We’re talking Thor, barbarians, and superheroes named Nachos (wait, what?) with voice-actor Travis Willingham (Avengers Assemble, Sonic Boom, One Piece)!
MANIA: How did you get into voice acting?
TRAVIS: “During high-school I realised I was more interested in fine arts like musicals, plays or classical theatre. I shifted from sports and started appearing in musicals and plays. I went to college and got a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. I moved to Los Angeles and auditioned for some voice over roles. As a kid I never realised that the characters on my favourite cartoons were voiced by people like me!”
MANIA: Do you have a favourite role?
TRAVIS: “That’s hard. I’ve read comic-books my entire life so playing Thor was huge. I’ve played the Sonic The Hedgehog games since I was a teenager, so getting to play Knuckles was great.”
MANIA: What’s the best thing about playing Thor?
TRAVIS: “Only in superhero shows or games will you have the chance to say you actually have a superpower. That’s so fun to me.”
MANIA: You’ve also voiced Hulk in the Superhero Squad and it looks like both characters will be throwing down in Thor: Ragnarok. Which one are you cheering for?
TRAVIS: “I think I’m rooting for Hulk. Thor has his work cut out for him.”
MANIA: If you were an Avenger, what would your superhero name be and what would your power be?
TRAVIS: “Invulnerability. I’d jump off a building, land, give everyone a really good scare and then jump up and go “Wassup! My superhero name would be Nachos, because who doesn’t like nachos???”
MANIA: How does videogame voices differ from anime and cartoons?
TRAVIS: “With anime, we’re dubbing animation that’s already there so we have to work around what’s already there. With cartoons and videogames the animators can work around our voices.”
MANIA: You’re a Dungeons and Dragons fan – Why do you think D&D has remained so popular and what about it makes it so great?
TRAVIS: “You get to watch a group of friends who know each other and the game really well, while pushing or imaginations to the limit. What’s great about D&D is that we can bring our voice-acting backgrounds. We make up crazy voices and bizarre accents, so we’re laughing non-stop.
MANIA: Why did you pick a goliath barbarian for Grog?
TRAVIS: “I’d never play D&D before and was very intimated by it. I just wanted to be large and hit things really hard with a really big axe.”
MANIA: You play a lot of headstrong, tough guy characters – Thor, Hulk, Grog – why is that?
TRAVIS: “I love characters that really follow their impulses. I’m a pretty impulsive person. Those are always really fun because their enthusiasm leads to some dire circumstances.”
MANIA: Is there a character you haven’t voiced even or a franchise you haven’t been a part of that you’d like to be part of? A dream role, maybe?
TRAVIS: “I’ve had the chance to play Superman once. He’s always been my favourite superhero growing up. He’s a great role model and something I aspire to be like. I’d love a chance to play him again.
MANIA: A lot of people geek out over you – what is something you geek out over?
TRAVIS: “I love American football – especially my home team, the Dallas Cowboys. I also like really cute things!”