When Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants novels were brought to the big screen in 2017, the fourth-grade duo of George and Harry were excellently voiced by comedy stars Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch, respectively. But when the show made the jump to Netflix for The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants TV show, which is now streaming, the producers switched things up by casting the actual child actors Ramone Hamilton and Jay Gragnani for the roles. When I spoke with show developer and executive producer Peter Hastings (Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain) about the casting choice, here's what he told me.
All it takes is one episode to understand exactly what he means, since Ramone Hamilton (Summer Camp Island) and Jay Gragnani (Bubble Guppies) are really stellar as George and Harold in The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants. And it's almost entirely because they actually sound like kids, which makes it that much easier to just lose oneself in the completely zany stories that are being told.
That may seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but remember that child actors aren't used all that often in animated TV shows. And while I don't have documented proof, I'm willing to believe it's because most children don't have the combination of timing and jubilance that Hamilton and Gragnani embody.
The transition from film to TV can sometimes take a big hit on a cast ensemble, since bigger celebs aren't usually able to commit to series, but that's not at all the case here. The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants doesn't feature a ton of other child actors, perhaps unfortunately, but it does boast a major former child actor in The Goonies (and Stranger Things) vet Sean Astin, who plays the show's omniscient and playful narrator. And Peter Hastings said Astin was a treat to work with as well.
Outside of those roles, The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants boasts a lot of voice work from different actors that kids and adults will definitely be familiar with. From Nat Faxon to Tress MacNeille to Stephen Root to Laraine Newman to Mindy Sterling to David Koechner and beyond, the voices are only part of the fun with this show, so be sure to find the time to watch, even if your kids aren't around.
All 13 episodes of The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants Season 1 are currently available to stream on Netflix (opens in new tab) right now. To see what other shows will be on the way soon, head to our 2018 Netflix schedule and our summer premiere schedule.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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