ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke with Kiff star Kimiko Glenn about the upcoming Disney animated series. The actress spoke about playing an energetic character and taking part in huge franchises. Kiff premieres this Friday, March 10, on Disney Channel and Disney XD at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT, and on Disney+ shortly after.
Kiff “follows the adventures of best friends Kiff and Barry, an optimistic squirrel and a mellow bunny,” says the synopsis.
Spencer Legacy: To start on Kiff, you know, what really drew you to the series when you first read about it?
Kimiko Glenn: Honestly, I loved the script. I thought it was just so funny. It’s just so witty and so quick and just I think like me and H. [Michael Croner] … we both infuse our own personalities into it, but also, the script is just funny, like flat-out. So I really love that aspect of it, but also, I was sent a little illustration as well and that always helps to get an idea of what the show is going to feel like and what the character is going to look like and feel like. I just love the world that they created and it brought me back to my childhood and the types of cartoons that I used to watch as a kid. And so anytime I feel that, it’s a definite plus.
Kiff is a really energetic character. How do you keep that energy up when you’re recording lines?
You know … I guess coffee. She is energetic. I don’t know, I pull it out of my butt. I think I just have a load of fun doing it. I think the fact that I’m passionate about the project and the fact that I know that the scenes are hilarious and I have so much fun just trying to make it as funny as possible — that helps too. When you really believe in a project, it just makes it so much easier to find it within yourself.
You have a theater background and there are a lot of musical numbers in Kiff. What was performing those like?
Super fun! I love doing animation because I get to use my voice in that way. Often if there’s a musical aspect, I feel really excited about the project because I do TV, I do film, and as much as I love to do a musical series somehow or movie, it’s harder to come across — it’s harder to come by. So this really just tickles that musical part of my brain. Then I get to use that when I’m not on stage. So it’s fun.
The show is really funny and it, it parodies and homages different things. Did you have a particular episode or joke that really stuck in your mind even after recording as a favorite?
I mean, all of them are so funny. Just the concept of a fifth bath is just … where did they get that from? [Laugh]. Did they experience — I know like it’s based off of their experiences in South Africa, but was that something they experienced? [Laugh]. It’s just so funny and outlandish and yeah, that one obviously stands out to me because that’s one of the first ones people are going to see. But there are plenty of others kind of in that vein.
You’ve worked a lot with Disney before and you had an especially big role on DuckTales. How different was voicing Kiff from voicing Lena?
Well, you know, Kiff is really pure. She’s really earnest but energetic, you know? She has a strong backbone. She’s like very passionate. She’s so adventurous — she’s down for anything. And then with Lena, she’s definitely older. She was fighting good versus evil the whole time. She grew up in this darker setting and then became friends with someone who has that purity. And um, so I think there was a constant rub there and a maturity to her that is absolutely different. Also, I don’t think I sang on DuckTales.
You’ve done a lot of on-camera roles and voice roles. Do you find the two mediums really different to perform in and do you have a preference?
Yeah, they’re definitely different, and it’s hard to say preference because I think every one of them is an expression of some sort and expresses a certain aspect of myself. One thing that I just really appreciate about voiceover is that it doesn’t rely on your looks or your physical appearance or what you’re wearing or who you’re wearing. It’s very based off of what you have to offer and your energy and it’s very expressive vocally, which is my number one thing. So I find it really enjoyable in that way because you can be so massive with your choices on animation, and with TV or film, it sort of has to be justified in a way. But I think with cartoons and animation, you can justify it with the animation, you know? There’s a lot of justification — it’s already a wild thing, to be watching a drawn show, so I I love that distinction.
Another huge role of yours is Baby Shark — everybody either has a kid or knows someone with a kid who knows Baby Shark. Was it intimidating to accept such a globally huge role and what has that been like?
I didn’t think about it until I had to do press for it and then the enormity of it kind of set in and I was like, “Oh yeah, this is like a big thing.” Oddly, when I auditioned for it, it was the most natural fit — which is funny since it’s a baby shark — but there’s something about the spirit of Baby Shark that really came natural to me and was not at all a stretch and I didn’t play around with too much crazy voices or anything. I just sort of felt like it fit my voice. It was an interesting process.
Another series that you had a role in was Star Wars: Visions, which was such a nice celebration of the franchise and its themes. It had people like Neil Patrick Harris, Simu Liu, David Harbour, and James Hong. What was it like to be such a part of such a huge project with so many icons?
It was pretty wild. What was really cool about that process was being able to see … because I was the American dub, so being able to see what it was. For me, as a kid growing up watching Japanese animation, I would always prefer the Japanese animation over the American dub because it had an expression. There was something about the way Japanese people speak — their tonality, the culture of animation somehow. It’s so different than how we, as Americans, express ourselves. So I wanted to do right by it. I wanted to do it justice and obviously, it’s such a wildly big franchise. It’s always just a total honor to be doing and they were all so welcoming. It was such a great experience.
Another big role is Peni Parker in the first Spider-Verse. What was it like to voice a Spider-Person?
It’s so funny. When I auditioned, they’re lock and key about everything. Marvel doesn’t provide you with much information until you’re doing it. Even when I was doing it, I never read a script. But I didn’t totally know what the character was when I auditioned. So I had some dummy sides, I read it, and then on my first day, they showed me like the animatic sequences and some of the illustrations and their concepts for Peni Parker. It really brought the entire vision to light. I had so much fun with them because it was like flying by the seat of your pants. I didn’t have any script to go off of. I would just show up and they would give me some pages and they would play. The end product was just insanely cool.
One thing about Spider-Verse is there are so many Spider-People in it. Peni is only on screen for probably five minutes total, but there are cosplays, there’s merchandise, there’s all these huge fans. What has that meant to you to see that despite the shorter appearance?
I think it’s wonderful. Spider-Man’s one of my favorite action heroes of all time. Of any of those big superhero movies, that’s the franchise I look at. So I feel like really cool to say I’ve been a part of it and also, I can’t believe that anyone even noticed that I was in it, you know? [Laugh]. Anytime I’m in anything, there’s a bit of an imposter complex or syndrome or whatever where I’m like, “Oh, you even noticed me? I can’t believe you noticed me.” So I’m just so thrilled that I got to be. I can’t even believe my life sometimes.
Close Enough is such a fun series, and you played Bridgette in it. What was it like to be part of a J.G. Quintel cartoon?
It was so freaking fun. I love Bridgette so much. She was just the funniest character to me. J.G. Is great. That whole creative team is just so smart. Seeing the show actually come out … we actually worked for years prior to it coming out. I mean, animation is slow typically, but I think we were working on it for maybe four years or something wild prior to it. It switched a few networks or something. So Danielle Brooks and I also got to work together a little bit on that as well because she played a part on that too. That was really fun. The whole experience was … I was so proud of it.