Monday, April 10, 2023

Rugrats Stars Tara Strong & E.G. Daily Preview Season 2 | Screen Rant Plus

Rugrats Stars Tara Strong & E.G. Daily Preview Season 2 | Screen Rant Plus

Rugrats season two premieres April 14, exclusively on Paramount+! Try it FREE at!

The Babies Are Back! ‘Rugrats’ Returns for Season 2

Executive producers Kate Boutilier and Casey Leonard couldn’t be happier about the new look, the new stories, and the new characters in the all-new season of Nickelodeon's beloved series, premiering Friday, April 14 exclusively on Paramount+.

April may or may not be the cruelest month, as T. S. Eliot immortalized it in The Waste Land, but clearly it can’t be all bad with an all-new season of Rugrats in the offing. Nickelodeon’s original franchise and one of the biggest/most influential TV hits ever among kids and parents, the re-launched Rugrats returns for a second season, with the first 13 episodes dropping on Friday, April 14 exclusively on Paramount+.

Whether they’re crossing the frozen tundra, discovering the treasures of ancient babies, or meeting Tommy’s new brother – with the return of the beloved character of Dil –

the babies are back and ready to take on the world. One notable difference from the original series is that the production has morphed from 2D to 3DCG, which has allowed the creators to explore new perspectives and add greater detail and verisimilitude for a more immersive experience. However, while the look has changed, the new series features the same core themes of fantasy, friendship, and family that have endeared Rugrats to generations of fans.

Produced by Nickelodeon Animation and based on the original series created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Paul Germain, the all-new Rugrats is executive produced by Kate Boutilier and Casey Leonard. The series stars EG Daily (Tommy), Nancy Cartwright (Chuckie), Cheryl Chase (Angelica), Cree Summer (Susie) and Kath Soucie (Phil and Lil), all of whom reprise their iconic roles. The illustrious voice cast also includes such luminaries as Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Michael McKean, Henry Winkler, Swoosie Kurtz, Alia Shawkat, and Keith Carradine, who  plays Bob Brine, the other half of Grandpa Lou’s (McKean) music duo Pickles & Brine from their 1970s youth. Tara Strong reprises her role as Dil Pickles.

We recently spoke with executive producers Boutilier and Leonard about what we can expect in Season 2. Among the things we learned are that they share many production tasks and they really enjoy working together. And that the new season takes us on fantasy adventures far and wide.

AWN: As you’re both executive producers, can you tell me a little bit more about each of your roles on the show?

Kate Boutilier: In addition to being an EP, I'm the head writer. I was on the original series as a writer and producer as well, and I was brought in to develop the show in 2019. And so I run the writing. Casey does everything else as far as animation, but –

Casey Leonard: We do a lot together.

KB: We do a lot together. We both go to record sessions, we cut radio plays, we talk about music together.

CL: We mix the shows together.

KB: Mix the shows. Yeah.

CL: We review animatics together.

KB: Right. Casey's not in the writers’ room, but he gets all the material and we talk a lot about upcoming stuff.

CL: Whereas Kate would probably technically be the writing executive producer, I'm the directing executive producer. Because it's a CG show and the babies are going on these big fantasies and there are all these new locations and characters and outfits, it all has to be planned really thoughtfully. It's just playing this asset game of how do we produce this really ambitious show within the bounds of the schedule and the budget that we have. We have all these great stories, but in order to actually get them made, we sometimes need to rearrange them a little. So if we have this big blowout fantasy, perhaps we need an at-home episode after that.

We plan a lot of that with our director and co-executive producer Dave Pressler. He and I do a lot of the concepts, a lot of the new sets and fun locations. And then we plan all that concept art out, build a bunch of materials when it's launched for storyboards. And Kate and I will build these radio plays based on the recordings from our great voice cast and launch our storyboard artists on it. And then Kate and I jump back in on the animatic and make sure that all the story points are playing properly, and then we ship it to animation.

I'm really hands-on in the animation process. It's animated at Technicolor. We have a really great team there that I've been working with for years. Because we need to keep moving forward, there's like eight or nine teams of animators, with 10 animators per team – so each animator is essentially doing a minute of footage per episode. And of course there's the lighting and modeling and color correction.

Then once we get all the reels back, Kate and I will work with our editor and our composer, Bob Mothersbaugh – he and his brother Mark did the original show. And so it's just amazing to have so much of that DNA from the original Rugrats all around us. And then I work with our sound team on the effects.

KB: Then we get to the fun part – the mix.

CL: The best part about that is that there are snacks.

KB: Yes, there are snacks.

CL: There's snacks at the final mix, which is the best.

AWN: Has migrating from 2D to 3DCG provided creative opportunities that allow you to do better or different things in the new series?

KB: I feel like this series captures more of the babies' points of view. And so much credit goes to Casey's team, going underneath the table and underneath the couch and things in the original series to show the baby point of view. But beyond that, you weren't physically following them into these spaces that Casey can create now. And then the other thing is the fantasies. While they were fun before and it was great to see the babies go to a new place, now it's more of a really cinematic kind of world.

CL: When we started this series, my North Star was the original Rugrats feature film. It's so beautifully animated and it's such a wild story. The shots were so amazing. Doing the show in 3D, it's almost like we have a live-action virtual camera that we can put in these sets so that the viewer can really feel like they're in the action with the babies. Even if we’re just in the Pickles' living room or with Tommy as he's crawling up these enormous stairs… It's a normal house, but we get to really play with that feeling of scale and what it’s like to be in the action and on the ground with the babies, and playing with different focal lengths to really achieve that point of view. And that's the thing that's been really exciting for me.

There's also greater texture that creates such a visceral experience, like all these baby handprints on the window panes, but really just only in the areas that they can reach. So  the bottom three feet of the house are just kind of filthy, which is such a realistic thing living with small children. They're quite messy. To be able to add all those great little details that capture a little kid’s world, and to really dive in and show that experience has been a great opportunity.

AWN: What can you share with regard to what's in store in Season 2? Is there anything that you had hoped to do in Season 1 that you weren't able to that you got to do in the new season?

KB: Since this reboot started, it seems like original fans have been clamoring, "Where's Dill? Where's Dill?" And I think it was always in my mind that Dill would come back and Dill is coming back. But, unlike the first season, which I was there for, we were able to build up to it a little. You have an announcement that Didi's expecting, and then we have at least four or five episodes where she's pregnant.

CL: And it includes a couple of stages of her pregnancy too – from where she's got a little bump until she's in her third trimester.

KB: We got to do things from the kids’ point of view, like, "Tommy's mommy's pregnant?" And we have some really funny episodes that only would happen on Rugrats about what does that mean? She's got cravings for certain foods, and so on. We play with that, and then we get to have the birth of Dill in what we hope is as big a way as he was originally introduced. I'm glad we waited till Season 2, because in Season 1 we really had a chance to introduce our original Rugrats with the modifications we made. And now we have Dill back. We even have the voice actress back [Tara Strong] who played baby Dill 20-something years ago.

CL: It's just been really fun to milk the comedy of a couple where the wife is pregnant. There's so much great stuff, great comedy that we mined. I also think it's a really relatable thing that we've done; I don't know if it's ever been explored in cartoons to the extent that we've gone. There are just so many great moments, like her having morning sickness before she reveals that she’s pregnant, and the babies’ misinterpretation of it.

KB: And because it’s Rugrats, it’s also like what does Angelica think? What is she going to fill their heads with about this? Because we have to have Angelica mess things up. So yeah, we're really excited about those episodes.

AWN: Has there been anything more difficult or challenging on Season 2 compared to Season 1?

CL: It's a more ambitious season in terms of the fantasy to non-fantasy ratio. We've introduced more characters. The Pickles and their friends are going on trips and they're getting out of the house. There are a couple of shows at the beach. They go to this old mining town. The kids go to space in their fantasy. There's an Earth Day festival, which is really ambitious because we're dealing with crowd animations and the babies navigating this chaotic little festival. That stuff is really hard to pull off when it's like one show after another. But it's also easier now. We know what we're doing. So it's just juggling more characters, more locations, that kind of stuff.

KB: I think we've found our way more with the adult group. There's a lot of them, and we want all the parents to have their moments to shine. We like them all together as a friend group. We like all the babies together. We don't want to leave anyone out. It’s fun to do, but, as Casey said, it's a lot.

CL: It's a lot.


From CBR:

Rugrats: EG Daily & Tara Strong Break Down What they Love About Tommy, Dil, and Nickelodeon Animation

In an interview with CBR, Rugrats stars EG Daily and Tara Strong dive into their sibling relationship on the show's revival.

The Paramount+ revival of Rugrats has been an adorable return to form for Tommy, Chucky, Angelica, and the rest of the babies in their group. The characters were among the earliest breakouts of the Nickelodeon Animation Studio, and Rugrats' modern revival has brought the classic characters into a modern setting with a fresh coat of paint. Following the success of the show's first season, the latest batch of episodes will expand the setting with new characters and bring back some old favorites from the original show, including Tommy's younger brother Dil.

Much of the show's original cast have returned to reprise their roles, including EG Daily as the group's adventurous leader, Tommy and Tara Strong as the infant Dil. Ahead of Rugrat's return on Apr. 14, CBR sat down with Daily and Strong to talk about their favorite elements of each other's character, the bond they've formed over the years on multiple projects, and voice acting.

Tommy Pickles smiles at his little brother in Rugrats Season 2
CBR: Since I've got the both of you, I thought it'd be nice to do a little family bonding and ask -- what is your favorite aspect of your on-screen sibling? Tara, what's your favorite aspect of Tommy? EG, what are your favorite parts of Dil?

Tara Strong: Yeah, what's your favorite aspect of Dil? I'm ready for you to answer first [laughing].

EG Daily: [In character as Tommy Pickels] I really like that he's smaller than me. I don't like that he's stinky. But I like that he gurgles and babbles and that I'm in charge.

Strong: I have to say, all kidding aside, I love seeing these characters again. Who doesn't love Tommy? I love everything about Tommy. He's such a fascinating, brave little guy. I think even though Dil still annoys him like any other brother, he looks up to him and loves him. It's kind of like how [EG and I] are in real life, too. We're brothers on Rugrats and sisters on Powerpuff Girls. In real life, people think we're sisters all the time. We pretty much are. So we're just happy to be together again.

Tara, you've been very vocal within the voice acting community about its representation and place in the industry. What are your views on the state of voice-acting right now?

Strong: I love playing around with A.I. voice acting. But it does scare me. There are elements that are scary. I'm fearful that it could take out a bunch of different careers. I certainly don't appreciate companies taking our voices and using them without permission. I think that should be scary for anyone, not just actors. But when it comes to Nickelodeon and the people we work with all the time, they really treat us like artists. That's one of the reasons we're so happy to be back here.

It feels like coming home, and this show encapsulates everything that is good about acting, animation, and inclusion. Rugrats was one of the first shows that had a Jewish family, a black family, [and] a gay Mom that's now out in the world. Representation really matters, and I think Rugrats has always been an inclusive place where kids might not have known what Hanukkah or Passover, or Kwanzaa was. If any show got a reboot and could help the world find peace and acceptance of each other, it's The Rugrats.

The second season of Rugrats will debut on Paramount+ on April 14.


Stream the classic and the all new CG-animated Rugrats series on Paramount+! Try it FREE at!

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