Interview with Jess Harnell (voice of Wooton Bassett)

Hey nerds! My amazingly awesome friend Luke (The Doctor here on Odysseynerds) got himself an e-mail interview with Jess Harnell (the voice of Wooton Bassett). Thanks to both of them!! Here’s the interview below.

 

1    First of all what is it like playing one of the most loved Adventures In Odyssey characters?

It is an honor and a privilege. I love Wooton as much as I think anybody does and I am very blessed to be able to play this guy.

 

2    If you had to be another Adventures In Odyssey character who would you want to be?

I think everyone else does such a good job playing them that I’m happy where I’m at. So unless Wooton suddenly gets a twin Wooton, I’m cool!

 

3    Have you ever been recognized in public for your voice?

Yes, sometimes people hear my voice and recognize it from one project or another. And then I was also in a movie about voiceover called, “I Know That Voice!” They interviewed me a lot in that movie so I get recognized for that quite a bit, which is always nice, because it’s nice to meet people who like what you do.

 

4    Have you ever decided to use your Wooton voice when you were for example buying groceries or talking on the phone?

Not buying groceries, but talking on the phone when I’ve made calls that were Wooton-related.

 

5    What was your first response when you heard that Wooton was gonna lose his memory in the latest album?

Nothing that happens to Wooton surprises me anymore! It’s always a joy to go through it with him and see what the writers have come up with, but Wooton could take off flying like Superman and I’d be like, “oh yeah, well, that figures!”

 

6    Besides Adventures In Odyssey, what has been your favorite audio drama, TV series, or movie that you played on?

I have been very blessed to make a living exclusively with my voice for a long time now, and every time I get a job I’m thrilled to do it. A couple of my favorites were Animaniacs, playing Wakko, because it was the first big cartoon series that I was on, I love announcing America’s Funniest Home Videos because families can watch it together and it’s a genuinely funny show. Lately I am bringing back the Cowardly Lion on a new Wizard of Oz cartoon. That’s a joy too, because he was my favorite character in my favorite movie.

 

7    What has been your favorite Adventures In Odyssey Episode that you have played in?

I like them all! The ones that I did recently stand out the most, and there was one we did where is was B-TV, and I got to do my Adam West impression as a Batman-type character, so I really had fun with that.

 

8    How often to do you listen to Adventures In Odyssey? 

I don’t have a chance to listen to much of anything, but I know when I’m in the room recording with my friends I never get tired of listening to them do what they do.

 

9    What’s it like to play the comic relief? Have you ever wanted to play the bad guy again?

I’m always fond of saying that I have the coolest job in the world because I can go in and play the dad, the kid, and the dog, all at the same time, in one hour or less, and not have to change costumes or anything. I’m happy to be the comic relief. I love being a character that makes people happy (and it’s fun to be the bad guy too). It’s just fun to get to play!

 

10                 Your house was featured on HGTV’s “Home Strange Home”, and it reminds me of Wooton’s house! Was your house the inspiration for Wooton’s or vice versa? 

No, my house was completely separate. For those who didn’t see it, my house looks kinda like a spaceship. But it was fun to find out that Wooton’s house is crazy too because it’s yet another thing we have in common, in addition to both just wanting to be happy and have a good time.

 

11                 And what was it like to be on TV rather than in an audio drama?

Well, I’ve been on TV for a lot of things before. It seems like whenever they want somebody to play a rock star or a pirate and they know me, they end up casting me for those things because I have the right hair cut for them. LOL. But voiceover is my first love because you can do it so much more quickly and do so much of it in the same time.

 

12                 Your impressions are incredibly impressive, I’ve always wanted to know- can you impersonate Randy Newman? 

Thank you for your kind words, I’ve worked on them for a very long time! As far as Randy Newman, a little insider trivia for you: in the first Toy Story movie, there is a Buzz Lightyear ballad called “I Will Go Sailing No More.” There was one note in that song that was a little too high for Mr. Newman, and they had me come in and imitate him. They mixed it in and nobody can tell the difference. How cool is that?

 

13                 If you could meet any Adventures In Odyssey character (including yours) in real life who would you want to meet?

Obviously Wooton! We would hang out, we would go on a road trip, and we would do an Adventures in Odyssey episode all about it. I would love to hang out with Wooton.

 

14                 Who is your favorite actor to collaborate with when recording a scene?

Man, I work with the most talented people in the business and I love collaborating with all of them! I love the energy between Wooton and Penny, and Kimmy is great to work with, but everybody on the show and the other shows that I work on are so terrific, I couldn’t possibly choose just one.

 

15                 In your own words what is the gospel? What is Christianity all about?

Wow, that’s a bigger question than I have time for in this but I can tell you it’s about the peace that comes from knowing that you’re never alone.

 

16           Finally tell us more about your band “Rock Sugar“. How long have you been singing for it? And what inspired you to create it?

I have always been a rock singer, that’s how I got into doing voiceover. I love singing, and I thought, “wouldn’t it be fun if there was a band that took 80s metal and mashed it together with 80s pop?” So I did it with my best friend and we ended up getting to open up for well-known bands, and sing in front of hundreds of thousands of people.  It has been a huge blessing in my life. I love to sing!

 

Again, thanks to Jess, and Luke for making this interview happen.

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, etc, drop us an email at Odysseynerds@mail.com! Or leave it in the comments below, or use the contact form on our site. This is Kungfunaomi (And The Doctor!!!) reminding you to come in and nerd out at Odysseynerds!

 

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