James Urbaniak and Myles Langlois Talk Adult Swims Apollo Gauntlet

first_imgStay on target There’s a new show coming to Adult Swim this weekend. Apollo Gauntlet promises to make your Sunday nights just a little weirder. And if you’ve found they’re plenty weird enough, a little more Canadian. The series stars creator Myles Langlois as Canadian cop Paul Cassidy, who finds mad scientist Dr. Benign (played by Venture Bros.’ James Urbaniak) creating a portal between Earth and somewhere else. They’re both transported to an absurd fantasy world called Kingdom Bellanus. (Think He-Man’s Eternia, but weirder and not as clean.) Cassidy takes on the Mantle of Apollo Gauntlet, a hero with powerful talking gauntlets. Benign, meanwhile, immediately allies himself with Bellanus’s evil elements in a bid to rule the kingdom.Langlois and Urbaniak took some time to talk to Geek about the new series, where it came from and the characters they play. Apollo Gauntlet began its life as a web series on YouTube. Langlois made the series by himself, including doing almost all of the voices, while working other jobs. He says that through a lucky series of events, people who saw the web cartoon kept passing it along until it eventually reached Adult Swim.Urbaniak describes both characters are vulnerable people trying to fend for themselves in this harsh fantasy world. They’re still enemies, and their conflict will be a focus of the show, but now they have to deal with forces outside their own relationship. The first episode will see Officer Cassidy go undercover as a homeless person to find out why they’re all disappearing. He inadvertently gets captured himself and only reveals that he’s an undercover cop when it’s too late. That sounds like an Adult Swim-style premise if I’ve ever heard one.Dr. BenignJust watching the original YouTube series, I wondered where an idea like this comes from. It’s got such a unique style of humor, and such specific reference points, that I needed to know how it all started. Langlois answer: depression. “I was jumping from job to job, doing things like working on a farm and washing dishes and moving furniture,” Langlois said. He described a day off spent in bed staring at the ceiling trying to think of something to do. He’d always liked making little movies, so he spent the day racking his brain trying to think of an idea. That’s when a story of a man traveling to another world popped into his head.“Part of it was, I think I was reading a lot of depressing novels at the time. You realize you can really get into a novel and the mind space of a character, and that can contribute to the depression. So I think I was trying to get out of that,” Langlois said. J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, played a fairly significant role in the creation of Apollo Gauntlet.“I don’t really talk about being depressed a lot, but I guess that was a big part of it. I think reading Catcher in the Rye when you’re 12 years old isn’t really good for people, and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. That probably instilled some cynicism in me.” Langlois describes it as the first novel he ever read that “broke [his] brain.” Langlois did love the color scheme of the paperback’s cover art though. So much that he used its shade of red to design Apollo’s costume.Urbaniak found the Salinger inspiration in Apollo Gauntlet fascinating, particularly given that he has a small part in the upcoming Salinger biopic, Rebel in the Rye. “It makes sense to me,” he said. “I gotta say that I really like Miles’s writing of the show. There is a depth of character, and a sort of novelistic detail to all the crazy goings on. It seems to have a kind of narrative depth and logic to it, which I like a lot. As opposed to the sort of modern trend of absurd non-sequiturs.” Urbaniak did clarify that there are plenty of absurd moments in Apollo Gauntlet, but they’re all more character-driven.Prince Orenthal BellanusUrbaniak is, of course, no stranger to Adult Swim. He’s played Dr. Venture on Venture Bros. off and on for 13 years now. He says Apollo Gauntlet certainly feels like an Adult Swim show in that it’s a wacky cartoon aimed at adults, but it’s not quite like anything else on the network. “The best Adult Swim shows are personal. I think it has a personal quality; it has a point of view. It’s not really trying to be something else. It just comes out of Miles’s brain. So that’s what I like about it, it feels very personal. But you know, it’s got mad scientists and wacky situations and comical fighting… pop culture references.”The way Apollo Gauntlet uses pop culture references is sure to set it apart from most other animated comedies on TV. Apollo references pop culture frequently, but the show makes it clear that he’s the only person who gets them. He’s in an alternate fantasy world, and a lot of the humor comes from the fact that nobody around him has any clue what he’s talking about.“One of the tools that Apollo uses in this other world is his sort of goofy love and knowledge of popular Western Earth culture. He’ll rap occasionally; he’ll do impressions, he’ll quote movies. And theses references don’t usually go over because he’s in a different place,” Urbaniak said. “He’s sort of a traditional action hero in a sense. Apollo Gauntlet is the guy who’s seen a lot of Bruce Willis movies and things and knows that that’s how an action hero is supposed to act. That’s what makes it sort of awkward and funny.” Langlois added that that part of Apollo’s personality reflects how he often feels in life. When he makes references, nobody seems to know what he’s talking about.Corporal VileLanglois describes himself as a shy person, and describes his first days working on the show in Los Angeles as a little difficult. Suddenly not having to do all the animating and most of the voice acting himself took some getting used to. He’s especially grateful to be working with actors like Urbaniak, who can take something he wrote and read it in an amazing way he never thought of. Recording the voice of the main character in a studio with other people, however, did take some getting used to.“I was used to recording by myself and goofing around for hours on end. Now it’s set up in a way where there’s not a lot of people around,” he said. “I’m always scared of embarrassing myself. Should I try this joke, or do this? Or you want to do something off the top of your head… we worked out a system where I can edit my own stuff and send it to the editor. I’ll usually have a few options, [the editor] goes through it, and he usually picks the funniest one. His judgment is impeccable, so I trust his choice of which joke I did. It’s fun ad-libbing a lot. It took a little getting used to, but I think it worked out really well.”For as nervous as Langlois was at first, Urbaniak says Apollo Gauntlet’s recording sessions have a really relaxed atmosphere. “Myles is always present,” he said. “Greg Franklin from Six Point Harness (the company producing the show) directs the sessions, and Myles will chime in in his gentle way with little suggestions or colors for a performance. I always really like Myles’s suggestions, I get what he’s trying to do.” For his part, Urbaniak says there’s very little ad-libbing unless there’s call for general crowd hubbub.SuperknifeUrbaniak says he was concerned about the fact that he also plays a nutty scientist character on Venture Bros., and had to make sure he played them differently. “Dr. Benign has a different energy than Dr. Venture, but ultimately they both basically have my voice. I’m not doing anything radically different with my voice; it’s just about the attitude.” He says that sometimes he worries that Dr. Venture will creep into his portrayal of Dr. Benign, and he wants to make sure they’re two different mad scientists. “But you know, when showbiz puts you in your corner, you have to deal with that. That’s your wheelhouse.” Urbaniak just has a knack for playing, as Langlois put it, obnoxious mad scientists.As far as Urbaniak’s approach towards playing a more overtly evil scientist, Urbaniak said, “I don’t think Dr. Venture is innately evil, but he is oblivious to his mean-spiritedness at times, and he’s a mediocre person. Whereas Benign has a plan and is more actively nefarious. I think the key thing with Benign is he’s trying to be somewhat casual about the whole thing. That affects the energy of the performance… Sort of like what Myles does with Apollo, there’s sort of an off-hand performance style that seems to be an energy that you pick up on during the show. The characters are all slightly standing outside themselves. Apollo and Benign are aware that they’re in a different world, so they’re sort of self-conscious.”While most of the episodes will be standalone, Langlois did say that an arc will become apparent. He and Urbaniak said we can expect a Game of Thrones-style politics drama to unfold behind all the wackiness. There will also be plenty of action scenes, many of which are made by the animators rotoscoping themselves. They even worked with an amateur stuntman to make sure the fight choreography looked right. Though none of them had any training, Langlois said that thankfully, nobody got hurt.PuffApollo Gauntlet is a strange, indescribable and oddly personal show. I don’t think it’s possible to truly understand what it is until you watch it. Langlois says he’s looking forward to people seeing the whole season’s arc play out in its entirety, but he’s especially excited for people to see the differences between the individual episodes. “There’ll be an episode that’s like a Marx Brothers movie, and one that’s like a horror movie.” For his part, Urbaniak just thinks the show is really funny. He’d get the scripts, and he’d be laughing out loud with his wife over some of the jokes in each episode.Fortunately for us, we won’t have to wait too long to find out what Urbaniak thinks is so funny. The entire first season of Apollo Gauntlet is available now on AdultSwim.com and airs on TV Sunday nights.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. ‘Rick and Morty’ Season 4 Returns This November’Space Ghost Coast to Coast’ Is Still Influential and Funny last_img read more