Hank Azaria Breaks Down His Iconic Simpsons Voices and Movie Roles | GQJun 13, 2021
every time I do a voice which is often for me based on someone I know, no, I tried to get away with it, such a pretty woman, I was like 23, 22, I played a cop on a Hollywood Boulevard, I had done a TV show before that and I told everyone that I was going to be on it like you would and then they kicked me off the show and I was really embarrassed and discouraged so I didn't tell anyone that I had gotten these few lines and pretty woman because I just assumed they were going to cut me and then when the
moviecame out I forgot I hadn't told anyone and I got all these calls from angry relatives asking me why are you telling me you were in a
movie? -uh, I forgot, I didn't tell people that it was okay, it was reserved, that that's the movie that made Julia Roberts.
I mean, I think everyone in show business already knew that she was going to be huge, who was coming, that would be mystical pizza, but that movie really. made it hot, it was incredibly cool to work with Al Pacino, a hero of mine growing up, Michael Mann, who directed, he does a lot of takes, a lot of takes, the point where you go a little cross-eyed and we filmed that scene without where he screams , she understood that scene that he had said normally like a hundred times because she had a big butt and then I guess maybe he had gone crazy from the amount of takes he had to do and decided to scream in my face from a foot away. distance to which I reacted going to Jesus like that, not acting just terrified, which ended up in the movie, the only improvisation, I better get up from the movie with me, no, Jesus, well, Pacino yelled at me Moe. the bartender from The Simpsons is based on Al Pacino, but the young Al Pacino Dog Day Afternoon Michael Corleone II Pacino, who is a little taller Serpico Al Pacino and I did that for Moe the Bartender and my audition for The Simpsons and they said We liked that voice.
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hank azaria breaks down his iconic simpsons voices and movie roles gq...
Be serious, so if you take it out, but you know I would do it seriously, you'll get a motorized bartender, because yeah, probably, I've just been the most developed and the closest to my heart, always kind of a weird version of the young Al Pacino done with gravity, no. This is heard, the next words you say will be muffled by yours, but Chief Constable Wiggum, there is an Edward G Robbins imitation and there is an old gangster actor $4.99 four days Wickham, yes, of course, master, mm-hmm, an elephant just knocked over your mailbox, okay? and it's actually my impression of Mel Blanks.
I've had the G word Robinson Mel Blanc for your kids playing at home he was the original kid, someone's bunny, another Warner Brothers cartoon character, the snake is kind of Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times and also a kid. I went to college with it, I was always high, okay, the kumbhak guy is another friend of mine from college and the freshman next door. Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix. Get a Barcalounger in his room. He would sit on it and have a list. his little blackboard outside his door if he liked you you're his good list if he doesn't like me that week you're on his bad list maybe you were on my list it was Martinique's base it's a pretty bad impression of Ricky Ricardo, everyone, so Yeah, I thought it would be fun to talk like that.
On The Simpsons they assign
rolesbased on their instincts about who will do what best and usually they're right, sometimes they're wrong and we'll say oh you. I know, I think I do Johnny Carson better or actually, oh, I don't do a very good Fred Flintstone, I think Dan does. I didn't know until many kids later that there was an original voice of Moe the bartender that I replaced. I don't know and I was like, "You just did that guy, you didn't like what he did and the macaroni was like oh no, he was great. I'm like then why did you rephrase it as, oh, he was just an idiot." ". his voice was great but it was a little breathy to make everyone think how horrible that guy on the
simpsonscould have been his whole life lesson the kids would always be good friends the friends from the tv show I wanted to be Joey and they said that No, as you already know, and someone I once asked to come back, so you know what he got, saw me again.
I tried again. That's how much we knew the friends were going to be at least a lot of fun. I didn't know there was going to be a big hit, everyone I knew was crazy to get into that show, I got rejected from Joey, but then I was lucky enough to go to the film competition which raised my status and they liked me. that and I got the role of Phoebe's boyfriend's scientist boyfriend, The Birdcage, directed by Mike Nichols. Mike had seen me on a quiz show and offered me any small part I wanted, which was fine, but it's a small part, I chose the one he thought was crazy.
He said: why really that one? I was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, and then he heard me do it at the table, read and he laughed, he said, okay, I can see why you'd like to do that, sure, and then they ended up expanding the role. just one scene. David Alan Grier was supposed to play the lead character of Butler, but they felt that an African-American in that role might be in poor taste. It was based on a French movie, so they ended up deciding. to make it Latin and give it to me and then I worked really hard on a Guatemalan accent and it ended up sounding exactly like my maternal grandmother while wearing it.
I'm like, oh, this sounds like my grandma is mad about you. she played a dog walker who talked like that, talked like that, which is based on a boy that I grew up with when he was a doorman in my building, when I became an actor and I'm doing this voice for years. and I ran into this guy, he was, hey, you know, I saw you mad about you, I thought, oh, really, I thought so, he said yes, I thought it was cool, he didn't realize it was based on him, so I'm glad. I didn't say I'm sorry, I didn't mean to completely appropriate Godzilla, that movie became the kind of poster child for what was wrong with Hollywood excess and budget and you know, marketing style over substance, remember the billboards and yes. unfortunately for that movie the advertising campaign was much better than the movie itself, it was really criticized as not doing well at the box office, people really was one of those projects that people really took to hating much to my chagrin because it was a great opportunity for me and the success of that film would have been very good for my career.
I remember it was like a five-month shoot, it was a long shoot, never, Roland Emmerich, the director, told me about a week before we started. Shooting like this, I decided that if we were going to be in the rain, all the exteriors would be on Zoe and the whole time it would be raining, raining and that would make the creature look cool because the lines were blurred and the first few days were CGI. So anything that helped it look better visually was good and I was awesome. I remember coming home and telling my girlfriend at the time that she was a very experienced actress who had filmed a lot in the rain.
I had never filmed in the rain in Hollywood. She. It was like oh my god that's terrible, I ask her why she says they're going to sell you, you talked about 12 hours a day for five months on every exterior, you're going to be something like, oh how bad can it be, It was really bad Hollywood. The rain isn't big drops, like having buckets of water and dumping it on you practically, but it's horrible anyway, I got sick at times. Being wet is the job that is more than anything else, being soaked for long periods of time.
I'll make you question your career choice, mystery men, one of my favorites, Blue Raja, Silver Master. Well, I just sink in and it should be a proper British voice. I don't know why it seemed funny. Well, it was funny that we decided that he is. just putting that in the movie like when his mom talks to him it's like mom whoo and then you know it's with his mom and then like the Blue Raja which is his sophistication, kind of a James Bond, if you will, that was again in the early days of CGI. There were a lot of cooks, Ben Stiller, Bill Macy, Janeane Garofalo and Paul Reubens, and the director was a first-time director who came from the commercial world, so there was no really strong dad, which is really what a director should be, it was announced in the middle of filming, the name of Kingka Usher, which ended as if it were not direct.
I'll happily go back to commercials where I make a million dollars and don't make much, crazy. people, I was done halfway through the movie, but there were a lot of intense arguments about it, like, you know, Bill Macy dressed as Shoveler the Shoveler and me dressed as the Blue Raja throwing forks at people and I was like I was seriously arguing among us. and we look like an absurd dodgeball, a true underdog story at the time Ben was making these movies and he invited me to that yeah patches o'houlihan, which is kind of a combination between Clark Gable and when I imagine he would be a young Rip Torn and yeah, that was fun, I just came for the day and was dumb and left it at the Museum to go to the battle of the Smithsonian Big Ben Stiller franchise, fourth impression of Kalos.
I play the villain, the evil Pharaoh comes back to life originally, that was going to be kind of a similar voice. to which I did as the Blue Raja, their slightly less flourishing, more casual and boring Brits, they felt it was a bit boring, so at the makeup costume fitting they threw in a microphone and I tried out some
voicesand as a joke, just After talking about his Caral board because he was the original mummy back in 1930 and they really liked him. Ben and Shawn Levy really liked it, guys, because this is kind of silly, no, no, that's funny, long game of believe I did it. a French accent in that blood yes, buttocks, yes, history of hippos, everyone who made them, yes, that seems to be what you learn from that movie.
You know, when you're going to be naked in a movie, it really motivates you. I can see it biased, but what are they? you for diving are you are nothing as the French would say let me know when you are ready for diving Anastacia, the excellent animated film What would you like to know about the Bartok? It's based on a cousin of mine. I told you I based these. real people characters this is my cousin, a cousin actually and it always remained in my head is to be good at something and sure enough, a little white bathroom who knew the brat, most importantly, a black man.
I love it, it's my favorite thing I've ever done. fact it fits really fun i made it it started out as a voice like most of my characters do its a voice i grew up imitating the 1970s baseball announcer or they all sounded like these kids go look it up on youtube find a stream of 70s baseball you're going to hear this guy, well, you know Harry Shearer on The Simpsons, who I work with. Has Scully been voiced on the show many times? He's brilliant and Harry and I talked over the years about how fun baseball announcers are. because they can say whatever they want as long as they tell later, you know, man, oh man, I'm high on heroin right now breaking balls, fail outside, I want to know, so I thought it would be a fun premise for a sketch we did for Funny or Die and then I turned it into a full-blown series about a crazy, very alcoholic, drug addicted, sex addicted baseball announcer, t
hanks to GQ for sitting and listening to me talk about my career.
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