Dora Winifred “DW” Read, the Bratty Younger Sister and Tomboy of Longtime PBS Animated Series Lead Character Arthur, was never voiced by boys because young girls “were just too nice” for the role, according to the show’s voice director.
Debra Toffan, who has worked as a voice director on the animated series since its debut in 1996, explained the decision to bring in young male comedians as the bossy but protective and unicorn-loving character while being interviewed for the latest episode of the newly launched Find DW Podcast.
âI’ve been asked this all my life, ‘Why is DW always played by a boy?’ Toffan said. Find DW host and former DW voice actor Jason Szwimer. âI think because DW is a restless little girl. She’s a little kid.
Toffan went on to say that this personality trait relates to “that rough little voice”. But when the series first auditioned young comedians, and in subsequent auditions to recast the character, they âexplored female voicesâ.
âWe actually tried to make girls with hoarse voices. We went down to the wire, where you know when I do the casting, we went down to maybe five selections, like five of our favorites, âToffan said. “And I still, every once in a while, slipped a girl in there, thinking she had a hoarse voice.”
Each time, the Arthur According to the casting director, their voices couldn’t quite capture the character’s rougher edge. âThey were just too nice for DW They are just too nice for DW So we opened up looking for little boys,â she said.
These little boys were mostly between 8 and 10 years old “or 11 years old,” Toffan said.
Once the show decided that the tone and hoarseness of the young boys’ voices best captured DW’s personality, the team stuck to it, ultimately casting “Eight DW Boys.” women were also brought in to voice young boys.
The first voice actor to play DW, Michael Caloz, was also interviewed during the 30-minute episode, speaking to Szwimer about what it was like to audition and ultimately voice the character.
While recounting his voiceover experiences on Arthur, Caloz said he hadn’t really talked about being cast for the role. As a young child who didn’t quite understand fame, he felt “there really was no need to tell anyone.”
âWhat I remember is that I always kept it a secret until people found out about my acting in general,â he said. âAt the beginning, I did not yet have this conception of the way in which the actors are perceived in our society. They’re often idolized, sort of seen as that special type of person or something. â¦ I think I just saw it as another fun activity or hobby.
While young Caloz may not have seen this as a big deal, he said the audition process was largely, according to his mother’s recollection, and that while stepping out for a role in the ‘PBS show, he was also ready for another Brother Read.
“I remember [my mom] said it was a rigorous audition process and they were watching a lot of people, âhe said. “She said apparently I was initially seen as potentially playing Arthur, and then they decided they really wanted DW to be a tomboy and to have that kind of slightly more masculine voice. And so they went. decided that I would be a good fit for this role.
Animation didn’t always choose voice actors to match their on-screen characters in terms of age, gender, or race, a practice that received more scrutiny over the year. last. On the podcast, Caloz said he wondered if he even questioned his own cast when he got the role of DW.
“I said, ‘Mom, like, I must have thought that was weird, right? “I’m that 9-year-old boy, and I’m told ‘You’re gonna play a girl’ – like I think it’s crazy,” he said. “And she said, ‘No, you just took it as another role to play, and you were really excited to be on TV and working on this famous book that the kids loved.’ And so apparently I didn’t question it, strangely enough.