Jason Isaacs is best known to audiences for the role of the arrogant narcissist Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series. The actor has also featured in a number of other critically acclaimed films, in addition to providing voices for several animated characters, from Lex Luthor to Dick Dastardly in the newly released Warner Animation Group film Scoob!. In an interview, the actor spoke about bringing some depth to a character that is best known as the mustache-twirling villain from Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
“Really it comes, it grows out of the script, and it grows out of Dick Dastardly, who’s an incredible character. He’s a fantastically narcissistic, egomaniacal, supervillain, genius in this iteration. He’s bigger and stronger than Dick Dastardly’s of the past, you know. He provides some real threat, some real peril, but he’s also, I think got a real heart in this because a movie is not a 10 minute episode of a cartoon. So, you have to have a real emotional threat all the way through. And for all of its fantastical and you know we go to space, and hell, and all these places.”
Dastardly has appeared in a number of cartoons and movies in the past, voiced by various actors, and always portraying the worst kind of scoundrel, who would do anything to get ahead. While Jason Isaacs was intent on bringing his own personality to the role, he studied previous iterations of the character as well.
“I looked to the other people who played Dick Dastardly before, and I listened to the voices, but I also remembered that it’s origin was a British movie, ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, World,’ and Terry Thomas, who was the mustachioed villain in it. And so not wanting to do a very poor impression or be a diluted version of the brilliant American voices who’ve done it before, we thought we’d go English, since that’s what it was based on.”
Even though Isaacs has played plenty of villains in the past, there was something hilariously over-the-top about the earnestness of Dastardly’s belief that he was absolutely, totally, awesome. And interestingly, that ended up informing the nationality of the character.
“We did a bunch of different things in the booth, and tried them all out, they all worked to a different extent, but it just felt like he was such a ham. He’s his own best and only audience, even though he’s created all these creatures they don’t laugh at him or find him funny, nobody applauds, no one is impressed by him, even slightly, so he has to provide his own standing ovation all of the time. So there was something that felt deliciously foolish about making him English.”
Scoob! is available on demand on Friday, May 15. The film follows the journey of the Mystery Gang of Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo as they solve mysteries at a young age. The reboot is the first part of an intended Hanna-Barbera shared cinematic universe, which sees appearances from other famous characters that the company owns, including Dastardly, The Blue Falcon, and Dynomutt. These quotes come from ComicBook.com.