Shelf Life: Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt Bring Action Figures to Life in Web Series
Actors Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal know how to make things happen fast. Last spring, Platt had an idea for a story about action figures living on a shelf in the bedroom of a 10-year-old boy. By summer, they were working on the first season of Shelf Life. Season two of the web series, produced by their firm Monkey Kingdom, debuted on Tuesday. Last weekend, they filmed the entire third season.
Courtesy of Shelf Life
This couple, well known for their voice acting work (both were in Naruto, Lowenthal is also the voice of Ben Tennyson in Ben 10: Alien Force and Ultimate Alien), knows that when you have a good idea, you have to run with it. And Shelf Life is a good idea. This isn't a loving tale about children's toys. It's about cynical figures subjected to the destructive hands of their young owner.
"As a kid, you do terrible things to your toys," says Platt. "You pull their heads off and you put them in compromising positions."
"Set them on fire," Lowenthal adds.
Platt continues, "You do all these things to action figures because they are just your toys and, as kids, we're learning who we are through our toys."
When the Kid leaves the room, the action figures let the sex cracks, political jokes and f-bombs fly. They're bawdy, sometimes a little bitter, and very human.
The web series centers around four characters: Hero Man (Travis Willingham), a studly, boneheaded superhero; Hero Lass (Platt), his sharp-witted half-sister; Bug Boy (Lowenthal), the hip, sarcastic guy; and Samurai Snake (Bryan Enk, with Dee Bradley Baker providing the creature's voice), whom Lowenthal refers to as "our Chewbacca."
"I think we've been able to weave in both blue humor and the physical humor," says Platt, "as well as really intellectual and human stories."
Lowenthal adds, "You can go as deep as you want as a viewer."