ByMara Mullikin, writer at
I'm an aspiring writer, filmmaker, actress and werewolf.
Mara Mullikin

When Pixar was casting its first movie Toy Story, they hired John Ratzenberger to voice a toy pig bank named Hamm. After being pleased with his performance they continued to rehire Ratzenberger for their subsequent movies. Now, almost twenty-one years later, he can still be heard in Pixar movies. The studio's outstanding success has convinced Pixar's co-founder John Lasseter that Ratzenberger is their good luck charm.

Alan Tudyk behind the microphone
Alan Tudyk behind the microphone

Similarly, Alan Tudyk's performance as King Candy in Wreck it Ralph (his first Disney movie) was immensely well-received. He's since acted in Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Zootopia (coming out this March). Those at Walt Disney Studio have called Tudyk their own John Ratzenberger. Now, there's an actor who, like Tudyk, has (almost) shown up in every Disney feature since Wreck it Ralph (LaMarche wasn't in Big Hero 6). While none are leading roles, his characters have (and will) unquestionably played an integral part in their respective films. This actor is Maurice LaMarche.

3. Root Beer Tapper from Wreck it Ralph

Tapper is similar to many bartenders in real life. He listens to his customers' problems and tries to console them to the best of his abilities. It doesn't matter whether they're heroes or villains, as long as they're thirsty and paying he doesn't care. While Tapper's appearance is short, you could argue he indirectly lead Ralph to his journey of becoming a good guy.

2. King of Arendelle from Frozen

In Frozen, the King of Arendelle is also the father of princess Anna and eventual queen Elsa. After Elsa (unintentionally) harmed Anna with her ice powers, he and his wife separated the girls and kept Elsa isolated (so she could learn to control her abilities better and not injure Anna). This consequently led to Elsa feeling ashamed, and most likely caused her to carry some deep-seeded psychological baggage (who said raising kids was easy?). Despite the king and queen dying later on, Elsa still stayed away from Anna (fearing she'd hurt Anna). It wasn't until Elsa's coronation when they interacted with each other for the first time in years. This led the sisters to eventually reunite after Elsa accidentally freezes Arendelle.

1. Mr. Big from Zootopia

Mr. Big at his daughter Fru Fru's wedding
Mr. Big at his daughter Fru Fru's wedding

Now, he's taking on the role of Zootopia's most ruthless and tremulous crime boss/ Mr. Big, an Artic shrew. The character borrows attributes from Tony Montana in Scarface, and Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Mr. Big arguably resonates with Corleone more, as his voice, mannerisms and physicality are nearly identical. LaMarche also happens to be an impeccable impressionist and you can hear his distinguishable Marlon Brando impression underneath Mr. Big's high pitched voice.

LaMarche in a studio
LaMarche in a studio

LaMarche is a veteran voice actor whose list of credits succeeds nearly three hundred on IMDB. He started out as a stand up comedian during the late 70's, and in the 80's he transitioned into voice work. You may or may not realize it, but he's given life to many characters we all know and love today. A couple of these include:

The Brain from Pinky and the Brain

The Brain is a character from the 1995 show Pinky and the Brain. The duo initially appeared in shorts on the series Animaniacs. However, they became so popular that they received their own cartoon. The Brain along with his friend Pinky are genetically spliced lab mice who are trying to take over the world (more so Brain than Pinky). Brain is an astute mouse whose plans for global domination are constantly deterred by his incompetent, but well-meaning associate, Pinky. His voice is modeled after the brilliant filmmaker Orson Welles in all of his glorious peaness.

Calculon from Futurama

Calculon is an actor whose famously known for his work in 'All My Circuits', a soap opera involving humans and robots. On Futurama, Calculon has a reputation for being pompous, theatrical and incredibly selfish. The character is supposedly based off of actors Charleston Heston and William Shatner (who like Calculon, does little to no retakes).

The Brain (left) and Morbo (Right)
The Brain (left) and Morbo (Right)

Why do I think he should be regarded as another good luck charm by Walt Disney Studios? Similarly to Tudyk, LaMarche was part of Disney's turning point. Their film Wreck it Ralph proved (after the studio's depression period in the early 2000s) they could produce a lucrative, modern movie without resorting to the classic Disney formula or fairy tale setting. Not only that, but LaMarche's characters were(will be) a relatively important aspect to their movies. While he may not be seen as another John Ratzenberger or Alan Tudyk by the studio. He's certainly a gifted performer. And judging by Mr. Big's clip towards the end of the trailer, LaMarche will certainly hit it out of the ball park again.


Are you excited to see Mr. Big in Zootopia?


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