Entergalactic Creative Team Shares How They Expanded On Kid Cudi’s Vision


Animation for adults is a genre that has yet to be fully welcomed by the masses, but every once in a while a gem of a story emerges whose quality cannot be denied. Entergalactic, the new animated Netflix project from Scott Mescudi (AKA Kid Cudi) and Blackish creator Kenya Barris, is one such example. Using songs from the artist’s eighth studio album of the same name, Entergalactic tells the story of a romance between two Black artists against the gorgeously visualized backdrop of modern New York City.


Mescudi voices Jabari, a comic book artist looking for love, while Jessica Williams voices Meadow, a photographer with a big show around the corner. The two meet cute in real life rather than online, and the love-at-first-sight attraction they share soon grows into a genuine bond that helps underline who they are as artists and individuals. Entergalactic boasts an all-star ensemble in addition to its leads, including Ty Dolla $ign, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Harrier, Vanessa Hudgens, Jaden Smith, Keith David, Teyana Taylor, and Macaulay Culkin.

Related: The Best Visual Album Films, According To IMDb

Screen Rant spoke with director Fletcher Moules and writers Maurice Williams & Ian Edelman, who all served as executive producers on Entergalactic, about how they expanded on the world of Kid Cudi‘s songs to create a visual feast that pays homage to both New York City and analog romance.

EPs Talk Entergalactic

Fletcher, when you first heard Kid Cudi’s songs, what images and vision for the story came to mind for you?

Fletcher Moules: That’s a good question. I think that, luckily, I heard the songs for the first time having also heard the outline from these guys and the fact that it was an artist living in modern-day New York City. Having that narrative while I listened to these songs was the piece of the puzzle that I needed to start visualizing.

What I used to do was roam on my phone or ride my bike around Venice Beach where I live, and listen to the songs on repeat at nighttime. And that’s how I started doing the first painting, mainly thinking about New York City. And then from there, it was really just scouring the internet to find the best artists around the world that could help visualize this.

The songs were just so inspiring for all of us; the writing process focused on them a lot. Once we had that, it was a unique way to work. Starting with the music was just an amazing, emotional jumping-off point.

Maurice, speaking of the writing process, what were the conversations with Scott and Kenya like as you were going back and forth on what was going to develop out of the album?

Maurice Williams: It was such a beautiful [process]; it really was organically made. I know that people probably often say that as the answer to the question, but it really was. Scott had an idea that he wanted to do something about his time in New York, then flipped it back to me and Ian, and it’s like, “The song that he played us is this thing…” We only started with two songs. Then it flips back to him, and he goes, “I like what you guys did with this, but I want it to feel like that.”

By the time we started the writers’ room, it was very [collaborative]. I can’t praise Scott enough for his trust and taste, because what he did was he really let us [work]. He’d be like, “Bring it back to me when it’s a story; when it’s something that I can follow. You heard the music, let’s do it.” And then it really was just sliding things ever so slightly to the left or ever so slightly to the right. But it really was a ball passed back and forth, and once he was done playing, he was like, “Now go do it.” We felt good about what we came back with.

Ian, what would you say were the biggest changes to the script or the story from when you started to when it evolved?

Ian Edelman: That’s a great question, and the process is really iterative. However, I gotta be honest, not a ton changed.

Fletcher Moules: It’s the same thing with animation, in the sense that once you start to storyboard things and start to visualize sequences, things start to change. But it doesn’t change the story; the story they wrote is on screen. If anything, there were some moments where we used animation in a way that can’t be done in live-action.

For example, there was an Aladdin-like moment that these guys had in the script where they leave a party, and then Jabari wants to show Meadow his point of view of New York City and take her to a secret spot. The song “In Love” is playing, and then just through the storyboarding process, we ask, “What’s the best way of using animation to express that?” It was only really visual changes of a story that was already there.

Maurice Williams: That is absolutely true. I think that, like, I would say 95% of what was written initially is on screen—except that we did change the ending. We changed the ending pretty late in the process.

Fletcher Moules: Yeah, in the original version, they never see each other again. I’m joking. [Everyone laughs]

Maurice Williams: The good thing about it was that there wasn’t a lot to change, because we were able to keep the story very simple and very tight. I think that the only thing that really changed is the formatting of it and how we tell the story. That’s the main thing.

Fletcher Moules: Heightening the point of view by using animation.

I loved the aspect of modern dating and how that’s changed with the times, especially the inclusion of Stush. Who came up with that, and the twist at the end that I won’t reveal?

Maurice Williams: That was a writers’ room joke, and the more we made the joke, the more we were like, “It’s actually a really interesting idea.”

The modern dating aspect was something that was really important to me. Before we started, I was coming back from New York, and I was literally flying to get back into the developmental writers’ room with Ian. I was watching When Harry Met Sally, one of my favorite movies, on the plane. I just remember that feeling after it was over, which I always get every time it’s over—that’s what we’re trying to make. We’re trying to make a time capsule for what it’s like to date in New York City right now. To really just answer the question, “Is it possible to have an analog love story in this digital time?” And that became the directive.

Like anything, you only know how fast you’re going when something’s standing still. So, we’re gonna have these two people who never talk on the phone; who never do anything [digital]. It’s all in person, so we have to show the other side of that.

Fletcher Moules: That is a visual device, so we have that built into the world. When we’re creating scenes, we’re able to use Stush as a device to help carry the story. Whether it’s posters or bus stops, that is a reaction to the characters’ emotional place that they’re in. That became a fun thing for us when we’re making it. “What’s a poster that is in relation to how the character feels right now?”

Ian Edelman: And just some inside baseball, Stush came up because of one of the writers used it as an adjective. I think it’s Caribbean slang.

Maurice Williams: It’s West Indian slang for a stuck-up person.

Ian Edelman: “That person’s a stush.” And then we were like, “Oh, what’s a good…? It can’t be this! There’s no way we’re gonna call it Stush.” And then it just kept going.

About Entergalactic

Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi and Kenya Barris join forces to present the television event Entergalactic, an original, immersive, animated story about a young artist named Jabari — voiced by Mescudi — as he attempts to balance love and success. Finding the latter brings Jabari a step closer to the former, when moving into his dream apartment introduces him to his new neighbor, photographer it-girl Meadow — voiced by Jessica Williams. An explosion of art, music and fashion, Entergalactic takes place in the only city that can handle all three: New York.

Check out our other interview with Entergalactic executive producers Karina Manashil & Dennis Cummings as well.

Next: 10 Movies That Feature Music Exclusively From One Popular Musician

Entergalactic is now streaming on Netflix.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.