Yvette Nicole Brown has voiced many characters for children’s cartoon shows over the years. For Crossing Swords, it will be the naughtiest animated project of her career.
Her character, Sergeant Meghan, is a tough drill sergeant tasked to shape the young medieval squires in the world of Crossing Swords. With her sadistic sense of humor, she torments the young recruits into tasks that will get them killed off on the show.
LRM Online had the opportunity to speak with Yvette Nicole Brown, who lends her voice as Sergeant Meghan. She voiced so many characters in multiple animated cartoons, including Elena of Avalor, The Loud House, DC Super Hero Girls, Puppy Dog Pals, and several Lego animated films. She was best known playing in the cult television series Community as Shirley Bennett.
Hulu’s Crossing Swords is currently streaming today.
Read our exclusive interview with Yvette Nicole Brown below.
Gig Patta: Congratulations on another successful project for yourself.
Yvette Nicole Brown: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be a part of this irreverent, naughty comedy.
Gig Patta: What initially attracted you to a project like Crossing Swords?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I did SuperMansion, another stop motion animated show with the Robot Chicken and Stoopid Buddy Studios people. When Crossing Swords came up, they sent me an email and said, “Do you want to come and play with us again?” I was like, “Of course!” And I said, yes, without reading the script. Then I got into the booth, and I was like, “Oh, this is naughty.” It was a shock to me, but it’s a fun naughty. A smart naughty. I am excited to be a part of it.
Gig Patta: I’m curious. Do you watch your voiceover work after you’ve done your voiceovers?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I do. I prefer to see myself as a voice in a cartoon than even watching myself live. It’s the weirdest thing. I’ll watch a cartoon of me way more frequently than I’ll watch me on a television show. I’m such a fan of cartoonists and artists. I like to see how they made it into something magical and what the finished product is. Crossing Swords is not disappointment from the first scene with the dragon to the rolling Hills. It’s all just done so beautifully.
Gig Patta: So you did a binge-watched all, all ten episodes. What was your initial reaction? There’s one thing to read it on the page, but there’s another thing to see it on screen.
Yvette Nicole Brown: I’m surprised that they got away with what they got away with. [Laughs] The murders are graphic. The sexually charged stuff is so graphic. I was surprised. They got away with it because they’re little peg characters–no matter how adults the concept.
Gig Patta: In your opinion, how is this different from Robot Chicken?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Robot Chicken is more like a sketch show. It’s like jumping into the scenes right into the punchline. Where Crossing Swords is a story, it follows Patrick through 10 episodes of trying to figure out who he is and how he’s going to navigate with this horrible kingdom. It’s more of an actual drama than Robot Chicken desires to be.
Gig Patta: Tell us more about your character Sergeant Meghan. What do you like about her?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Sergeant Megan is very irreverent. She’s very mischievous and sadistic. What I love about her is that she’s fun and interesting to play. When I get to the booth, I have no idea what that character is going to say. That, to me, it’s exciting. After you’ve played the role for a certain while, no matter what the character a cartoon or a real-life person, you can tell on them where they’re going to go. I never know where Sergeant Meghan is going at all. I don’t know what she’s going to say. I don’t know what she’s going to do. I don’t know where she’s going to put the squires through. That, to me, is fun.
Gig Patta: When they hand you the script, it doesn’t leave room for improv for you, does it?
Yvette Nicole Brown: It does actually. They’re always open to you, adding some silliness or something that you feel better to serve the character. But, I don’t feel the need, when something’s written well. There’s no need to adlib.
Sometimes you don’t get something that’s written in a way that it will come off your tongue easily. It’s not the way you speak. When you run into something like that and say, “Well, can I say this instead of that? Or can I say this?” They’re open to stuff like that. With Crossing Swords, we rarely need to do that. It was already written in a way that I would say these horrible things.
Gig Patta: Now I’ve met you once and seen the show, you are nothing like your character, in my opinion. How do you get into this character of Sergeant Meghan?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I was thinking of Louise Gossett Jr. from An Officer and a Gentlemen the entire time. There are so many other great examples of drill sergeants, who were tough on the infantryman, the army people, or the squires to fight to win their respect. I understood the character because I’ve seen it played so many times. It was fun to add my spin on it. This sergeant is my version of a drill sergeant. That was the blessing.
Gig Patta: When you were on production, did they show you what Sergeant Meghan was going to look like before you did the voiceover?
Yvette Nicole Brown: No. All I knew is that she was going to be my character. I was delighted when I finally saw her. She had my bun. I wear a bun almost every day. It’s like my version of a ponytail. If you see me in a bun, it means I spent five minutes on my hair. It was fun to see the character with my little bun.
I don’t know if she is always going to have a bun or if because I did the voice. That bun was kind of delightful. Usually, you don’t know what the final version of a cartoon will look like. They’ll give you a conceptual drawing for an idea of how you want to do with the voice. Frequently, they will go in and tweak it based on what you bring to the booth. I hope that was the case with this one.
ALSO READ: Adam Pally on Voicing Broth for Hulu’s Crossing Swards [Exclusive Interview]
Gig Patta: Did you ever have a chance for a guided tour of the behind the scenes production?
Yvette Nicole Brown: Not on this show. I did see behind the scenes of SuperMansion. The thing with animation, especially stop-motion animation, you usually record all the voices before they start animating. Unless you go back two months after you record, you won’t be able to see what’s happening while you’re in production. With SuperMansion, I went in towards the end of the season while they were doing the animation for some of my character work. I got to see it there. If we’re blessed to get a second season of Crossing Swords, I’m going to time it better so I can get in there to see what they’re doing.
Gig Patta: How different doing Crossing Swords in the voice booth compared to all the other productions that you have done before?
Yvette Nicole Brown: It’s different in that for one, it’s for adults. Most of the voice work I do is for cartoons. A lot of them are for Disney and Disney Jr. So I don’t have to say the things that I speak as Sergeant Meghan.
In some voiceover shows, you record with the entire cast. They put together such an amazing group of voice actors and actors. There’s no way you can get a Tony Hale, Seth Green, and Alanna Ubach in a booth altogether because everybody’s doing other things. With this show, we had to record separately. That was the difference, I would say.
Gig Patta: Let me start wrapping things up. Do you have other projects for yourself?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I have a great kids’ game show, PG 13 or lower, on a Disney+ called The Big Fib. I’m excited to have another show on Disney+. Due to the pandemic, we had to take a break from shooting. I have a dramedy with John Stamos called Big Shot, and that should be coming out soon. We have five or six more episodes shoot once we’re able to go back to production.
I wrote a movie called Always a Bridesmaid, a comedy that is streaming on Netflix. Community is also streaming on Netflix as well. There’s a lot of me to see if you wanted to see me.
Gig Patta: Do you enjoy doing live-action or a voiceover work better?
Yvette Nicole Brown: I like voiceover better. I’m an introvert. I enjoy my quiet times. There’s something about being in the booth by yourself with your headphones. It’s delightful to create something that you’re responsible for. I’m a caregiver for my dad, so I enjoy a shorter workday to take care of him and my dog. Voiceover fits in with my lifestyle a little better.
Gig Patta: Hey Yvette, thank you for directly calling with me. Good luck with your future projects.
Yvette Nicole Brown: Thank you so much. Take care.
Hulu’s Crossing Swords is currently streaming today.
Source: LRM Online Exclusive, Hulu