Exclusive: Continuing the festivities of Netflix Geeked Week, we were also able to interview Scott Pilgrim Takes Off executive producer BenDavid Grabinski about his upcoming Netflix animated adaptation based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s original comic series and Edgar Wright’s film adaptation.
However, both Grabinski and O’Malley have said that this adaptation isn’t your usual one-and-done take as this series intends to take the world of Scott Pilgrim in a new direction. Check out our interview with Grabinski down below! In addition, check out our NYCC interview with Bryan Lee O’Malley here!
How ‘Scott Pilgrim Takes Off’ Formed
CoveredGeekly: How was the idea of bringing your own adaptation of Scott Pilgrim first created and what was it like seeing that evolve and generally visualizing it?
GRABINSKI: [Universal] had reached out to Bryan [Lee O’Malley] about possibly being involved in an adaptation with Science SARU and Netflix. Bryan and I share all of our work with each other: when he wrote Seconds, I gave him a lot of feedback. We’ve had a million creative discussions whenever we worked together.
We were just talking about how interesting it would be to try and tell a new version of the [Scott Pilgrim] story and I immediately had a bunch of ideas that Bryan responded to. That became our jumping off point where he went back to Netflix and SARU and was like, “My friend, BenDavid, has this take that I really think is exciting that we want to work on and I think this is what the version of the show should be.”
We were just working with some of the most brilliant animators in the world, who we had so much respect for. We were just trying to make a new version of the story that worked for people who’ve never seen any version, but were maybe satisfying for fans. We just tried to focus on emotion and tone because aesthetically, every single thing we were doing was so spot on.
‘Scott Pilgrim’s Lasting Cast Ties
Reporter: A couple years back, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, the whole cast got back together and did a live reading of the original script. Was that the impetus for creating this adaptation?
GRABINSKI: No, but there was no way that wasn’t part of them doing this show. They all really liked doing that and Bryan and I were secretly on the side working on this show for years. After it was greenlit, after [Bryan] had written a bunch of episodes, Edgar reached out to the cast letting them know about the show and they all jumped on immediately.
Edgar put together a perfect cast, but they had such a great time making the movie and [the reading] where I think they all were excited about jumping back into that again. I was watching that [reading], as a fan, and they were doing a live discussion on Twitter with them on a rotary phone. I never really thought they would, but they were all excited and jumped in!
Working With ‘Scott Pilgrim’s Star-Studded Cast
CoveredGeekly: With such a huge cast, what was the general process like and how was it working with the cast and the voice acting process?
GRABINSKI: One of the really most fun things was spending a 4-hour session with Jason Schwartzman just doing fight noises. There’s all these things that are so much fun to do, they all get to do stuff that is fun and surprising and not to do things directly from the movie again.
One of the most fun things was having really cool movie stars in a voice studio with you and you’re like, “Well, you’re getting punched in the face! I think it needs to be kinda comedic, but also should feel intense.” Pitching ideas to them and them mimicking it back and cutting it into picture was fun, but that was one thing I did not expect to do.
It was also so fun with Mary [Elizabeth Winstead] to be like, “Oh, you’re holding a hundred pound hammer, but it’s over your head, but I want it to feel like you’re really tired cause you’ve been fighting for a long time!”
The person who’s so good with it was Mae Whitman because she has so much experience and you’d go to record and she kind of makes it funny and matches the exact rhythm of what you need. She’s like an absolute voicework genius.
I’ve worked with Brandon [Routh] a bunch and his voice acting in the show was so good. I think he’s one of the most underrated funny people. Ellen [Wong], who plays Knives, is also just born to do voicework: her line readings were never what I expected in the best possible way. There’s some stuff she says in the show that every time I watch makes me laugh because of her performance!
‘Scott Pilgrim’ Reworks With Science SARU
Reporter: Was there any specific moment where Science SARU came back to you guys with something that totally blew your mind?
GRABINSKI: A lot of stuff changed based on their work. Sometimes, we’d be at the outline stage and then writing another episode and we’d sent them an outline and work it based on their reaction. There’s some big plot changes that come from concept art.
One thing that was really funny, which was a misunderstanding, was that the paparazzi in this universe are ninjas. What happened was in a meeting, I said that I wanted them to move like ninjas, but someone misunderstood and said I wanted them to be ninjas. When I got the art back, I said, “Yes, this is amazing!” This is not what I thought, but now officially in the universe of Scott Pilgrim, paparazzi are literal ninjas!
There are some characters that are an homage to other characters and that’s based on concept art, kind of looking like some actors. Sometimes, you get ideas from anywhere, but I’m really happy where everything ended up.
Scott Pilgrim Takes Off premieres on Netflix on November 17. The series comes from award-winning animation house Science SARU (Devilman Crybaby, Japan Sinks, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken) and UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group, produced for Netflix.