recent DuckTales reboot.

Going into The Barbarian and the Troll, I expected simple stand-alone episodic stories that were loosely interconnected. So I was a bit taken aback to discover the series is serialized, a format which has only grown more prominent in children’s media thanks in no small part to the advent of streaming. The implementation of more sophisticated storytelling further illustrates how Massey and Mitchell don’t feel the need to dumb down the show and know young viewers have enough savvy to keep up with the narrative.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the music of the show, specifically Evan’s uplifting and peppy songs. I can only hope Nickelodeon plans to release the songs as part of a digital album in the near future because if not then it’s a huge missed opportunity.

After watching the first episode, I was reminded of a scene from the Jim Henson Company produced sitcom Dinosaurs in which the matriarch Fran Sinclair criticizes her husband Earl for enjoying a sock puppet show. Earl retorts, “Yeah, you’d think that because they’re puppets – so the show seems to have a children’s aesthetic,” before a brilliant meta turn directly to the camera and further adding, “Yet the dialogue is unquestionably sharp-edged, witty and thematically skewed to adults.” That perfectly encapsulates the genius of The Barbarian and the Troll. Do yourself a favor and tune into what may possibly be, at least in my opinion, the next big thing for Nickelodeon.

The Barbarian and the Troll premieres tonight, at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon

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'The Barbarian and the Troll': Inside Nickelodeon's New Action-Adventure Series! (Exclusive)


ET takes you inside the drive-in premiere for Nickelodeon's newest series, 'The Barbarian and the Troll,' held Tuesday night at the iconic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Series creator Mike Mitchell interviews the show's titular troll, Evan, all about the new action-adventure program, which premieres Friday, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon. Evan shares his must-have essentials for a quest, like he takes on the show, and gushes over his friendship with Brendar, the Barbarian. Video courtesy of Peach Hill Media / STATUS PR.

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Nickelodeon's The Barbarian and the Troll Star Sydney Mikayla Interview - Alexisjoyvipaccess


Get ready for a whole lot of epic adventures and medieval magnificence in Nickelodeon's highly-anticipated, new series, "The Barbarian and the Troll" bringing all the excitement to our TV screens on Friday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM ET / PT! Brendar, the "feared and revered barbarian," and Evan the troll are welcoming viewers into the world of Gothmoria in this unique and truly spectacular, live-action, puppet comedy series. Co-created and executive-produced by Mike Mitchell (Trolls, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) and Drew Massey (Mutt & Stuff, Sid the Science Kid), "The Barbarian and the Troll" (formerly Brendar the Barbarian), follows Evan, a bridge troll who is just yearning for adventure, and Brendar, the admirable, female warrior on a quest to defeat the evil demon who has imprisoned her brother. This brilliant series will bring a fresh, notable and unparalleled take to Nickelodeon's bustling family of live-action series.

Alexisjoyvipaccess had a wonderful time interviewing "The Barbarian and the Troll" star Sydney Mikayla all about what it was like for her working on this stellar series, what her favorite part is about voicing the role of her character, what kind of exciting adventure she would like to see her character go on next and so much more only in our VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview. Mikayla even revealed what modern day item she would like to bring to the medieval world of Gothmoria - hear what she had to say in our VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview.

Check out my VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview with Sydney Mikayla! It's time to go on a quest of a lifetime and enter in a land filled with wizards, trolls and goblins in Nickelodeon's extraordinary series, "The Barbarian and the Troll" premiering on Friday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM ET / PT. You don't want to miss out on all of the fun - be sure to tune in to the sensational premiere!

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Nickelodeon's The Barbarian and the Troll Star Tristan Allerick Chen Interview - Alexisjoyvipaccess


Get ready for a whole lot of epic adventures and medieval magnificence in Nickelodeon's highly-anticipated, new series, "The Barbarian and the Troll" bringing all the excitement to our TV screens on Friday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM ET / PT! Brendar, the "feared and revered barbarian," and Evan the troll are welcoming viewers into the world of Gothmoria in this unique and truly spectacular, live-action, puppet comedy series. Co-created and executive-produced by Mike Mitchell (Trolls, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) and Drew Massey (Mutt & Stuff, Sid the Science Kid), "The Barbarian and the Troll" (formerly Brendar the Barbarian), follows Evan, a bridge troll who is just yearning for adventure, and Brendar, the admirable, female warrior on a quest to defeat the evil demon who has imprisoned her brother. This brilliant series will bring a fresh, notable and unparalleled take to Nickelodeon's bustling family of live-action series.

Alexisjoyvipaccess had a wonderful time interviewing "The Barbarian and the Troll" star Tristan Allerick Chen all about what it was like for him working on this stellar series, what his favorite part is about voicing the role of his character, what kind of exciting adventure he would like to see his character go on next and so much more only in our VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview. Chen even revealed what modern day item he would like to bring to the medieval world of Gothmoria - hear what he had to say in our VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview.

Check out my VIPAccessEXCLUSIVE interview with Tristan Allerick Chen! It's time to go on a quest of a lifetime and enter in a land filled with wizards, trolls and goblins in Nickelodeon's extraordinary series, "The Barbarian and the Troll" premiering on Friday, April 2nd at 7:30 PM ET / PT. You don't want to miss out on all of the fun - be sure to tune in to the sensational premiere!

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From The Beat:

INTERVIEW: THE BARBARIAN AND THE TROLL creators on making a puppet comedy during the pandemic

The quest is yet to come!


Nickelodeon’s new puppet comedy show The Barbarian and the Troll has arrived. The series follows Evan, a bridge troll in search of adventure, and Brendar, a fierce female warrior on a quest to defeat the evil demon who has imprisoned her brother. In the premiere of The Barbarian and the Troll, Evan the troll decides to burn his bridge and venture out into the world of Gothmoria for the first time to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a singer.  He soon meets Brendar, who had been expelled from the Royal Order of Warrior Princesses and is now known as a “feared and revered” barbarian.  After Evan convinces Brendar to bring him on her quest to vanquish the evil demon, they cross treacherous terrain to confront bizarre and magical creatures and encounter an eclectic puppet cast of wacky characters.

Last Tuesday, March 30th Nickelodeon hosted a special drive-in screening premiere of The Barbarian and the Troll at Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. Series Co-Creators and Executive Producers, Mike Mitchell and Drew Massey (who also performs Evan the troll) were in attendance and answered questions submitted by The Beat ahead of time.


Watch The Beat’s exclusive chat with Mitchell and Massey about their professional and personal relationship over the past three decades, what went into changing the original show’s title, and the experience working on the show during the pandemic for the past year. Be sure to read The Beat‘s review of the series here.

Also check out the photo images below from the drive-in premiere by © Gilbert Flores/Broadimage.


Watch The Barbarian and the Troll on Nickelodeon

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Sydney Makayla talks new Nickelodeon series, animation success


Actress Sydney Makayla is preparing for her role as Olivia on the new Nickelodeon live-action puppet series The Barbarian and The Troll.

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From CBR:

The Barbarian & The Troll: Spencer Grammer Fell in Love With Playing a Puppet

Spencer Grammer discusses the new Nickelodeon series The Barbarian & The Troll and her excitement to play a puppet.

Nickelodeon's new live-action puppet series The Barbarian & The Troll follows the adventures of Evan, a bridge troll, and Brendar, a warrior princess, after the two cross paths. During an exclusive interview with CBR, Rick & Morty's Spencer Grammer discussed taking on the role of Brendar the Barbarian and the joys of portraying a puppet.

Voicing the titular Barbarian of the series, Grammer was quick to reveal that "I've always wanted to be a puppet. I've always wanted to. I grew up in a time when that was very popular. Not just Sesame Street, but Fraggle Rock and I think Eureka's Castle, a bunch of shows, and I think the first movie I ever saw was actually The Never Ending Story in theaters. I miss that. You don't have a lot of [puppet shows] on television unless it's been for really little kids. So to have a show that's for a little bit of an older audience is really, really nice... The Muppets were so great. And I always think about Kermit the Frog as well. There are aspects of him I feel like are in Evan as well, those cute faces that he can make. It's so much fun."

For Grammer, the show's versatility and ability to skew to a slightly older audience is a real strength. "It'll be nice to recommend the show to my friends who have children. Where I don't have to give a disclaimer saying, 'Well, maybe you might want to wait until they're pre-teens or teenagers to watch it.' But I think it's also really entertaining for parents as well. It's got a lot of really great comedic timing and the old-school way of doing comedy."

Brendar is introduced to the series as a brash but confident warrior, skilled with a blade but exiled from her people due to her attitude. Reflecting on playing strong-willed characters, Grammer admitted, "That's just who I am. I think in general, I've always been really independent, and I think I had to play characters that weren't like that for so long because that wasn't necessarily how female characters were portrayed. So now that we have sort of this, I don't know, a renaissance of strong female characters, I'm being able to play closer to who I actually am."

"I have a lot of similarities with Brendar. She has a lot of issues with, like, feelings. She struggles with feelings and being close to people and making friendships -- and so there's a lot of that. I have that feeling too. I'm a bit of a hard worker, goal-oriented, love what I do, always have been career-oriented. Thank goodness I have my son because he really has made me a much more loving person. And so I identify with her a lot. It was very funny when some of the lines would come up, and the music goes up, where I was like, 'Oh, did you write this show for me?'"

"Brendar and I have a lot in common, but I welcome it. I'm so excited to be able to play a character like this and not only to play with it but to actually have people be able to see a female character who is strong and independent and not necessarily emotionally distraught about what's going on. She just gets her job done, and she's generally keeping everybody in line, which is great. I can't wait to meet everybody. I haven't even got to meet everybody who works on all the other voices, but it's been really fun developing those relationships."

Teasing later episodes in the series, Grammer revealed that "there's also some, I would call them pocket episodes, where things happen in one location, which they had told me they had this inspiration. The writers were like, 'We want to write a Fraiser episode.' That was what I was told. And I was like, 'Oh my God, I totally see it.' So sometimes, I totally see what they're talking about. Sometimes there are aspects of all that comedy that we've built over the years."

Noting her connection with her father, Fraiser star Kelsey Grammer, Grammer said, "In some ways, I definitely think of my Dad's way of speaking. Oh, I'm going to do a little bit of my dad at this little part here. Because he, I mean, he's so brilliant. He has one of the most amazing voices, but I really... I grew up watching all of his work as well. It's allowed me to have a lot of that just sort of naturally built into my cadence and the way that I approach work. I thought that was super funny, and I totally saw the influence. It was so brilliant, and it allowed me to be very performative in that episode as well and show a different side of Brenda. When you get to it, you'll know what I'm talking about. I think it's hilarious. There's some really good stuff honestly."

The Barbarian and the Troll stars Spencer Grammer, Drew Massey, Colleen Smith, Allan Trautman, Sarah Sarang Oh, Nicolette Santino, Peggy Etra, James Murray, Jeny Cassady and Gina Yashere. The series is co-created by Mike Mitchell, who also serves as director, and Drew Massey on Nickelodeon.

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Originally published: Saturday, April 03, 2021.

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