This is a good time to be Alan Tudyk, or at least a fan of Alan Tudyk. The actor is just about everywhere right now. On the big screen, he’s one of the title characters in the horror comedy TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL, which opens Friday. On television, he can be seen as a series regular on ABC’s new sitcom SUBURGATORY, premiering Wednesday, and heard as multiple characters on MTV’s new animated comedy GOOD VIBES, about a teenaged boy who moves to a beach community in Southern California, which debuts Oct. 27.
On recent home video releases, Tudyk has notable supporting roles in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and the drama BEAUTIFUL BOY and, of course, he can be found on the box sets Joss Whedon’s Fox series FIREFLY and DOLLHOUSE.
Tudyk, a gentlemanly soul from Texas who holds a short-reached reporter’s recorder for her to keep it in range of his voice, sits on a couch in the MTV green room and answers questions about all of the above.
ASSIGNMENT X: Did you become involved with SUBURGATORY because you were attracted to the project?
ALAN TUDYK: [laughs] I was attracted to the work. It’s a character that I have a lot of fun with. It’s one of those really playful characters. He is somebody who is Jeremy Sisto’s best friend – in that show, Jeremy Sisto moves out to the suburbs, and he’s sort of beckoned there by his friend that I play, Noah. [Noah is] a dentist and he’s a good guy, and he’s just kind of, “Everything’s all right, buddy! Cool!” He doesn’t let things get to him. He’s a little superficial. He’s kind of the idea of the suburbs – he’s a little too shiny, he’s a little too bright, a little fake, a little Stepford-y.
AX: As far as being part of the regular voice cast on GOOD VIBES, did you particularly want to do animation, did you feel like this was the first chance you’re going to have, at least for a while, to play an old, burned-out war veteran with a Hispanic accent …?
TUDYK: No, I expect to have a lot more opportunities to do that, this is just my first whack at it. I’ve done some animation in the past and I’ve really enjoyed it, mainly movie stuff, a couple of the ICE AGE movies.
AX: Who were you in ICE AGE?
TUDYK: I’m just scattered. I’m like three different characters. I was the dodo birds. There were three of us doing all the dodo birds, and then in the second one, I was a flatulent bear, and then some other characters that ended up getting cut. I’ve done ASTRO BOY and other, more serious animated things. But this [GOOD VIBES] was really funny, it’s [from writer/producer] David Gordon Green, and I was really excited to work with him and just auditioned, and then got it. And once we started doing this, once we started recording [the episodes], I just branched off. [Executive producer] Tom Brady was like, “Can you grab that voice, and grab that voice?” And we would do the table reads – there are so many characters, so we all started to take on other characters, and then they gave them to us, so I ended up playing a few.
AX: Who else are you playing in GOOD VIBES besides Lonnie, the stoned guy in the van?
TUDYK: [does the voice for each character as he provides the description] Lonnie in the van, and then there’s Mr. Proper, who’s like a fellow who’s hanging out on the beach, I’m Principal Guneral, I’m Woody’s dad. There’s a point where I’m also one of Turk’s henchmen. They described it as, “He talks sort of like a Hispanic Mike Tyson,” with a very high voice and a lisp, and his other henchman – I’m both his henchmen [laughs]. I’m just like, “What is that one?” And they described him.
AX: Do they give you drawings of the characters you’re voicing, or they just describe them to you and you go off of that?
TUDYK: In the beginning, we were just going [off the descriptions]. Lonnie, I knew early on what he looked like. The other ones came later. We would be going and they came out. I would like to think that our voices influenced their drawings, but once we saw them – it’s helpful to have the drawings, for sure.
AX: Is GOOD VIBES the sort of show that you would have enjoyed watching when you were the target age?
TUDYK: [laughs] Yes. Yeah, absolutely.
AX: Broadly, it’s for everybody, but it does seem to be sort of aimed at that eleven-to-fifteen boy demographic …
TUDYK: Yeah, I think so. I think it could also get past high school into the twenties – anybody who’s in that institutional learning structure, because it’s about two young kids who are coming of age and dealing with all the things that kids of that age, they will relate to that. But it’s also funny, and so anybody who’s into funny will tune in and I think it’s going to hit kids in their twenties and then some people in their thirties and then like five dudes in their forties – and I’m one of those guys.
AX: When you’re doing a lot of different voices that are all in the same scene, do you feel at all like you’re back in that scene in DOLLHOUSE where your character Alpha had all those personalities inside him vying for dominance?
TUDYK: [laughs] Luckily, I get to do them [the GOOD VIBES characters] one at a time, so I’m not having to shift from one to the other, so it’s a lot easier. And I get to do multiple takes.
AX: Had DOLLHOUSE continued, how would you have liked to see Alpha evolve? And did you think the other characters made a wise choice in letting him out and getting him wiped by the world population identity-restoring blast so he’d go back to his original personality? Given that, even though he had supposedly overcome his bad side, he started out as a psychotic serial killer?
TUDYK: [sighs] Yeah … I really didn’t think beyond that for the character, because I knew it was so final, I knew it was over, so there wasn’t a thought to it. I’m sure it’s not good [laughs]. I don’t know where it would have gone. I’d always hoped it would have gone backwards, just to see more of what led to that other [post-apocalyptic] world. That’s the world that’s interesting – once everything crashes, I wanted to see more in that other [world] there. It was all Joss [Whedon’s] show, but that [post-apocalyptic aspect] for some reason felt more Whedon-y to me.
AX: Was Alpha your first real badass character?
TUDYK: Mm-hmm. Yes. Certainly. Definitely a killer. [laughs] That was my first killer.
AX: Because you had played a child molester on CSI …
TUDYK: He actually does kill a boy, but he doesn’t [intentionally] kill him, it’s sort of a negligent killing.
AX: So the CSI character was sort of an unseemly person –
TUDYK: Yeah, absolutely.
AX: But he wasn’t like Alpha, where other characters were literally going, “Aah, I’m jumping out the window to get away from him!” Was that something you had aspired to?
TUDYK: To play a bad guy? I think at one time, I definitely did. Who doesn’t want to at one point be somebody that’s a badass [laughs]? Especially the way that Joss set that character up. He set him up all season long. And whenever they would talk about him, they would say, “Oh, he kills them, but he kills them slowly and he likes to see the pain in their eyes. Ten men went into the room to get him, but they all died and he got away, and somehow we didn’t see how.” I mean, just like he was this superhuman person. So [laughs] it was intimidating, but I enjoyed doing it, it was fun.
AX: And TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – this may not be the case, but it looked like they had hired you to do a small role, but they liked you so much that the role got larger. Is that what happened?
TUDYK: No, that’s pretty much the size of the role. I was wherever John Turturro was, so it is something that is shaped on the day, working with Michael Bay. You go into a scene and it’s not set in stone, it evolves, that’s sort of your starting point. The duality of my character in TRANSFORMERS, [does character’s German voice] how he could be this person who is very friendly and somewhat effeminate into a stone-cold killer, that’s what developed on set, and that was fun, that was really fun to develop that.
AX: You had spoken previously of the spontaneity of working with Michael Bay …
TUDYK: Yeah. There’s just a certain kind of chaotic, kinetic world that happens around Michael Bay when he’s creating that everybody has to participate in [laughs].
AX: And you’re also on TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, where you play Tucker, who is perceived as a badass psycho, but he’s really just a regular guy caught up in a crazy misunderstanding.
TUDYK: Right. He’s just a good ol’ boy. He’s a nice guy. And Tyler Labine, who plays Dale, also a really nice guy, perceived as a killer and like a cannibal. [Other characters misunderstand what they’re seeing and yell], “He’s eating her face!” They see us as the types of hillbillies you’ll see in a horror show like WRONG TURN, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, and it’s more like a fishing show [laughs]. That’s sort of the guys you’ve actually got there, just a couple of guys out in the cabin.
AX: You play some very, very bright, sarcastic people, and then you play … Tucker. Do you have a preference between playing people who are at least sort of in your IQ neighborhood or people who are out there?
TUDYK: I’ve been lucky to be able to play a lot of different out there people, and it’s a lot of fun. I tend to like people who are a little bumbling [laughs], just because my brain lends itself to that – maybe a little slower and a little bit uncoordinated, because I sort of live there in my everyday life [laughs], so it’s a very easy place to be. Alpha – you mentioned DOLLHOUSE – I’m going to call it ALPHA. It should have been called ALPHA. I lobbied hard. There is a show called ALPHAS. I like it a lot. I really enjoy it, it’s on Syfy. But there’s a point [in DOLLHOUSE] where I was the first guy who [Tahmoh Penikett’s character Paul] comes to find, and Alpha pretends to be somebody who created the Dollhouse, the architect [of the Dollhouse]. Steven Keppler was his name. And he was a bumbling fool who was agoraphobic and afraid to go outside. He had all these issues – and then I had to switch into Alpha. I learned that the first part of that was a lot easier and more playful than the killer part.
AX: You like playing people who are playful?
TUDYK: There we go.
AX: Would you say Lonnie is playful?
TUDYK: [laughs] Absolutely. [does raspy, stoned, relaxed Lonnie voice] He lives his life sort of … [regular voice] He enjoys life, so, sure, absolutely. He doesn’t have any hang-ups, so he’s living the dream, surfing, living in the van, no hassles …
AX: And obviously with copious amounts of recreational herbs.
TUDYK: Yeah. Whatever he needs to get by. Whatever gets you through the night. [does Lonnie voice again] And the day, man. And then the next night. And the day.
AX: Is that a voice you ever did for fun before getting this part?
TUDYK: No. I do really well having suggestions. I don’t come up with a lot on my own. I think some people do that, where they’re like, “Listen to this new character I made.” I don’t know how to do that. I need somebody to give me things and then I’ll work from there, and that’s how it worked with this character.
AX: Did the GOOD VIBES producers know you from working with you before, or did they just like your work?
TUDYK: It was a straight-up audition. I just went in and said, “Here’s my take on it.”
AX: So they didn’t go, “You were Wash on FIREFLY!”
TUDYK: No, it was nothing like that. I mean, if they did, they kept it to themselves.
AX: And what else do you have coming up, or are GOOD VIBES, SUBURGATORY, TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL and the DVD releases of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and BEAUTIFUL BOY enough for now?
TUDYK: I’m in a movie coming out next year called ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER.
AX: Who do you play?
TUDYK: Stephen Douglas, who was [Lincoln’s] political rival, and he comes up and of course is in cahoots with the vampires, as everybody knows about Stephen Douglas …
AX: It’s a well-documented fact. Do you get big teeth at some point?
TUDYK: I don’t know if that’s a spoiler, but no [laughs]. It’s in the book, and no, I don’t become a vampire.
AX: Anything else you’d like to say that we haven’t hit?
TUDYK: I think that if people watch GOOD VIBES, especially the audience that tunes into BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD, [if they] sticks around for GOOD VIBES, I think GOOD VIBES is going to find a healthy audience, because it’s funny and it’s right in that tone and it’s something I haven’t seen before.
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Click on Link: TV Review – SUBURGATORY – Season 1 premiere
Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview – Alan Tudyk on SUBURGATORY, GOOD VIBES and TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL