If the voice of Dagur the Deranged on DreamWorks' streaming sequel series to the "How to Train Your Dragon" films sounds suspiciously familiar, that's because you've been hearing it in film and TV, usually connected to the actor's on-screen physique, for four decades now: it belongs to "Married With Children" star David Faustino.
Faustino, who has enjoyed a prolific side career as a voice actor for the past several years, returns once again as the sadistic and egomaniacal would-be dragon killer in the latest installment in DreamWorks' "Dragons" animated series, "Race to the Edge," which debuts on Netflix June 26. The former child star, now 41, updated Spinoff Online on his life and career since his decade-long signature stint as Bud Bundy -- a role he may soon reprise, he notes -- and how his real-life run-ins with familiar faces at acting auditions compare to the ones he's spoofed in "Entourage."
Spinoff Online: You've been playing Dagur for a while now in the various "How to Train Your Dragon" spinoffs -- I'm assuming this has been a pretty fun gig for you. What do you enjoy most about giving voice to him?
David Faustino: Well, I really kind of have fallen in love with the character, to be honest with you. I didn't really know what I was even getting into. I hadn't seen "How to Train Your Dragon" yet when I auditioned. I just really liked what I saw and I was like, "Wow, this is a funny character." And then read it, and then got to go in for the first time in Dreamworks to do it, and it's just like, he's just such a fun character, well written, well thought out.
You can see all of his insecurities underneath his sort of villainous, outward appearance. And he's just so much fun. When I went in there, the best part for me is just going in and having fun and voicing it and just going all out.
Was there a new side to him that you got to explore this time around?
I really like his sensitive side. Like, underneath all of that craziness, there's actually like a really just scared, little guy [Laughs]. So I like when he kind of lets that out a little bit. You see that: He becomes like this little five-year-old kid. And that was fun, and then he tries to cover it up real quick by getting back into his sort of ominous behavior.
Between this and "Legend of Korra," "Winx Club," "Scooby-Doo" and so many more, what's been especially rewarding from this voice acting side of your career? Did it present any unique challenges?
Like you mentioned, it's been really great to me. It's been a second career in that I've had opportunities to work with great people in the voiceover world. And so I'm really grateful for my career in it, and I think the great part of it is going in and having that camaraderie and being with the cast. Although a lot of the times, with "Dragon," I recorded solo -- just FYI -- but sometimes you get to work with the cast. You start to build that camaraderie, and you're hanging out and you get to look the way you want, and it doesn't take that long -- and you're kind of in and out.
And that's the great part of it -- which is also, for me, the downside of it because I like getting even closer with people and sort of really creating that bond of being with each other all day long for 12 hours. That's kind of like the great work environment, and they become your family for the time they're doing it. So that's the downside. There's not much of a challenge for me, as far as voiceover work, I don't think. The only challenge is playing it as real as you would as if you were acting on camera.
What has it meant to you to have sustained a career for as long as you have? Because it's definitely never easy.
Well, thank you for that compliment. That's nice. It's just hard work. I was born into it. I started when I was three months old, and that was my first job. And I just continued working all along. So for me, there was no other choice at this point [Laughs]. There's no way I'm going to do anything else. So just by sheer will, you will see still me pop up for the rest of your life [Laughs] because I just continue to push forward, and voiceover has been great to me.
I continue to get offers and to audition vigorously for it and continue to work on camera as well. And I'm just grateful for it. And there's still way more that I want to do. My career is by no means exactly what I want it to be, and I have way more in store, a lot bigger goals, and I'm excited to achieve those goals.
I feel this thing happens for anybody who's been on a super popular show like you, where you don't have to fight the Bud Bundy-ness anymore. As people who liked you on "Married With Children" become decision makers in Hollywood, they will give you opportunities, and then you start to get really diverse and unusual opportunities. Have you found that to be happening at this point?
Yes and no. I mean, luckily with the advent of just more and more television and content and people just sort of not caring as much as they used to about that, because directors and producers are throwing actors in roles that you would never imagine would be in a certain role. And they work because they're a good actor, because they're seeing them for the actor they are, not for what they did. And I see more and more of that lately, so that's a great thing. And I think as more and more time goes on, it becomes more and more possible.
That said, in the era of Netflix and Hulu, if someone said, "Hey, we'd love to do just another season of streaming with 'Married with Children,'" would you be up to revisit that?
Well, there's been a lot of talk about it actually in the past year, it was all over "Variety" and "The Hollywood Reporter" and different publications about Sony really wanting to try and do a "Married with Children" reboot. And it became very close. The whole cast has showed interest, and that was kind of coming to fruition, but there's been a legal issue with something behind the scenes -- nothing to do with the cast -- that they're trying to work out. And if they do, that would be something -- possibly a pilot, something interesting like that. And I think everybody was excited at the prospect. But until they are able to work out this legal issue, I don't know that it will happen.
I hope it does.
Yeah, that would be fun, wouldn't it? Especially when you have a cast doing that well and is still willing to reboot those characters for a little while.
It's kind of astounding to see how well all of you guys have done in the years since.
Yeah, it's pretty cool. Everybody's doing really well. I'm really excited to see Christina's new movie, "Vacation." It looks hilarious.
What else do you have in the works?
I just wrapped up "The Legend of Korra" which was great. That was a great experience being on that show and the great cast, and talk about great writing. So that was an amazing experience which led to more voiceover work. And I just finished a film called "The Night Before" which is an indie film. It's kind of a 'what happens on one night' kind of film, bachelor party, etc. Fred Willard, some other classic actors in there. But then I also have a spot in the "Entourage" film that's out right now. A little cameo.
I noticed that. That's been a longstanding association for you.
Yeah, exactly. They had me come in in the very beginning and at the very end of the show. Doug Ellin is a great guy and a friend of mine, so he's been well to me and called me up for the film, which is great. I had a blast with those guys. Yeah, just honored to be a part of it. It was a lot of fun. And right now, I created my show, "Star Man," I don't know if you heard of that, but I'm creating some new work right now with my writing partner. We're fleshing out a script that we're just putting the final touches on that we're really excited about that we have some great actors attached to, and we're already in the process of making that happen. I'm going to direct as well.
How similar to real-life auditions is that scene in the "Entourage" movie?
[Laughs] "Entourage" is obviously turned up to 11, right? It is life turned up to 11. So not that much, but it gets very close. It gets shockingly close sometimes. You're like, "Whoa!" It's definitely exaggerated a bit, but it's not that farfetched. Let's put it that way.
Is there anybody you've been seeing in the same audition room since you were a kid?
Seth Green! There's been a few of us, man, but definitely Seth, and it's shocking to me to look back and see a lot of the actors that I've grown up with auditioning since I was a little kid doing well now and having series of their own or movie careers. It's great. It's inspiring and awesome.
"Dreamworks' Dragons: Race to the Edge" begins streaming on Netflix June 26.