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Review of Interview: Colin O’Donoghue Is Proud to Star in Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

DreamWorks’ animated film Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans is out now on Netflix and sees the end of Guillermo Del Toro’s ambitious Tales of Arcadia trilogy of shows. The film has a star-studded cast featuring Emile Hirsch, Colin O’Donoghue, Alfred Molina, Nick Offerman, Kelsey Grammer, Nick Frost, Tatiana Maslany, Steven Yeun, and more.

“Following the events of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, the heroes of Arcadia from the hit series Trollhunters, 3Below, and Wizards must band together in their most epic adventure yet to protect humanity from the evil Arcane Order, who wield their dark and uncontrollable magic to summon ancient titans that threaten to destroy the world,” says the official synopsis. “On the surface, Arcadia appears to be a slice of timeless Americana, but it is no ordinary town. It lies at the center of magical and mystical lines that make it a nexus for many battles among otherworldly creatures including trolls, aliens, and wizards.”

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Wizards and Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans star Colin O’Donoghue about his character of Douxie, the franchise, and why he’s glad to be able to have something he can watch with his kids.

Tyler Treese: Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans is the culmination of this very ambitious animated franchise that began over five years ago. How cool is it to be involved in something that is so unique? I’ve never seen something this ambitious and this unique to an animated series and it’s the end result of all these years of work. How cool is it to be at the very end of it?

Colin O’Donoghue: It was an amazing experience to get to work on Trollhunters and Wizards. Even then I think I maybe had two or three lines on 3Below but to be a part of the whole thing, it was just an amazing experience. To be honest. I remember when they got in contact, I was shooting the show called Once Upon A Time, and the opportunity to get, to be a part of something with Guillermo Del Toro was incredible to me.

I was curious about what initially drew you to this role. Was it getting to work with Del Toro and what did really did you like about this character?

Yeah, well, to be honest with you, it was nice. I’d always wanted to do a voice for an animation as well. I was gonna at one point go study animation at university. So I was fascinated by the whole thing and look when you’ve got Guillermo Del Toro involved on something you know it’s going to be good. But the character was so fantastic. Obviously, when I signed up at first, he was only in I think one or two episodes of Trollhunters and there was like a line here, like there. But I knew that Wizards would be coming along off the back of this and that they wanted this kind of unusual sort of emo guitar-playing English guy in the show in the lead up to being like a 900-year-old wizard.

So you knew going in that the Wizard series was going to be in development later on?

Yeah, I think. Well, if I remember it wasn’t set, set, but it was definitely a part of sort of the chat about it. I knew that he was more than just a guy who worked in the bookstore and the coffee shop or whatever.

I know fans have had so much fun rewatching those episodes, getting to see those clues again of Douxie, and seeing those little hints spread apart and just the foreshadowing is so amazing in the series.

Yeah. Yeah. It was really well done. The writers and the producers are just so incredible.

One of the great things about the series, and the film, is that it appeals to both adults and kids. It’s just a good, solid fantasy story at the end of the day. Can you kind of speak to its wide-ranging appeal and why do you think it kind of speaks to everybody?

I think most people love the escape of fantasy. You know what I mean? I think with trolls and wizards and magic and all that kind of stuff, we all grew up. I’ve got two young kids and they watch it, they watch it with me, and like I grew up as a kid fascinated by all that stuff and wanting to make a make-believe world where there were wizards, magic, and all that kind of stuff. I think that’s why it appeals because it sort of allows the parents and adults to kind of relive that in some way, and it’s so cleverly written where there are certain things that adults will only get that goes over the kids’ heads, and it just really works. It’s a great show to watch with that.

Is it special for you getting to see your kids watch it? Because it’s a bit different from a lot of live-action role. When the characters that are animated, they just kind of stick out a little bit better to kids. Is that really a special and a joy to see your kids enjoying that?

Yeah, it’s amazing. This is kind of the cause, you know, my kids are little, my son was seven and my daughter is four. When wizards came out, they were just a little bit younger and it was the first kind of thing I’d done we could all sit down together and really watch. Even though I know Once Upon A Time I has family viewers and stuff, it was slightly older kids and stuff that wouldn’t have appealed to them. So this was the kind of first thing to do that. It’s just great because they’re like, “Oh, that’s you, daddy! That’s you!” It’s lovely.

That’s awesome. Do you approach voice acting any differently from your live-action roles? I’m always interested in hearing that because I’ve gotten such a wide range of answers from how different actors approach it.

I guess kind of. I hadn’t done voice work really for animation, I think before I started this. So, I realized pretty quickly on that you have to maybe slightly over-exaggerate certain phrases and that’s where they’ll animate the facial features too. Plus, uh, you know, with, with Douxie, I was kind of lucky because I’m obviously Irish and he’s an English 900-year-old wizard, so you get to play but he’s also an eternal teenager. Do you know what I mean? So you kind of get to play around a little bit with him and create a character, particularly in Wizards. I really love doing all the past Douxie, they met in the past and he was kind of a little bit senior and kind of his voice is breaking a lot and stuff. So that’s a lot of fun

Just like Once Upon A Time, Tales of Acadia has such passionate fans. Can you speak to the fandom and what it means as an actor to see viewers so passionately invested in what you’re doing?

It’s amazing to see people dress up as your characters and do fan art and stuff like that. As actors and performers, you’re only really as good as the audience that watches it. We want people to watch our shows. That’s how they work. It’s fantastic to have such an incredible fan base who are so passionate about it. It’s an amazing feeling, to be honest.

The film has such an incredible voice cast that, you know, same with the series. How exciting is it to be one of the main leads in this film in such a star-studded cast?

I mean, I’m feeling kind of blown away, but I’m doing something with Kelsey Grammer, Alfred Molina, and Nick Offerman, you know, and so many other people. It’s kind of a crazy, crazy thing. The weird thing is I live in Ireland, so a lot of it I’ve recorded here. So I haven’t met any of them, which is crazy, but it’s an amazing feeling to be a part of something that’s such an incredible cast.

With the trilogy coming to the end with this film, what do you feel is the franchise’s long-lasting impact? What do you think its legacy is going to be?

That’s a great question. It’s a tough one. I know you talked a second ago, but the fans and stuff like that. I think it really is the fans that will keep it alive. The fans of the show rewatch the show all the time, and that’s a testament to the writing and to the animation. I think it’s a show that’s about friendship and hope and bonding together. I think that they’re everlasting themes that appeal to everyone. So I think it’s a show that will continue to have a new audience as kids get older and hopefully people will watch it for a long, long time.

Last question, I was just wondering if you had any major takeaways from work working with Del Toro and could you speak to his oversight of the series?

My main takeaway was working with everybody, if I’m honest, I think that the crew who were working on it, Brook Chalmers, the voice director, and there’s so many people. It was just such an amazing experience. Couldn’t even pinpoint one, one thing that I take away. It was my first voice acting gig and there were so generous and kind and accommodating. I think that that’s it, and to have, you know, a character on a show that really speaks to people is so rare. It was such a fantastic thing to happen. I’m just proud to be a part of it.

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