Creator Moral Orel, Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole
We couldn’t resist the chance to catch up with the talented and always-quotable Dino Stamatopoulos on the occasion of the second season debut of the Annie Award-nominated Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole on Adult Swim this month. Stamatpoulos, who has a huge cult following because of the popularity of his first stop-motion series Moral Orel and as the shady Star-burns on NBC’s sitcom Community. Frankenhole, which premiered in 2010, charts the surreal adventures of the immortal Dr. Victor Frankenstein who is visited by famous characters from history through a time portal (the Frankehole) near his lab.
Animag: So, Dino, can you tell us what kind of crazy stuff we can expect to see in the second season of Frankehole?
Stamatopoulus: You should expect the unexpected. That’s all you need to know. Well, to be honest, we did change it around. Look, the first season wasn’t horrible, but we had new historical characters in each episode and didn’t concentrate on the recurring characters. Mike Lazzo [adult’s swim’s senior exec VP] and Nick Weidenfeld [director of program development] got together with us and told us this needs to be more about Frankenstein and Elizabeth and get rid of the two kids—they were too old. Adult Swim is really a misnomer, because kids watch it!
Animag: Will you be introducing any new characters?
Stamatopoulus: Oh yes, we do have this good ole boy Vampire Hunter. The Turner folks liked him because he his this Southern accent and they felt comfortable with that! Joe Unger, the guy who does his voice goes to my local bar, the Drawing room and we just sit and drink. He just loves to talk everyone’s ears off. One day, I asked him whether he had a SAG card and he broke into this whole tirade for ten minutes and went and finished his filibuster drink. And I said that’s exactly why I want you do my show. He’s perfect for the part. He is a guy in the bar that Victor likes and often gives him old school advice. [Dan Harmon will also voice Dr. Jekyll character, whose friendship with Victor will provide further conflicts.]
Animag: Will Andy Dick be returning as the voice of Jesus?
Stamatopoulus: Andy and I have worked together for years. We started working together in the mid-’80s. We went to college together and we did live shows together. He’s really a great actor. I thought it would be funny to have Andy play Jesus. In the new episode, we have the Grim Reaper following Jesus around because he’s very impressed with him and wants to hang out with him. And they go out drinking together and Death ends up dying. We have another episode that’s a Godzilla parody and the monster is not only threatening the lives of the Asian community, but he’s also insulting them because he has a triangle rice hat on—he’s an Asian stereotype monster and it’s humiliating for the community, like he’s a bad Jerry Lewis character. It’s actually Ken Joeng (Community) in a suit, interacting with our stop-motion puppets.
Animag: Your show used to be animated by L.A.’s ShadowMachine, but this new season your own studio StarBurns is handling it. Tell us about this new development.
Stamatopoulus: Well, I opened my own studio with three other guys, including Dan Harmon who created the show Community. We’re based in a Burbank in an actual castle. Well, it kind of looks like a castle, right by the 5 freeway. I really liked everyone who worked at ShadowMachine except the people who ran it. We shot the Christmas episode of Community here and we’re looking to do a lot more, a Flash show for Adult Swim is also in the works. It takes us about over a week to do an episode of Frankenhole. We usually have 12 miniature stages set up.
Animag: What are some of your favorite shows on TV right now? Are you a big animation fan?
Stamatopoulus: You know, I don’t have a TV! I do love to watch those Criterion classic Blu-rays, A Clockwork Orange, John Cassavetes’ Husbands, the Danish film Celebration. Other than that, I watch videotapes of myself jacking off! I feel there’s a lot of great stop-motion out there, which is great for me, because it’s easier for me to sell our shows. In the future, I would love to do an hour-long show with dark humor, sort like the third season of Moral Orel.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenhole’s second season debuts on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim on January 22st at 12:15 a.m. You can read more about the show here:
And watch a behind-the-scenes video here:
You can check out Dino’s new company here: