When Warner Bros. “42″ hits screens April 12, the Jackie Robinson saga will slap moviegoers with a fresh take on just how accepted racism was in the U.S. back in 1947, when Robinson broke the color barrier as the first African American player admitted into Major League Baseball. That’s the word from Alan Tudyk, who plays Robinson tormentor Ben Chapman in the Brian Helgeland film that stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson, and Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey.
“It’s a very, very good telling of the story, starting with the amazing script Brian wrote,” notes the “Suburgatory” and “Firefly” actor. “He’s obviously a proven writer — ‘L.A. Confidential,’ ‘Mystic River’ and so many things. This is a brilliant, straightforward telling of this story. People who know the history and the trivia of this time are going to like it because it’s an accurate portrayal. A lot of the quotes known from this story are in the movie.
“I certainly wasn’t aware of the extent of the abuse Jackie had to take and how different the country was,” Tudyk admits. “Racism was very openly accepted as a form of humor — blackface, things like that. In that atmosphere, the things that were considered offensive are just completely outrageous. To my ears and my eyes in 2013, it was amazing, what he had to put up with and how he had to meet all the threats against him. He couldn’t react.”
Tudyk’s character, outfielder-turned-Phillies Manager Ben Chapman, was among the biggest thorns in Robinson’s side — opposing integration and instructing his players to bean him with the ball at every good opportunity.
“He goes out on the field and calls Jackie every name in the book. Then he catches grief for it from the press and gets called out for being a racist. Then, in an effort to save face, he asks Jackie — or, that is, he tells Jackie — that he wants to take a publicity picture with him out on the field before they play the next time. So Jackie agrees to go out and take pictures with this guy, who has been such an ass to him.
He’s the bigger man. And then, even when he goes out on the field to do this favor for him, Ben Chapman won’t shake his hand! They’re like, ‘Shake his hand.’ And he’s like, ‘I’m not touching his hand.’ There’s a famous picture of the two of them that’s recreated in the movie, when Jackie says, ‘Here, we’ll just both hold this bat so you won’t have to touch my skin.’ That picture — you can find it anywhere.”
Tudyk admits that shooting the scenes in which he berated Boseman with racial epithets left him feeling “awful. I was in a terrible mood. It’s just a lot of hate. You get kind of like a hate hangover for a day or two.” Still, he was required to adopt Chapman’s mindset to play his part in the feature that also stars Christopher Meloni and T.R. Knight.
“Brian Helgeland said, ‘You know, when you read interviews with people who knew Ben Chapman, a lot of the guys said, “Hey, yeah, he had a temper and he was a racist, but beyond that he was really likable,”‘” recounts Tudyk with a rueful laugh. “Brian wanted to capture that person. He’s like, ‘Have you ever met a good ol’ boy — that’s who he was, a good ol’ boy from Alabama — and you’re having a great time with him, and he’s joking and he’s nice and he buys you a beer and everything’s great, and then he says the most racist thing you’ve ever heard in your life and you’re like, “Oh my God. I’ve got to get out of here”?’ I don’t want him to come out like a villain with Darth Vader music. He’s a guy who is trying to make his team laugh half the time.”
As Tudyk puts it, “He has his own thuggish, cruel cham.”
Small wonder Tudyk would like to play a nice character next. “Some sweet fool would be nice — some sweet, affable fool.”
He and the rest of the “Suburgatory” team just wrapped the ABC series for this season. He’s currently doing voice work for an animated feature “I’m not allowed to talk about.” He’ll be seen in the Netflix reboot of “Arrested Development” in May. And he’s bracing himself for the release of “42.”
“There’s so much racism still today,” comments Tudyk, some 66 years after Robinson’s admission into the major leagues. “I think it’s really a great time to tell this story again.”
To find out more about Stacy Jenel Smith and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
This image was shared by Rainn Wilson and is the original sign-in sheet for the first day of casting for The Office. With the series wrapped and the final episodes scheduled to air as spring approaches, now seems like a fitting enough time to look back on what has and what could have been. The sheet not only shows us that Rainn Wilson was the first person to audition for the series, but also some of the other people who were up for roles. Alan Tudyk as Michael Scott? It’s hard to imagine anyone playing Michael Scott better than Steve Carell, but it’s not difficult imagining Tudyk in that kind of role. The Firefly and Suburgatory star has always been good with comedy. Imagine, The Office might have been Tudyk’s first big post-Firefly role… excluding Steve the Pirate in Dodgeball, of course.
Also up for the role of Michael was Ben Falcone, husband to Melissa McCarthy. Around that time, he was playing a role in NBC’s Joey. More recently, he appeared in Bridesmaids, and we’ll see him in The Heat later this year. He would’ve been a different Michael, given his knack for comedy, who knows how it might have turned out?
Anne Dudek and Marylynn Rajskub as Pam (Jenna Fischer)?! While her credits were minimal around 2003, with and episode of ER and a role in a British series called The Book Group under her belt at the time, Dudek has gone on to play a number of notable roles since not playing Pam in The Office, including Amber in House, Francine in Mad Men and Lura in BIg Love. Mary Lynn Rajskub played Chloe on 24. In fact, the series was still airing during the time of her audition for The Office, which makes me wonder if either the Fox show or her character was in question at that point, or if she was simply looking to explore more comedy, in which she has a prominent background. Can you imagine 24 without Chloe? I don’t want to. But I do sort of love the idea of Rajskub as Pam, perhaps in some bizarre alternate universe where Alan Tudyk is Michael Scott.
As for Jim, if things had worked out differently, the role might have been played by Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott, whose past credits at the time was a recurring role on Party of Five and a role in a show called Wasteland. After not playing Jim, he took a series of roles in film and television, including a one-episode spot in Veronica Mars as the accused teacher Mr. Rooks. We saw him as the male nurse in Knocked Up and he eventually won many of our hearts every time he asked if we’re having fun yet in Party Down. Gideon’s Crossing’s Hamish Linklater was also up for the part of Jim, but as we know, John Krasinski won the role, and Linklater went on to play Matthew Kimble in The New Adventures of Old Christine.
As for Dwight, while it’s impossible to imagine anyone but Wilson playing the part, it might have been Upright Citizens Brigade’s Matt Besser, whose recent credits include Parks and Recreation, or Matt Price, who ended up appearing in Arrested Development as Agent Freeling, and playing Lawrence in Men of a Certain Age.
Things worked out for the best, obviously. The Office has aired since 2005 and the core cast was perfect. But it’s still fun to imagine what the series might have been like with different actors in the leads, and just how drastically it might have affected the show.
Here’s the caption included with Wilson’s post.
This is the original sign-in sheet for the first day of casting for The Office given to me by Allison Jones, our incredible casting agent. I was the very first person to audition for the series, 11/06/03. Notice all the amazing talent on the sheet, including the amazing #13! This is perhaps the greatest Office keepsake I have. So grateful for the best job I will ever have.
Rainn ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’ Wilson
When he’s not busy picking up Annie [animation] Awards for his work as the villainous King Candy in the Oscar Nominated Wreck-It Ralph Alan Tudyk can be seen every Wednesday night as Noah on ABC’s hit show Suburgatory and in theatres this April as the heinous Ben Chapman in the Jackie Robinson biopic 42. MSN had a chance to chat with the former ‘Steve The Pirate’ about his experience on the set of Wreck-It Ralph, playing a racist in 42 and to get a preview of this week’s episode of Suburgatory.
Suburgatory is full of improv actors from all over, Saturday Night Live and Mad TV alumni, even your TV wife, Gillian Vigman, is a Mad TV alumnus.
Yeah she’s improv. She’s hysterical. She’s got some stuff coming up… [SPOILER ALERT] I’m going to leave her. Our marriage hits the rocks again. It hit it last season, but now it’s going to end, because I fall in love with my nanny… or not even my nanny. Dallas Royce (Cheryl Hines) takes her back, Carmen. Going through all of that, her character is in it a lot more. I was a little worried that when I left her, I was like, “Oh no. Her character’s going to go away.” But actually it’s become bigger.
What kind of hilarity ensues in this week’s episode ‘T-Ball & Sympathy’?
It’s a big episode for me, and a fun one. It’s sort mentioned here and there this season, that I’m stealing Dallas’ staff. She took Carmen from me, so I’ve stolen her dog walker even though I don’t have a dog. I’m just taking her staff because I’m acting out. Our feud comes to head in this episode. We compete against one another with little league T-ball teams. It gets out of control. We use the children as our pawns. I have a bleach blonde blowout. I stole her hairdresser. Every time she wanted to go to the hairdresser, I would go to the hairdresser and take up his whole day, so my hair gets too bleached, because I keep going again, and again, and again. It’s pretty ridiculous and fun.
Did you take anything away from 42 to bring to that episode?
[Laughs.] I‘m the coach of the T-ball team and the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies so it wasn’t too far, except I wasn’t quite as racist, a historically racist character as I was in 42. Ben Chapman, he was the manager/player of the Philadelphia Phillies. He would fill in if they needed something. He was a pitcher at one time. He was a good ball player back in his day. He played with [Joe] DiMaggio and Babe Ruth. He was on the Yankees, but he had a temper, and was a racist. They traded him whenever his batting average went down. They got rid of him because he was such a handful. His main legacy that he left was when Jackie Robinson and the Phillies played a series in Brooklyn that he would step out of the dugout and yell every racial slur at him to try and fluster him. He would get his pitchers to throw at his head. He said all of this stuff with reporters right there and they would write it down. He went to Brooklyn to do it. It wasn’t like he was in his own backyard. Walter Winchell, the reporter, had a campaign to get rid of him, and out of baseball. He ended up having to take a picture with him. There’s a picture of the two of them together to show that he’s ok with him. He wouldn’t shake his hand. He wouldn’t touch his skin, so they’re just holding a bat. It’s an interesting picture. We kind of go through that little section in the movie.
Ben must have been interesting and uncomfortable for you to play.
Oh wildly uncomfortable! Man, it was a couple of days of just standing out in the hot sun. I guess we were in Atlanta or Tennessee yelling the worst racial slurs. When I first read the script I was like, “Let me go re-watch Mississippi Burning and see if they even go this far.” That’s just what he was about. Just one after another, after another… I’m sitting in a stadium where there’s a bunch of African Americans. I made an announcement before we started, [saying] “I’m going to say a lot of things that are very offensive. I apologize beforehand. This is historic in nature. It’s going to be offensive.” It shocked people. There were also people coming up to me going, “You know what you should say… here’s my favourite racial slur.” It wasn’t too foreign for some. [Brian Helgeland, the writer/director] wanted me to add [those] things to my lines, add slurs that Chadwick [Boseman, who plays Jackie Robinson] knows aren’t in the script to feel his reactions.
On a bit of a lighter note, Wreck-It Ralph seems to be the odds on favourite for an Oscar win this weekend. What was that experience like?
That was so much fun. Wreck-It Ralph is one of my favourite movies that I’ve ever been in as an overall piece of entertainment. I’ve always liked Pixar and Disney, but I’m just so impressed the way… it was a two-year process from the original script to the end. They don’t miss a beat. Right at the end when they lift up Ralph, everything’s good and they’re going to throw him off the building, you’re like, “Ah, this is great.” He says, “My favourite part is when they lift me up and I get to see her and the other…” Every moment, they really get you! It’s just so well done. It’s just a really well-crafted movie.
Where did King Candy’s voice come from?
The foundation is based on the voice of Ed Wynn, he’s actually from Philadelphia. He was that Vaudeville character, and he did voices for Disney. I got the job from a reading. The first time that they read it for the Pixar honchos. Whoever was supposed to read my role couldn’t do it. He fell out just a few days before. My agent convinced them to give me a shot. He called me and said, “I think you should do this thing. Can you do an Ed Wynn voice? Can you do something like that?” I was like, “I don’t know who that is, but I’ll work on it.” I went up there and did the read-through with John Lasseter and everyone at Pixar. It was a really great audience to have, and it went well. We built on that. As the role evolved, he became more evil. He had more of backstory. The role got bigger and more complex. The final thing that they added, right at the end where he gets so dark. I saw early parts of the animation where I was beating her with a car antenna, I was like, “Jesus Christ! That’s something pimps do. They beat people with car antennas. This is not what you’d expect to see in a Disney movie.” So Ed Wynn was always there, but there was also Ruth Gordon. Just sort of the delivery she had. Jerry Lewis has some moments. Also, when I was in my twenties, and going to school in New York, I just fell in love with Vaudeville. I would go to the Museum of Radio & Television, and watch old shows, because YouTube wasn’t around yet. I would watch The Show of Shows and Jack Benny, and all of those old guys. Young Dick Van Dyke as a dancer. It was so cool. I drew from all that, that was still kicking around in my brain.
Jack McBrayer told us on the MSN Exclusives series, that you were actually able to perform the voice work with other actors which is quite rare.
The only person I read with was John C. Reilly. It was invaluable. I learned a lot. I’m a fan of his to begin with, but the way he approached the role was like an actor approaching a role for any film. He would say, “My character wants this in the last scene. Then when we come here, I’m sort of losing steam. What if that want continues all the way through? Move this piece over here.” He was staying true to the character and not just catering to each scene, and doing the voice for each scene. That could be trap that I could fall into. You got a funny voice, I can find a lot of funny things to do. The real skill is to maintain a character that may have a funny voice, and does funny things, but is true his arc in the script. Working with him was amazing. There was a scene where I have to tell Ralph, “Listen, you’re helping her and you shouldn’t. She’s a glitch and she’s going to get hurt. I’m trying to help her.” It’s a touching scene between the two of them. I’m lying actually, but that scene we worked on, and we worked on. I really liked how it all came out.
Wreck-It Ralph is currently available as a digital download and will be out on DVD/Blu-Ray March 5. 42 hits theatres on April 12 and Suburgatory can be seen Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. on ABC and Citytv.
Ever since Joss Whedon was handed the reins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Whedonites have been anxiously waiting to see if any of his regulars would be popping up as Marvel superheroes. One of the most popular fan-castings involves the captain, Nathan Fillion, playing Hank Pym, the star of Edgar Wright’s ‘Ant-Man’. However, there has also been a want for Serenity’s pilot, Alan Tudyk, to take the role as well. In a recent interview, the ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ star addressed the rumors of him stepping into the shoes of the scientist supreme.
“I’ve heard about that [the rumor of me playing Ant-Man], but no. [It's a shame] I know, I’m a fan of ants. But no.”
But what about the possibility of reuniting with Whedon on another Marvel project, like the little pilot that the director is shooting right now that’s likely going to get a series order? The actor talks about that as well:
“I just saw Joss the other day. I just went and checked out the… what is that show they’re doing? ‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ Not SWAT. Shows how much I know about it (laughs). I just happened to be on the lot where they were shooting…And I went by and Joss was there, it was very cool.”
It’s possible that the two may have thrown around some ideas for a role when the show gets picked up, or potentially in an upcoming film, but that’s all speculation at this point. Also, don’t count him out of ‘Ant-Man’ just yet. There is still a small chance that he could be in the running since Wright hasn’t exactly switched into full on pre-production yet and started casting.
Finally, among all the reminiscing talk of the beloved space western series that was taken from us too soon, Tudyk seemed very hopeful for a new ‘Firefly’ series, especially with the popularity of the show on Netflix and the service’s foray into original programming with ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Arrested Development’. Though he probably wouldn’t be a part of a new season because of what happened in ‘Serenity’, he’s still enthusiastic about a return to that universe:
“I really think there’s a chance that it [a Firefly resurrection] could happen. I think that as we go forward, as it gets cheaper to shoot in digital … yeah, I hope so. We all want it.”
Actually, if Joss Whedon made it a mini-series set in between ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’, then Wash could be able to come back… If you ever want to talk about this, Mr. Whedon, I’m available for consultation.
The team behind Firefly gathered together to mark its tenth birthday. And here’s what happened…
With more than enough to geek out about in San Diego over the weekend, and more spoiler-filled panels than you could shake a stick at, ever-faithful Browncoats still turned out in their thousands to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Firefly with its cast a crew. Writer Jose Molina, executive producer Tim Minear, Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Sean Maher, Adam Baldwin and, of course, Joss Whedon himself, all turned up to spend an hour with fans.
All taking pictures of each other, as well as the crowd, fans could see this was a real reunion of friends, and it was an emotional hour for long-time devotees to the seminal sci-fi series callously shoved off the air a decade ago. When asked what it meant to be there, Whedon answered:
“What else could it possibly mean except that we always knew from the very beginning that everything we were doing we were doing for the right reasons in the right way with the right people? We were making something that was more than the sum of its parts and with the best cast I’ll ever work with. It goes beyond vindication; vindication came a long time ago. It goes to a place of transcendence that I can’t even describe without turning into a girly man.”
And Nathan Fillion chipped in himself, thanking Joss for taking a chance on him when parts he was getting were no more glamorous than “‘#5 guy’ or the lead girl’s ex; the other dude who doesn’t come in until later then leaves pretty early.
“‘He’s good but we don’t know if he can carry a show’ is what I got all the time,” he added. “No one would give me a chance, and then Joss Whedon gave me the best character I’ve ever played.”
Asked what the overall mission statement of Firefly and Serenity was, Joss said, “at this point it’s so much in the vernacular that it seems old fashioned but I just wanted to make something that felt as real as a piece of history. I wanted to buck the system of all science-fiction being lit with purple lights… I wanted to tell an American immigrant story – a western story – but I need spaceships or I get cranky.”
“I never once thought of it as science-fiction,” Sean Maher added. “Someone coined the phrase ‘post-apocalyptic western’ and that’s always how I always spoke about the show.”
As well as getting the actors and writers choked up about the past, fans were offered nostalgia-filled clips from the show and a chance to win Jayne’s hat. Though the real hat has already been sold for $5,000 for charity, a replica was given to the fan who knew which planet Stacey had wanted to buried on in The Message. “This is a goldmine,” Baldwin said while recounting the history of his headwear. “It’s a birthday cake in a wasteland.”
“These are honestly the finest meat puppets that I’ve ever controlled,” joked Whedon of his cast. “It’s hard for me because I do remember a time before these people played these parts… yet these were the people before I wrote it. I feel like at some point I was in a hotel in London, reading The Killer Angels, and thinking ‘this is story I want to tell, but with Han Solo in it’, and the moment that happened I feel like all of them [felt it too].”
Referring to missing cast members Gina Torres (Zoe), Morena Baccarin (Inara), Ron Glass (Book) and Jewel Staite (Kaylee), he added, “people that are not here, my heart is breaking that they’re not. Not just to experience this but because I miss them so much.”
And the tears really started flowing when fans asked the panel to relive the days following cancellation, with Adam Baldwin recalling an encounter with Joss in particular. “Upon cancellation, I went up to Joss’s office and I saw him diligently trying to get it back up in the air, and saw the look of termination in his eyes. I never gave up hope and the fan community that was interacting with us at that point never gave up, and so Joss understood that and never did either.
“One of the most heart-warming times of my entire life was watching that show being resurrected as a major motion picture, and we couldn’t have done it without [the fans].”
In reply, recalling the making of Serenity as “one of the finest nervous breakdowns a man could possibly have,” he said, “I was inconsolable, and it changed me. It changed the way I work and the way I operate because there was no way, no reality, where I wouldn’t get these people back together.”
Reiterating the gratitude they felt towards the fans in the room, Minear quipping “remember that time when we were off the air for ten years, but thousands of people came to see us anyway?” Fillion said, “when Firefly died, I thought it was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I realize now, 10 years later, looking out on this room, is that the worst thing that could have happened was if it had stayed dead. That it died was OK.”
And it’s clear that the show has never full departed, with one fan asking whether an animated Firefly was a possibility. Joss replied with a preference to radio shows, which Fillion and Tudyk subsequently acted out a scene with alarming detail, and revealed plans he had for more graphic novels. “Zack (Whedon) and I just spent some time figuring out how to do the comics moving forward into the future and not just covering stories from the past. When we started talking about it, we came up with all of this amazing, cool sh*t.
“When you’re telling a story,” Joss finished with, “you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way… The way in which you guys have inhabited this world, this universe, has made you part of it, part of the story. You are living in Firefly. When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air. I don’t think there’s a show; I think that’s what the world is like… the story is our lives.”
If, ten years ago, you would have told the superfans who were calling themselves Browncoats that the stars of their beloved and — just-canceled — space western Firefly would one day be at the top of the Hollywood food chain, you’d have gotten plenty of crazy looks. But today, you could also be teasing, “I told you so.”
The show had been unceremoniously dumped after just 11 episodes by Fox, a high crime to the devotees of creator Joss Whedon and the stars of the hyper-literate genre-bender, and their campaign to have it revived on TV was unsuccessful (though they did win a modestly budgeted 2005 film, Serenity). Fast forward seven years from that big screen outing, and you’ll find those Firefly alum owning headlines, especially this month.
Here’s a look at what they’re doing now:
Whedon, who was already a cult hero before Firefly thanks to his series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just became a household name thanks to his critically acclaimed writing-directing job on The Avengers. The Marvel super-hero mashup has been sweeping box office records; it set the all-time best opening weekend in the United States with $207.4 million, is hurtling past $800 million and could hit $1 billion by Sunday.
Nathan Fillion, a frequent Whedon collaborator, played Captain Malcolm Reynolds, the brusque and charming lead space cowboy in the series. He is now the title character in ABC’s crime comedy-drama Castle, employing his patented mix of heroism, sly sense of humor and touch of insecurity to great effect; the show was just renewed for a fifth season. He’ll also star in the next Percy Jackson film, playing a Greek god.
Similarly, Alan Tudyk, who played the ship’s ace pilot Wash, plays a strong supporting role on ABC’s Suburgatory, which was also just renewed.
Tudyk’s wife on Firefly, played by Gina Torres, has two series on her plate; she will return next month for another season of USA’s law drama Suits, as well as voice Airachnid in the returning cartoon series, Transformers: Prime. Her co-star on that series? None other than Adam Baldwin, who played the tough lunkhead Jayne Cobb on Firefly — and just did a guest spot on Castle. He also just finished five seasons on Chuck.
Morena Baccarin, who plays a Companion and potential a love interest for Captain Mal, is now one of the stars of Showtime’s hit Homeland, playing wife to Damien Lewis’s maybe-turned terrorist lead.
Jewel Staite, who played the tough girl with a soft heart Kaylee on the show, is now starring in the nighttime soap The LA Complex. Originally a show from Canada, it hasn’t performed as expected on the CW in the United States, but has been given a second season up north.
Sean Maher, her love interest Simon Tam in Firefly, just starred with Fillion in Whedon’s next film, the modern-day adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, and has another film, Best Friends Forever (a drama, not to be mistaken with the NBC show) headed for theaters.
Summer Glau, Simon’s damaged and mysterious sister, has guest starred in two episodes of Grey’s Anatomy this season, and will star with Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage in the film Knights of Badassdom.
Ron Glass, who played Shephard Book, has had a plethora of roles since Firefly ended, including arcs in All Grown Up and Dirty Sexy Money, and a guest spot in CSI: NY.
EXCLUSIVE: We’ve seen the last of MTV’s animated comedy Good Vibes as the cable network has opted not to pickup a second season of the series created by David Gordon Green. The decision came after weeks of conversations between MTV and Good Vibes producers about ways to keep the show alive. One potential scenario discussed involved pairing the animated comedy with MTV’s breakout live-action comedy Awkward for extra sampling. For its freshman run, Good Vibes aired in a block with Beavis And Butt-Head despite being far more female-skewing than the revival of Mike Judge’s 1990s animated staple. In the end, despite their faith in the Good Vibes‘s creative direction and its auspices, MTV brass felt that the series didn’t attract a broad enough audience to justify another season. Beavis & Butt-Head and Good Vibes premiered against Game 6 of the World Series in October, drawing 3.3 million and 1.6 million viewers, respectively. It is a bitter-sweet ending for Good Vibes, which still ran a season longer than anyone expected. The project, developed at Warner Bros. TV through Tom Werner’s studio-based Good Humor TV production company, was first given a pilot presentation order by Fox in 2008, with Adam Brody, Alan Tudyk, Danny McBride, Debi Mazar, Jake Busey, Josh Gad and Olivia Thirlby as the voice cast. Fox ultimately passed, which should’ve been the end of the road but Good Vibes producers didn’t give up, and in 2010 the animated comedy received a series order at MTV. Even the entire voice cast came back. As for Good Vibes‘ companion Beavis & Butt-head, conversations about its future are still ongoing.
Alan Tudyk reprised his role from the 2000 Sandra Bullock film 28 Days in this summer’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
“He goes by Dutch now, but he was Gerhardt in 28 Days . The idea was he got sober, got out of rehab, joined the [military], found he had a knack for computer-hacking, and became a weapons specialist. He somehow met Agent Simmons [John Turturro]. The idea is that he’s the same character,” said Tudyk, 40, a 1989 Plano Senior High School graduate.
A well-known character actor, Tudyk has appeared in numerous films, across all genres. He provided the voices of several characters in the Ice Age franchise and appeared in the original Death at a Funeral, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story and provided the performance for the robot Sonny in I, Robot.
Perhaps his best-known role is Hoban “Wash” Washburne on the short-lived Firefly , which aired on Fox in 2002. From Joss Whedon ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and set in the 25th century, Firefly was about a starship crew going from job to job on the outer fringes of the universe, often running into trouble.
Although Firefly didn’t last even one season, strong DVD sales and an even stronger fan outcry led to its 2005 big-screen sequel-spinoff Serenity. Sadly, Wash died in Serenity, angering fans.
“When Wash dies so suddenly and so thoroughly with that … stake in his heart — which is so appropriate that Whedon’d kill him that way with a stake through his heart — in the following scene when the whole crew is under attack from the Reavers and everyone starts to go down one by one … it looks like they’re all gonna die,” Tudyk explained.
“With Wash dead, the hope was it’d make people in the audience go, ‘Oh, my God, he’s gonna kill everyone. All bets are off — anybody’s game.’ It worked. It’s sad to lose the character. If you lose him in the service of something greater, it’s a better movie for it.”
Tudyk recently completed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which is based on the novel of the same name and scheduled for a 2012 release. He plays Stephen Douglas.
“Most of my roles happen through auditions. It’s the character actor’s game — you audition because you do so many different characters. It’s not like, ‘He was really good at playing the gay German, let’s hire him to play Stephen Douglas.’ It doesn’t work that way,” he said, laughing. “Douglas is a little bigger in the movie than in the book. He’s Lincoln’s political rival as it was in our history classes. Unlike our history classes, he’s in cahoots with vampires. The reason why he has political allies in the movie is very different from why he had them in real life. You’re doing things out of the ordinary with a historical figure.”
This fall, Tudyk will be playing Noah on ABC’s Suburgatory , which stars Jeremy Sisto ( Law & Order). Sisto’s George is a single father of 16-year-old Tessa (Jane Levy of Shameless ). They move from Brooklyn to the suburbs of Connecticut.
“He finds a box of condoms in her bedroom and flips out,” Tudyk says. “He feels Brooklyn is no place to raise a daughter and moves her out to the suburbs of Connecticut,” where Tudyk’s character resides.
“The very act of acting is fun. It’s fun figuring people out, playing dress-up and make-believe,” he said. “It’s really a good time. I feel lucky as hell.”