On the second day of the ATX TV Festival, AMC+ presented a first look panel for its upcoming adult stop-motion animated series, Ultra City Smiths
. The panel was moderated by Emily Aslanian from TV Guide magazine. The panelists included creator Steve Conrad, co-director David Brooks, and stars Jimmi Simpson, Hana Mae Lee, Luis Guzmán, and Chris Conrad.
The creator talked about wanting to work in animation but wanting to create something unique that didn’t look like anything else. He saw his friend Jeff Deidre’s art of taking baby dolls from yard sales and making them into adults, and he liked how it that aspect showed the infantile and childish side that exists in adults.
The series looks a lot like 1970s/early 1980s New York City. Crime is rampant and the police are corrupt; it’s a dangerous and hard town.
Each cast member talked a bit about their characters and working with Steve.
Other topics discussed were the difficulties in the lack of speed of stop animation (they turn out only 8 seconds of footage per animator each day), how they tip their hats to different films in the show, and the musical aspect of the series - there’s a song in every episode.
Here is what we learned about the characters.
Detective David Mills (Jimmi Simpson) - Mills is a rookie detective who has spent his life removed from the city but has been drawn there for a variety of reasons. He’s pulled there when a socialite billionaire goes missing. It becomes his mission to figure out what happened.
Detective Nico Onasis (Chris Conrad) - He’s a sensualist and a hedonist and is constantly distracted by both men and women instead of focusing on his job. He’s come to a crossroads where he realizes he’s on a downward slope and things will start slipping away from him if he doesn’t take stock. He thinks that if he can get married it will give him an anchor to be a better detective. He is also Mills’ partner.
Christina (Hana Mae Lee) - Christina is Rodrigo Smalls’ pregnant fiancé. She and Rodrigo are trying to get away from the city, doing what they can while avoiding the detectives. She’s into fashion, always wearing hip hop gear.
Rodrigo Smalls (Luis Guzmán) - Rodrigo is the neighborhood crime lord and fiancé to Christina. The look of the character was based on photos of a younger Guzmán.
The first two episodes premiere on July 22nd on AMC+.