Hamster & Gretel Creator Dan Povenmire on Working With Disney, Speaking Hamsters, and Making Music


Disney Channel is about to premiere the brand new animated collection Hamster & Gretel tomorrow, August twelfth, forward of debuting in its regular Saturday morning timeslot the next day. The present, created by Phineas and Ferb co-creator Dan Povenmire, follows the adventures of teenager Kevin and his youthful sister Gretel after the latter and her pet hamster are given powers by house aliens. Kevin, after all, takes this extraordinarily effectively. Forward of the present’s premiere, ComicBook.com had the chance to talk with Povenmire all concerning the premise of the present, what it is like working along with his daughter, and speaking hamsters.

The present stars Meli Povenmire because the voice of Gretel; Michael Cimino because the voice of Gretel’s older brother, Kevin; Beck Bennett because the voice of Gretel’s pet hamster, Hamster; Joey King because the voice of her tech-savvy cousin, Fred; Matt Jones because the voice of Kevin and Gretel’s easygoing father, Dave; and Carolina Ravassa because the voice of their mom, Carolina.

You’ll be able to try the poster for Hamster & Gretel under:

(Picture: Disney Channel)

Hamster & Gretel is formally set to debut on Disney Channel tomorrow, August twelfth, at 9:35PM ET. It would then air the collection premiere on Disney XD at 10PM ET. The animated collection will then debut a brand new episode throughout its common timeslot the next morning, August thirteenth, at 9:30AM ET. You’ll be able to try all of our earlier protection of the upcoming present proper right here.

What do you consider what’s been proven of Hamster & Gretel to this point? Are you excited to take a look at the premiere this week? Tell us within the feedback, or be happy to succeed in out and hit me up immediately over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to be able to discuss all issues animation! And maintain studying to take a look at our full interview with Povenmire all about it.

The next interview has been evenly edited for readability and size.

On the Elevator Pitch for Hamster & Gretel

KEVIN, DAVE, GRETEL, CAROLINA(Picture: Disney Channel)

ComicBook.com: What is the elevator pitch for Hamster & Gretel? How did this come about?

Dan Povenmire: So the elevator pitch is that it is actually a few brother and sister, Kevin and Gretel. So the brother’s a lot older, and he is capable of drive, and he thinks he will have all this freedom when he will get his driver’s license. And he will get his driver’s license, and naturally, he simply turns into the chauffeur to his youthful sister, drives her to soccer follow and stuff.

However on a kind of journeys, they get stopped by aliens who inform them, “The 2 of you have got been chosen to obtain superpowers!” And he will get actually enthusiastic about it they usually shoot him with this ray. And the ray goes on them, and the superpowers land on Gretel, but additionally on her hamster who occurs to be within the automobile, which is, as you possibly can think about, a tragedy for Kevin. So he is attempting to determine the place he belongs on this, is he even a part of this staff? He has to take care of the truth that he feels handed over, but additionally, he is all the time attempting to guard his sister, as a result of he is the older brother. And does she really want safety now, as a result of she will be able to elevate a bus over her head? And so he type of turns into the man within the chair on the headphones, and that is our jumping-off level for it.

So it simply took place as a result of I had finished a drawing of a hamster superhero. I am continually doodling after we’re writing something. And after we had been writing the Phineas and Ferb film we did for Disney+ in 2020, I had this entire stack of post-its that I had finished completely different drawings on. And one in every of them was this superhero hamster flying over a metropolis and looking out type of bored, and I beloved him a lot that I used to be like… I went in a single night time once I was tucking my daughter in, and I pitched her this concept of this present with a superhero hamster, and she or he was simply laughing a lot. And I used to be like, “Possibly that is one thing,” and the whole lot else grew from that one little drawing on a… It was on a pink 3-by-5 card, I feel.


On Working With His Daughter

You talked about your daughter. Hamster & Gretel additionally has you working along with your daughter because the voice of Gretel. What’s that like? Is it bizarre to have that type of dynamic of household, but additionally, “I am type of your boss?”

We have needed to type of determine, as a result of typically she simply does not really feel like recording on the time. And we document from right here. Like, she sits on this chair right here, and information into this microphone. And so if she’s probably not feeling prefer it, I am going to go, “Effectively, when do you wish to do it? We simply should do it someday this weekend.” And he or she’s like, “Okay, how about like after dinner?” Or one thing like that. However typically, if she’s busy doing one thing else, and I used to be like, “Effectively, you could not do it earlier,” and I’ve to type of put my foot down and say, “No, now we have to do it now, or it will not get finished in time for this.”

However we’re truly normally forward, as a result of she’s so accessible to me. A few of our different voice actors are so busy as up-and-coming actors, they’re continually working, so we’re all the time having to struggle for like, “When can we get them to a studio? They’re capturing in Bulgaria.” Or, “They’re capturing in Atlanta. How will we get them to a studio so we are able to document them?” We do not have that drawback with Meli.

But in addition, she simply grew up with my humorousness, as a result of she grew up in the home with me. And we had been making TikToks collectively, and we had been doing plenty of skits and stuff. She wrote some TikToks that I used to be like, “Okay, I will produce this for you.” In order that once I write a humorous line, I type of consider it in her voice, and she or he additionally is aware of how I would like that stated. I haven’t got to essentially work on it to get the fitting line studying out of it.


On Being the Sole Creator

KEVIN, HAMSTER, GRETEL(Picture: Disney Channel)

Talking of inventive newness right here, after 15-plus years of working collectively on exhibits like Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Regulation, no Jeff “Swampy” Marsh on Hamster & Gretel. Is that correct?

Effectively, it is not fully correct. He is doing a voice for us. However he is opened his personal studio in Venice, which is strolling distance from his home, and strolling distance from the seaside. And I simply, I can not begrudge him that, however he is doing his personal tasks there, so I am doing my very own tasks right here. However we discuss on a regular basis. And like I say, there’s these two previous guys which are recurring characters which are type of like a background gag, which are all the time enjoying chess, and it is me and Swampy. In order that makes me comfortable.

I’ve to think about that not having Swampy as a co-creator, it is type of unusual, but additionally perhaps creatively releasing in some methods, such as you’re the one the place the whole lot stops with now at this level, proper?

Yeah. Effectively, I imply, I used to be type of the ultimate man, as a result of I used to be within the enhancing room so it was all the time like, I used to be all the time that ultimate resolution anyway. However I simply needed to discover different individuals, as a result of Swampy and I, our brains actually lock in collectively humor-wise, and I am going to say one thing, and he’ll make it funnier, then I am going to make it funnier, after which he’ll make it funnier once more. I’ve simply needed to discover different individuals to try this with. It’s good to discover comedic voices that you just belief. So Joanna Hausmann’s type of grow to be that for me, as I simply type of bounce it off of her. My editor is one other particular person, and I bounce it off of her.


On Persevering with to Make Music

I’ve seen the primary couple of episodes. Instantly, within the first couple of episodes, there’s music. Is it simply second nature at this level to incorporate songs in your exhibits? Do you see your self ever not doing music in a present at this level?

I do not know why I might cease. To me, writing songs for exhibits is probably the most enjoyable, and it is the closest factor you get to immortality, as a result of I nonetheless keep in mind, [singing] “Sugar. Ah, honey honey!” Everyone can sing that tune. No person can inform you a plot line from a selected Archies episode. However you continue to keep in mind. There’s songs I keep in mind from a present referred to as the Groovie Goolies that I do not even know what it seems to be like anymore. There’s the “Eep, Opp, Ork, Ah-ah” from, it was both The Flintstones or Jetsons, I feel it was The Jetsons. [Ed. note: It was, in fact, The Jetsons.] Like, I keep in mind these songs, however I do not keep in mind the opposite stuff. So to me, that is the factor that will get caught in individuals’s brains probably the most.

And once I go on Twitter or TikTok, if I search TikTok for the identify of any tune that I wrote in Phineas and Ferb, if I’m going “Busted” into TikTok, there’s actually thousands and thousands of movies of individuals lip-syncing to that tune, or doing the costume modifications, or recreating it body for body. To me, that is probably the most enjoyable that you’ve making a present, is entering into individuals’s psyches that method.


On Working With Disney Once more and Once more

GRETEL, HAMSTER(Picture: Disney Channel)

I do not know for those who’re conscious of this, however based mostly on my analysis and simply basic information, with Disney Tv Animation, it’s fairly uncommon for a creator to return again for a number of collection. Hamster & Gretel being your third, fourth for those who rely Take Two, one thing like that places you in rarefied firm. We’re speaking like Tad Stones, Greg Weisman, and perhaps that is it, particularly for authentic exhibits.

There’s Craig Gerber on Disney Junior. So yeah, we should always type a three-timers membership. That is what we should always do.

What would your steering be to anybody who’s rising up watching these exhibits, very excited to have these sorts of exhibits, and desires to make these? What’s the secret to getting Disney to provide the thumbs as much as these items?

There’s two issues. I feel it’s best to simply… Swampy and I pitched Phineas and Ferb round city for 13 years earlier than any person… It acquired optioned twice. It acquired method up the echelon at Nickelodeon one time, and Fox Children one other time, and it simply by no means acquired made. After which Disney was the primary one to say, “Okay, let’s do a pilot.”

So if there is a present that you just assume you’ll wish to watch, that is rattling round in your head, and each time you have a look at it, you go, “That is nonetheless the present I wish to watch,” simply maintain at it, and maintain pushing, and maintain pitching it. As a result of finally, the people who find themselves the pinnacle of the studio will change, they usually’ll produce other sensibilities. You type of work your method via the studios, and you then begin again the following yr on the following ones.


On Working With Disney Once more and Once more (Cont.)

There’s that. The opposite factor is like, the best way I’ve offered all three of those exhibits is, I went forward and made an animatic. I made like a storyboard animatic with my voice being all of the voices for Phineas. After which after we did Hamster & Gretel, I had my daughter do the Gretel voice, which it is how she ended up doing the Gretel voice. As a result of I stated, “Hey, Meli, are you able to are available right here and simply learn some traces for me?” And he or she did, and I used to be like, “Oh, she’s actually good.” After which she simply type of survived via all of the re-castings.

However I confirmed them one thing that was already type of far alongside within the course of. They would not normally see an animatic to one thing. They might simply see a script and a few drawings of the characters. And I feel, when you give them that they usually get the texture for the timing of the comedy, they usually get the texture for the type of filmmaking that you will do, and immediately, they’ll simply watch it and really feel like, “Oh, I perceive precisely what this present goes to be.” As a result of studying a script, you possibly can’t all the time inform precisely what a present goes to be. It is like, this may very well be actually nice or actually horrible, relying on the way it’s executed. This manner provides them the thought of precisely how it’ll be executed, and I feel that makes it simpler for them to say sure.

Proper. Should you go away as little to the creativeness as potential–


–how may they probably say no, proper?



On Speaking Hamsters

HAMSTER(Picture: Disney Channel)

Now, getting extra granular particular about Hamster & Gretel, I’ve to ask as a result of it did shock me, the hamster talks. Is that one in every of its powers, or did it all the time discuss?

He didn’t discuss earlier than he was shot with that factor. And we have toyed with doing an episode the place he will get, like they get hit with one thing that takes away their powers, and he simply turns into a daily, type of non-sentient, hamster once more. And the way type of tragically unhappy that may be. I feel I introduced up Flowers for Algernon, and the writers had been like, “No, we will not make it that unhappy.”


On Heading Into the Premiere

The present is about to premiere very, very quickly.


How are you feeling? Clearly, not your first rodeo at this level, however heading as much as the premiere, how do you are feeling?

Oh, it is all the time, to me, that is all the time an awesome second as a result of we have been type of making the present for ourselves for 2 years. And I am simply type of actually itching to see how individuals react to it and stuff. I get giddy each time they launch a brand new trailer for it. It is like they launch the opening credit score sequence, and simply seeing individuals’s reactions on-line. I can not await individuals to see it. I feel it is nearly as good a present as Phineas and Ferb. I feel it is acquired that type of humor, nevertheless it additionally has much more coronary heart, and extra number of storytelling. Phineas and Ferb was type of a scaffolding, type of a repeating storyline construction, and we might simply hold gags on it. This has much more occurring with it, so hopefully individuals will actually reply.


Last Ideas

Is there anything you want to say about Hamster & Gretel, about your work for Disney, something in any respect?

I simply actually hope that this finds an viewers. I do know that TV is rather more segmented than it was, so it is tougher to discover a massive viewers as a result of individuals have so many various decisions of stuff to observe. I simply hope that they tune in and provides this present an opportunity, as a result of I feel they will fall in love with it. To me, by the point I am finished with an episode of any TV, it’s totally onerous for me to inform what’s actually humorous anymore. All I can say is, “Effectively, that joke used to make me chuckle earlier than I noticed it 200 occasions within the enhancing course of. So I feel it is nonetheless humorous,” however, you understand.

However the factor that I can actually inform on the finish, like after we do a ultimate mixture of an episode and do a playback, is I all the time type of latch onto, “Do I nonetheless love these characters?” And I actually love these characters. These characters are in my mind the identical method that Phineas and Ferb was in my mind.



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