At only fourteen years old, Raymond Ochoa, the star of The Good Dinosaur, has cultivated a fairly successful acting career for himself up until this point. Leading the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios is no easy endeavor though, and his previous work in the voice acting world, helps him to give his character – Arlo, a scared and young dinosaur trying to survive in a harsh world – the kind of youth and emotion that the character needs.
I recently got the chance to talk to the actor about his time on the film too, and not only did we totally geek out about our favorite movies from both Disney and Pixar, but we also talked about what it was like finding the right emotional tone in some of the film’s most challenging scenes.
Check out the full interview below:
How were you introduced to the project?
“I was sent over the audition, and it wasn’t really anything special, it was just an audition. Then after I sent it over to Pixar, and then a couple months later, they said that they wanted me to fly up to Emeryville, where their main facility is, and I had callback there. Then I had two more callbacks before they told me that I actually got the job, which was like the best day of my life.”
How was that? Realizing you were getting to be the lead in a Pixar movie?
“Oh wow, there were a lot of screams that happened [Laughs]. It was really weird because it was kind of overwhelming, you would expect to be telling everybody about it, but I got it and was just kind of like, ‘What? What did you say?’ It was kind of one of those confusion things, and I still am sort of grasping the fact that I am you know, in the movie. It wasn’t one of those things that I understood right away. It hits you later on in life, and it was when I realized that, ‘Wow, okay this is really cool.’”
Arlo has such a different design than several of the other characters in the film, and while I know that a lot of that is the animators, did you work at all with Peter in developing and shaping Arlo’s look?
“I wasn’t, they actually had an idea of Arlo before I got the movie so when they flew me down, I saw a still image of my character, so they already had the character already created. I wish I could have because that would have been cool, but the outcome they have is literally amazing.”
Where do you think Arlo goes after the end of the film, with his family? Do you think he takes over Papa’s role?
“I think he does. I think he doesn’t replace his Papa because he knows that there will always be that missing piece of the puzzle as they. But he fills that as much as he can, which is meaning that he’ll be able to succeed in being the man of the family or being muscular and doing the jobs that he would do, and fill those, but he knows that he will never be his Papa, and he knows he’ll never replace that.”
And it’s Jeffrey Wright.
“Exactly. You can’t replace Jeffrey [Laughs].”
If you could see like the continued adventures of Arlo and Spot though, and see the characters reunite one more time, what would you want to see them do?
“Wow, actually I would want it to be an adventure between him and his [Spot’s] family because you know that they introduced the family at the end, and to see them later on to reunite with his family. You don’t know too, maybe they find out that Papa didn’t leave, and maybe he’s still out there somewhere.”
I did like that twist too, that Spot wasn’t the only human around.
“Exactly, you know people always ask what the movie’s about, and it’s like okay, ‘There’s a dinosaur and one human?’ It doesn’t make sense, but it totally does make sense when you see the family at the end. It was cool. It was a good idea.”
I’m always intrigued by voice acting just in general, but there’s these moments in the film where your characters will realize something visually in between their lines, but they’ll have to translate that discovery or difference in emotions perfectly in order to work. How do you as an actor help to fill in those gaps with your voice?
“I would say it would be a lot with me because it is my voice, but a lot of it also is Pete. You know he’s so good, at explaining what it should be like, how he feels and what it should be like. It’s amazing how he helped me to find the perfect way of saying each line and when he’s mad at him, and when he’s not.”
What was your favorite scene to record in the movie?
“I’ll probably go with me naming off my family with the sticks scene because it was really hard for me to do that because you have to bring out a lot of emotions, cause you can’t just say, ‘Here’s Buck, here’s Libby, here’s Momma,’ it has to feel like he’s actually saying it. And I feel like I did my best, and people do say it’s one of the best scenes, so I really do like that.”
Last question, since I know you’re a Disney fanatic, what’s your favorite Disney or Pixar movie, and you’re allowed to choose one from both if you want?
“Oh wow, from Disney I would have to say ‘The Lion King’. I love ‘The Lion King’, that’s one of my favorite all time movies. For Pixar it would be… can I choose ‘Good Dinosaur’?”
“Okay, cause I just got off of another one where they were surprised I didn’t pick it, and I didn’t know it was a choice! So yeah, I pick ‘The Good Dinosaur’.”
The Good Dinosaur will hit theatres on November 25th.
Make sure to keep checking back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.
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