Disney's Adam McArthur talks Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, and voicing Lee-Char in hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Disney's Adam McArthur talks about playing Marco Diaz in Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, and voicing Lee-Char in the hit series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also Adam dishes about his expertise in Kung Fu.
You grew up in San Francisco, got your degree in film production and were in improv groups in LA. How did you transition from improv to scripted roles?
I've actually been doing both in tandem for many years! Improv teaches you to trust your instincts, and really listen. Any great acting teacher will tell you how important those qualities are in scripted work as well. I've never thought of them as separate kinds of acting or performing, but rather different sides of the same coin that can make me a more well-rounded actor. I'm thankful for all of my training! It really allows me to have fun, feel the freedom in the moment to trust myself and what I'm able to bring to different roles.
You play Marco Diaz on the hit Disney XD show "Star vs. The Forces of Evil." Marco is the quirky, almost Charlie Brown like best friend of Star and her companion on her adventures. What has the process been like in creating this fun teenage character?
Oh man, it's been an insanely fun process. Marco and I have so much in common that it's comical at times. I like to say that he and I "just get each other. I pull from a lot of my own personal experiences with this guy. Through the guidance of Daron Nefcy, the creator of the show, and Kelly Ward, as well as all the other amazing directors and creatives involved behind the scenes, the creative process has been very collaborative.
You also voice Lee-Char in the hit series "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." You have done live action roles such as 'Casey' in "The Coin," starring Christopher Lloyd. What are some of the greatest differences and similarities you find in playing live action characters and voiceover characters?
I think the differences lie in the nuances of the different styles of acting. For an on-camera role, there is a whole different type of technique you use when acting for the camera. Same goes for VO. Mic placement, how loud you are, what your body is doing. It's all very different between the two styles. There are definitely some similarities though! Knowing your character and making strong choices are helpful no matter what style of acting you're doing. The good thing is, both are so much fun! It's like exercising different parts of my brain.
You recently attended San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo for "Star vs. The Forces of Evil." What have been some of the greatest experiences you've had at these, and other events?
The best part about any convention is the time I get to spend with the fans. We have so many amazingly sweet, talented, funny and weird fans of this show! (Haha. You weird ones know who you are.) There's no greater feeling than meeting people, and hearing how you've impacted their lives by doing what you love. That will never get old, and I am forever grateful to be where I'm at.
You created your own short film "Showdown at High Noon" back in 2013. What are some things you learned about creating your own content, and do you plan on directing/producing more in the future?
Showdown at High Noon is actually a credit someone else put on my IMDB, and I have no idea what the heck it is lol. So if IMDB is reading this, please take that off! (Side note: I am currently working on a project that I'm writing and acting in called The Adam & Brian Show. I'm working on it with my good buddy who is a puppeteer with the Henson Company. It follows two best friends, one who happens to be a puppet, on a pretty wild journey through their pretty mundane lives. Keep an eye out for it!)
You also specialize in Kung Fu. You have won numerous tournaments, and have been the subject of several PBS documentaries. How do the principles you have learned in Kung Fu seep into your career as an actor/filmmaker?
Great question! I think the greatest lesson I learned from the martial arts is the ability to cope in the uncomfortable. As you can imagine, there's a lot of pain both physically and mentally during martial arts training. My teacher taught me to never give up, even when things got difficult. He also said that sometimes in order to be comfortable, you had to be uncomfortable for a while first. It's so similar to acting. Sometimes things are difficult. You might have a bad performance, a creative block or lose out on a big role. But you can't let it get you down. You just have to keep pushing through, and come out stronger on the other side. So that's what I do! It keeps me pretty happy most of the time.
You sometimes lend your voice to video games such as the mysterious Joker in Final Fantasy Type-0. How is it different playing a video game character, rather than an animated character?
The great thing about animation is I get to see a full script, and often times get to record with other actors. On Puss in Boots, we record in a big room together where everyone is playing off each. Video games are quite the opposite! Every single video game I've worked on, I've had zero idea what game it was until much later (sometimes years!). Because games take so long to make, their stories are kept under wraps so tightly that even the actors don't know what they're working on. I'll typically get a page with just my lines, and I don't record with anyone else. From there, the director gives me vague context and we give it a go! It's wild and a lot of the time feels very spontaneous, exciting! They're both a lot of fun to work on!
Can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
I'm currently focused on recording the upcoming season of Star Vs. The Forces of Evil, which I'm super excited about! You can also hear my voice all over Disney XD, as well as in the new Far Cry 5 coming out early next year. There are a few other things coming soon, but I can't talk about those yet. So stay tuned!