Crossing Swords Star Tara Strong Wants To Make The World A Little More Magical [Interview]

Hulu's stop motion animated adult comedy "Crossing Swords" is back for a second season, premiering on the streamer on December 10, 2021. The series is a foul-mouthed and violent take on fantasy fiction, full of sex jokes, decapitations, and drug use. Oh, and the characters are all wooden peg toys. 

"Crossing Swords" follows young peg squire Patrick (voiced by "The Great" star Nicholas Hoult) after he begins working for King Merriman (Luke Evans, "Dracula Untold"). The good-hearted, virginal Patrick is one of the only decent people in all of this little peg world, and his three siblings are some of the worst of them all. His sister Coral, voiced by "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" star Tara Strong, is a pirate queen who drinks and fights her way through most situations. Of the siblings, however, only Coral seems like she has the potential for good, as Blarney the Clown (Tony Hale from "Arrested Development) and Robin Hood-esque Ruben (Adam Ray) are only going to ever do things to serve themselves. Then again, Coral's more likely to throw her brother overboard than actually help him, so maybe they're all monsters.

I had a chance to sit down via Zoom with Strong to chat about the series' salacious humor, serious swearing, and Coral's future. 

This interview has been lightly edited for clarity. 

The Fun of Foul Language

What's it like getting to swear so much and so colorfully on the series? Because I have a feeling that's a pretty big difference from all of the shows for younger audiences that you've done.

It's so funny that you say that, because I've said that a few times, that it's so fun to get in a booth and say "f*** and s***" and whatever else comes to mind, I'm a human that really likes swear words. And I think it's funny when kids swear and as long as you're not saying it at someone, I don't think I've ever in my life said "F you" to someone unless they've really deserved it. But yeah, to spend most of my days doing children based animation, which I love and it's super fun, but then to get in a booth and to be able to just go hog wild. And it's very reminiscent of when I was doing "Drawn Together." And when I was doing that, I was doing "Rugrats" at the same time. So it was a sort of nice outlet to just go crazy and do stuff that I would not normally do in any other animated world. And this is probably the dirtiest I've done. I think so.

On Coral's Relatability

So your character is a pirate queen and she is sort of a traditional baddie in the normal sense. But we've gotten to see that there's a little bit of a soft side to her that she might have a little bit of Patrick's kindness inside her. And do you think we're going to get to see more of that in season 2?

You will definitely see more of what you saw in season 1, and then pushed further to the next level. I think once the writers and everyone saw what we could get away with, they're like, "oh, well, why don't we just go even further with that?" And I think you're right, there has to be a level of relatability and some heart to a character that's a baddie, or else you're never going to care what they do, and you don't care what happens to them. So yes, there will be more of what you saw in season 1 and then even crazier circumstances and taking it to even higher levels. And I don't know, maybe by season 10, they'll just be naked all the time. We'll see.

The World's Filthiest Children's Toys

What do you think makes "Crossing Swords" different from all of the other shows out there right now? Because it is certainly unique.

It is unique. Most shows now are CG, computer-generated animation and Stoopid Buddy productions has really masterfully designed this show as well as they did with "Robot Chicken." It's like, stop motion is challenging. It's hard. It takes a tremendous amount of patience. And I think that translates when you see it animated. There are certainly parts that are [traditionally] animated, like facial expressions. I remember when I toured the studio and they showed me the entire cabinet filled of like coral mouth shapes, like the sticker, that sticker. [They'll] be like, "oh I do your mouth." I'm like, "oh, that's cool." So the format is completely different and unique there.

I don't think there are any — and correct me if I'm wrong — any other stop motion shows in production right now. And certainly not ones that are primarily for adult-based comedy. And also you have this juxtaposition of this children's toy doing things that are very dirty. I don't think, when you try to compare this show to any other show, you can. I think it stands in league all of its own. And I think that's why people are drawn to it, aside from the fact that it's funny and we happen to be living in a time on this planet where comedy is more than welcome. It happens to be a completely unique experience.

Magic and Making People Laugh

If you could live in a fantasy world, would you, and what kind of life do you think you would live?

Of course I would. I kind of do! The fact that I get to play all these incredible characters that seem to bring joy and happiness to people around the world is pretty lucky and special. Sometimes I'll be thinking about, like, am I doing enough? I really think this is going to sound silly and completely unrelated to anything dirty on Hulu. I think we're here to bring people joy and make people laugh and make people feel good. And it's like, am I doing enough? Yeah, you have this amazing opportunity to voice these characters that bring people together, that make people laugh. And Coral is next in line and gets to join that party.

So I feel very fortunate to play these characters that bring joy to people, and [they can] have fun and take a break from something that might seem very challenging in their regular lives. And if I could live anywhere, that's a great question. I think I'd have to live somewhere where there's magic, where you could really see magic come to life in front of you. I'd love to live sometime as Raven or even Twilight Sparkle [from "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic"] and just be like a unicorn and fly around for a little bit, doing magic and helping people. That'd be pretty great.

"Crossing Swords" season 2 debuts on Hulu on December 10, 2021.