Here’s an adorable trailer for the upcoming claymation feature film inspired by Lewis Carroll’s immortal nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark. It’s written and directed by Saranne Bensusan. I’m not featured in this trailer, but I contributed the voice of the Judge to the Barrister’s Dream sequence. After all, who could turn down an appearance in a Lewis Carroll project? Not me! Enjoy.
The Hunting of the Snark – Official Trailer from From the 3rd Story Productions on Vimeo.
I recently contributed my voice to an animated short film being created by the very talented writer/director/animator Alexandra Huzsvai. The piece is called Majnun’s Dream Theater Shadow Show, and I play the role of The Living Skeleton, a mysterious character who appears before the heroine when things look bleak. I’m delighted to be able to share this conceptual rendering of my character, courtesy of (and copyright by) Alexandra.
When we went into the studio to record the Skeleton’s lines, Alexandra noted that she sees him as someone who was possibly a jazz musician when he was alive. And in all her renderings, he still sports a lit cigar, so I suggested that perhaps the smoking was what killed him! She wanted to make sure he came across initially as a character whose motives were unclear, and I suggested that sounded a bit like the Cheshire Cat, an association she loved. Yet ultimately, he reveals himself to be something of a spirit guide for the heroine. So I had great fun working that all into my vocal interpretation of the Skeleton’s lines–cool, oblique, raspy breath, playful, yet ultimately kind. Voiceover work can be so liberating for an actor–you can’t be “typed out” of a role because of your own height, weight, age, gender, etc. Instead, the only limitation is your own vocal imagination. It’s a blast.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I think the script for this short film is terrific. It’s surprising and intriguing, and underneath there’s a strong message about the importance of recognizing and leaving an abusive relationship. The script is particularly effective in the way Alexandra uses visual metaphors to depict the heroine’s gradual awakening. I’m delighted to have been part of the project, and can’t wait to see the finished film later this year! My thanks again to Alexandra for permission to share this sneak peek at my character well ahead of the film’s release.
After the recording session, Alexandra and I chatted briefly, and conversation revealed we both originally hail from New England. Even bigger coicidence: it turns out we were both born in the same hospital in Cambridge, MA, and grew up in towns right next to each other! I love “small world” discoveries like that. It’s a good omen.
After two rounds of audio auditions, I’m happy to say I landed a cool role in an animated short film called Majnun’s Dream Theater Shadow Show which is being created by talented filmmaker Alexandra Huzsvai. I’m very excited about this piece because the script is beautifully written, and it takes a fascinating and fantastical approach to the very serious issue of leaving an abusive relationship. The script doesn’t preach, it just subliminally teaches the lead character Layla by example. I play a mysterious, Cheshire Cat-like creature called the Living Skeleton, who opens Layla’s eyes to the possibility of another life. We record next Monday, and I can’t wait!
On Sunday, Tim and I went to see the Smurfs movie in 3D with our nephew Nicholas, his mom Patty, Tim’s brother Danny, and his wife Ginny. We went to the brand new Ridge Hill multiplex here in Yonkers–it’s one of the only things open in this massive development (which is so big they may actually end up declaring it a village!). We made sure to get there good and early, prepared to take silly pictures next to the movie posters in the lobby, only to find out there weren’t any at this theater! So instead, before the action started, Danny kindly took this picture of us to mark the occasion of my major motion picture debut.
As it turns out, only about 1/3 of my little scene made it into the final film, so I’m really only onscreen for about 7 seconds. But I still interact very briefly with Hank Azaria (aka the villainous Gargamel) and hey, I’m up there. My thanks again to director Raja Gosnell for casting me and keeping a bit of the scene in the final film. As soon as I walked offscreen, Nicholas leaned over to me and whispered: “You were great!!” which really made my day. I told his mother later that being in a movie is indeed really cool, but being in a family and sharing little moments like this–now, that’s great!
Nicholas noted that we needed to stay and watch the credits at the end so that we could see my name. When the credits rolled, he pointed out: “Look! You’ve got a mushroom next to your name!” Evidently in the Smurf world, that’s a good omen. So if you end up seeing the movie and checking out the credits, look for the little red mushroom. Rumor has it that if this film makes enough money, Hank Azaria has already signed on for two more. So maybe we’ll cross paths again at greater length in a sequel! (And maybe the full version of the scene will show up on the DVD bonus reel…!)
Well, today’s the day I make my major motion picture debut. I play a silent waiter who runs afoul of the villain during a tasteful dinner at the Russian Tea Room. The scene lasts all of a minute (if they kept the whole thing), but if it’s as funny on film as it was while we were having fun shooting, it should be a hoot.
My thanks again to my agent Renée Glicker of About Artists, to casting director Richard Hicks, and to wonderful director Raja Gosnell for bringing me on board and giving me such a great opportunity. I had a fantastic time on my one day of shooting, and hope there will be many more. Raja, what are you doing next? Thanks also to Hank Azaria, Sofia Vergara, and Tim Gunn for being both gracious and very funny during shooting of our scene, and to Benita Allen and everyone behind the scenes on the production who kept things running so smoothly despite the antics of the four identical cats!
To top it all off, our nephew Nicholas announced that he wants to see the movie first with me! He even politely declined an invite from one of his schoolmates so that he could see it with me on Sunday in 3D. I’m honored, and I can’t wait.
Thanks also to all my friends who have been so supportive. I have no idea how I’ll look up there, but it’s great knowing that so many people out there are rooting for me. That means a lot.
At long last, the premiere of The Smurfs movie is almost here! The date has been moved up from August to July 29th. And today, I received a call from a woman checking the spelling of all the names to appear in the credits, and she confirmed that my little 30-second scene made the final cut! So while I don’t have any lines, I do have a fun scene with Hank Azaria, Tim Gunn, and Sofia Vergara, and it’ll be a hoot to see myself on “the big screen” for the first time. And in 3D, no less! My thanks again to my agent Renée Glicker, casting director Richard Hicks, and director Raja Gosnell for the opportunity to be part of the film. I had such a fantastic time filming, and I can’t wait to see the finished movie!