Here’s why Arthur’s character DW only had male comedians – The Hollywood Reporter

Dora Winifred “DW” Read, The Bratty Younger Sister And Tomboy Of The Longtime PBS Animated Series Main Character Arthur, was never voiced by boys because young girls “were just too nice” for the role, according to the show’s voice director.

Debra Toffan, who has worked as a voice director on the animated series since its debut in 1996, explained the decision to bring in young male comedians as the bossy but protective unicorn-loving character while being interviewed for the latter. episode of the newly launched Find DW Podcast.

“I’ve been asked this all my life, ‘Why is DW always played by a boy?’ ”Said Toffan. Find DW host and former DW voice actor Jason Szwimer. “I think because DW is a rough, tumbling little girl. She’s a little kid.

Toffan went on to say that this personality trait lends itself to “that rough little voice.” But when the series first auditioned young comedians and in subsequent auditions to recast the character, they “explored female voices.”

“We actually tried to make girls with hoarse voices. We went down to the wire, where you know when I do the casting, we went down to maybe five selections, like five of our favorites, ”Toffan said. “And I still, every once in a while, slipped a girl in there, thinking she had a hoarse voice.”

Each time, the Arthur According to the casting director, their voices couldn’t quite capture the character’s rougher edge. “They were just too nice for DW They are just too nice for DW So we opened up looking for little boys,” she said.

These little boys were mostly between eight and ten “or 11”, said Toffan, “so their voices haven’t broken yet, and they sound a bit like a girl, but a hoarse sound of a girl.”

Once the show decided that the tone and hoarseness of the young boys’ voices best captured DW’s personality, the team stuck to it, ultimately casting “Eight DW Boys.” women were also brought in to voice young boys.

The first voice actor to play DW, Michael Caloz, was also interviewed during the 30-minute episode, speaking to Szwimer about what it was like to audition and ultimately voice the character as a youngster. boy.

While recounting his experiences of child voice acting on ArthurCaloz says he hasn’t really talked about being cast for the role. As a young child who didn’t quite understand fame, he felt “there really was no need to tell anyone.”

“What I remember is that I always kept it a secret until people found out about my acting in general,” he said. “At the beginning, I did not yet have this conception of the way in which the actors are perceived in our society. They’re often idolized, sort of seen as that special type of person or something. So at the time, I think I just saw it as another fun activity or hobby. “

While young Caloz may not have seen this as a big deal, he said the audition process was largely, according to his mother’s recollection, and that while stepping out for a role in the ‘PBS show, he was even ready for another Brother Read.

“I remember her saying it was a rigorous audition process and they were watching a lot of people,” he said. “She said apparently I was initially seen as potentially playing Arthur, and then they decided they really wanted DW to be a tomboy and to have that kind of slightly more masculine voice. And so they went. decided that I would be a good fit for this role.

Animation didn’t always choose voice actors to match their on-screen characters in terms of age, gender, or race, a practice that has come under further scrutiny. Last year. On the podcast, Caloz said he wondered if he questioned his own casting when he got the role of DW, but his mom confirmed he was just “really excited” to be working.

“I said mom, like, I must have thought that was weird, right?” I’m that nine year old boy, and I’m told you’re going to play a girl – like I must have thought it was crazy, ”he said. “And she said” No, you just took it as another role to play, and you were really excited to be on TV and working on this famous book that the kids loved, and so apparently I didn’t. not questioned it, oddly enough. “

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