Stephanie Beatriz and Colin O'Donoghue Talk Guillermo del Toro's 'Wizards': First Look (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Michael Tran/FilmMagic, Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Stephanie Beatriz and Colin O'Donoghue were both enamored by the prospect of joining Guillermo del Toro's colorful Tales of Arcadia universe, an original animated trilogy by DreamWorks Animation wholly created from the filmmaker's mind. In Wizards, the final chapter of the fantastical franchise that drops Friday on Netflix, both play crucial roles.
Beatriz, who voices new character Callista, said it was an easy "yes" to join the final installment, calling del Toro an "incredible mind" and one of her "favorite directors." A veteran in voice work, having been part of animated shows like BoJack Horseman and Bob's Burgers, the Brooklyn Nine-Nine star credited the storytelling and the worlds within for being "creative, adventurous, funny and beautiful." "The fact that I got to do a voice on it, it's just mind-bending to me," she marveled to ET.
Meanwhile, the Tales of Arcadia franchise marked O'Donoghue's first foray into voice acting. "This is my first voice role and I had a blast. I absolutely loved this," he told ET, who voices Wizards' main protagonist, Douxie -- a character who's been on the sidelines up until now. Best known for playing Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time, the actor shared that he came very close to studying animation in college. "I was always fascinated by animation and how people can create an entire world visually, where you have to think about every single piece of, like, how the grass was. I mean, Guillermo del Toro; it's a no-brainer."
Following the first two chapters, Trollhunters and 3Below, Wizards brings together three disparate worlds of trolls, aliens and wizards in the Tales of Arcadia finale. In Wizards, Merlin's wizard-in-training, Douxie (O’Donoghue), and the heroes of Arcadia embark on an adventure to medieval Camelot that leads to an apocalyptic battle for the control of magic that will determine the fate of these supernatural worlds that have now converged.
"I play the guitar and I love coffee, and he's a barista and plays the guitar," O'Donoghue joked when asked about similarities he shares with Douxie.
"I showed a picture of the character to my wife and kids and they thought that he actually looks very like me. So we're similar in that way. I'm probably a bit headstrong as well, but I'm not a 500-year-old wizard," he said with a laugh.
Beatriz's Callista is a new character who makes a splashy entrance in the first episode of Wizards. An outcast her entire life, she hasn't been accepted by anyone and doesn't have a home base.
"She's a loner, she's tough and she has a badass exterior but on the inside, she's surprisingly vulnerable and self-conscious of discovering who she is," she said. "Over the course of the season, she discovers that she might be destined for something much bigger and greater than she could have wrapped her brain around. Also, she's hella funny. She's got some great one-liners and this really great dry humor, and it was really fun to play."
Watch ET's exclusive sneak peek of Beatriz's character, Callista, in Wizards: Tales of Arcadia, below.
For Beatriz, Callista is a character -- though she may not exist in the real world -- that allows her to examine her own growth as a person and breaking out of the proverbial box.
"She sort of thinks of herself in this one kind of way and has decided, for her own emotional and physical safety, that she has to be this one way, which is tough," Beatriz said. "'Don't let anybody in, close all the walls, build the fortress very high. Through the course of this story, as it unfolds over these episodes, she is surprised by not only how she feels but also what her values are and who she wants to be in the world."
"I identify with that a lot, and I think a lot of people do, especially in this moment in time," she continued. "I love when a story unfolds and I'm caught up in it and then suddenly I feel emotional, and I'm like, 'Why am I crying right now? Why do I feel so connected to this?' When you're on this journey with these characters, you identify and empathize and you hold space for the stories that aren't yours."
It's a happy coincidence that Wizards travels to Camelot, a land Once Upon a Time spent a good portion of time in, something that wasn't lost on O'Donoghue.
"I was very lucky that Hook was the character that people enjoyed," the Irish actor reflected on the hit ABC fantasy drama, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary next year. "But it was fun. It was a great time. And it's interesting on [Wizards] to see this version of Camelot, because we had a whole season of Once Upon a Time set in Camelot as well. I loved being on Once Upon a Time,and I'm sure people who watch Wizards had seen me on that. But, yeah, Hook was great."
And how would Hook fare in quarantine? "Pretty well actually," O'Donoghue posited. "He probably would've spent hundreds of years out at sea, so he's used to being on his own. He'd probably have to quarantine with Smee, though. So they'd probably be in quarantine together. But I reckon he'd be okay!"
One thing Beatriz has learned through voice work that has helped shape her approach when it comes to acting in front of a camera is to let go of her inhibitions.
"I got to a place where I stopped feeling self-conscious about what my face was doing or what my arms are doing or how I was standing. When you're voice acting, you're usually on one side of a window separator and on the other side of that are the sound engineer, your director, some of your producers, various other people that need to be there to help shape the story through your voice. And no one's really looking at you. They're just listening to you. There's a freedom that comes with that. Over time, you start to learn that the less self-conscious you are about how you look in those moments, the more freedom and the bigger breadth of emotion and also comedy that you can access through your voice. That inhibition will naturally follow me to the next project."