When the children’s song “Baby Shark” first went viral across YouTube in 2016, actress Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black) remembers the earworm was everywhere. Glenn began lending her voice to the Baby Shark character on the animated TV series Baby Shark’s Big Show! in 2020 and plays him in the new animated film Baby Shark’s Big Movie!

“The song was adorable and catchy, and you couldn’t avoid it,” Glenn told the Current during a recent interview. “I don’t have kids, but my gosh, it was such a phenomenon. I don’t even know how it happened.”

In Baby Shark’s Big Movie!, the title character leaves behind his best fish friend William (Luke Youngblood) when he moves to the big city with his family. While there, Baby Shark must restore harmony to the ocean when an evil starfish tries to take over all the underwater music.

During an interview with Glenn, Youngblood and Chloe Fineman (Saturday Night Live), who plays a green fish named Lannie, we talked about their experience recording the theme song and how excited they were to bring new talent to the cast, including superstar rapper Cardi B, who plays the character Cardi Shark.

Baby Shark’s Big Movie! premieres on Paramount+ on December 8, 2023.

Luke, what did you think about the “Baby Shark” song when you first heard it?

Luke Youngblood: It’s wild because I think I was probably the only person on the entire planet who actually hadn’t heard the song. When the audition came in [for Baby Shark’s Big Show!), I saw all these “doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doos” and I did a completely different tune because I didn’t know what it was. A friend had to tell me that “Baby Shark” was the biggest video on YouTube ever! So, then I understood how gigantic the song was.

Chloe, what do you think made “Baby Shark” such a cultural phenomenon?

Chloe Fineman: I think as soon as someone starts singing the song, it can go on and on. I’ve heard it so many times. The hard part for me recording “Baby Shark” was getting the “doo-doo-doos” [correct]. Like truly, my brain broke. You’re in a booth doing, “Baby shark, doo-doo, doo-doo, doo-doo.” I don’t know if you guys had a manic experience recording the song.

Kimiko Glenn: My brain just glazed over it.

Kimiko, what’s your favorite thing about making Baby Shark come to life with your voice?

KG: I mean, I just love that I can tell my friends that I’m Baby Shark. It’s the coolest thing ever. Everyone knows it. A lot of people haven’t seen Orange is the New Black. But everyone knows Baby Shark.

LY: Bragging rights.

What’s the most exciting part about making a Baby Shark movie?

KG: For me, it’s the cast. I can’t believe I was placed with all these incredible people – Cardi B, Chloe, [actress] Ego [Nwodim]. They’re all people I admire so much. I think they are so talented. I couldn’t believe I was among them. I’m truly grateful.

Is adding someone like Cardi B to the cast just about finding a new audience for the franchise or is it more than that?

KG: Well, I think it’s about having a broader audience but also, I’m such a fan of her. I think she’s so cool. I also think her brand probably skews in the opposite direction. So, to see her do something wholesome, I think that’s so wonderful and so sweet. I think it’s because she has children and wants to do it for them. I think more people will watch [the movie] because of her.

CF: From “WAP” to “Baby Shark,” guys. I mean, come on.

Chloe, what excites you the most about being part of this franchise?

CF: I’ve been on SNL, and I have baby cousins who have no idea what I do. But when I was on [the Netflix game show] Is It Cake?, they were like, “Oh, my God!” So, to have Baby Shark, there’s just something so delightful about reaching other audiences, especially kids. They freak out, and they watch it again and again. I think that’s just delightful. And Cardi B, of course.

Luke, are you a Cardi B fan?

LY: Oh, 100 percent. She is an icon. I was completely star struck when I found out that I was on a track with her, which is on Spotify. This movie has so much heart. It’s such a beautiful story about friendship and love.

Chloe, what are the chances that you’ll pitch a Baby Shark skit on SNL this weekend?

CF: You know, we’ve got Adam Driver. I think that’s the perfect host for Baby Shark. [Let’s call it] S-Fin-L.

KG: That’s really good, actually.

This interview was first published at the San Antonio Current.

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