This fall, Adam Brody is playing a nerdy high school kid who, along with his best friend, is making an attempt to fit in (and get girls!) in a California beach town that caters to the rich and gorgeous.
Experiencing a little d�j� vu? No, we’re not taking you back to 2003 — though Brody’s latest character does remind us of “The O.C.’s” Seth Cohen on paper. As a long-time fan of animation, Brody is making the jump to voice acting with MTV’s latest series “Good Vibes.”
From creator David Gordon Green (“Eastbound & Down”), the series premieres tonight (Oct. 27) after the highly anticipated return of “Beavis & Butt-head,” and, as is to be expected, it’s snarky, dirty, and downright hilarious.
Brody plays Woodie, a laid-back kid whose family is the epitome of “Real Housewives”-type superficiality. He meets Jersey transplant Mondo (Josh Gad), and their friendship is immediately the stuff of Ryan-Seth bromance: “I’ve never had a bro before,” Woodie says. “I’ve always been kind of a loner, but it’s fun being loners together.”
Brody sat down with Zap2it over the summer to discuss this latest addition to his resum�. Tune in tonight at 10:30 p.m. EST on MTV.
Zap2it: Talk to me about your character, Woodie.
Brody: He’s got a blonde afro. He’s a skinny guy. No, he was born and raised in Southern California, to a very powerful family, but his values are very opposite, very diametrically opposed to his family’s. He loves the beach, he loves love, he loves nature, but his family is very much money-driven and driven by greed.
Zap2it: And he meets Mondo, and they’re just best friends right off the bat.
Brody: Both of them aren’t really developed yet — you know, they’re girl-obsessed, but they haven’t had many, if any, conquests yet. Or even girlfriends, perhaps that’s a better way to put it than ‘conquests.’ Woodie’s pretty mellow. He’s not very neurotic. He likes to chill.
Zap2it: How did you develop the voice? He doesn’t sound like you at all.
Brody: I didn’t really intellectualize it too much. I auditioned for it, and the way the lines were written, it’s the only way that it sounded right. It was trial-and-error, trying to wrap my mind around the words. There’s a little Spicoli in there, there’s a lot of Barney the Dinosaur, maybe a little bit of Garth from “Wayne’s World.” But closest in tone is definitely Barney the Dinosaur, if Barney the Dinosaur was a horny skinny teenager.
Zap2it: What was it about this project that made you want to audition for it?
Brody: Well, first of all, I have to be honest – I’m just a huge David Gordon Green fan. That chance to work with him was a huge opportunity. It’s not my first time auditioning for a cartoon – I did another pilot that didn’t go. So many interests aligned with my own in this project, in terms of subject matter, it’s nice. I don’t want to use kismet, but I want to use a word that means the same thing as kismet. I feel very like-minded with the show.
Zap2it: In terms of making this big comeback to TV after “The O.C.,” did you know that you definitely wanted to do an animated series?
Brody: No, I had no idea. As an actor so much of your time is spent looking for work, so you just evaluate all the opportunities that come your way and you pick one. Voiceover work is really fun — the hours are basically a dream — but it’s not something that I’d ever focused on. It’s really nice to be here on the other end of having done a season of it, to be able to say, “I did an animated series!”
Zap2it: People always talk about the pros of doing voiceover stuff — going to work in your pajamas, and having great hours — are there any downsides?
Brody: [laughing] I mean, it pays, very very small. Unless your show becomes a big hit, I guess, but the hours are so minimal so you get paid accordingly. But that’s okay! You still do get paid to go screw around in front of a microphone, so no complaints here.
Zap2it: Were you ever in the room with other actors?
Brody: Unfortunately, no. The first two episodes I got to do with Josh Gad, but that’s a real luxury. Other than that, we did it all solo. You get to do a table-read together, you do it with everyone once and you get a feel for it. It’s not that weird for me — maybe it would be weirder if I was a better actor, who’s really working off the other person. Me, I’m so concentrated on myself and my own stuff that I’m not even listening, but you get to do the line three times fast in a row and try a couple versions, and then move on to the next one. With live action, there’s so much waiting around before you even get to say your line, and you don’t just get to do it a few different ways in a row. You’re waiting on resets and other people. With this, I go “Let’s go outside!” [Deeper] “Let’s go outside!” [Faster] “Let’s go outside!” and I’m done.
Zap2it: You guys are premiering following the return of “Beavis & Butt-head.” Is there any pressure to that, being packaged with this incredibly iconic series?
Brody: Zero “Beavis & Butt-head” pressure. I certainly don’t view it as a competition. It’s such a classic, like, how could you? If it was another brand new animated show coming out at the same time, I’d be like “We must beat them! We will be the victors at the end of the season!” but no. It’s “Beavis & Butt-head,” so actually, we’re fortunate that they’re so established and people will watch that, so it’s a great lead-in.
Zap2it: Are there any animated shows that you’re watching right now?
Brody: Not regularly, but every time I do catch a new “Family Guy” or “Simpsons,” they’re hilarious, as funny as ever. “South Park,” too. I grew up on the classics of my generation — it was “Simpsons,” then “Beavis & Butt-head,” then “South Park,” then “Family Guy.” All great shows.
Zap2it: One of the benefits of being animated is that the show can get really raunchy. Even the pilot is super dirty.
Brody: I’ve been totally surprised by that! Absolutely, I can’t believe it. I watched it with my parents and I was so embarrassed. I think what we can get away with is amazing, and morally, I personally feel like it’s very much a reflection of where your head’s at when you’re 15 – and potentially now for some of us – what you’re talking about, what’s on the brain. And I also think there’s a heart and good morals under it. The material is explicit, but it’s following good people with good values. That’s all you can do. If they’re exposed to drugs and breasts and penis surfboards along the way, you just try to come at it from a healthy place.
Zap2it: Is it weird to watch it and hear your voice coming out of this character?
Brody: It’s not weird so much as — well, I really hated it. The first couple of episodes I saw, I hated myself. I was like, ‘I can’t hear me, I’m having trouble understanding what I’m saying, I’m the least funny.’ But I’ve grown to like it. I can hear it now.
Zap2it: What’d your parents think?
Brody: They liked it. They were surprisingly not horrified. You would think so, but I guess I’ve got a cool mom.