On Sunday October 30th, the network that gave us Bart Simpsons, Stewie Griffin and Rallo Tubbs will make room for a sharply-dressed seven year-old named Allen Gregory De Longpre. But where did he come from and does he have what it takes to fit into Fox’s storied Animation Domination lineup? We recently had the opportunity to chat (via conference call) with show creator and voice actor Jonah Hill to find out just that. See for yourself, after the jump.
What inspired you to create the character of ALLEN GREGORY.
Jonah Hill: Well, Allen Gregory came about because we’re doing animation and… me to play, Andy [Co-creator Andrew Mogel] and I were saying it would be cool to play a seven year old because I couldn’t play that in real life. That and, I just like animation. I just like how it’s a different art form. I like that challenge and it’s exciting. With a film, it’s over with and that character is done with. Where as with a show like ALLEN GREGORY, it’s cool to see the characters grow and change and what happens to them over time.
What are some of your favorite cartoons growing up and what are some of your favorites currently?
THE SIMPSONS, THE CRITIC and SOUTH PARK to answer all of those questions. Those were the ones that were really inspiring to me.
Allen Gregory has such an interesting look to him, where did the idea come from visually?
Well, we wanted the whole show to feel like it was ripped from like the New Yorker and we showed the animators like Capote and watch Anderson movies to have a feel like across here style of animation. And Allen Gregory, we just wanted it juxtaposed with his awful attitude to have it be juxtaposed by the more adorable looking kid aesthetically.
Are there qualities about Allen Gregory that viewers will be able to warm up to, something that’s likable about him or is he all condescending and just difficult?
I think the thing that they’ll love about him is he has all this false bravado and condescension and arrogance and everything that’s all covering up the fact that he’s just insecure and wants to be accepted by these people. I think that’s my favorite kind of character to watch is someone who acts like they don’t care about anything, but really cares more than anybody else. Plus, It’s funny. It’s different. There’s not really much more to it. It’s really funny and really strange and unique and cool and unlike anything else on TV and I’m proud of that.
In terms of creative vision for the show and in particularly given the fact that Sundays on FOX for so many years have belonged to THE SIMPSONS, as well as FAMIY GUY, obviously the shows are compatible with those tend to have the best chance of succeeding. So when you approached this creatively, was there any attention, efforts subconscious or active, too, to make sure that there was some crossover appeal? And then whether you did that or not, do you think that the human tone will click with those who like THE SIMPSONS or FAMILY GUY?
I think we paid absolutely no attention to that. We want to do our own thing and being unique and different than those was really important as opposed to trying to fit in with them. That being said, I think people will connect it, if you like THE SIMPSONS and FAMILY GUY, you would like our show because it’s irreverent and different and has an original as those two shows were and are. I don’t think you’d want more of the same. I think you want something different, but that’s why those shows are so successful, because when they came out, they were so different.
ALLEN GREGORY premieres Sunday October 30th at 8:30PM on FOX (Global TV in Canada)