I’m a big fan of Alan Tudyk. I probably haven’t seen most of his work, but I’ve seen enough to love him. Let’s recap his major achievements.
I absolutely adore Firefly. It’s a (shamefully short-lived) Sci-Fi series. Incredibly funny and well-written, without being a straight-up parody of the genre. It’s also kind-of a Western, and you wouldn’t think those two genres would mesh well, but oh boy you’d be wrong. But my love for Firefly would merit a blog post on its own, and this isn’t the time. Nathan Fillion, the protagonist, gets the best parts of the writing, but like the rest of the crew of the Serenity, it has a dark past that reflects on his character. He plays an outlaw who fought on the losing side of a civil war, and so is does his first officer Ginna Torres. The preacher, played by Ron Glass (may he rest in peace) has a never explained past with the evil Alliance. Morena Baccarin plays a kind of geisha, Summer Glau is a troubled child who was experimented on until his brother risked everything to save her. Almost everyone in that ship has a dark past. And then, of course, you have the pilot, Wash, played by the one and only Alan Tudyk. The only dark and gritty thing we know about his past is that he had a 70’s pornstar-style moustache. Every character in that series had their fair share of funny moments, but in Tudyk’s case, that’s the bulk of his lines. And he really delivered.
Fast-forward a few years, and Tudyk interpreted the sentient robot Sonny in I, Robot. It’s hard to steal the show when you’re just a distorted voice emanating from a CGI plastic head, but he did it. Will Smith is the main character, but no-one would say Sonny is overshadowed by The Fresh Prince in that film. I have to admit that when I saw I, Robot it was many many years ago, and I watched movies dubbed to Spanish back then, so I haven’t really seen Tudyk’s performance. Time to fix that mistake I guess.
Someone at Disney must have seen that, and hired him to work on every Disney animated movie from that point on. For example:
- Wreck-it Ralph: The Candy King, evil but also kind-of ridiculous.
- Frozen: Duke of Weselton, the funny evil guy.
- Big Hero 6: Alistair Krei, a CEO or something.
- Zootopia: Duke Weaselton (LOL, that name, sounds familiar?), a petty thief who happens to be a weasel.
He was also the imperial droid K-2SO in the amazing Rogue One movie. You can think of him as a better, less annoying version of C3PO, and even funnier if I may add. Every line to come out of his inanimate face is pure gold. I strongly recommend watching him on interviews on late nights and the like, he’s as funny without a script as he is with one. For example, in this interview with Conan.
So, I finally decided to see Moana. It’s a Disney movie, so naturally Tudyk was in it. I glanced over its iMDB page and I saw that Tudyk was there indeed, but I didn’t look who was he playing. So I started watching the movie. The following inner monologue ensued:
- “Is he the chief?”
- “No, that’s not his voice”
- “He can’t be Maui either, I know that’s The Rock”
- “There aren’t many characters here, and the movie is ending… maybe he was the giant crab?”
- “No, that didn’t sounded like him at all”
I enjoyed the movie a lot, but it came to an end and I didn’t hear Tudyk in it. Slightly puzzled, I waited for the credits, expecting him to be playing a villager or someone with a distorted and unrecognizable voice. Then it hit me like a train:
Alan Tudyk: Hei Hei
HE. WAS. THE. CHICKEN.
Not a Disney magical talking chicken. Just a stupid chicken, even by chicken’s standards. Disney hired a respected comedic voice actor to make a few chicken noises and call it a day. I was perplexed for a second, then I bursted out laughing like a maniac. I don’t know if he was paid a lot, I don’t know if he was already on retainer for Disney so they used him, I don’t know if he specifically requested the part. I want to believe that, in one form or another, Tudyk was perfectly conscious of what he was doing: appearing in the credits of a major Disney film, knowing he has fans all over the world waiting to hear him, and giving them roughly 30 seconds of chicken noises. Bravo, sir.
I expect to hear him in many more movies, laughing at his performances. But I never expected to lose it just by reading his name in the credits. That’s some next-level comedy. Also, yes, the chicken was funny, as funny as a chicken can be I guess.