Actor Alan Tudyk started his career with one goal – to make people laugh. And he’s been doing that for two decades. Here’s a toast to the man of many talents
Alan Wray Tudyk has done it all — from playing a crazed German drug addict in 28 Days, a young squire in A Knight’s Taleand Steve in Dodgeball to comic roles in films including Transformers 3, Knocked Up, Death at a Funeral and Tucker and Dale vs Evil.
Tudyk has also done voice work in films including I, Robot; Rogue One; Moana; Wreak-It Ralph; Frozen; Zootopia; Ice Age ; and Astro Boy.
Talking to MetroPlus, Tudyk who shot to fame playing the laid-back Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne in Joss Whedon’s TV series Firefly, says he enjoys meeting people. “Especially a person who has watched my comedy movies, and knows a line or something that’s special to them, that made them laugh or enjoy it with their family. It always makes me feel good. I find my movies funny too. So I’m happy that we shared the same laugh.”
Ask him what his favourite among characters he has played is and Tudyk says: “I played Gerhardt, in 28 Days with Sandra Bullock. He’s gay, German, emotional and funny. Years later, Transformers 3 came along and they needed a character who’s gay, German and crazy. In my mind, they asked me to do the same character, albeit with a new name – Dutch. He’s out of rehab and after a small off-Broadway theatre career, he joins the special forces, and lands up as the valet for John Turturro’s character. I got to play the same character twice and he’s a blast! He could say and do anything and it was acceptable.”
Tudyk enjoys going off script. “I wait for the director to cut me loose. I noticed a lot of my lines end up in the movie. That gave me confidence. In Rogue One, I made up 80 per cent of K-2SO lines. It was a fun exercise.”
Compared to voice work, Tudyk says being onscreen is definitely harder. “It takes more time and whatever you do is there for the rest of time. In voice, you can do as many takes and try new things. On screen, you get only a few takes and daily deadlines. There are complications outside of acting. If I had to choose, I would go with onscreen.”
He adds he loves lending his voice to fun characters. “It’s fun. Hei Hei (Moana) was a riot. I watched the animation and just made chicken sounds. King Candy in Wreak–It Ralph was one of my favourites. A lot of it was because he could say anything. He made random sounds and they would animate it. He was the most fun.”
Looking back to the beginning, Tudyk says, “I did a community theatre play when I was 11 at a mall. It was a kids play called Fabulous Fable Factory where I played the hare from The Tortoise And The Hare, but they called him a jive talking hare in this play. I got a lot of laughs. It was after that, in my next school, that I joined the drama department and considered a serious career in acting.”
The journey, Tudyk says, has been a challenge. “I remember saying in a TV interview years ago that acting is hard and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I was in a negative frame of mind then. Now, I think it’s a great idea. It does take a lot of devotion, but there is a payoff. It is better than a life of accepting things as they are or living on autopilot.”
On his bucket list Tudyk says, “I’d like to write a film and then make it. I wrote this little show called Con Man with my friend Nathan Fillion and I enjoyed it. I have some ideas about a script. Writing a play is a lot harder. It has its own challenges and that’s on my list too.”
An active voice on social media, Tudyk believes it is important for actors “to use it as a tool to raise their voices and have other like-minded voices support them. I wish I wrote more jokes on Twitter. I used to look out for things and try to make a joke out of them. Now, because of the state of the world, I’m having trouble finding the jokes. It’s a crazy, scary world out there!”
Watch Alan Tudyk on Sony Le PLEX HD as the channel hosts a tribute to the actor completing two decades in the industry by airing his movies – 42, Trumbo, Serenity and 28 Days all day on April 30.