Kronk, Dutch, and Pearl Walk into a Bar: MomoCon 2019 Guest Interviews
The Geekiary happened to score guest interviews with the most motley crew of characters imaginable for our first year at MomoCon 2019. And we really wouldn’t have it any other way.
I cannot stress enough how effortlessly the MomoCon 2019 interviews were conducted at the convention. The volunteers and handlers and guests were such a pleasure and I enjoyed myself immensely despite some (normal) nerves and performance anxiety. After all, I wasn’t the one being interviewed.
The Geekiary has previously covered Steven Universe, and while the core gems (aaaaand Steven!) were there, I only managed to catch Bird Mom (Pearl). I’d met Deedee previously at MegaCon 2018 and was delighted to get a chance to meet her again at MomoCon 2019. During the interview, I admit I closed my eyes a couple of times and honestly, it really could have just been Pearl perched on the edge of the chair with the microphone in her hand. Cheerful and sweet, Deedee was absolutely enchanting. “According to my parents, I’ve been a ham all my life.” She admitted her favorite meal is “spaghetti with hot dogs,” her favorite Disney princess is Cinderella because she loved her songs, and she got her start in acting and singing by winning a contest at 11 years old to sing at a new attraction at SeaWorld.
At first, Deedee didn’t realize that Steven Universe would blow up quite the way it would. “I guess I knew it [Steven Universe] would be big when I started getting more followers on Instagram.” When asked what she learned the most from Pearl, she said, “It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to delegate. It’s okay to ask for help.” Beaming, she said: “I get a lot of people coming up to me because it brought them out of a dark place in their lives. […] I’m happy I get to play a rock. An alien rock.”
Patrick Warburton is arguably one of the most famous voice actors in the business. He is best known for lending his voice to Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove as Kronk and for playing Lemony Snicket in Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also voices Brock Samson on The Venture Bros and Joe Swanson on Family Guy. He laughs about being the bargain brand Tim Allen for voicing Buzz Lightyear in a Toy Story spin off TV show and how Tim had to come in and record over his lines. About his process on performing, Patrick responded: “As actors we get [caught up in the right way to do things] as opposed to the creative way to do them. And the creative way is usually the right way.”
A huge fan of Lemony Snicket and Daniel Handler, I asked Patrick how he landed the part. “From my work in [The Woman Chaser] I think that made [Daniel] consider I would be right for Lemony. Barry [Sonnenfeld], his initial inspiration was to have me play Lemony. So thankfully, for someone like me, there are Barry Sonnenfelds and Daniel Handlers in the world [..] that can see through all the other garbage and say ‘Actually, he would be right.’ If it were casting, and Netflix, I wouldn’t have been on their list.” He went on to explain, “This whole opportunity came about because of Barry Sonnenfeld primarily. I’m very thankful that I know Barry Sonnenfeld and that he likes to work with me. It’s very competitive out there and it’s great to have great artists like that, that actually know what your capabilities are, and don’t care however else you might be perceived. In the industry, I’m perceived as kind of a goof and hard to take seriously. But I can also do things where I’m taken seriously.”
Admittedly, I don’t know much about the Red Dead Redemption video games because, unless it’s the Sims, I can’t play games at all. Geekiary writer Tara has played more RDR2 than I’ve forgotten, but the voices of the actors linger, as I told Benjamin Byron Davis, in my dreams and nightmares. Best known for playing Dutch van der Linde in both Red Dead games, Ben towered over me as I shook his hand, grinning.
I asked Ben about the differences and similarities between working on RDR1 and RDR2: “The tech changed quite a bit between Red Dead 1 and Red Dead 2. Red Dead 1 was the first time Rockstar had employed full performance capture. Every scene you see in the first game is a single take. It was a much smaller enterprise. At least, playing Dutch van der Linde it was smaller. I did maybe three weeks of work on the first game and I did four and a half years of work on the second game. By the time it came to do Red Dead 2, Rockstar had become quite adept with performance capture so we didn’t have rehearsal days and build days. We’re called voice actors [but] what we really did was performance acting.”
This particular interview was very small (there were only two of us) and things got quite emotional. An advocate for mental health, Ben shared his struggle of working on such a huge labor of love and feeling the loss when it was complete. He also delighted in knowing that the game touched someone’s life. “We’re still connected […] through the legacy of this title for the rest of our lives. We have seen each other at our zenith and nadir, and we’ve seen each other through sorrow. We’ve grieved the loss of cast mates who died while we were working on this title. And we’ve also seen babies born and become not babies anymore. So because of the nature of this work, all of that closeness, all that richness of that community, when you’re walking through that camp, to me, it’s like being back in the green room on a day when all of us were assembled together. So the idea that the community that we forged through all these years working in secret and, in trying circumstances, with a lot of travel and a lot of disrupt to our regular day to day process, that’s embedded in the game. And the idea that Tara could put on the game and she could connect and sort of feel that closeness is profoundly gratifying.”
If MomoCon 2020 can top the talent from MomoCon 2019, expect The Geekiary to be front and center.
Bekah has a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Anderson University and is the Executive Assistant at Saga Event Planning. She is a frequent convention attendee and cosplayer and co-hosts The Geekiary webcast “The Bitching Dead”.
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