Alan Tudyk may be more familiar to you than you think. You’ve heard his voice if you’ve watched the new Aladdin (he plays Iago). Arrested Development fans would recognize him as Pastor Veal. From Transformers to Beautiful Boy to Knocked Up, it seems like this charming and versatile actor has done it all. Currently, he’s on stage at Geffen Playhouse in Mysterious Circumstances—based on a New Yorker article about the death of a Sherlock Holmes fanatic—where he does double duty as both Richard Lancelyn Green and Sherlock Holmes.
Alan Tudyk in the world premiere of Mysterious Circumstances at Geffen Playhouse.
We chatted with Tudyk about his well-rounded experience as an actor, his favorite roles, and what it’s like to be on stage at The Geffen.
You’ve played a number of different roles recently, from Iago in Aladdin to Mr. Nobody in DC Universe’s Doom Patrol, and now you are back on stage at The Geffen in Mysterious Circumstances. While these roles are all very unique, is there one that really stands out for you?
ALAN TUDYK: Live theater is always the most challenging and simultaneously the most rewarding, so I’d say playing Sherlock Homes and Richard Lancelyn Green. Both roles combined are the one that stand out the most. Two for one. Theater is such a bargain.
What’s it like being on stage at The Geffen?
AT: It’s a great theater. I’ve seen several plays there and always look forward to it. They do great work. I hope we are continuing in that tradition. I can’t actually say for sure since I haven’t been able to see our play. I’m always busy when it’s on.
Was it difficult to bring a classic like Aladdin to life in a new way?
AT: Not for me. I mainly just made sinister parrot sounds and repeated what Jafar said. I didn’t do anything that could be considered heavy lifting. Although, when I played a different bird (Hei Hei) in a Disney movie (Moana), that was heavy lifting. Sure, I just said different versions of “Bakawk” and “Squawk” for the length of the movie but I consider it my Hamlet—which I just realized is a good name for a pet pig.
You’ve done television, film and stage. How have your past experiences shaped you into the actor you are today?
AT: You are what you do. I’ve been doing this professionally for over 20 years now. New plays taught me not only how to perform on stage but gave me an education in writing. I’ve seen the world doing films and television. Most of my most important relationships in life have come from some job or another—friends, mentors, ex-girlfriends, ex-ex-girlfriends, ex-ex-ex-girlfriends, even ex-ex-ex-ex-girlfriends.
Ramiz Monsef and Alan Tudyk in the world premiere of Mysterious Circumstances at Geffen Playhouse.
You have a very diverse background, from Strangers with Candy to Ice Age to Beautiful Boy. Is there one character that you’ve played that has really stuck with you all these years?
AT: I really liked the experience of the English movie Death at a Funeral. Frank Oz is a brilliant director—a true artist. The movie turned out pretty dang funny also.
You show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. What’s next for you?
AT: I’m doing a show for SyFy called Resident Alien. I play the Alien. It’s based on a Dark Horse comic by the same name. We shot the pilot last year and it really turned out well. It has a great balance of comedy and drama. It will be my first hour long show and the first show where I play the lead. We start shooting in November. I can’t wait. It is one of those jobs where the casting was spot on. Everybody is in the right role.
When you have downtime—if you ever have downtime!—where could we find you in LA? Any favorite hangouts?
AT: You can find me at the paddle tennis courts in Venice playing paddle tennis with my wife, Charissa. Then we go have brunch at one of the dozens of amazing restaurants on the West side. If it is late in the day, Maple Block BBQ, BISCUITS! Yes. BBQ and biscuits. Don’t fight it, just eat it and then nap—you just played a bunch of paddle tennis, you earned it!
Mysterious Circumstances is on stage at Geffen Playhouse through July 21. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.
Photography by: Photography by Jeff Lorch