Mobile-first entertainment company, Seriously, has just released The Immortal Cockroach, the seventh original animated short within their Best Fiends franchise. The short features an all-star cast led by Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Zootopia), who returns as the main character, Lapoleon, Pamela Adlon (Better Things, Californication) and David Herman (Office Space). The feature film quality short was directed by Augusto Schillaci and produced by Golden Globe-nominated Reel FX Animation Studios, which is best known for its work on Ice Age and Despicable Me.
In 2017, Seriously launched two animated shorts with Reel FX, Boot Camp and Visit Minutia, that brought the Best Fiends world to audiences online. Since then, the six Best Fiends shorts have garnered more than 30 million combined views and helped grow the Best Fiends YouTube channel to more than 770,000 subscribers.
Production on The Immortal Cockroach was split between Reel FX’s Dallas and Montreal facilities. “The story and editorial teams were based at the Reel FX studio in Dallas, as was I,” Schillaci notes. “The remainder of the production – modeling, animation, lighting, etc. – was handled in Reel FX’s Montreal facility. All told, there were around 50 people on the team.”
The short introduces a new character named Lapoleon, a cockroach who hails from the Green Glades. He’s the local French aristocrat Fiend. According to his bio, “Rugged roaches can withstand an atomic blast, and doesn’t Lapoleon know it! He’s waiting for the day when cockroaches inherit the world and he becomes Emperor of Everything.”
“For this most recent animated short, Seriously’s team wanted to explore introducing a new Fiend into the mix,” Schillaci shares. “Fan-favorite Lapoleon, the immortal cockroach, came to mind, specifically with him going about his day, not noticing that the Slugs are continually trying to kill him. Even if you don’t regularly play Best Fiends, we all know you can’t kill a cockroach, which makes it a fun and familiar storyline.”
“I always wanted to do a short resembling the old school comedy movies or series, like Get Smart or Pink Panther, and pay homage to comedy masters like Peter Sellers and Don Adams,” he continues. “I also wanted to take a different approach to this short, with the music playing a very important role in the story. This ultimately landed with licensing the track La Vie En Rose.”
“As the story artist on this show, I really enjoy the process of working with the director and coming up the story flow, gags and all the character moments,” story artist Rod Douglas adds. “Getting to develop and show the audience what these characters are thinking and feeling, supported by the cinematography is the best.”
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-at-Large of Animation World Network.