Dan Povenmire & Jeff "Swampy" MarshThe first thing you notice about Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, the creators of Phineas & Ferb, is that they kind of look like grown-up human versions of the cartoon pair: Marsh is clearly Phineas; Povenmire is Ferb. Once that realization kicks in, your next thought is this: Wow, these guys are seriously cool. (Well, duh. Their combined resumes include directing, producing, and art and acting credits on hit shows from The Simpsons and The Family Guy to SpongeBob Squarepants. Povenmire also serves as the voice of Phineas & Ferb villain Dr. Doofenshmirtz.)
I had the chance to chat with Marsh and Povenmire today in Times Square, where the duo talked about the new TV movie Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension and answered my questions with all the charm of their animated counterparts.
The Stir: How did Phineas & Ferb come about?
Marsh: We actually pitched the pilot about 14 years ago. It wouldn't get picked up, and we'd let it sit on our desks for awhile and bring it out every couple of years ... I think Dan was more diligent than I was about getting it out there.
Povenmire: He was living in another country [England] when Disney finally showed some interest in the pilot. I called [Marsh] up and said, "Disney wants to option Phineas & Ferb. If we get a series out of it, are you gonna come and work on it with me?" And he said, "That sound you hear? That's the sound of me packing."
The Stir: My kids love the show, and so do I. It's one of the only cartoons that parents are into as much as their kids.
Povenmire: That's our favorite thing to hear!
The Stir: What can you tell me about the new movie?
Povenmire: It's this really big, epic story ... it starts out like a regular Phineas & Ferb episode, then it takes this left turn and becomes a huge action movie ... and then it comes back around for the end.
Marsh: We got to do some things emotionally with the characters that we don't usually get to do, especially Phineas.
Povenmire: Phineas finds out that Perry the platypus is a secret agent, and he is not okay with that. He feels like he's been betrayed by his lifelong pet. And he and Ferb have to save two dimensions from Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who's much more effectively evil in the second dimension, which the first Doofenshmirtz takes issue with. He's like [does character's voice], "Why are you so much better at being evil than me?"
The Stir: How about your stars? Are they fun to work with?
Marsh: They're the best. Really we've gotten so lucky. And it just gets more and more fun. I remember once in the beginning Vincent [Martella, voice of Phineas] was recording an underwater scene and I told him, "Well, you take a big swig of water and talk with water in your mouth, then you'll sound like you're underwater." So he did it and it was this huge mess, water spilling everywhere, and he was like, "Hey, you were just messing with me, weren't you?" That kind of broke the tension, and we've been having a great time ever since.
Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension premieres Friday, August 5 at 8 p.m. on the Disney Channel.
WATCH the Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension trailer:
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