Ben Williams sits down with Arrested Development actor Will Arnett to get the lowdown on his role in new Netflix animation Bojack Horseman.
As well as scene-stealing live action roles – like dimwit magician George Oscar Bluth Jr (aka Gob) in Arrested Development or shameless corporate climber Devon Banks in 30 Rock – Arnett has loaned his voice to animated characters in Ratatouille, Despicable Me and The Lego Movie, among others. But his latest cartoon role isn’t for kids. BoJack Horseman is a show about a once-successful actor who, 20 years after his peak, is now washed-up. Oh, and he happens to be a horse. Here, we chat to the gravelly voiced Canadian actor about Bojack Horseman.
How do you prepare for voicing?
I’m lucky in that my voice is naturally hoarse, so all I did was talk.
Very good! So you’re a fan of a pun? Some would say it’s the lowest form of wit.
Yeah, the people who can’t do it well say that. I know a lot of people groan at it, but I actually think that punnery can be high art. One of the greatest punsters of all time, [British actor] Peter Serafinowicz, is a good friend of mine, and I’ve been in situations more than once where people have been exhausted hanging around with him.
BoJack Horseman isn’t your first animated role. What do enjoy about voiceover work?
I enjoy that people can’t see the look of disappointment on my face that I carry at all times [laughs].
You often play characters that are a bit stupid but very confident. Do you worry about being typecast?
Never. Over the last couple of years I’ve found myself in roles that have lived outside of that. I had to nibble at the fringes to get to the centre.
Are people starting to disassociate you from Gob, then?
I think so. Gob is a character that I enjoy playing immensely because I have so much freedom to take his dim-wittedness to all sorts of low levels. I find him interesting, because when you see real people who are completely self-unaware it boggles your mind. Maybe that’s my frustration: you can’t call someone out when you meet them and say ‘you’re a complete tool!’, so I exorcise those demons through Gob.
Is there any news of an Arrested Development fifth season or the rumoured movie?
It’s so funny, I remember last year, before the fourth season premiered, getting asked that same question and thinking: we haven’t even aired the fourth season yet and people are already demanding another one! Right now it’s a function of timing. It’s something that we are going to do, and we’re actively talking about. But ultimately, we all march to the beat of [creator] Mitch Hurwitz’s drum. Once he decides he’s got something, he’ll rally the troops and we’ll be on our way. So whatever form it takes – whether it’s a film or a set of playing cards – we’ll do it.
Arrested Development season four, Dhs64, available at www.amazon.com.