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Meet Michelle Obama’s new co-star in the Netflix series

Actor / puppet Jonathan Kidder spends a lot of time in Michelle Obama’s feet – literally – in “Waffles + Mochi”, which premieres on Tuesday (March 16) on Netflix.

He takes on the role of a busy B, bespectacled, tie-wearing supermarket manager who interacts with Obama in an educational children’s series, created by Erica Thormehlen and Jeremy Conner and by Michelle and Barack Obama from their production company, Higher Ground Executive-produced under.

“I spend most of my time on the ground as a puppet, so I lay on my back when I first met Mrs. Obama,” Kidder told The Post. “He looked at me and I looked at him and suddenly a bee was talking to him, which allowed him to associate with that character.

“What else can you do with a man like me?

“Waffles + Mochi”, played by Michelle Zamora and Ras Volco, respectively, played in titanium puppet players, interacts with Obama and Busy Bee in their supermarkets and travels around the world learning about food – and fresh ingredients ( Tomatoes) in the series premiere) how to cook). Guest stars include Rashida Jones, “Stranger Things” co-stars Gatton Matarazzo, Sia and Mandy Moore.

Michelle Obama poses on the set with her puppet co-stars
Michelle Obama co-stars in the Netflix children’s series with her ‘Waffles + Mochi’.
Adam Rose / Netflix

Kidder was originally hired as an assistant puppet after having good words for him with Kinder, who directed 10 episodes. “I really do all this for… Michelle,” he said. “After he booked the job, they were talking to him about what a big job it was [production] Going all over the world and working with former First and she said, ‘What can we do to support you? What do you need? ‘ He said, ‘I need Jonathan Kidder.’

“I have known Michelle for over a decade through educational theater puppetry and other commercial and TV projects. It was really special to be invited [onto the project] that side.”

Jonathan Kidder plays in Busy B
Jonathan Kidder played the role of Busy B in “Waffles + Mochi”.
Kate moore

He proved to be indispensable as the “Waffles + Mochi” traveled to several cities including Japan, Peru and Italy, and to several cities in the US (pre-COVID). So, when it was time to start shooting supermarket scenes featuring LA (busy with Obama et al.), Chain producer Thormehlen thought of Kidder.

“The character had not yet been cast out,” he said. “They weren’t sure if they were going to cast a man or a woman … and when we wrapped up the international shoot, Erica contacted me and told me that they were thinking of me as this character, He then formally offered me an audition. Everyone calls me Kidder and he said, ‘Kidder, we need someone who can make Mrs. Obama laugh,’ because Bizzy opens all the scenes with him. ” Are you comfortable with him? ‘ My answer was “Hell yeah! Put that in front!” It felt like home.

“Waffles + Mochi” will premiere on Netflix on Tuesday 16 March.
Adam Rose / Netflix

“They really just wanted me,” he said. He said, “I am a very sensible gay man who apologizes and who usually claps his hands and that is what I was doing on international shoots.” I had some very sweet gossip moments with Mrs. Obama. There is a scene where he has a mug in his hand and busy B starts talking about a [supermarket] The employee, Bianca – they made a name for her – and Mrs. Obama said, ‘We’re drinking tea, talking about Bianca, we need a tea leaf.’ I don’t think it was used much, if at all … but that’s what they wanted. It was a casual, funny conversation, yet it was focused and a bit sarcastic and poignant. “

“One thing about the puppet that I love is that you can really let the spirit of that puppet character come to you,” he said. “I felt very present and comfortable and at home – like being in the middle of a big hug.

“And I think that’s how the show is.”

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