Coming on the heels of their pitch at Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, Norway’s Den Siste Skilling and Germany’s Knudsen Pictures have shared with Variety a first-look at their upcoming project “Cocobanana.”
Created by screenwriter Rolf-Magne Golten Andersen (“Headhunters”) and directed Markus and Tommy Vad Flaaten (“Space Chickens in Space”), the comedic children’s series follows a school-age whizz-kid whose madcap inventions don’t always work out as they’re supposed to. While the produce-aisle handyman only wants to make life easier for his coconut dad, banana mom and baby sis, sometimes chaos — and his own imagination — gets the better of him.
“It’s a totally bananas show about the ability to make mistakes and yet recover from them,”Golten Andersen tells Variety. “Cocobanana’s motto is to fail fast and try again, and our goal is to make a show that will resonate with and entertain kids all around the world. [We want] to remind them that things do not have to be taken to so seriously, that it’s ok to fail. But the most important thing is to try again.”
The screenwriter first introduced his character as a bedtime story, spinning out zany situations where Cocobanana’s good intentions pave the path to mayhem. Success at home soon led to success across Norway, as Golten Andersen began sharing his tall tales as podcasts and audiobooks, and then as a popular series of children’s books with six volumes already published and another twelve to come.
As directors Markus and Tommy Vad Flaaten prepared the character for the screen, they worked with character designer Faustine Merle to give the figure a more streamlined look. “It’s always important that the characters be recognizable and easily drawn by kids,” says co-director Markus Vad Flaaten. “So that was in my mind [when I saw Faustine’s design.] I can definitely say that he’s fun to draw and fun to move.”
“We hope that by bringing the stories about Cocobanana to life through animation we can make even more kids laugh,” adds Golten Andersen. “Being twins and wacky, [Markus and Tommy] are basically animated characters themselves. Having them on board for the show we know they are going to bring the heart and comedy of Cocobanana to the screen.”