NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider In The Know

In The Know Cast’s Hilarious Reactions To Seeing Their Characters For The First Time

In the Know co-creator Zach Woods and his cast discuss the singular experience of meeting their stop-motion puppets for the first time.

By Tara Bennett
Chase (Voiced by Charlie Bushnell), Sandy (Voiced by Mike Judge), Lauren Caspian (Voiced by Zach Woods), and Fabian (Voiced by Caitlin Reilly appear in Season 1 Episode 5 of In The Know

What's it like to see your stop-animation puppet alternate ego for the first time? The cast of Peacock's In The Know got to find out firsthand.

It's exactly a scenario many people will get to experience in life. However, co-creators Zach Woods (The Office) and Brandon Gardner's new adult animated Peacock comedy, In the Know, afforded them and their cast the unique opportunity to do just that. Woods and Gardner in particular got to see their kernel of a NPR satire idea bloom into scripts, puppet sketches and eventually a whole tiny, New York City based studio environment where these characters were brought painstakingly to life by ShadowMachine Studios. 

RELATED: In the Know Creator Zach Woods Explains How They Mixed Real World with Stop-Motion

Zach Woods reaction to seeing the In the Know puppets for the first time

Barb (Voiced by J. Smith Cameron) and Carl (Voiced by Carl Tart) appear in Season 1 Episode 5 of In The Know

Zach Woods told NBC Insider that, initially, they worked out character sketches for the In the Know ensemble with ShadowMachine artists.

"There were preliminary sketches from when we pitched the show," he explained. "But the dialing in of the characters was something that we did in close collaboration with everyone at ShadowMachine."

Woods said that animation director, Brian Hansen, then presented them a test created with Carl, the studio engineer, to see a character in motion.

"It was so beautiful," Woods recalled. "And we realized, even from the first test, that we had these scenes written where people are kind of mean to Carl. When we saw the vulnerability of the puppet and the softness of him, we were like, 'Oh sh--, we've got to cut that because people are never gonna forgive being too mean to Carl.' So we revised based on the animation."

RELATED: Where to Watch In the Know, Peacock's New Adult Animated Series

Next, Woods said they were presented a scene between Barb and Carl by animator Malcolm Lamont.

"He's this British guy, very intelligent and sort of wry," Woods explained. "He was animating this thing with Barb and Carl in one of their tender little exchanges. And it was so interesting to see how he animated them because you could see some of his shyness, some of his furtiveness, some of even his own body movements. They taught me about Malcolm's softness, and he taught me about how the [puppets] come alive. It's this weird, witchy, reciprocal thing that happens."

What did the In The Know cast think of their animated character models?

Lauren Caspian (Voiced by Zach Woods), and Barb (Voiced by J. Smith Cameron) appear in Season 1 Episode 5 of In The Know

During voice recordings, the actors in the cast had their own individual introductions, and reactions, to their puppet selves. New to the character voicing world, actress J. Smith-Cameron said that she was hugely surprised to see the physical incarnation of her character, Barb.

"Without realizing it, I had envisioned Barb as looking a very specific way," she admitted. "I didn't even realize that. You know how you do that without knowing it sometimes? I had thought she'd be sort of like roly-poly and dimpled. Yet she's quite trim; a serious shoes kind of woman with a conservative little haircut. And that was all a surprise to me, but I like it."

Comedian Carl Tart said he saw puppet Carl for the first time way after he had voiced almost all of the episodes.

"We had pretty much already done all the work when I saw him," he said. "But I was like, 'This is cool.' Then it came in pieces. They would have a video where it would just be him [against] a green screen walking so you can see how he walked. It was insane to see, honestly."

For testy Fabian, comedian Caitlin Reilly said she saw a virtual animation of the cast on the second day of production.

"I was completely shocked what Fabian looks like, because I had something totally different my head," she revealed. "At first, I was like, 'Oh, no, I've been doing it wrong this whole time.' And Zach and Brandon were like, "No, that's not true." And I was like, 'Should I go back?' And they're like, "Stop. Don't do that." But it's definitely influenced my performance more, or I guess confirmed things I was already doing where I was like, 'OK, this fits the vibe. Let's go this way.'"

The only actor on show who was truly shocked for another reason was actor Charlie Bushnell who plays Frat-bro intern, Chase.

"We've been laughing all day about the fact that everyone's character seems to look quite different from the actor. But then when I saw Chase for the first time, he's weirdly looked just like me," Bushnell laughed. "I feel like I'm just watching myself on screen. I don't know if that was the original plan for Chase all along, like he was inspired after me somehow? I have to go back and ask Zack and Brandon about that."

All six episodes of In The Know are exclusively available now on Peacock