Carlos Alazraqui Flying High About Disney’s ‘Planes’
August 1, 2013
By Julie Landry Laviolette, Sun Sentinel
The voice of ‘El Chupacabra’ stopped by Miami and gave us an inside look at his role in the animated film hitting theaters Aug. 9
It’s a tale about an underdog who learns to fly high, despite his fears. Disney’s Planes, an animated comedy set to hit theaters Aug. 9, takes a cue from the Disney’s Cars franchise but lets the action take off by telling the story from the point of view of a comedic lineup of airplanes on a high-speed air race circuit.
The PG-rated film tells the tale of Dusty, a crop-duster, who dreams of competing in races, but is, uh, afraid of heights. Dusty’s journey takes him around the world as he meets planes from different cultures, including a buttoned-up Brit and an alluring Indian plane.
Comedian Carlos Alazraqui, who has voiced characters in films such as Happy Feet and Toy Story 3, and who played James Garcia on Comedy Central’s “Reno 911,” voices “El Chupacabra,” Dusty’s ally. Here’s what Alazraqui has to say about the film:
Tell us about your character:
El Chupacabra is a macho, passionate, over-the-top telenovella actor and recording artist from Mexico. He becomes Dusty’s best friend and co-pilot when Dusty gets up in the sky and needs a confidante. Deep down, I have a very soft heart for Dusty and for the woman I love, (rolling his r’s) R-R-R-Rochelle.
Your name, El Chupacabra, means a mythical blood-sucking creature, but your character is not mean at all. Explain:
El Chupacabra is nothing more than a stage name that El Chu uses to scare off his opponents. When you are around me and you know me, you call me El Chu. I’m not a bad guy in the movie; I’m one of the best good guys.
There are a lot of comedians in this film: John Kleese and Cedric the Entertainer, to name two. Did you get a chance to play off of each other and interact?
That always depends on the director When I did “Happy Feet,” we were all in the same room at the same time Robin Williams, Elijah Wood and the four actors who played the “penguinoes.” … This one was more modulated. We were usually in a booth by ourselves But we [comedians] all are used to not needing somebody there. We can create whole themes on stage as comedians and play every part without somebody to bounce off of. That’s what we do for a living.
You did “Happy Feet” and other Disney roles, but I was impressed to learn you were the voice of the Taco Bell Chihuahua (Yo quiero Taco Bell):
Yes, that was the ’90s. Now my daughter [Rylee, age 2] has watched me as Felipe on “Handy Manny.” I was also all the male voices on “Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!” I played Walden from Australia. [Alazraqui also voiced Nestor in “Happy Feet,” Lazlo in “Camp Lazlo” and Rocko and Spunky in Nickelodeon’s “Rocko’s Modern Life,” among others.]
Does your daughter realize the characters are you?
Well, it’s funny. She’s at the age where she almost gets it. Like here’s the reality: I’ll go “Rylee, Rylee, Daddy’s supposed to go do Chupacabra,” and she’ll say “I’m making poopies.” She almost gets it. She goes “Daddy funny” or “Daddy crazy.”
The “Planes” story travels the world and introduces characters from different cultures. Why is it important to introduce kids to that concept?
It’s great because normally we’re so insulated. We’re usually looking at America’s stories, and we don’t get to travel and see most of the world. That’s why “Planes” takes us so much farther. You can literally see the world from above and land in cities and meet different characters from Germany, India, London and Mexico. I think that’s what’s cool about the movie. It’s like an entertaining encyclopedia of the world for kids.
Disney tales typically have a moral. What’s the moral of this story?
Go for your dreams, and if you have fears, try to overcome them, and you can do it.
Will “Cars” enthusiasts like this movie?
It came from the world of “Cars,” but it’s a completely different world. There’s a full 360 degrees of action you can go to, and you’re not limited to roads. You can go up in the sky; you can go up, down, across, in and out. The camera angles are almost as if you’re flying the planes themselves. It’s that aerial point of view from the perspective of the pilot. It transcends what Cars has done, and takes you to another level.