J.J. Villard is one of the craziest animated series creators in the business. Producing wild, brutally twisted shows like King Star King has made quite a name for himself when it comes to shock value. Now, Villard is back to blow our minds with “J.J. Villard’s Fary Tales,” premiering on Adult Swim on Sunday, May 10th at 12:15 AM. Ahead of the premiere, I sat down with Villard to talk about his latest creation, his past hits, and what’s to come.
Horror Fuel: “So, I watched the premiere episode of J.J. Villard’s Farytails last night. It’s twisted. Don’t take that wrong, I enjoyed it, but it is brutal.”
J.J. Villard: “Yeah, it is [laughter]. Which one did you watch?”
Horror Fuel: “I watched the episode with Boy Repunzel.”
J.J. Villard: “Oh [laughter]. That one’s a trip.”
Horror Fuel: “Yes it is. Brutality and gore seem to be a common thread with your latest few series, like with Fairy Tales and King Star King – not that I’m complaining – but where does that darkness come from?”
J.J. Villard: “If you look at cartoon history, like Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, they are ultra-violent cartoons. It’s funny that if you look at the Jackass guys who are hurting themselves for laughs. It’s something me and my writers laugh at.”
Horror Fuel: “Personally, I’m a fan of a lot of dark shows, like Adult Swim’s Mr. Pickles.”
J.J. Villard: “I love Mr. Pickles.”
Horror Fuel: “Fairy Tales will go toe to toe with Mr. Pickles. What can fans expect from the first season of J.J. Villard’s Fairytales?”
J.J. Villard: “You’re going to see one of the most insane casts ever in animation history. All my favorite actors from the horror genre are in as actors. It’s going to be 100% unique. Also, just the look that the cartoon has, and the stories that it has are unique. We try to stay true to like a third of what the original fairytale is about and the other two-thirds are from our own head. We try to make a funny, entertaining cartoon.”
Horror Fuel: “When I started researching the show for this interview the cast was the first thing that struck me. I mean wow. There are some major names from epic horror movies like Linda Blair, Doug Bradley. I mean come on. The cast list is a horror fan’s wet dream.”
J.J. Villard: “Yeah, yeah, yeah! They were all really awesome to work with. I was so nervous about meeting everyone. The first person to come in was Linda Blair. I was so nervous about meeting her. I couldn’t even act professional. I was so worried about offending her or like in any way upsetting her. After meeting Linda Blair I went home and was like, ‘Fuck!’ We had Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) come in the next day and he was so nice. I was able to breathe. He gave a great performance. It was exactly what I needed for the cartoon.”
Horror Fuel: “Mrs. Blair is a sweetheart and Robert Englund, well, he’s Robert Fuckin’ Englund. So I don’t blame you. I’ve had what I call a “fangirl moment”. When I met Tom Savini for the first time I literally froze in my tracks with my mouth open as he walked by. He spoke and kind of giggled. I was so embarrassed.”
J.J. Villard: “When I met John Kassir who is the voice of the Crypt Keeper – I had never really seen him before – when he came in, I knew it was him. The Crypt Keeper is my favorite character of all time from a TV show. Talking to him, I was like a high school girl and he was a boy band.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, I get it. I think every fan will find at least one of their favorite horror icons on your cast list.
How many episodes will we get this season?”
J.J. Villard: “It’s six episodes this first season.”
Horror Fuel: “Awesome. Earlier you mentioned the classic fairy tales, I assume you mean the original Grimm’s version and not that watered-down, edited stuff we get from Disney.”
J.J. Villard: “Yeah. So with the first season, we’ve stuck with the Grimm’s Fairytales, but next, we want to cover some American folklore, fables, and Bible stories as well. And maybe even other country’s fairytales. A company in Korea does all of our animation and we’re talking to them. Korea has fucking scary fairy tales.”
Horror Fuel: “They do! It sounds like you have plenty of fuel for several seasons to come, which is a great thing.”
J.J. Villard: “Oh hell yeah. Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff.
Horror Fuel: “That moment in the premiere when you find out what Boy Repunzel eats, my god.”
J.J. Villard: “Oh, when you find out he eats blackheads?”
Horror Fuel: “Yes! I’ve got a strong stomach, but damn, that got me a bit. The series really is off the wall. You get creative. ”
J.J. Villard: “You have to be creative to get these kinds of ideas out of your head. I gotta say if someone is trapped in an attic or basement, what kind of dark shit is going to go down? We came up with a lot of ideas but that one was the one that had to be in there. We were on the floor laughing.”
Horror Fuel: “If you look at the definition of horror in Webster’s dictionary grotesque is mentioned and I think that scene qualifies.”
J.J. Villard: “Did you notice the subliminal messages in there?”
Horror Fuel: “So that’s what those brief flashes are? I thought it was a glitch.”
J.J. Villard: “There are little subliminal messages in there. They’re only one frame. It’s writing and it’s some drawings I threw in there. I’m telling the audience that if they can find every one of them, I will personally draw them a drawing.”
Horror Fuel: “Oh, that’s cool! Fairy Tales isn’t the only Adult Swim series you’ve done, is it? There was also King Star King, which is wild.”
J.J. Villard: “King Star King won Adult Swim their first Emmy Award for animation. That was a really fucked up show too.”
Horror Fuel: “Yes it is.”
J.J. Villard: “It’s pretty crazy. It was fun. It’s a really different style than Fairy Tales. But I also did a pilot for Trap Universe that never got picked up. But I really liked that as well.
I’ve worked on so much stuff. My first job was at Dream Works where I worked on stuff like Shrek 3, Shrek 4. I’ve worked on a variety of stuff. Doing stuff like for Adult Swim is more my style. It’s easier to do and there are a lot less restrictions than say over at Dream Works Studios. One of my first pitches there – I was very young, like 25 – was on Shrek 3 or 4. They said to put Pinocchio and Gingerbread in a very vulnerable position. I came up with a bunch of ideas. I brought them in the room and you could hear a pin drop at the end of the pitch. Then a producer came in my room alone and said, ‘Look, we do not do that type of shit here. You were lucky you were in a room of friends but next time you do that HR is going to get involved.” I was like, “I’m sorry. I had no idea. you asked me to put Pinocchio and Gingerbread into a vulnerable position.” And yeah, I got in trouble.”
Horror Fuel: “I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting. I like the Shrek franchise. I watch a lot of different types of animation.”
J.J. Villard”Yeah, they’re all great. I like them too.”
Horror Fuel: “I like adult animation though, especially when it’s dark and twisted, like your work, like King Star King and Fairy Tales.”
J.J. Villard: “At the time Superjail was doing really well, and I like that show. Fuck me, that show was so awesome and I thought I could do just as well as that. That was the bar I wanted to reach. I just went for it, so yeah.
With Fairy Tales, I storyboarded every episode and all the characters for every episode, directed and art directed and animation directed and helped compose. Adult Swim’s budgets are so low that as creators we have to wear a lot of hats.”
Horror Fuel: “It sounds like you were a very busy man. That’s a lot of work.”
J.J. Villard: “Oh hell yeah. When you’re in production, it’s sad how much you live at work and not at home. My poor wife, she went through that. But she understood it was for the greater good.”
Horror Fuel: “That had to be a lot of long days put in.
Have you ever considered doing a web series? There you would be free to go as dark as you want to go. Maybe continue King Star King?”
J.J. Villard: “Actually, there’s some talk right now about Adult Swim considering doing a King Star King special, like a forty-five-minute special of some sort. I’m open to that. I’ve also been thinking of a web series and wondering how audiences would respond to that.
Right now I’m on Instagram and doing a lot on that. But yeah, I am definitely considering a web series. But you’re kind of doing it for free basically and it’s a lot of work.”
Horror Fuel: “If there were no limits, what would be your dream project?”
J.J. Villard: “Well, right now, right after I finished Fairy tales, Netflix called me up to work with them. Right now I’m working with Netflix on a project that I’m really excited about, so we’ll see if that gets made. But season two of Fairy Tales would be fucking great. I’d love to do that again. Also, the thing with Netflix would be a dream.”
Horror Fuel: “Can you tell us anything about the Netflix project?”
J.J. Villard: “All I can say is that it has never been done before in animation history.”
Between Villard’s talent and wealth of experience, viewers are guaranteed to get a wild experience that will thrill even the biggest of gorehounds. Be sure to tune in for the premiere of “J.J. Villard’s Fary tales” on May 10th. To keep up to date on all of Villard’s projects follow him on Instagram. And watch out for his upcoming Netflix series!