Wilmer Valderrama Interview -- JustJared.com Exclusive
Former That 70′s Show star Wilmer Valderrama rang up Just Jared on Tuesday to talk about his Disney animated series, Handy Manny, a few of the projects he’s producing on the side and his Halloween plans for tomorrow. Here’s what the 28-year-old actor had to say:
JJ: Hi, Wilmer! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Are you familiar with blogs at all? Do you keep up with celebrity gossip?
WV: Not so much, actually. To be honest, I’m kind of out of the loop and I prefer to be that way. I read sports blogs a little bit but for the most part, I’m not an online guy. I’m more of a newspaper kind of dude.
JJ: Your Disney show Handy Manny was renewed for its third season. Can you tell us a little about the series?
WV: Handy Manny is a show about this young man who owns a repair shop. He does all kinds of repairs around town and he has a team of talking tools. Each tool represents a different character trait, different personality. Really, really cool concept for a show about being proactive by working as a team, sharing with others, and understanding people’s needs. And most importantly, to share. Also, the show has a little bit of a Spanish, bilingual side to the show. Not very preachy but it does give you one or two words; a phrase here or a phrase there. So, subliminally, you can learn a different language.
(Continue reading Wilmer Valderrama’s interview inside…)
Wilmer Valderrama Interview — JustJared.com Exclusive
JJ: How did you find this project or did the project find you?
WV: A little bit of both. I was open-minded about it. I wanted to do a cartoon at some point and having someone like Disney keeping me in mind was really great. The timing was just perfect–they sent me the concept and it just made way too much sense. It seemed to right and so unique and I could bring a different swagger to this character too. It was kind of fun because it’s like a Disney show with an edge. At the same time, it just has beautiful graphics and the package was great. It worked out. I went and took a chance and now thanks to Disney and the fans, the show is a big influential force in kids’ upbringing.
JJ: You just came back from surprising the Para Los Ninos Family Learning Center. How was that?
WV: Basically Disney and I came together and brought a little piece of Handy Manny to pre-schoolers and kindergarteners today. We came and read them a book alongside the actual character of Handy Manny, so that was special for them. We gave the kids toys and then we’re leaving behind some big toys for the playroom for everyone to share. It was a very fun morning. To see those kids’ faces light up and having them to say ‘I love you Handy Manny’ was really sweet.
JJ: What made you reach out to kids? Do you have any siblings?
WV: I have an eight-year-old baby brother (Christian) who was six when I started doing Manny. He’s one of the main reasons why I’m so proud of being on the show. This show, I felt, would make a great example for him. That’s how I became passionate about his demographic level.
JJ: What’s the process for your voiceover work?
WV: We do audio first and then they animate to the audio. We get a script, you go into a sound booth and you recite the whole episode and then they capture it and they cut it together. That’s how it goes. It’s very technical but it’s really rewarding once you watch it on television.
JJ: How long does it take you to record an entire episode?
WV: I do about three to four episodes at a time because of time constraints. The cast usually does two episodes every Thursday. But I come into the sound booth and basically just record, record, record and get it done. That’s how it works out for me. It’s fun because the director is great; the producers are awesome so we actually have a good time recording.
JJ: What aspects of this show do like over being in front of the camera?
WV: I enjoy both. For the past three years, I took a break from being in front of the camera. I’ve been really heavy on the producing side and developing side and that’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a really good time and it’s a whole different side of the business that’s intriguing. Just to have that kind of creative control is a whole different level and I’m proud of it. I’m very proud of it. I think it’s gonna be really exciting and you know, once a performer, always a performer, so I’ve got the bug. I’ve got a couple things being released next year. But yeah, I’m getting back in front of the camera soon.
JJ: Are you a fan of the other Disney-produced projects like Hannah Montana or Wizards of Waverly Place?
WV: I think Disney has a formula that works. They know how to speak to the young demographic and a lot of the shows are just really ideal. I’m proud to be part of the family; very proud to be part of the Disney family. This is a company who just knows what they’re doing and they know how to influence kids. This channel, their programming and their product – huge, huge, huge influence on kids and that’s something to be proud of.
JJ: Did you watch High School Musical 3?
WV: I have not seen it yet. I’ve been on the road promoting Manny and all that. It’s great that it’s in the theaters and all that. It’s going to be amazing.
JJ: I was reading your bio and you have a million projects going on. You have your production company, something with FOX, something with MTV. Your production company (WV Enterprises) has “PartyBuddys” in the works. Any stars attached to that project yet?
WV: Not yet but I’m going to produce that film soon. We’re thinking aloud, we’re doing a lot of planning. But eventually you’ll hear the attachment because I’m talking to a few friends of mine.
JJ: Can you tell us about your new show, The Emancipation of Ernesto, on FOX?
WV: We just finished shooting the pilot and it’s an incredible show. I’m very proud of it. It’s a one hour, single camera comedy. Those are the things nowadays. Great show, great team. Mark Barkland directed it, Emily Kapnek is producing alongside me and Mark. It’s about a character who lives in the same neighborhood as Fez, but it’s not Fez at all.
JJ: Halloween is this Friday. Do you know what you’re dressing up as yet?
WV: I have no idea. My head is so not on Friday right now. One day at a time. I don’t want to overwhelm my head yet.
JJ: When can people tune into Handy Manny?
WV: Handy Mandy airs at 10:30AM ET/PT on weekends and at 9AM ET/PT on weekdays, both on The Disney Channel. Our next new episode airs Nov. 15, and then we have more new episodes airing everyday, Dec. 1-4.
For more information on Handy Manny, visit Disney.com!