Released earlier this year, The Cuphead Show! has proven that when it comes to video game adaptations, Netflix knows exactly how to break the curse while making it feel unique compared to other attempts at translating games into episodes. After audiences enjoyed Cuphead and Mugman’s banter, fans are returning to Inkwell Isle this summer for more wacky adventures.
However, in the making of the series, the behind-the-scenes facts are just as interesting and creative as the show itself. From the way the creative team came up with the animation to the inspiration the actors took for their roles, These facts show how amazing The Cuphead Show is from a production point of view.
Tru Valantino auditioned for Cuphead in his car
Prior to accepting the role of Cuphead, Tru Valentino was no stranger to voice acting, having appeared on several animated shows and video games alongside his onscreen credits. This includes Black Panther in Spidey and his amazing friends and Adam clean psychonauts 2.
But Tru did his audition in one of the most unconventional ways. After coming out of a recording session for another production, the actor recorded his audition on his cell phone in his car. He may not have attended a casting session or Zoom meeting, but his acting skills got him the gig.
Mugman’s voice was inspired by Lou Costello
Much like Tru, Frank Todaro is no stranger to voice acting before landing the role of Mugman. He also didn’t provide the English dub for anime shows like The vampire will die in no time as Draluc, but he also reprized his role as Decepticon Starscream for various transformers TV Shows.
One of Mugman’s biggest inspirations was American comedian Lou Costello, as he revealed during his audition. Famous for his dual roles with Bud Abbott between the 1930s and 1950s, the actor was just one of the many influences on this animated series.
The Actors Recorded Them Together (Kind of)
Depending on the show, it’s normal for the actors to do their voice overs either together or separately according to their schedule. But no matter how it’s done, some of the best comedic voice acting can still be achieved and when it comes down to it The Cuphead Show!they had a special way of making the recordings.
Sara Jane Sherman (the voice actress) got to try to recapture the magic of two people in a recording room. After Frank recorded his lines for Mugman, Tru was able to act on his delivery to create some hilarious scenes between the two brothers.
The SpongeBob SquarePants composer scored the Cuphead Show!
Before eventually becoming the animation composer that some know today, Ego Plum began this career path at Nickelodeon find friends back in 2008. He would eventually write theme songs and music for animated shows that would become hits enjoyed by all ages, including Star against the forces of evil, jelly stone!and SpongeBob SquarePants.
If it weren’t for the opportunity to work alongside Dave Wasson while he was working on it Find friends, Ego may not have had the career he has today. Dave eventually became the showrunner for this video game adaptation and invited Dave to compose the music and agreed to the project.
The episode Ghosts Ain’t Real was inspired by Disney’s Silly Symphonies The Skeleton Dance
For those who may not know, Silly Symphonies was a series of musical short films animated at Walt Disney Studios. This was one of many old cartoons referenced and used as inspiration when the animators were working on this Netflix series.
Some of the Silly Symphony shorts inspired and even helped make certain episodes. One of the most famous, The Skeleton Dance, inspired the episode Ghosts Ain’t Real, in which Cuphead and Mugman encounter ghosts while trying to get home.
One of the producers was no stranger to Disney
Many classic short films animated by Walt Disney and his team inspired many episodes and scenes The Cuphead Show! But the legendary animation studio also played a big part in the career of Dave Wasson, the series’ showrunner.
Before helping bring this video game to life, Dave was responsible for writing and directing some of the recent Mickey Mouse short films that have both celebrated the past and created something original, including My Little Garden and A Pete Scorned”. But he also developed one of Disney’s hit animated series in the form of Star against the forces of evil before working with Netflix.
Each episode had 4x as many backgrounds as the game
To create the authentic feel of a 1930’s cartoon Cuphead, the developers created various watercolor-style backgrounds that could mimic the feel of the era in the game. But when it came to recapturing that magic for the series, it proved much more difficult.
Andrea Fernández was responsible for creating thousands of backgrounds for the show, with around a hundred in each episode. The game itself only had 25 backgrounds in total, so Andrea had to create four times more than the entire original game.
Stop motion animators worked on the show
For some episodes of the series, some of the backgrounds used a vintage approach, using stop motion to make the hand-drawn characters look like they are walking through the 3rd dimension. This was a technique used to create some of the Fleischer Studios short films that Popeye and Betty Boop created.
Screen Novelties was responsible for recreating this stop motion effect for these episodes and was probably the right studio for the job. They are responsible for many television shows and commercials using this style of animation Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas to the SpongeBob Halloween Special.
The characters were animated with Toon Boom Harmony
Considered by many to be the standard software for animating 2D animation, many successful animated shows have been using this tool for many years. Some of Netflix’s best animated originals use Toon Boom, ranging from hits like The last children on earth and child cosmic.
But why did Lighthouse Studios use this tool to create the series? According to Dave Wasson in an interview with indiewire, Wanting to use it to make it feel like an authentic hand-drawn animated show, he explained, “If you add hundreds of very specific individual drawings to each frame, you can ‘trick’ the system into making it look like traditional hand-drawn animation.”
The creators of the game joined the production
While they are currently developing the upcoming DLC for Cuphead, the creators of the game got the time to contribute to the series. Chad and Jared Moldenhauer joined the team as producers and were given time off by MDHR to help with the series.
In an interview with GameRant, both Chad and Jared shared how they and Netflix worked together. According to Jared, “We tried to put as many Easter eggs in it and be helpful to the Netflix team because we know the game inside out.”
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