The joke around Wish actor Alan Tudyk these days is that he's Disney's lucky charm, because he's done at least one voice for each of the studio's animated hits over the last decade.
The longtime character actor laughs off any suggestion that he's the reason behind Disney's success, and yet he's clearly happy to be back for his latest animated role as Valentino, the deep-voiced but adorable sidekick to heroine Asha in Wish. The film also stars the voice talents of Ariana DeBose and Chris Pine, but Tudyk is definitely a standout when his adorable talking goat is on screen.
Narcity recently got a chance to speak with Tudyk during a press junket in Toronto for Wish, and he opened up about how he came up with Valentino's voice in the first place — and the voices that didn't make the cut.
The character magically acquires the ability to talk in the film, and his voice ends up being much deeper and more resonate than expected.
"We were just playing around," said Tudyk. "They showed me the animation of him (...) and said 'Go, what've you got?' And we played around with some high voices and some kid-type voices and he was like a cutesy friend, and it didn't really work."
Tudyk said he decided to throw a curveball into the mix and bring his voice down very low. "They were like, 'Wait, OK, do more of that," he said, adding that the directors gave him the OK on the spot.
"I do this voice a lot, and I didn't realize I do that until I saw the movie," he said. "I was like 'Oh, that's not me anymore. That's Valentino's voice."
Tudyk added that Valentino sounds somewhat like Clayface, another character he plays in the DC animated show Harley Quinn. "He's a bit more theatrical!" said Tudyk, slipping into the character's voice. "But it's very similar. He's very close to me, so he's easy."
Tudyk also shared his "rowdy little kid" take on Valentino, and hinted at another voice that he decided to skip altogether.
"I did try an Italian accent, and they mentioned that it was 2024 and we don't do that," said Tudyk. "And I said 'Oh, that's probably right.'"
Tudyk says he also has a Polish voice he can use and "those are mine" because it's part of his ancestry. "Hands off!" he joked.
Valentino is just the latest in a long line of Disney characters whom Tudyk has voiced. The actor has been part of every Disney animated film since Wreck-It Ralph in 2012, and whether you know it or not, you've heard his voice before.
Tudyk's Disney voices include:
- King Candy in Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
- Duke Weselton in Frozen (2013)
- Alistair Krei in Big Hero 6 (2014)
- Duke Weaselton in Zootopia (2016)
- Heihei the chicken in Moana (2016)
- KnowsMore in Ralph Breaks The Internet (2018)
- Iago in the live-action Aladdin movie (2019)
- Various voices in Frozen 2 (2019)
- Tuk Tuk in Raya And The Last Dragon (2021)
- Toucan in Encanto (2022)
- Scroll in the live-action film Disenchanted (2022)
- Duffle and the Narrator in Strange World (2022)
He also played the grumpy droid K-2S0 in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Mr. Darling in the recent Peter Pan & Wendy movie from Disney, in addition to many other voice roles in video games, movies and animated TV series.
He's also had plenty of live-action roles over the years, including parts in A Knight's Tale and a starring role in the ongoing series Resident Alien, which shoots in B.C. where Tudyk lives part time.
He says despite the wide range of voices he can do, his favourite one to play with is still the villainous King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph.
"I like all of the noise he makes," said Tudyk.
Alan Tudyk wants to do more Firefly
Wish is all about chasing your dreams and so we asked Tudyk which role he'd want to revisit, if he could wish on a star and make it come true.
"Firefly," he said, without even pausing to think about it. "It was a space show. I flew a spaceship for work. It's pretty great. Nathan Fillion was our captain (...) I would do that because it was cut short and we didn't get a chance to really flesh out a lot of story ideas that we had."
The show was created by Joss Whedon (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Avengers fame) and ran for a single season on Fox in the early 2000s, but it's since become a cult favourite among science fiction fans.
The cast ultimately got to reunite for a feature film follow-up called Serenity in 2005, although Tudyk's character, Wash, gets killed off in the film.
"I don't remember how that ends," Tudyk joked. "But yeah, my script only went up to page 92 and then just blanks."
Firefly might be over but Tudyk still frequently collaborates with his old "captain," Canadian Nathan Fillion. The pair teamed up for a web series called Con Man a few years ago that satirized their experiences at comic and fan conventions. They both still attend many of those conventions so if you ever want to meet Tudyk and share your own voice-acting attempts with him, keep an eye on your local Fan Expo schedule.
In the meantime, you can hear Tudyk as Valentino the goat in Walt Disney Animation Studios' Wish, which is in theatres now.
The film also stars Oscar-winner Ariana DeBose as the hero, Asha, and Chris Pine as the sorcerer-king Magnifico.
And if you're wondering what it's like to work on a Disney film like Wish, we recently spoke to the directors and animators about it and even took an inside look at the animation studio where your favourite Disney movies are brought to life.
The flick itself is meant to celebrate 100 years of Disney animation and it's jam-packed with little nods and Easter egg references to past Disney characters. You might even spot a few of Alan Tudyk's past roles in the crowd!