Reno’s Pop Culture Con hosted a number of great celebrities this month from the comic world as well as film and television. A favorite panel guest was Alan Tudyk. Using humor at every turn, we were never bored learning about his world. I had the opportunity to ask Tudyk the last question of the panel about some of my favorite works he played in.
Portraying characters in family favorites such as “Star Wars Rogue One” and “A Knights Tale,” Tudyk answered a variety of questions from the crowd, spanning the vast range of his film and television credits.
The interview began with the panel host’s question:
Q: Tell us about Star Wars – you have a pretty cool Anthony Daniels tale, right?
A: Anyone seen Rogue One? I play K-2SO the droid. I met Anthony Daniels on the set – I went up and said “Hi,” he said, “Oh yes I heard about you; you’re playing a droid?” “Yes.” “You speak, like, beep boop?” “Yes, I say words.” “So, are you wearing an actual costume or is it CGI” “Oh, I’m CGI,” I said. *laughs* Then Anthony says “..You shit.” *laughs* “So nice to meet you Mr. Daniels.”
I get to the premier and as I go to my seat, I pass by Anthony and he goes “I’ll be taking notes. I’ll give them to you after.” “Ok just make sure they’re legible – want to make sure I get the gist of how I did.”
Now it gets a little non-PG – this is Anthony Daniels; I’m just reporting what I heard. I saw him at the party afterwards – he saw me and stopped, put his arms out and hugs me. In my ear he says, “Fuck you.” Nicest “FU” I’ve ever gotten.
There’s going to be a prequel on the Disney+ channel; K-2SO, his story of what it’s like to be a spy before Rogue One.
Host: We have microphones on either side of the stage – we take all questions.
Tudyk: If you ask a question, I have some crap to give you.
Host: I asked a question; do I get something?
Tudyk: This stuff is called piffle puff – this is for people who like popping pimples – that’s for you – when you pop one think of me and “pop con.”
Q: You’re a very accomplished actor – do you have to audition still or do people just give you roles like “I wrote this for you; can you do this?”
A: When you do a lot of different roles, you get, “sure, he can play a robot but can he play a one-legged apple picker from Wisconsin?”
Editor’s note: We’ll use a different word for “crap.” Let’s call it “extra.”
Extra: Here’s a one-way ticket to Los Angeles from Japan… – it’s my boarding pass.
Q: Why did you want to play K-2SO the droid in Rogue One?
A: Why wouldn’t you? I remember the director said “Alan come play Star Wars for a few months, wouldn’t you?” Makeup was incredible. Almost all the aliens were practical costumes.
Extra: Here’s a very sexy picture of me. That’s probably what you want. From Resident Alien.
Q: My question is about K-2SO, too. He seemed to have a lot of your personality. How much license did you have in the dialogue portraying the character?
A: I had a lot. One of the benefits of being CGI and having a mouth that doesn’t move is that once we get the line and movement, there’s creative room. They take me out of the frame and use the points of my movement to animate, so the motion and vocal form is captured but they can take the vocals and put it over movement which means I could change the lines afterwards. The director was really laid back so I could say whatever I wanted to. Some of the lines I was surprised actually made the movie. I would say honestly at least 80 percent of the lines I came up with, which is pretty cool.
Extra: This is a Rolling Stone magazine. Let me take this home address out.
Q: Happy to share a birthday with you!
Tudyk: Really! March 16th ..1971!
*laughs* I work for a modeling and acting agency – do you have any advice for new faces that come in?
A: Wow I don’t know. Earle Hyman, the grandfather in The Cosby Show – I was his driver when I was 18. Whenever you get a job it could lead to something – even if it’s a crappy little gig. It’s a small industry so work begets work. I had Mike Nichols tell me – he saw me perform once – this was the ninth show and I was dead tired. I played the Knight that says Ni, the Enchanter, the French Taunter, and Lancelot – they were all big energy performances and I was pushing to get laughs and it didn’t work. He came to me after to tell me not to try so hard. Again, this is not PG – He said, “Alan, don’t try to make a hooker cum.”
Extra: When you do a thing, film or television, you go back and do ADR sessions. These are the lines I had to do for Doom Patrol.
Q: My favorite performance you’ve done is when I was in second grade – I first saw “A Knight’s Tale.” That performance meant a lot to my whole family. I was wondering if you could give us a taste of the “lots of pain” monologue.
A: I can tell you that was the audition piece. One of the lines in there I wrote, “Your in-trails will be your ex-trails.” They thought that was funny and that got me the job.
Q: If you could bring any book series to life on screen what would it be?”
A: I wish I was that guy but I don’t do that – that aspiration thing. I would read Resident Alien and not of thought “I should play that role.” Now I’m playing the role and I love it. So, I don’t know, what do you think?
Let me redo the answer. Resident Alien.
Q: What was it like working on “I, Robot?”
A: “I, Robot!” I play the robot. It was I.
Incredible. I was in Vancouver for six months. It was the early days of CGI so it was interesting. We were trying to figure a lot out as we went. I wore a green spandex suit the whole time, which Will Smith made fun of constantly. It was a great role. He’s the robot who has feelings. I’m alive so what does that mean? Do I have consciousness? Got to ask those big questions. It was not Isaac Asimov’s story – it borrowed from that. Great to be able to play a big role in a big movie like that. It was fun.
Extra: Alright, this is “Firefly” legacy edition book 2! Some of them aren’t as crappy as others.
Q: Why do you keep getting hired as a pilot when you always crash or die?
A: They keep giving me the keys. Nathan Fillion Instagramed something about this so I can say I got to play with him on the set. I just kept going “What are we doing; are we acting?” It wasn’t like a job at all; we were just like hanging out. How I keep getting space ships? I don’t know but if you write up a character who crashes a space ship, I’m the guy you call. “Man, he really crashes the hell out of this space ship.” “I know a guy.”
Extra: This will get you backstage at New York Comic Con – last year.
Q: How hard was it to play Ben Chapman in “42?”
A: It came out six years ago. We didn’t talk much on set. It was a movie about Jackie Robinson and how he broke the color barrier. There was one character that was the most racist and that’s who I played. He was a real guy. The chatter at bat was a lot of awful things and the writers sitting in the stands reported what he said. I could not believe the things I said. It was awful; I was in a bad mood. Racism is hate speech and it becomes violent. It weighed me down.
Extra: So, here’s “Doom Patrol” episode 110 – just gonna give you the whole damn episode.
Q: “Spamalot” and “A Knights Tale,” those are totally my jam. I’d love to hear a funny story from the set.
A: It’s not that funny – so, Hank Azaria originated the role. He had the lead to go to a TV show, “Huff” on showtime. It lasted two seasons. He was on Broadway and got picked up so he had to leave for six months and I got the call to fill in. I had all these scenes. I prepared the wrong role in EVERY SCENE. I couldn’t imagine they wanted me to play Sir Lancelot or the French Taunter – those are huge roles. I got to New York and had a ticket to see the show with the original cast – yeah it was so good. It became obvious to me very quickly, “I prepared all the wrong things!” I called my friend to help rehearse all the other roles at the hotel.
Extra: Here’s a really good one. I don’t know if this is gonna work but you should try it. At New York Comic Con, there was a gifting suite. One of the things was this piece of paper: “You are entitled to four nights at this beach resort” I don’t know where the hell this place is – the Caribbean – so, give it a shot.
Enjoy the Caribbean – Cheers!
— Transcribed by Amanda Jacobs, receiver of the potential to stay in the Caribbean
From Tudyk’s bio:
“Alan Tudyk is a multi-dimensional actor whose credits span throughout stage, film, television and voiceover entertainment platforms.
In 2016, Tudyk appeared in Lucasfilm’s “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” as the scene-stealing and snarky, security droid, K-2SO. He also voiced characters in two Academy-Award nominated animated films, playing the Duke of Weaselton in Disney’s “Zootopia” and the rooster Hei Hei’ in Disney’s “Moana.”
Tudyk also stars as Van in NBC’s new upcoming workplace comedy “Powerless,” opposite Vanessa Hudgens.
Tudyk is the creator and star of the record breaking web series, “Con Man.” Executive produced by Tudyk, Nathan Fillion and author PJ Haarsma, the series was funded via Indiegogo, resulting in a record-breaking $3.2 million donation, which had the support of more than 46,000 fans from around the world.
In television, Tudyk was a series regular on the critically acclaimed ABC comedy, “Suburgatory” and he reprised his role in the Netflix revival of “Arrested Development” as ‘Pastor Veal.’ His work on Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” has been highly lauded by fans and has gained him a strong cult following. Tudyk also appeared in “Strangers with Candy,” “Dollhouse,” “Frasier,” and “Justified.” He also was the host of “Newsreaders,” written and produced by Rob Corddry and David Wain, on Adult Swim.
Tudyk attended the prestigious Juilliard School in New York and has starred on Broadway opposite Kristin Chenoweth in “Epic Proportions,” played Lancelot with the original cast in Monty Python’s “Spamalot,” as well as the lead role of Peter in “Prelude to a Kiss” opposite John Mahoney.
Tudyk grew up in Plano, Texas, and lives in Los Angeles.
Tudyk has shown audiences wide versatility in numerous television shows and a plethora of feature films. Most recently he co-starred in the Jay Roach 2015 SAG Award nominated feature “Trumbo,” opposite Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Louie CK, Michael Stuhlbarg and Stephen Root as well as 2014’s “Welcome to Me” with Kristin Wiig. In 2013, Tudyk co-starred in the well-received Jackie Robinson biopic, “42,” as former Phillies manager ‘Ben Chapman.’ He made his feature film debut in 1998, when he first appeared opposite Robin Williams in “Patch Adams.”
Tudyk’s role in the Disney’s animated feature, “Wreck it Ralph,” garnered him an Annie Award for his role as ‘King Candy.’ He returned to the recording booth to voice ‘The Duke of Weaselton’ in Disney’s Academy Award-winning “Frozen.” He continued his work with Disney Animation Studios voicing ‘Alister Krei’ in “Big Hero 6” and will reprise his role in the upcoming “Big Hero 6” television series on Disney XD. He can also be heard as ‘Ludo’ and ‘King Butterfly’ on the Disney Channel series, “Star vs. the Forces of Evil,” which had its second season premiere on July 11th. Tudyk has also done voice work for many other features, television shows and video games.
His film credits also include: “Wonder Boys,” “28 Days,” “A Knight’s Tale,” “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” “Death at a Funeral” (the original UK version), “Knocked Up,” “Tucker and Dale vs Evil,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Serenity,” “Premature,” “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter,” and “Transformers 3.” Additionally, Tudyk motion performed the lead robot, ‘Sonny,’ in “I, Robot” opposite Will Smith.
Follow Tudyk on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alantudyk/
See video footage of the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3zoNotr0Ls
Reno Pop Culture Con Bios: https://renopopculturecon.com/filmtv/alan-tudyk/