Friday , June 14 2024

Fan Expo Philadelphia: Alan Tudyk on ‘Resident Alien’

For Resident Alien‘s Alan Tudyk (Moana, Rogue One), one of the best moments in his life was meeting Robin Williams. He told the story to fans at his Fan Expo Philadelphia panel.

While Tudyk only had a minor role on Patch Adams, he was on set for a few days. He spent the breaks joking around with fellow actor and friend Michael Jeter (The Green Mile). When the two started doing weird voices by the window on one break, Williams came over and joined in. Tudyk couldn’t believe it, but he ran with the conversation and changed his voice to keep up with the game.

“It was a moment where I was there doing and experiencing my life. But I was also outside of my body standing next to me going, do you see what’s happening right now? ‘Cause I was doing voices and characters that I had learned from Robin Williams, from watching [him when I was] growing up,” Tudyk said.

On Auditioning for Resident Alien

Currently, Tudyk plays crash-landed alien Harry Vanderspeigle on the hit sci-fi series, Resident Alien. More than 100 actors auditioned for the role of Harry by the time it was his turn. Later, Tudyk found out from the show’s creator Chris Sheridan that “he didn’t know what the role looked like. He just thought he’d know it when he saw it. Luckily, that’s what I did!” 

Casting typically operates in a particular way. “In Hollywood, a lot of times you get cast for the last thing you did. If you’ve done a comedy and somebody is casting a comedy, [then it’s in their mind] ‘That guy made me laugh.'”

In Tudyk’s case, his CV boasts a lot of comedy projects. He also impressed audiences and casting directors with his prior sci-fi work, notably Firefly. “I did a lot of things before Firefly, but Firefly changed my life in such a positive way.”

On Working in the DC Universe

In addition to live action projects, Tudyk receives enthusiastic applause whenever panel moderators mention his voiceover projects. However, he couldn’t say much about his chicken character, Heihei, from Disney’s Moana. He didn’t have any lines but he enjoyed making the clucking sounds for the first movie. “I haven’t done anything yet for the one that’s coming out. It’s my own dream that he gets a song. Something heartfelt and with music swells!”

Aside from Disney, Tudyk occupies his time with roles in the DC Universe. Harley Quinn is returning for a fifth season on Max. To prepare for playing the Joker, Tudyk didn’t watch Mark Hamill’s iconic performances beforehand. “[Mark’s] is very good. I like his. The writing [on Harley Quinn] is very different from the other Jokers because he’s very crass.”

Rather, Tudyk used the script as his starting point. The Joker’s “origin story is that he falls into a vat of acid. If I eat spicy foods or Mexican foods, I’ll get a little acid reflux and it really bothers my voice.”

Long before landing his Joker role, Tudyk portrayed lesser-known Van Wayne on the live action and short-lived comedy, Powerless. “We invented things for superheroes basically, research and development things for Batman. I was a loser Wayne.”

He admitted that the show probably didn’t find its footing until towards the end. The show wasn’t allowed to use the best DC superheroes, so they had to be creative with their plots. In one episode, Lois Lane dies. Some of the characters believe that Superman might fly super fast and reverse time, to borrow from the plot of the Christopher Reeve film. “Everybody does whatever they want. But then Lois Lane’s funeral is on TV and Superman shows up at the funeral!”

Visit the Fan Expo Philadelphia website and our coverage for more fan culture news.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is Pop Culture Editor for Blogcritics Magazine. She frequently covers TV, film and theater. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi and Brent Spiner. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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