Et voici enfin la conclusion de cette looooooongue interview que nous ont accordée Sophie Decroisette et Jérôme Mouscadet. Merci encore à eux.
ATTENTION : Cette vidéo traite des quatre saisons de la série et contient donc des spoilers !
English version :
Q51: To Jérôme Mouscadet: Did you have a say in voice acting?
JM: I have been saying things everywhere; I have been doing a lot of lists (laughs)! But yes, I was present at every recording session. As for any series, there was a set director who recruited the voice actors or at least introduced voice actors to the producers, to the channel; that’s it for the casting. Then, he was the one who organized the schedule for the actors and planned the recording sessions. This is the set director’s job. Also, the set director, who is often an actor himself, gives instructions that I am not able to give myself, looking for specific nuances... This adds value to the production. But I was present to give my approbation. What I have been doing much, is approving or disapproving. This was my job. For instance, I would be saying “here, the character is supposed to be shouting, otherwise this won’t be believable, it is not loud enough” or “I would have preferred him to be speaking to himself, in a whisper” [excerpts from episode 59]
Q52: Did the actors improvise much?
JM: Not much. For two reasons. First, the writing and storyboarding were very precise, and we are working with “control voices”. An actor or an actress records the script, and we use this track for the “animatique”, that is the filmed storyboard. Based on this “animatique”, I would often tell Sophie that it lacked one dialogue, because it wasn’t clear enough or there was an action without reaction or something, and then Sophie would write additional lines of dialogue that I would record myself in the editing room. This results in a set of data that is super-precise… But this is true for this specific series. This is an “industry of prototypes”. Every production has its specificities, but for this series, and for series that we are used to make, the writing is very precise and there was very low flexibility for the voice acting.
SD: However, voice actors can tell us that they don’t manage to say a line properly and they want to rephrase. This happens for somewhat complicated dialogues. But they are not adding jokes in a freestyle fashion. I have been head writer for a series titled Lulu Vroumette, and the actress had such a voice and mastered the character so much that, sometimes, she was modulating or adding specific tones… But actors are not adding lines of dialogues!
Q53: And now, some fanboy questions about the series’ content
Q53-1: In the season 1 episode “Satellite”, the logo on the satellite website is the same as the one on the Carthage Project file.
JM: Good one.
Al.: Well, the background is not the same, but there is some sort of eagle…
JM: Yeah, the eagle. Unfortunately, I think this is logo recycling. Is it the same logo? Unfortunately not. But congratulations, this is a good catch!
SD: This actually creates a problem; this means that all the governmental schemes also manage the satellite.
JM: Well anyway, this can be an international space agency.
Al.: Maybe this was the reason why Xana knew right away how to contact the satellite.
SD: Yeah, that’s it!
JM: That’s it! (laughs)
SD (to JM): However it’s strange that you reused it.
JM: I bet it’s Paul [who is responsible for this].
Q53-2: In False Start (episode 26), Mrs Meyer is not the one giving the math course. The power plant engineer is (episode 2: Seeing Is Believing). Why?
(Excerpts from the episodes)
SD: It must be deliberate; it must be supporting character recycling.
JM: Either it’s supporting character recycling or it really makes sense in context. Is the course specific?
Al.: No, he just asks the definition of relatively prime numbers. And the images themselves were not recycled from the other episode where he appeared.
SD: In my opinion…
JM: This might be a mistake. But it’s strange. Because this is the kind of thing that we just don’t do. When you are making a storyboard, when you are ready to send everything to the studio to make it, you do a breakdown shot by shot in which you tell which character is present in which shot. This must be a mistake, but I am surprised that I did this mistake. This is really the kind of thing we don’t do.
Al.: I thought the engineer came to give this course to put butter in his spinach [French idiom for “increase his income by doing extra work which is not completely related to his main professional activity”]
SD: Is this the engineer who gives a course on the power plant in an episode?
Al.: Well, the episode begins at the middle of the course and it looks like the engineer was invited to talk about his work at the plant.
SD: Yes, that’s it.
JM: It’s as simple as that.
Al.: No but this was Mrs Hertz’s course. Here [in the math course], he was asking the definition of relatively prime numbers.
JM: Ah, okay, this was Mrs Hertz’s course.
Al.: Whereas here, he is alone in the classroom. Mrs Meyer is absent.
SD: Anyways, I don’t know whether you paid attention to every math course but normally, everything is consistent. And this is deliberate (laughs).
Q53-3: Another question: (excerpt from episode 11, Plagued, mentioning the fact that the Science building is the only one not to be connected to the sewers). How come the Science building (with all the sinks) is not connected to the sewers?
SD: Maybe Jim is just saying that there is no manhole cover for the rats to come inside, but to tell the truth, I don’t know (laughs). I can’t remember well. It has to be connected with pipes, but not necessarily with something the rats can pass through. Maybe this dialogue means just that.
Al.: Well, everybody knows Jim sometimes speaks in a somewhat confused manner.
SD: Yeah, let’s just say that (laughs).
Q53-4: There is Aurebesh (Star Wars alphabet) on season 1 title screens and on Jérémie’s screens!
JM: Indeed! This is an homage my graphic designer put in. The intention was just to make a small “personal dedication”.
SD: Actually, there are a lot of little things like this [in the series].
Q53-5: Why did you drop Odd’s anticipation ability?
SD and JM: It bored us.
SD: It didn’t work. It was laborious to manage. It was long to set up… It didn’t work. But you see, the “plot” answer to this was that, in one episode, he says “I’m fed up, I’ve got no power, this sucks”… And, inadvertently, it allowed us to make an episode where Odd complains that he has no power and that it’s unfair. Actually, the writing works this way: we can see what works and what doesn’t work as the series progresses. Like Jim’s joke: we saw that it worked very well, so we kept using it, but this [the anticipation ability] was very long to set up and very laborious, actually.
JM: This is the strength of a series: the total duration of the show is so huge that it allows us to see the characters live, to see whether things work or don’t work and so on… Examples like this are very frequent: in The Sopranos, there are things that were introduced but never mentioned again in later seasons because it didn’t work so well. It happens.
SD: Here, to have a character that knows what is going to happen is really a pain to manage. It’s very complicated, because it ruins the surprise.
Al.: In “Cruel Dilemma” where Yumi falls into the digital sea, it works just fine. He knows in advance that this is going to happen and it influences the action. And it contributes to the fact that she indeed falls.
SD: Yes, but we couldn’t pull this off every time. This would be hell, if every episode had to go like “he anticipates something and it has to be prevented” or “in the end it doesn’t happen because stuff” and so on… Very complicated.
Q53-6: When someone falls into the digital sea, most of the time, it’s Yumi! Why is that?
JM: I don’t know. This is not for image recycling purposes anyway…
SD: Yumi is very prone to self sacrifice so… I don’t know.
JM: This could also have been schedule-related. The three others are in the same class. She wasn’t. So this can be due to how the stories were pieced together in relation to this.
SD: Anyway, we didn’t do it because we wanted to reuse images from previous episodes… Maybe I simply wanted to get rid of her (laughs).
Q53-7: How do the heroes know that the return to the past does not bring the dead back to life?
(Excerpt from episode 26 on the matter)
JM: First off, they don’t want to try it.
SD: This was treated as a fact, but we should have nuanced it. We should have said that Jérémie suspects that it can’t bring the dead back to life.
JM: We should have tested it, but unfortunately you can’t do that in a series like this.
SD: As you may have understood, the return to the past has been explained gradually as the seasons progressed. We added rules to it, but indeed, ideally, when Jérémie made the announcement, he should have said “I have analyzed the whole return to the past procedure and bringing the dead back to life is out of the question”. But actually, we gradually came up with new rules so that things continued being justified properly.
JM: If we did a movie, we could actually explore this theme. That would be great. Resurrection.
Al.: This rule is already established in Teddygozilla, that if there is an incident, it “can’t be repaired”.
SD: Anyway, this is not totally inconsistent. Logically, you can imagine that bringing a dead person back to life might not be an option. They prefer not to try it.
JM: However, if we were in the 70s, we would have done an episode where someone dies. For instance, there is a Goldorak episode where a little girl dies.
SD: But now, it’s not possible to do this.
JM: It’s not possible. This is a constraint. Although the Goldorak episode is magnificent and very moving, you can’t do this anymore nowadays. In Japanese animation you can still do it. But Japanese animation is organized in a completely different fashion. The producer makes his cartoon/animated series. The channel orders it but it’s only after it is sent to the channel that the channel decides at what hour it will be aired, according to the chosen target audience. For us, it’s different. We have only one target, which is 4 to 12 years old, roughly.
Q53-8: None of the supporting characters seems surprised by Aelita’s hair color. Is she really pink-haired? Or is it a specific tone of red hair colorized as if it were pink?
SD and JM: She really has pink hair.
SD: This is linked to series graphic creator who had pink hair.
JM: Tania Palumbo.
SD: In animation, it’s not disturbing.
Al.: Yeah, it goes smoothly, but it’s surprising that almost no character makes any remark about this.
SD: It’s true that this is something that everybody accepts, like Odd’s “upwards” hairstyle. Actually my son found it really weird that Odd’s hair could remain in this upwards position like this.
Al.: This was actually explained in the prequel.
SD: Indeed, this was one of the things we wanted to explain, and it was fun to have an opportunity to explain why he had such a hairstyle.
Al.: Anyway I think William’s mother has green hair.
SD and JM: Yes (laughs).
Q53-9: In season 1 episode “Rock Bottom?”, there is this dialogue [where Aelita explains that Lyoko constantly changes its access points on the network], which makes sense with regard to what the network is in season 4. Coincidence?
JM: No it isn’t. We already had the network in mind. But was it in the digital sea as soon as season 1? I already had it in mind.
SD: But we introduced it later…
JM: Yes, but Lyoko was already in the network.
SD: Yes, perhaps.
JM: Lyoko was already in the network. We had already come up with the idea that Lyoko was an entity inside the network. So, yes, it changed its access points on the network.
Q53-10: Was sector five inspired by Ixo (in Yoko Tsuno)?
JM: No, we did not draw inspiration from this. How did sector five come about, again? We created it in order to go to the center of Lyoko. Right from the first drawings by Eric, there were four sectors rotating on the holomap, and we decided that the central sector could only be spherical. So its graphical design came out really similar… We have maps of sector five…
SD: Anyway, the organization of sector five was decided progressively, like all the rest. We thought of the place where the core should be and so on… We were authorized to create this fifth sector for season 2.
Al.: For the spherical part, okay, but the fact that it’s blue and it has this texture…
JM: This is the outcome of a discussion we had with Eric.
Q53-11: In “Common Interest” (season 2)… (Excerpt from the episode where the characters discuss the various crimes public enemy n°1 has committed, which essentially establish him as a thief). Would public enemy n°1 be a thief rather than a murderer?
SD: Yeah, this must have something to do with censorship. But anyway, what we basically needed was someone able to steal something. So, yeah, really, he’s no Al Capone.
JM: He’s not a major terrorist.
Al.: Did Xana choose him because of his abilities?
JM: Absolutely. Because he’s a good burglar.
Al.: So people controlled by Xana retain some of their…
SD: Abilities? Yes.
Al.: So they are not completely alienated…
Q53-12: The core of Lyoko (“heart” in French because core and heart are the same word, which is “Coeur”) is accessible through a valve, reminiscent of that of a biological heart. Did you come up with this concept to echo Xana’s pulsations in season 1? (Excerpt mentioning these pulsations)
SD and JM: Yes, these two things are linked, indeed.
Q53-13: For the submarine, why did you choose “Skidbladnir” instead of something more classical like “nautilus” [very common in French anyway]?
SD: I’m the one responsible for this (laughs). First off, it’s not a submarine.
Al.: Well, the Viking ship was not a submarine.
SD: Yes. That is because we drew much inspiration from Norse mythologies. And… I can’t remember. I probably did a research and found the name. We needed a name; I thought this one sounded good.
JM: It was also good to be able to derive a nickname from it. Here, “Skid” was nice.
SD: And yeah, basically, it was because of the Norse mythology aspect. Also, everything it represented sounded appropriate to us.
JM: There was also the “Garage Skid” thing. [In French, the Skid hangar is called the “Garage Skid”, which is a reference to “Garage Kids”]
SD: Often, we come up with lists like this, I make suggestions, and he probably approved this one.
JM and SD: And of course it was linked to the book they find in the Hermitage.
JM: This also gave graphical indications. If you have a boat name that is associated with an existing image, the graphic designer can use it as a basis. To make sense out of things.
Q53-14: You also created Anthea Hopper, Aelita’s mother. Why such a strange name for a character that is irrelevant to the plot?
SD: I can tell you where the name comes from. It’s from Tootsie. It’s a movie with Dustin Hoffman, which I like very much, and there is a character named Anthea in it. This is where the name comes from.
JM: Sydney Pollack directed the movie.
Q53-15: Speaking of Aelita’s family… (Excerpt from episode 90, “Wrong Exposure”, where Aelita explains that Delmas doesn’t know her because she was studying at home). Why wasn’t Aelita a student in Kadic when her father taught there?
SD: The reason is backstory-related. This was when they were hiding and they didn’t want to be spotted by the men in black. So she didn’t go to school.
Al.: But himself was a teacher there.
SD: Yes, but we established that he had changed his name and even his physical appearance, actually… Isn’t it?
JM: Yes it is.
SD: So the idea was that he educated her himself at home. All of this is backstory-related, actually. The men in black, and so on…
Q53-16: Kadic is quite strange for a middle school/high school. They have access to amazing resources for physics and chemistry courses; they organize robot competitions… Is this really a mainstream school?
SD (laughs): You think this is some sort of experimental school?
JM: No, this is a mainstream school, really.
Pykar: We had a newspaper in my middle school.
Al.: But a robot competition!
JM: Why not?
Al.: With not one, but two students able to build robots…
JM: True. But we did not think of it as a school for gifted student if that’s what you mean. The idea was that it was a mainstream school.
SD: Though with wacky teachers. But we wanted it to look like every other school.
Q53-17: One last question. The Xanafied scientists from episode 78 (Lab Rats) are absent in episode 79 (Arachnophobia). Did Xana kill them? Or were they polymorphic specters all along?
JM: These were Xanafied people.
SD: Yes, I think. I think the idea was that they had been eliminated.
JM: They have been eliminated.
SD: Yes. This is not specified, but yes.
JM: The point was to let Xana be a true villain, and this is difficult when you can’t show anything.
SD: The idea was that he had taken control of the base with all the scientists inside…
JM: And got rid of them.
Al.: We could assume that he would rather take control of abandoned bases in order to avoid being spotted right away.
JM: True, but he also needed functional installations. So…
Many thanks to Sophie Decroisette and Jérôme Mouscadet for having kindly accepted to answer our questions!
Code Lyoko is the intellectual property of Moonscoop.
Questions: Tchoucky, Pykar and al.
Material and methods: al.
Image and sound: Pykar
Interview editing: Tchoucky, Pykar and al.
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