Peter Serafinowicz Talks Donning the Big Blue Suit in Amazon’s ‘The Tick’
Evil is real, and it plagues humanity every day. But fear not, for a glimmer of hope exists, and it wears a blue suit. His name is The Tick, and although he could easily be mistaken for an asylum escapee, this bumbling crusader is humanity’s last line of defense.
The most recent adaptation of “The Tick” lands on Amazon at the tail end of a summer gorged with superhero properties. But this comic book-inspired show brings something different to the table than all those other summer blockbusters, quenching a thirst for grandiose stories and chasing them down with refreshingly offbeat absurdity. Peter Serafinowicz plays the latest iteration of the antennae-adorned protagonist alongside unwilling sidekick Arthur (Griffin Newman), and together they’re the only thing standing between evildoers and the world at large. If only they could get on the same page. Timid, straight-laced Arthur plays perfectly off the bombastic Blue Bug of Justice, and The Tick himself is larger than life, both in stature and personality.
“The Tick” became immortalized in the 1986 comic of the same name, eventually spawning an animated TV adaptation that really surged in popularity in syndication. A short-lived live action series followed with Patrick Warburton in the lead role, and although the series didn’t last long, the show’s DVD release has kept it a cult favorite with both the comic book and comedy crowds. Amazon’s revival of the show sticks to the comic’s agenda of taking popular superhero tropes and turning them up-side-down, because nothing’s worse than a superhero that takes himself too seriously.
On paper, the idea of a superhero parody takes some getting used to. Serafinowicz tells Entertainment Voice it wasn’t until he allowed himself to truly get lost in the script that he took to the concept.
“I thought ‘Hmm, a superhero parody,’ and it made me think of a sketch or something that wasn’t particularly substantial … something that was just not sophisticated,” Serafinowicz tells Entertainment Voice. “I really could not have been more wrong. When I read the script, it was possibly the most elegant, sophisticated, puzzling, beautiful piece of writing I had read for years. I thought ‘Good grief, I’ve got to do this!’”
Not only did creator Ben Edlund’s writing captivate and convince Serafinowicz to don The Tick’s iconic blue garb, but it helped the star more thoroughly memorize his dialogue — a particularly intricate part of “The Tick.”
“If you’re finding dialogue hard to remember, it’s often because it’s not well-written, and that was the opposite with this,” Serafinowicz says. “Ben writes these beautiful sentences that are like stories within themselves that reverse and loop back on each other and twist around and contain literal and metaphysical puns. I mean each one is like a story in itself. It’s kind of complex, but they’re easy to remember because they’re so beautifully written.”
“The Tick” feels like a take on self-referential films like “Deadpool,” oftentimes breaking the fourth wall and lampooning comic book culture while still packing enough gore to satisfy a more mature crowd. But Serafinowicz feels like Edlund pushed that premise even further with the new series.
“Ben has found this theme of — I don’t know what you would call it — it’s kind of mysterious what he has done,” he says. “He’s kind of making fun of this whole genre yet being true to it. It’s kind of like a mystical magic trick he’s done.”
The Tick character doesn’t come without precedent, with avid fans pointing to Warburton’s stint as a pivotal role in the character’s history. Serafinowicz made the choice not to watch any of it.
“I knew how beloved Patrick’s version of The Tick was and remains,” he says. “So I saw a tiny clip of what he’d done and I thought ‘I can’t allow myself to watch this show because I need to give my interpretation of this character.’ When I first met Ben, he gave me the first 10 issues of “The Tick” comic, and I read through all of those before I did the pilot.”
Ultimately, “The Tick” stands out because of his unmistakable blue suit, and it was an outfit Serafinowicz couldn’t wait to try on. That excitement wears off, though.
“Who doesn’t want to play a superhero, or who wouldn’t want to?” He says. “Having played one for six months now, I have an answer for that. My more naive self thought it looked fun, and it was for about a half hour or so. I don’t know how much time it was (wearing the suit), but it was too much.”
“The Tick” premieres Aug. 25 on Amazon.