Actor Patrick Warburton is known, as he himself pointed out, more likely by his face or voice than his name. Brought to fame first in the final season of Seinfeld as “Puddy,” the actor has made his mark acting in front of the camera (most recently in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events as Lemony Snicket) and behind the scenes as a prominent voice actor (Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove, Brock Samson from The Venture Brothers, and Joe Swanson from Family Guy, among many others). He sat down for a press availability today and spoke about acting, voice acting, his career, and his passion for his family charity work.
Warburton spoke at length about the circumstances that brought him to A Series of Unfortunate Events, crediting producer Barry Sonnenberg for bringing him in for the series as the main storyteller of the tragic tale of the Baudelaire children. When asked about portraying a character already shown on film (Jude Law played Snicket in the 2004 film) as well as being on the other side of a similar situation (Warburton originated The Tick in the eponymous TV series in 2001 while Peter Serafinowicz plays the part in the recently cancelled Amazon series), Warburton brought up another time he played a role originated by another actor. In the Toy Story shorts, Warburton voiced Buzz Lightyear, originally – and subsequently – performed by Tim Allen. Warburton joked about watching cartoons as a kid where a film would cast one set of actors but then not be able to afford them for the ongoing series. He was the “poor man’s Buzz Lightyear.” Allen had to redub three of the episodes Warburton recorded for a later DVD release, forcing him to match his cadence to Warburton’s and frustrating the actor over a nine-hour recording session.
When asked about nuance brought to different characters throughout his career, Warburton was self-aware of the fact that he is not a “chameleon” as a voice actor, but his choices shaped the characters and took pages of character description into the creative process, finding who these characters were through their voices. Referencing Kronk, Warburton spoke about his reluctance to be a villain in developing the timbre of the character’s voice. He mentioned that working for Disney was a unique experience because the animators would take the performance of the voice actors into consideration when animating the characters, to the point where he is quite recognizable physically in Kronk, much to the chagrin of his family.
Family and music are Warburton’s current passions. His family runs the largest St. Jude’s Hospital charity event in the country, raising $12 million in the last nine years. Warburton also fronts a garage band that covers Pearl Jam, The Doors, and others. He came to singing recently, but loves diving into his music.
Warburton’s philosophy on acting is shaped by a lesson he learned early in his career when taking acting classes. The mystifying nature of the craft that some try and create is unnecessary, and anyone that has the drive and is willing to put in the work and the effort can succeed. Warburton’s next project is the film Inheritance, coming in 2020.