How Ellen Degeneres Cracked ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ On Netflix

It’s one thing to turn a Dr. Seuss book into a movie. Maybe you can stretch those 40 pages into 90 minutes. It worked out for The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who and The Grinch, twice for The Grinch. A TV series is another thing, but Netflix has enough faith in Green Eggs and Ham to do a whole first season. Having Ellen Degeneres behind it probably helps.

Ellen DeGeneres speaks as Pink is honored with a star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame | Steve Granitz/WireImage

Degeneres is executive producing Green Eggs and Ham, created by Jared Stern. Stern gave the Television Critics Association a preview of Green Eggs and Ham and spoke about how it will work as a show. Green Eggs and Ham premieres on Netflix this fall.

Ellen Degeneres will make sure everybody knows ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is on.

Having a platform like the Ellen show makes sure that Green Eggs and Ham won’t slip through the cracks. Degeneres has already been vocal about it.

Ellen Degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres attends a question and answer session for her Canadian fans at Scotiabank Arena | George Pimentel/Getty Images for TINEPARK

“First of all, she’s been amazing at promoting the show,” Stern said. “She announced the show on her show when it was first announced. She’s had Diane Keaton on recently so he’s been great for that. She’s also just a wonderful creative partner for us. We share everything that we do with her.”

Celebrities will give ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ a voice 

Diane Keaton is one of the A-list actors providing their voice for Dr. Seuss’s world. Though Ellen Degeneres herself does not play a character, names like Michael Douglas, Adam Devine, Ilana Glazer, Keegan-Michael Key, Eddie Izzard, Daveed Diggs, Jillian Bell and more aren’t too shabby.

“In Adam’s case, it’s pretty, pretty close to him, maybe a little more high pitched,” Stern said. “Ilana Glazer, for example, is playing a little girl so we knew that we were going to want to play with her voice so that she felt realistically young.”

Green Eggs and Ham | Netflix

Glazer used her musical background to sound like a child.

“For her finding the pitch of the voice, she does a note,” Stern said. “There’s a note that she hits. She’s like that’s EB. ‘Ahh, okay, now I’m EB.’”

For kids, Dr. Seuss books are brand new

New Dr. Seuss fans are born every day. They learn to read with his books, and many are reading Green Eggs and Ham every night. Now they can watch more Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix before bedtime.

“I think Dr. Seuss’s morals and lessons and his worldview are completely still relevant right now, sometimes sadly,” Stern said. “I’ll constantly read a Seuss book and it’ll feel he’s commenting on something exactly that’s going on right now.”

‘Green Eggs and Ham’ looks like Dr. Seuss’s drawings, only they move

Stern utilized hand-drawn animation to retain the feelings of Dr. Seuss’s pictures. They still have to animate them, and they have computer tools to assist, but it won’t look like a Pixar movie or even the 3D animated The Grinch movie.

“All the character animation is always hand-drawn,” Stern said. “Every now and then, there’s a vehicle like a train or a car. There are things you can do in post as well. Honestly, we say hand-drawn, people are drawing by hand on a tablet. So there are computers involved but every single line and moment of the show for five and a half hours is hand-drawn.”

‘Green Eggs and Ham’ shows a world beyond the pages of Dr. Seuss

Creating the world of Green Eggs and Ham and populating it with Seussian characters also gave Stern more room to expand on Seuss’s ideas.

“We wanted to keep the feeling of Seuss, that kind of rough patchline, maybe feel like it’s something that made sense for him but we expanded,” Stern said. “We also wanted it to feel like a world that we live in where you could go on a train trip and you could feel the leather on the back of a chair. We kind of hopefully found this really happy medium where it’s really inspired by the character and maybe got a little bit more appealing, just a little more details.”

Green Eggs and Ham | Netflix

Also, the eggs and ham are green.

“Using the exact same color patterns that the guy does in the book, we were really careful about maintaining that,” Stern said.