Paramount+ is bringing back Rugrats for another session of playtime with new adventures for the lovable group of toddlers. This time around, the show will see the return of Dil Pickles, Tommy’s little brother, as the group ventures through their own imaginations. From discovering the treasures of ancient babies to crossing the frozen tundra, the babies are ready to take on new world, even if they might be closer to home than it seems.
A few days ago, we had the chance to interview Tara Strong (Dil Pickles) and EG Daily (Tommy Pickles) for the upcoming season. During the interview, we got insight into Strong and Daily’s reunion, how the new changes from the classic ’90s Nickelodeon show to this modern reboot affected the transition, and if the babies will get to grow up once again. A big thank you to Paramount+ and Nickelodeon for making this possible!
THH: It’s been a while since you two have been together as Tommy and Dil, how has it been like reuniting for this show and what new liberties have you two been able to take with your characters this time?
DAILY: [In Tommy’s voice] Oh, lots of liberties!
STRONG: [In Dil’s voice] And just like lots of poopies!
[Strong and Daily laugh.]
DAILY: The thing is, when you’ve done a show this long, they really do trust you with your characters. They [the writers] might write something that’s not quite as we would and they’re very good with allowing us to say, “Tommy would say this instead of that, for Pete’s sake!” instead of what other word. So, I think they’re just great about trusting us and we’re great about trusting them with their beautiful dialogue and we just all work very well together.
THH: How did you both originally feel about Dil’s return and the differences, if any, in transitioning from the original series into this new reboot?
STRONG: Well, we love every character we do, so we get very excited when something that has been cancelled for a long time comes back. We’re also very grateful that we get asked back because [in Dil’s voice] you know, sometimes they make mistakes!
[Strong and Daily laugh]
STRONG: And they don’t bring back the original voice casts. So, we’re pretty happy about that. In terms of how it looks, initially, I was a little bit nervous cause I really loved the original animation. They’ve [the production team] done such an amazing job at marrying how [the series] felt before with the newest technology and CG. And it’s a really pretty and beautiful show and it’s pretty exciting, it’s pretty great and I’m really happy that we’re both in it.
THH: I’ve only been able to watch two episodes, which were pretty great. Which episode, or any moment from the episodes, did you both enjoy watching or recording for?
DAILY: It’s hard to say cause I’m not sure which ones we’re allowed to talk about too specifically, but I would just say in general: any time I’m in the booth and I’m working on the voicework for picking up lines and I get to see clips from it, I’m completely floored by how beautiful it looks. Just the eyelines to the eyes of the babies and the perspectives of the babies and just every time I see it or any little clip I get to see, I’m completely blown away by it. It’s incredible.
THH: That’s really great to hear. Were you two able to provide some creative input in the episodes?
STRONG: [to Daily] Did you get to put your stuff in it? There’s not much improv right?
DAILY: There’s really not that much improv. Like I said, we might be able to say “Tommy might say this line this way” and they’re very open to that, but the writers are pretty brilliant and their scripts are pretty brilliant. So, they just run with it unless there’s something really specific about our character that we want to input. They’re very open to hearing about it, but we sort of let everybody do their beautiful job and what they do so that’s why it all works and comes together so beautifully.
STRONG: For me, most of what takes place [happens] in the stage directions, which is how it was in the original. But the biggest differences in the original, I would read the stage directions and then do my interpretation of what’s going on. Now, with newer technology, we don’t get paper storyboards anymore, we actually get to see the animation in its preliminary form. So, it’s been fun to sort of trace picture that way. I do get to improv a little more than something that’s already been written, but I have to hit certain spots like “this is where he hits Angelica” or “this is where steals Tommy’s food” or whatever it is. As long as I’m hitting those beats, it’s sort of those moments in between are up to me and [Charlie Adler] and we have a lot of fun just playing around with that with different elements. We just have a good time.
THH: I’m sure you’ve seen how some other shows like “Arthur” have ended with everyone growing up. Do you think we’ll get to see your characters and the rest of the Rugrats grown up in this series like in “All Grown Up!?”?
DAILY: We’re just so excited about the “now” and I think what was so beautiful about Rugrats initially was through the eyes of the babies and that whole thing. And with the CGI and blowing up their perspectives of things and just making the adventure so much more incredible. I think, right now, we’re just here. We just want to be right here with the babies in the original form and then we’ll see what comes in the future.
Rugrats‘ second season heads to Paramount+ on April 14. You can check out what’s happening this season here.