Wonderfully warm and witty preschool series based on the best-selling books by Rachel Bright launches January 2020
Darren Foreman (Love Monster)
I hope that they enjoy watching it enough that the messages in the episodes help them out, because it’s a tricky word to navigate and if a little story here and there can leave an impression on them and help them out in their life, that would be really cool.Darren Foreman
How did you first get involved with Love Monster?
I auditioned! They had been trying to find the most Love Monstery voice they could, and I ended up doing the most Love Monstery voice of any of the applicants. I think it’s because I am basically a fairly gravelly, slightly ditsy, lovable oaf with an underbite so it’s just natural typecasting!
What was its appeal for you?
This is a very lovely, nourishing set of stories that can help a tiny person figure out what the world is and how they can navigate it. I’ve got kids and most of the stuff I do is not necessarily aimed at kids, so it’s really nice to be able to do something that hopefully will help and entertain kids and hopefully entertain the parents as well! I know it sounds cheesy but that’s such a lovely thing to be able to do.
It’s also really cool that it’s on CBeebies because that’s the national broadcaster so it all feels really official and important, even when it’s just me making weird noises in a studio! Somehow it feels like you’re contributing to culture in a positive way.
Tell us about your character, Love Monster himself, and what you like best about him.
Love Monster is a cute, cuddly, very loving little monster; he’s almost out of place in a world of extremely cute, cuddly things. He’s naturally inquisitive and wonders about the world and really ponders over every moral decision. Love Monster is on more of a learning journey than the rest of them because he’s got a bit more complexity to him than a lot of the characters - they have a level of depth that makes the stories work but Love Monster is the one who is suffering with all these moral quandaries and he’s building his character in every episode. I like the fact that he’s going through what kids go through, but he’s got the self-awareness to say out loud the lessons that he’s learning.
How did you go about deciding what kind of voice to use for Love Monster?
For a while I wasn’t sure whether he should sound like an old soul or a really young child, because he’s going through the trials and tribulations that a young child does - should he go on the big slide, how to navigate sharing and compassion and all these kind of things. And when I was getting ready to do the audition I asked my kids what voice Love Monster should have. I tried a bunch of different voices with my five-year-old - who was four at the time - and I was asking: "What about this one?", "Maybe this one?" He kept saying: "That’s not cute" to them all but thankfully eventually he said, "That one’s cute!" So he actually chose it.
There’s also a lot of incoherent burbling in there! Often the direction was: "See if you can get this whole sentence into one noise", so we’ve spent a bit of time trying to get the perfect little noises! It’s interesting work because it’s making sure you get the right grunt or groan or noise to convey the emotional trajectory of a moment in an episode.
Do you share any characteristics with Love Monster, and if so which?
Apart from the underbite, not really! I’ve become much more cynical and self-serving as I’ve aged whereas Love Monster is still this very sweet, innocent, pure, youthful little soul. I should be more like that - in fact I think we should all try and be more Love Monster!
What do you think children will enjoy about the show?
It’s a really lovely cartoon and I’m hoping that they like everything about it! My kids love it. There are some really fun moments with long catastrophic tumbling sequences where Love Monster is clattering into loads of things - it’s lovely to have a well-written script, but when you have a solid 30 seconds or so of somebody tumbling into stuff and saying: "Ow!", those are my favourite bits of cartoons so I hope the kids like that! Also, the music’s great, I think the character is really fun and I hope kids relate to it. I hope that they enjoy watching it enough that the messages in the episodes help them out, because it’s a tricky word to navigate and if a little story here and there can leave an impression on them and help them out in their life, that would be really cool.
Do you hope that Love Monster will inspire pre-schoolers to start djing and beatboxing?
If the show can inspire kids to get into music that's great. Beatboxing is a good route in to music, you can practice any time and place, and as for djing, Love Monster shows that djing is a way to bring people together, and we all need ways to do that in these weird times.
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