On Friday, January 11th, Disney Junior launches the new animated series “Sofia the First.”
Set in the storybook world of Enchancia, the movie introduces young Sofia, an average girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries a king and she becomes a princess, Sofia the First. Sofia must learn to navigate the extraordinary life of royalty while holding on to her own hopes and dreams. Her journey to being the best she can be also paves the way for those around her to realize how special they each are.
“Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess” stars the voices of Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”) as Sofia and Wayne Brady (“Let’s Make A Deal”) as Clover.
Clover is a loveable bunny who’s Sofia’s best friend and confidante. “He’s so sensitive and it takes Sophia to bring that out in him,” reveals Brady. “He’s so protective of her and he has to override his natural bunny instinct of self-preservation to leap to her defense a lot. We see him grow a lot. He learns a lot about humility. It’s a good lesson about friendship, about love. He has quite an ego that Sophia helps keep in check. He really is her best friend.”
Brady goes on to say that while Clover seems cute and cuddly, there’s much more to the character than his outward appearance “I love that this bunny, with his big floppy ears and soulful eyes appears to be just dreamy….and then he opens his mouth. He yells and is in your face, but his boisterious attitude comes from a place of caring. That really appealed to me; to show all those facets of this character.”
This isn’t Brady’s first stint working as a character for the company. When he was 16 he performed as Goofy at Walt Disney World. “I talk about being Goofy all the time,” Brady says with a hint of a chuckle at the double entendre, “Seriously, I’m very proud of that time. That was my first job and I took it very seriously and worked hard.”
When Disney came calling for this project, Brady jumped at the chance. “When Disney asks you to be a part of the animation legacy you say ‘yes,’ and quickly.”
Voicing a character for an animated show holds its own challenges, even for a veteran like Brady, but it’s clear that he finds this test of his abilities invigorating. “When you’re doing physical comedy for animation, instead of physically being in front of a camera, you’re acting with just your voice,“ clarifies Brady. “You are using your body to some degree, but you’re not physically rolling around on the ground. In my head I’m making the motions that I feel that I have do it. You know what things are supposed to sound like, like falling or being far away. That’s part of using your imagination. This can be more fun sometimes than being on camera because you can be as silly and big as you want to to get that voice.”
The series also features a musical score and songs that highlight Brady’s Grammy nominated voice.
“It’s an added bonus that I get to sing a lot,” says Brady with a smile.
Another draw for Brady is the allure that the show holds for his nine-year-old daughter. ““I want to do the stuff she loves and she loves cartoons. She got that from me. I’m a huge animation fan. So that’s why doing a Disney project is so great. We can watch “Sofia” together and while there are so many amazing parts to this role, that’s the absolute best part.”
The road traveled to the role also holds emotional weight for Brady as he ruminates about the journey.
“This is a great way to come full circle; from being 16 and play Goofy to being one of the voices behind ‘Sofia the First,’ It’s just so much fun. It’s an absolute blast.”
Brady revealed that there was one last reason that he’s overjoyed to be playing Clover.
“To have my own toy, a toy modeled after a character that I work really hard to give a personality to and bring to life, that’s just….well, it’s something that was on my bucket list. Now I can cross it off that list.”
The television series “Sofia the First” begins airing on Friday, January 11th on Disney Junior. Check your local listings for exact air times.
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