I had the chance to sit down and talk to Mick Wingert, who voices Slappy in Sony’s recent ‘Goosebumps: Haunted Halloween’ film, he also has voiced Tony Stark in multiple Marvel animated projects and has begun voicing Master Po in ‘Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny’.
INTERVIEWER: To begin the interview, how did you begin your acting career?
MICK WINGERT: Well…I really started with stage acting as a young kid – probably around age eight or nine. My parents allowed me to do summer day camps in my home town of Fresno, CA when I was young and I caught the acting bug there. On top of that, I am also a natural mimmic, so while growing up, I was always doing cartoon and celebrity impressions at family gatherings and stuff.
In 2004, I moved to Southern California to pursue a career as a cartoon voice actor after I had graduated from college and traveled with a touring theater company. I thought, “whenever I play someone on stage, I always start with what they sound like…creating the voice is the best part.” So, when I realized I could seriously do this for a living, I put two and tow together and I made a go of it.
INTERVIEWER: One character you’ve voiced in a few projects is Iron Man, how has it been to voice such a iconic Marvel character and what inspiration do you use exactly for the voice of that character?
MICK WINGERT: I LOVE playing Tony Stark/Iron Man. To be honest, my opportunity to play him came out of the right risk-taking in the audition meeting the perfect opportunity to get into the Marvel Animation family. Full disclosure: I was only ever a marginal Iron Man fan as a kid. While I liked the idea of the suit, I had no idea who Tony Stark really was growing up. I know, it’s sacrilege – but bear with me… Then Robert Downey, Jr. immortalized the character on screen in 2008 – and for the first time I “got” Tony Stark.
Robert Downey, Jr’s performance was, in my mind, the DEFINITIVE Iron Man. So, when the chance to play the animated version came around in the form of a direct-to-video project called Marvel Superheroes Frost Fight, I really wanted to try to bring that RDJ essence to the read when I created my audition. Now, the actor that was playing Tony on Avengers Assemble, to that point, was giving his own spin on the character and since the project in question was a one-off, they were taking auditions to hear what other actors might do with the role.
I wanted Tony Stark to sound like he knew he was the smartest guy in the room and that his defense against any of these other heroes getting to know him too well was to act aloof and above it all, so, that when he’s cracking wise, what he’s really saying is “I know too much to take any of this seriously.” Thankfully for me, the higher-ups at Marvel animation really liked what I did for the character and invited me into the fold to lend my vocal performance to him in both the direct-to-video project and some other assorted pieces, at which point, I was brought in to voice him regularly.
INTERVIEWER: Moving on to your most recent project where you voiced Slappy in Goosebumps 2, How did that opportunity first arise?
MICK WINGERT: Like so much of our business, the opportunity to play Slappy arose out of an audition. Sony/Columbia Pictures sent out auditions for the voice of Slappy asking for a match to Jack Black’s performance in the first Goosebumps film.
INTERVIEWER: What inspiration did you use for the voice of Slappy?
MICK WINGERT: Well, I’d be lying if I said anything other than how Slappy has been played previously on screen. Of course there is always more to learn about any of R.L. Stine’s monsters and villains by reading the Goosebumpsbooks, but my goal in playing Slappy in this film is to make my performance seamless with Jack Black’s. Slappy is one of the iconic villains of the screen. So it’s really important for us actors not to get in the way of the audience reacting to Slappy. If, when you hear him speak, your first thought is “I wonder who’s doing his voice?” Then you are not going to be as frightened or creeped out as an audience member should be. The best compliment I have received is that some reviewers have credited Jack as the voice. That is evidence that I did my job.
INTERVIEWER: Would you be interested in reprising your voice role as Slappy either for another Goosebumps film or another different film or television series?
MICK WINGERT: I would always relish the chance to play Slappy! Being the villain is always the most fun. And a twisted, evil, magic ventriloquist’s dummy? Hello? How much better does it get than that!
INTERVIEWER: To end the Interview, is there anything you’d like to promote or make our audience aware of regarding any upcoming projects?
MICK WINGERT: This year  is a banner year for me, actually! In addition to the theatrical release of Goosebumps 2, I will be starring in the new Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny as Master Po. That’s coming to Amazon Prime Video on November 16th. The show is beautifully animated and stars some of the most talented young performers I have ever met as bumbling disciples of Master Po who suddenly gain incredible power and need someone to teach them how to use it. It’s a super-funny show and the whole cast (kids and adults) are fantastic and great to work with.
Also, I just released a brand new podcast with the help of some of the amazing voice actors I get to call my friends. I am a huge fan of old-time radio shows, so I created one of my own in the form of a podcast called The Hidden Frequencies. It’s an audio drama anthology in the creepy spirit of The Twilight Zone or Tales From the Dark Side. It’s available on iTunes and stitcher radio or by going to our website: www.thehiddenfrequencies.com. At the time of this interview, we have released six unique episodes featuring amazing performances by some of the top names in animation and video game voiceover today. I am immensely proud of this show.