Little Stars, Big Voices
An all-star cast of the top voice talent in the industry comes together to bring a modern, comic spin to Snow White’s diminuative pals for Disney Junior’s The 7D. By Tom McLean.
With Osbourne coming into the show as an animation voice-acting rookie, Harnell says he enjoyed working directly with her and helping her with encouragement and advice when needed. “We hit it off from the get-go and we’ve become good friends, and one of the really cool parts about working with her was watching her grow in this arena,” he says. “We got to develop timing together, and I really think that Hildy and Grim are one of the funniest cartoon couples that have been around in a long time.”
Juggling the Voices
Overseeing the actors is veteran voice director Kelly Ward, who says the level of experience and talent gives the show room to experiment in the booth and ensures lively performances. “God forbid if anything were to happen when they were all in one place because the voice-over industry would be dealt a crippling blow,” says Ward with a laugh.
The rapid-fire comedic pace of the show made timing an essential quality, bringing to the fore the difficulty in having the cast performing together, which was done as frequently as possible.
“Usually, if there was a block of dialogue that included two or three or even four of the dwarfs, they would record that ensemble. And usually it’s Doc and Grumpy and Bashful, and so I was working with Billy and Kevin and Maurice most of the time,” says Farmer. “Other than that, I was doing it solo, which is generally, unfortunately, most of the time.”
Ward says when actors were recorded separately, Ruegger would later come in and work his genius. “He goes in after and cleans things up and tweaks them to a clock speed that he’s got going in his mind,” Ward says.
“We’re trying to make people laugh and if they have in them a funny line or a funnier way to say the line, we are excited to hear it and we definitely do use plenty of that,” says Ruegger.
The studio and network’s commitment to making a high-quality show in the madcap comedy style was key to deciding to make the show in traditional 2D animation instead of CGI. Ruegger says 2D is better suited to the show’s style, which can veer off in sudden and unexpected ways and draws upon a very broad comedic sensibility.
And, of course, Ruegger says it’s exciting to come and work on such an iconic property for Disney. “This is an honor, to be able to get near something that Walt cared about so much.”