‘Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life’ Introduces a New Generation to the Iconic Duo
Chip and Dale have come a long way since their wartime debut almost 80 years ago. Now, they’re living it up in a big park in the big city, getting into all kinds of shenanigans in Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life.
TV Insider caught up with the show’s director, Jean Cayrol, to discuss how Chip and Dale have been brought into the 21st century and the creation of his new chipmunk language.
For you, what makes Chip and Dale such a timeless comic duo?
Jean Cayrol: I think what makes them stick with us after all these years is that Chip ‘n Dale have flaws. I think that all the great Disney characters have flaws. Chip ‘n Dale, they can be chill, they can have secrets, they can be anxious. They can be lazy or scared or arguing about who’s going to get the last acorn in the cupboard. But that makes them really relatable characters for the audience. Seeing flows in them, people will go, “I think I’m Chip” or “I think I’m Dale” or “I think I’m both.” And I really think that’s why we all love them.
What was most important to you in introducing Chip and Dale to a new generation of Disney fans?
That show is based on the version of the animated short from the 40s and 50s, so we wanted to base the relationship on that, but also, we wanted to root the show into the 21st century and have this very modern feel, so that’s why they are now living in a treehouse in the middle of a park in the middle of a modern gigantic city. I think that’s what they needed to be rooted in nowadays and make them even more relatable.
What other familiar faces will we be seeing?
We’ve got Pluto, who is great! I love Pluto and very early on we wanted to have him on the show, on a few episodes. He’s such a great character. The dynamic he creates with Chip ‘n Dale is amazing; it works every time. And we also have Clarice. Clarice used to be Chip ‘n Dale’s love interest in the 40s. She had a small pinup dress and a flower in her hair. Our Clarice for Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life is really different. She’s not the love interest anymore. She is a strong independent bad*ss female chipmunk living in the park with them. Basically, she is the ultimate chipmunk. She is everything they are never able to be or achieve.
Something unique about this series is that there is little to no actual dialogue. What was it like directing the voice actors without dialogue?
It’s a nonverbal show, but is it really? They speak, they have a language. They speak chipmunk and it’s a huge part of the characters. Everyone knows that so we asked ourselves that question: “OK, it’s nonverbal, but how do we do that?” So I had a long talk with the voice actors and we decided to create a chipmunk language just for the show. And the amazing voice actor I worked with did that and in order to achieve that, we actually wrote some real dialogue. So we had real scripts with real dialogue and I made them act the dialogue, and then I would say to them, “OK, now do exactly the same with the same intention, same energy, same delivery, but just speak chipmunk!” Yes, that’s my job! So at first, it was kind of tricky, but very quickly, they came up with that amazing real chipmunk language. And by the end of the show, they were fluent in chipmunk.
Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life, Season 1 Premiere, Wednesday, July 28th Disney+