HBO Max has kicked off a brand new Looney Tunes series this May and with it came a Comic-Con@Home panel. Moderated by Damien Holbrook from TV Guide Magazine, Holbrook said the panelists are the “the Justice League of cartoons,” and he wasn’t wrong! The panelists included executive producer Pete Browngardt, supervising producer Alex Kirwan, art director Aaron Spurgeon, and voice cast members Eric Bauza (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Marvin the Martian), Bob Bergen (Porky Pig), Candi Milo (Granny), Jeff Bergman (Elmer Fudd).
Browngardt said he grew up on the cartoons and always thought to himself, “Why would you ever change it and why aren’t they still making shorts?” He said the characters lend themselves to short gag cartoons and honed in on the original look and style to go with the format for a modern age. Kirwan said the 1940s era of the shorts was their favorite era and they wanted to make more of that. “We didn’t want to set out to reinvent it,” Kirwan said and their focus was to build slapstick shorts and stay true to how they built comedy dynamics.
In fact, the show was so well done mimicking the original series, Browngardt said when they sent over a few shorts HBO Max replied back that they want to see new episodes, “They didn’t realize they were new. That was really cool.”
The show’s development started in 2017 and Browngardt said developing the show was like playing in a dollhouse. It was a matter of finding the right matchups between characters. Kirwan added the characters were designed to exploit a certain type of dynamic of comedy. “It’s fine-tuning the gears a little bit. Oh, it’s 12% funnier if it’s this character with this character.”
Spurgeon was asked how art direction is involved in all this and he said it’s about staging for the characters the best it can possibly be as well as homaging the original series.
Around 13 minutes into the panel the voice cast was asked a few questions. Bergen said the process starts when scripts and storyboards are sent to the voice actors who, “Make choices and then we go to the session and it’s very collaborative.” He said it’s a team effort to do the voice acting. Bergman said it’s an interesting process as the storyboards make it like reading a comic book before recording the voices. Milo said the pace of the comedy and timing and rhythm of the show is a big part of the narration process.
Midway through the panel, Holbrook introduced a 5 minute Looney Tunes cartoon never before seen. It’s a fun adventure between Porky the Pig and Daffy the Duck as they attempt to deliver a package to a clearly haunted house. It’s a great example of exceptional voice acting, cutting edge animation, and comedy anyone can love.
After the clip, Holbrook asked what’s the hardest thing about the show. Browngardt said it’s about living up to the original cartoons. After speaking about their prized Looney Tunes possessions and going over what they’d love to see their characters do next the panel wrapped up.
You can watch the panel below.