At today’s San Diego Comic-Con @ Home, AMC’s Ultra City Smiths panel showed off some new footage for potential fans—footage you must see with your own eyes because honestly...WTF. And I mean that in a good way.
Ultra City Smiths has a, shall we say...interesting premise using babydolls and stop-motion animation to create a wacky comedy procedural. The AMC series follows the mysterious disappearance of a rich and beloved resident, Carpenter K. Smith. Detective David Mills, a rookie on the police force, takes on the case to fight against their city’s corruption, but as he goes deeper down the rabbit hole, the more consumed he becomes.
Kristen Baldwin, TV critic for Entertainment Weekly, moderated the SDCC 2021 panel with cast and crew that included creator/director Steve Conrad, co-director David Brooks, and star Jimmi Simpson (Westworld). Right out the gate, Baldwin—like many of us—wanted to know where the idea for Ultra City Smiths came from. Conrad explained that a friend of his was making art with babydolls and his imagination ran wild from there. “I’ve been trying for a very long time to find an aesthetic for animation, which is so important if your show can convey the hard work and the manufacturing of a show with stop motion,” says Conrad. “This particularly felt like a new way to look at grown-up life—like adult entertainment for former children.”
Detective David Mills (Simpson) is new to Ultra City, and has a knack for singing...and losing his shirt. The actor described his character as someone who has a strange way of coping with stress but has a heart of gold. “Detective Mills is a rookie, and he has big plans. He gives his heart and soul to the police force—especially now that there’s a big issue that needs solving—and a lot of commitment.” Simpson went on to say something about his character that surprised the panel, “It’s one of the most fleshed out characters I’ve played and it’s a baby doll!” A baby doll with a five o’clock shadow, which you can see in all its glory in the new trailer below:
Co-director David Brooks went on to explain how Ultra City Smiths was made. “Steven and I do so much work ahead of time to get the storyboards right, but it all starts with the voice cast, then the animatics, and the timing to get the storytelling. All that stuff ends up culminating on set with an animator and it’s already magic. We could just stick the doll in front of a camera and light it, but with the voice records and the way we’ve edited it, you know, the animatics come together.”
The half-hour series was created by Steve Conrad (Patriot), who also serves as showrunner. Seth Green’s Stoopid Buddy Stoodios (Robot Chicken) will act as one of the show’s many producers. You can check out the whole Ultra City Smiths panel below!
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