Not everyone would recognize it, but we have heard this voice often. Without seeing him, most young parents could have guessed that Marc Labrèche was in the Difuze dubbing studio on Thursday, even if the voice that emanated from it was both shrill and adorable.
The versatile actor and animator is recording the voice of the mouse Toopy, who will make the leap to the big screen on August 11 in Toopy and Binoo, the film. Marc Labrèche has been lending his voice to the friendly animated character since the mid-2000s and, although the last time he slipped into the rodent’s skin was a while ago, he knew “which drawer to open”.
“Unlike American productions, there was no referent at the start. Because it is a creation from here, there was a way to discuss with the authors and then the director to determine what the spirit of the character is, explains Marc Labrèche. There was something about his dynamic that seemed natural to me to marry. Above all, do not intellectualize something that has no place to be. If the fantasy, the energy and the breath of the drawing speak to you and make you want to put your energy into it, it is generally a good sign. »
In the TV series, Toopy continues the monologues, because Binoo and his beloved doggie Mr. Mou are mute. The feature film, written and directed by Dominique Jolin and Raymond Lebrun, will add new characters, including Dorothée, a funny genius who will accidentally make Mr. Mou disappear. In the hope of finding him, they will go in search of the World of Lost Objects and will meet on the way twin gulls and a princess, among others.
Fans of Toopy, fear not, the clumsy mouse remains at the heart of the story. “There are other characters, but I don’t see it any differently. I go one segment at a time and have fun with the situation the character is in,” the comedian says.
Marc Labrèche has been doing dubbing since the 1980s. Even if he has been less in the studio in recent years, his passion for this other branch of his profession remains just as great. “It’s relaxing to arrive in a project that has been matured, reflected and thought for a long time, even more in the case of an animated film”, he underlines.
Dubbing live actors, however, allowed him to understand another side of the game. “It’s interesting because it takes you out of your own little breath. By unpacking the process that led other actors to adopt a specific tone or diction, you can better understand their sensitivity. »
For him, however, animation remains “the best of both worlds”. “I can go with my personal fantasy that fits into a character that wasn’t created by me. I don’t just translate an author’s thought into another language. I feel like I’m being asked to put myself into it and it’s quite nice. »
When asked if he made different voices when he read to his children, his eyes light up – even more. “It was fun to do!” And it became an exercise, despite myself, every night. For example, we read an Asterix in which there are several characters, then I made the effort to make different voices because it amused me, but also because I felt that my children liked it too. It still happens to me to tell a story to my grandson and then I have the same reflexes that come back. I am making this film for him, in part. […] Recording Toupie’s voice brings me back to my young paternal years when I did it every day and had a lot of fun. »
“Krusty, that was total freedom!” I don’t think it had happened since Les Flintstones that a Quebec soundtrack was assumed like that, with references from here. I remember, at the beginning, there were three or four of us in the studio to try to save time, then to create a kind of synergy, but we laughed so much that we couldn’t do the planned work plan. It was quite fun to do voices like that in an environment that is usually quite calm, where you pay attention to your diction and where you have to speak normative French. It was liberating. »
“Olaf, he’s lovely!” I really had fun doing it, because it is full of tenderness. He moved me! Well, I’m a very good audience for this kind of business, but he’s one of the great Disney characters of the last few years. It’s great to do! »
“I really liked it a lot. He has something very modern and assumed in his unpleasant character. In the United States, the actors have the text before then the animators draw after, which makes a big difference. The character that was created therefore has a real breath. It makes it more solid, more grounded. I was alone almost all the way, but I really had fun. »