In terms of the voice cast, how happy were you to be able to get Kelsey Grammer involved?
It was unconditional, because the first note I ever made on my notebooks about “Trollhunters,” the first note to myself was, “Blinky must be voiced by Kelsey Grammer.” I knew it because I’m a massive “Frasier” fan. Every night, after I finish shooting a movie, I watch a “Frasier” episode during the shoot because it relaxes me. For me, it’s like a glass of brandy. In this case, sherry, a glass of sherry. I think “Frasier” is one of the great series, in terms of comedic timing and great tempo in the delivery. That’s why I worked with David Hyde Pierce on “Hellboy 1” to voice Abe Sapien. I really asked the studio to allow me to go after Kelsey because I think his voice, there has never been and there will never be another voice like Kelsey’s. It’s one of the most treasured voices I think you can encounter in any other visual medium.
I think what really impressed me about it is that it has such gravitas, but it also has such humor to it.
That’s the thing. “Frasier” was a mixture of truth serum and emotion, with an impeccable sense of comedic timing and delivery. When I directed with Rodrigo [Blaas] the first two episodes, the pilot, I went to direct Kelsey absolutely besides myself. I called my wife the day I went to the booth to direct him and I said to my wife, “Guess who I’m with?” My wife and I have watched the 11 seasons of “Frasier” at least four times together. It was fantastic.
Was she excited?
You know, she was. What was great is he was so precise, as an actor. He’s a machine that you can calibrate and have fun with to the most minimal degree. You can truly ask for variations upon variations and he will deliver everything with enormous precision and enormous heart.