Luke Youngblood and Kimiko Glenn Talk Upcoming Animated Series Baby Shark's Big Show: 'So Iconic'
Baby Shark's Big Show premieres Friday on Nickelodeon at 12:30 p.m. ET/PT
Luke Youngblood has won the title of coolest uncle ever.
Starring alongside Kimiko Glenn in the upcoming Nick Jr. series Baby Shark's Big Show, the actor, 34, tells PEOPLE that his younger nieces and nephews are floored to see him be a part of the cultural touchstone.
"Everyone is just so shocked and amazed that we get to be a part of the phenomenon," he says.
After the "Baby Shark" song went viral in 2015, Nickelodeon teamed up with SmartStudy — the global entertainment company that owns Pinkfong, the original creators of the song — for a 2D animated series.
In Nickelodeon's spin on the iconic shark tale, Glenn plays the titular character Baby Shark — a sweet, bubbly young shark who sometimes bites off a bit more than he can chew. Youngblood plays Baby's best pal William, a quick-witted pilot fish who can be quite the jokester.
Glenn and Youngblood spoke with PEOPLE about how they felt taking the reins on the iconic piece of pop culture.
"[I love] being a part of something that is already loved by so many people around the world, and just being able to build on the expansive universe," says Youngblood, who is no stranger to famous franchises having appeared in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Glenn adds, "It's so iconic and I think when I auditioned I just really felt a connection to Baby."
However, the show didn't come without its challenges. Baby Shark's Big Show was in production largely during the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that the actors couldn't go into a studio to record most of their voiceovers.
Instead, they had to set up their own equipment for each session and, of course, weather a few technical difficulties before getting the hang of it.
"It was a bit of a learning curve figuring out the equipment ... we've now gotten a rhythm about it," Glenn says. "It was a little scary at first, but otherwise so much fun."
"And [you need] fast internet!" Youngblood chimes in with a laugh. "But being able to roll out of bed and be in the studio sometimes in your pajamas is actually a really nice treat."
Both Glenn and Youngblood have a background in theater, which they say immensely helped when it came to both problem solving and also embodying these exuberant characters.
"I think that being on stage and expressing yourself that way, it's so vocal. I think it all just sort of lends itself to voiceover," Glenn says. "It's just so much fun and it feels so natural and easy in that way because I spent my whole life doing it."
The actors also express gratitude that, even in the midst of lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they could continue to create the show. And while production has now resumed for many film and television projects, Broadway and West End have remain shuttered for over a year.
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"I'm mostly grieving for my friends" whose livelihoods relied on live theater, Glenn says, reflecting on the shutdown. "I'm really hoping that things are able to open up soon so that they're able to experience that magic again, because it truly is magical."
Youngblood echoes her sentiment, but concludes that "we must live in a hope."
"It's an art form that has been around for thousands of years, so it's not going anywhere," he says. "It's just taking a break and we're going to get back on the horse. It might look a little bit different when it comes back, but change is good."
Baby Shark's Big Show premieres Friday on Nickelodeon at 12:30 p.m. ET/PT.
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