I got the chance to sit down and talk with David Sobolov, known for his role as Gorilla Grodd on ‘The Flash’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’, Drax in Disney XD’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and will voice Blitzwing in the upcoming ‘Bumblebee’ film from director Travis Knight.
INTERVIEWER: To begin the interview, how did you begin your acting career?
DAVID SOBOLOV: I began my creative life as a French Horn player, then toured through Western Canada singing in an a cappella group. Acting was an interest but not a career until around 1995 when I’d been back in Canada for a few years after studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and performing roles in new plays being workshopped at the Roundabout Theatre’s New Play Center. I met an voice agent who suggested I try my hand at voicing villains and that seemed to go well so I stuck with it.
INTERVIEWER: You’ve voiced Gorilla Grodd not only in The Flash but in a number of different projects, what inspiration did you use to create the voice of Grodd?
DAVID SOBOLOV: It’s just like on camera acting… especially in a drama… my job was to create live truthfully as the character – not simply make up a voice for him. The texture found itself as we were developing his personality. I imagined he was deeply sad not knowing who he was or where he came from and branched out into anger later on. The feelings of isolation and loneliness really hit home for Grodd in the episode where he asked Catlin to create more beings like himself. I don’t think he was wanting her to make clones to wage war… I think he was just lonely. But his constant anger really solidified after the team’s betrayal of him when they lured him to the portal that transported him to Earth 2. In the beginning I didn’t think of him as a gorilla because he didn’t know what he was… Now he’s developed more intelligence and a sense of self as the Arrowverse on CW has progressed.
INTERVIEWER: Last season of ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ and ‘The Flash’, you transitioned to Legends as a villain for the season, how was that transition and getting to lend your voice to that iconic scene of a Grodd coming face to face with young Barack Obama?
DAVID SOBOLOV: I felt last season on Legends of Tomorrow, Grodd was mainly appearing as a fan favorite character with only a few moments of emotion, so in the spirit of Legends, I played along and had fun… especially when Grodd was shrunk and locked in the jar. My voice director, The Flash and Legends Co-Producer Geoff Garrett had me improv that scene and we had a blast.
INTERVIEWER: Additionally, regarding your role as Grodd, it’s been hinted by executives of the show and in the latest season premiere of ‘The Flash’ that Gorilla Grodd May soon go head to head with King Shark in a fight, would you be interested in reprising your voice role for that fight on The Flash?
DAVID SOBOLOV: Definitely… It’s still to be determined exactly how that will all play out and I’ll be intrigued to find out what the writers have in mind.
INTERVIEWER: To finish off the interview, is there any upcoming projects of yours that you’d like to promote or make our audience aware of?
DAVID SOBOLOV: Other than The Flash, and Bumblebee, the second half of the 3rd season of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy will be airing in a few months on Disney XD where I play Drax, and new episodes with my character Vin Ethanol on Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 will be out soon as well. I have another feature role and a great video game character about to be announced as well, but those are still currently under wraps.