“Son of Zorn” is a new show that recently made its debut on FOX, mixing animation with live action. It follows the story of Zorn, an animated character who returns to Orange County from the land of Zephyria to reunite with his teenage son. Johnny Pemberton plays Alan, Zorn’s half human son who hasn’t seen his dad in 10 years. We got the chance to chat with Pemberton on about the challenges of working alonsgide an animated character and where he sees the show going.
What are the challenges of working with an animated character?
Well it’s really difficult because you have to think of everything as opposed to taking hints from someone else because that’s what acting is usually. You look at someone’s face and you can tell what they mean because you’re human and then you communicate that way by listeningand responding. With “Zorn” we don’t have that luxury so it’s a lot harder.
What’s it like playing a 17-year-old?
It’s kind of terrifying I had to remember a lot of things I worked the rest of my life to forget. Sometimes it’s kind of stressful or depressing because it’s yeah you’re living back in that world. For the most people, it’s the worst time of their life. [And] my character is animated from the waist down, because he’s half human and half Zephyrian.
That’s a lot to live with. How do you see Alan evolving?
With Alan it’s more like he’s just getting to know his dad and has a greater tolerance for his dad, understanding that he’s the way he is and he’s not really going to change much. I don’t know how to put it I guess like a horse is still a horse if it has a man’s shirt on it. Sort of like Zorn is still going to be Zorn. He’s always going to find the wrong way to do something even if he thinks it’s the right way.
Do you have a favorite superhero?
I think I like the antiheroes a lot more than the superheroes. So Pitt, an image comic, the Punisher and Venom — that’s a Marvel character. [Pause] I think Zorn in a way is kind of like an antihero. He’s not really a superhero because he’s not fighting for the greater good. He’s a pretty selfish guy so I think yeah Zorn is definitely a sort of antihero. I like Zorn a lot. This is the only script I’ve ever laughed out loud at before the table read.
“Son of Zorn” airs on FOX at 8:30/7:30 c.