Blast recently got the chance to speak with the always charming Alan Tudyk, also known as the beloved Wash from the critically-acclaimed series “Firefly” and as (spoiler!) Alpha from Joss Whedon’s latest series “Dollhouse.”
Tudyk also has a new series due out this fall from ABC called “V.”
Our conversation touched on such various subjects as a possible future for “Firefly” (“I’ve been telling Joss to do a whole TV series on Wash”), his thoughts on a Twitter war with former co-star Nathan Fillion (“I do not want to play that game with Nathan Fillion”), and his love for the new Star Trek film, capped off with a bit of exciting news for “Dollhouse’s” next season.
BLAST: Tell me what it was like working with Joss again on “Dollhouse.”
ALAN TUDYK: It was really great, you know, I didn’t work with him in a directing capacity. He was around doing the extras for the DVD so I definitely ran into him. It was really great.
BLAST: What is it about Joss Whedon that makes these group of actors follow him around?
AT: Um, he has dirt on all of us. Really embarrassing stuff. It’s blackmail, really, I mean I’ll call it what is. That, I guess, and you know in his shows “" the two I’ve been on “" there’s a way that you can have really high-stakes, dramatic situations taking place right next to very funny, and wry, sarcastic commentary. Which is hard to pull off and nobody does it better than him. So you get the opportunity to do something that’s rare.
BLAST: I caught that sneak mention of “Firefly.” You know there are always rumors of “Serenity 2” flying around, and Joss does have a history of bringing back characters from the beyond. Would you do another one?
AT: Oh yeah, I’ve been telling Joss to do a whole TV series on Wash. Forget about it, that’s what I want!
BLAST: I don’t think you know what you just did. I think the fans will explode.
AT: Well, I’ve said that to fans before and they go, (unenthusiastically) “Yeah! But actually the great thing about “Firefly” was everyone working together…”, and I say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll start with one and go from there!” But yeah, of course I would do it.
BLAST: About Alpha…
BLAST: What personality of Alpha’s “" I think, what, 38 of them? “" which was most fun to play?
AT: Well… I think it’s forty “" well, I’ve been saying 42 but I think it’s 48. It’s tough to know. (laughs) The only one, you know… It’s interesting doing episodic television, because you can’t peer around the corner. When I was doing the episode of “Briar Rose,” I didn’t know where Alpha was going in “Omega.” I knew that I was taking her… but I didn’t even know what I was taking her to do. (laughs) I didn’t know why I was taking her until the day after we ran “Briar Rose” and I read the script for “Omega.”
BLAST: You kind of had to play it by ear then.
AT: There are a couple of things that happened with the performance. It was like, wow, this guy talks a great deal. He always speaks quickly and he doesn’t ever want to stop talking! There are a lot of lines to learn. But also, I knew that he had 48 people in him, but I didn’t realize that it was just a riot of people, of difficult, zany folks. If I had to do it over again I would have brought more personalities out in the first one. (hesitates) Eh, I don’t want to say I have regrets, but I “" I don’t know who all the personalities are. And there’s Kepler, you know whoever that is, whatever personality he’s using there. But that was kind of, you know, Alpha was doing a little acting, also.
BLAST: The acting part was one of the things fans have kind of been wondering about. To what extent was Alpha in fact Kepler, or was he acting the whole time?
AT: I think with Alpha, if I, personally, was able to know intimately 48 perspectives, and backgrounds, and upbringings “" perspectives, I got it right the first time “" 48 different perspectives, If I had the benefit of that, myself, I would be an amazing actor. That’s what acting is, you’re putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes and really trying to get as close to them as possible. So Alpha has the capacity to be the greatest actor. I feel like his Kepler was an amalgam of who he is, he can borrow a great deal from himself. And you know, we get to see Eliza Dushku’s character put on all these different roles. So you have to think about all these different pieces of her that she could borrow from. And there are a lot of differences between them.
BLAST: You mentioned one thing I was going to ask you about. If you could have one skill or ability downloaded into your head, what would it be?
AT: Uh… Inner peace.
BLAST: Is that a skill?
AT: It’s not a skill… but you know, you get these perspectives so you could download anything, like enlightment. Some kind of thought process, not so much a religion. Like the Dalai Lama! I could download a piece of the Dalai Lama and just chill. (laughs)
BLAST: Are there other characters in the “Jossverse” besides Wash and Alpha that you would like to play?
AT: Buffy. I would love to play Buffy. I’ve always felt that Sarah Michelle Gellar did a great job, but there was stuff she missed. (laughs)
BLAST: Hey, you know they are supposedly doing a Buffy movie without any of the actual Buffy characters. So will you throw your hat in the ring?
AT: (laughs) If I can find time outside of my new TV show “Wash,” sure.
BLAST: Well you do have a new TV show, “V.” Can you tell me about it?
AT: Sure. It’s kind of an “Independence Day” scenario. You know it’s based on the original miniseries that came out in the 80s. And, it’s aliens, and it’s about this alien race…
BLAST: Are you an alien?
AT: I am not at liberty to say.
BLAST: Oooh. Really?
AT: Yeah, I can’t say one way or the other. It’s just about an alien race coming in, and the reaction to having another race of people with alien technology and all that would mean if we actually had spaceships parked over our cities and what that would mean.
BLAST: Is it the sci-fi of it that drew you to it?
AT: No, it was the script. There was one part in the script, right in the beginning when the Vs first show up and this F-16 falls out of the sky over the streets of New York City and explodes, and it’s like, oh man, what’s going on? This is great!
BLAST: I asked some Twitter people if they had any questions for you and one question was: why did you leave Juilliard before graduating?
AT: (laughs) Wow, how to do I answer that?
BLAST: From aliens to Juilliard, right?
AT: Yeah, right. Well, (laughs) I was following in a long line of actors who left Juilliard in their third year. Val Kilmer, Robin Williams… Juilliard’s fourth year at that time and I think it’s still the case, was where you study for three years. You do plays, but it’s in conjunction with classes. And then your fourth year becomes solely a performance year. There’s a couple of classes that are like, “How to Audition!” and “How to Get an Agent!” And I had worked really hard to get an agent before I left Juilliard, I had an agent before my third year. So I didn’t feel those classes were necessary and I didn’t need a year full of, you know, “18th century Spanish plays that have never before been translated until now!” That’s awful. That sounds awful! I like the people at Juilliard.
BLAST: What fictional character would you most like to play? Have you ever thought about it?
AT: Wow. Gosh. You know, I don’t know.
BLAST: Maybe another round as Steve the Pirate?
AT: (laughs) Sure.
BLAST: So we’ve got Alan the Vampire Slayer, we have Wash the TV show, and a Steve the Pirate movie. I hope you know I’ll be holding you to your word.
AT: (laughs) You know I don’t know that a Steve the Pirate movie would be very interesting without the rest of the cast. He doesn’t say very much… His humor is best in small doses of “Garr!” and “Arrgh!” in the right moment. I would only want to undertake that with Justin Long, and Christine Taylor, Vince Vaughn, Joel, Ben Stiller. We’d need the whole group.
BLAST: (laughs) Fair enough. What is on your iPod?
AT: What’s on my iPod? I’ve got a lot on my iPod. I can tell you what I’m listening to right now… My current favorite song is by a band called Band of Skulls, it’s called “I Know What I Am.” Great song. And I’ve got a little throwback to when I was in high school, Anthrax’s “I’m the Man,” hysterical song. A hard band but the song is really funny. And the Black Keys’ new album is fantastic. There’s a song on it called “I Got Mine,” which is kind of that bluesy, ballsy music. The whole album is great. I could go on, and on, and on…
BLAST: You are a regular at fan conventions, so I was wondering: are you a sci-fi fan yourself and will you be at this year’s San Diego Comic Con?
AT: I don’t know about San Diego. Am I sci-fi fan, that was the other question? I liked “Star Trek: The Next Generation” when I was growing up, a lot, and the original “Star Trek” when I was a kid, watching re-runs. But “The Next Generation” is the first show that really grabbed me. I loved the characters, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. Then I kind of took a break, well you know, “Star Wars” and all that stuff is great. But I wasn’t the biggest sci-fi fan until “Firefly “sort of brought me back in. Yeah, I am a sci-fi fan. The new “Star Trek” movie, best movie I’ve seen… you know, a lot of people say it’s the best movie they’ve seen since “Iron Man,” but I think it’s better than “Iron Man.”
BLAST: “Star Trek” was really good. It was a movie that had so much weighing on it, and managed to appeal both to the masses and the fans. Great movie.
AT: Yeah. I’ve seen it twice.
BLAST: Me too!
AT: Yeah. It was done, and I was like, let’s roll it again! I’m ready to see it again. Let’s go. Like, now. So entertaining, so entertaining. You know, they have something in the “Star Trek” franchise… I definitely haven’t seen all of it, but they have something in this one that I’ve only seen in “Firefly” before. You’ve got your hero, your Captain Kirk, getting his ass kicked. That first scene when you’re meeting him as an adult, he gets his butt whipped in a bar, and it’s hysterical. Very Malcolm Reynolds-y. And then also, when he lands in the ice planet before he meets Spock, and he’s complaining and trying to cite the rules that have been broken, and he’s looking off in the distance, and the the giant behemoth is coming at him. He’s running from it, screaming like a girl, (high voice) “No-o! No-o!” The hero can be very uncool, the hero can be afraid, the hero can be chicken. That was really refreshing. He can make mistakes and be goofy. That whole scene with him and the doc, and the shots. It’s just fun.
BLAST: There’s a certain fearlessness with the way Joss treats his characters and I think with the way they handled the characters in “Star Trek.” I think you’re quite right about that.
AT: Yeah. Absolutely, definitely.
BLAST: I have maybe one or two questions more, so my next one is: are you on Twitter?
AT: No, I’m not! You know…
BLAST: Are you going to get on that?
AT: Yeah, you know I was hoping it would be gone by now. Is that going to go away any time soon? (laughs)
BLAST: You know supposedly, the top 10 percent of Twitter users account for 90 percent of the Twitter traffic. So I guess most people’s lives really are that boring.
AT: Yeah, I took that stance that I’ve heard… if I’m writing somebody that I’m standing in the park enjoying the smell of flowers, I’m lying because in fact I’m standing in the park twittering, being distracted from the flowers that I was smelling previously. I just need to live my life, not need to open that window all the time to let everybody know what’s going on. But as a social networking tool, you need to be connected to your friends. We all lead such busy lives that it’s hard to touch base with so many people. So if you can keep in touch just by a word here or a word there…
BLAST: I guess that’s fair.
AT: (laughs) I’m telling you why I’m not on it, and I’m also explaining why I’m going to be on it. When I end up on it, that’s my reasoning.
BLAST: (laughs) Everyone succumbs, right? Well, you know Nathan Fillion is on it so maybe you should get into a Twitter war with him or something.
AT: What the hell is a Twitter war?
BLAST: I guess it’s where you see who can get the most followers the quickest.
AT: I do not want to play that game with Nathan Fillion. (laughs) He’s a much more social animal than I am. I concede the fight before it begins!
BLAST: You might be surprised! Oh, I think our time is up, so thank you for your time.
AT: Brilliant. Thank you. Hey, thanks for that top nine reasons why Dollhouse is back on the air, I appreciate it.
BLAST: Oh, thank you for reading it! I’m as thrilled as anybody.
AT: (laughs) Cool. Well, I look forward to next season and I hope you like it. I think it’ll be fun.
BLAST: Oh “" will we see you next season?
AT: (pause) Yes you will.
BLAST: That is the best answer. Thank you so much.
AT: All right, take care.