The original “Annoying Orange” video debuted on YouTube in late 2009 and instantly became a runaway viral sensation. Unlike most runaway viral sensations, though, “Orange” has actually managed to maintain its popularity — the series recently hit the YouTube milestone of 1 billion collective views. Check out an exclusive clip from the upcoming celebration video, in which the titular talkative fruit gets his very own Charlie Sheen-esque roast.
We talked to “Orange” creator Dane Boedigheimer — who also provides the voice of Orange — about the series’ success, and also got a little information about the upcoming Cartoon Network series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations on hitting the billion-page view mark. How does it feel to see Orange achieve that level of popularity?
DANE BOEDIGHEIMER: It’s pretty crazy. It’s a number that you can’t even fathom.
There are a lot of YouTube phenomena that come and go pretty quickly. After more than two years, what do you think is the secret of Orange’s success?
It’s a few things. You have to be consistent to be successful on YouTube. Stick to a schedule. The audience expects it of you. We’ve been releasing an episode almost every single Friday for two years. And we stay true to that original formula, but we try to mix it up and make it kind of fresh and new every time. And then being engaged with the audience. We do contests with the audience, to win prizes, or actually be in episodes.
Looking at the first video and the most recent one, it’s interesting to compare the animation style. Has your method of putting the videos together changed very much?
At its core, it’s still the same. I have a couple more guys helping me out creating the episodes, so we got a workflow going. But it’s the same animation process.
How was that first video made?
It’s literally just sitting down in front of a camera, filming my mouth, doing all the lines, and then using a special effects program, cutting out the mouth and then compositing it on top of the fruit. It’s a process that actually isn’t as hard as you think it would be. But it comes out to a fun — yet slightly creepy — effect.
You’ve had John Leguizamo as a jumping bean and James Caan as a jalepeno with an Antonio Banderas accent. Any other celebrities you’d envision in your wildest dreams?
I’ve always said I wanted Nathan Fillion to be in an episode, because I’m a huge Firefly fan. I’ve always wanted to do a Firefly spoof or something of that sort.
What kind of fruit would Nathan Fillion play?
I don’t know what the exact fruit would be, but he’d obviously have to wear a brown coat.
Who would Russell Crowe play on the show? An imposing pumpkin?
I’d love to get Katy Perry on and have her be a pear. Like “Katy Pear-y.” Or Halle “Berry.” That one’s pretty easy. I love the idea of having celebrities on and then playing with their name a little bit.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter or son is named Apple.
The Orange TV series is slated for later this year, correct? Can you talk a bit about it?
Most of the episodes on the web show take place in the kitchen. They’re two or three minutes, so you don’t really get a chance to dive into the characters themselves. With the TV show, we’re fleshing out their world. They’re not stationed in the kitchen. They’re actually gonna live on a fruitcart that can travel in time and space to anywhere. So every episode could be someplace different. One episode they could be on a spaceship. Or the fruitcart could be a spaceship. Or they could be in prehistoric times.
Are there any animated series that were inspirational for you, either for the web series or the TV show?
I grew up watching Looney Tunes. And Animaniacs, I loved that cartoon. I came to the realization one day that people really love watching other people get annoyed. You see that with a lot of the old cartoons.
Like any cartoon with Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny.
Annoying Orange is very much an extension of that idea.
Do you ever worry about making Orange too annoying?
Orange doesn’t realize that he’s annoying. All he’s trying to do is have fun. That’s kind of what his mission is in life. A lot of his fun, or what he perceives as fun, is telling jokes that he thinks are hilarious. He doesn’t realize that he’s bugging the crap out of everyone he meets.
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