Back to IndieWire

‘BoJack Horseman’: Alison Brie Is So Convincing as Vincent Adultman It’s Hard for Her to Voice Other Parts

Brie, along with Raphael Bob-Waksberg and Paul F. Tompkins, break down the creation of their (many) characters, from Vincent Adultman to "Andrew Garfield."

Alison Brie at Netflix FYSee Panel for BoJack Horseman

Eric Charbonneau / Netflix

Vincent Adultman isn’t the only voice Alison Brie handles on “BoJack Horseman.” He’s not even her primary role on the Neflix series (that would be Diane Nguyen). But the character who’s either one awkward looking man or three very coordinated children is so convincingly portrayed by Brie, she can’t shake him when creating new voices.

“I feel like the problem with doing Vincent Adultman — which came very naturally to me, and I have a lot of fun doing it — is that when I try to find voices for other characters, you’re always like, ‘I hear Vincent Adultman. It’s too nasally,'” Brie said at an FYC event for the series Tuesday night. “When I was doing drunk Diane in an episode, you were like, ‘You’re veering into Vincent Adultman, so that’s a problem.'”

On the show, BoJack repeatedly says the businessman who “went to the stock market today” and “did a business” is “very obviously three kids stacked on top of each other under a trench coat,” but every other character just sees an adult man named Vincent. (Get it?) Creator Raphael Bob-Waksberg, who joined Brie, Paul F Tompkins, and supervising director Mike Hollingsworth on the panel, did not disclose the character’s “secret” identity, but he and Brie did discuss how she came to earn the role that sounds like a prepubescent boy.

“How did I get cast as Vincent Adultman, Raphael?” Brie said. “Basically my experience working on the show is like, I get the script, I read Diane, I come to work, I go in the booth, and they say, ‘Hey… can you also do the voices of Worm No. 2, and Cow Waitress, and Vincent Adultman?’ And then I just go, ‘Uh…I don’t know?’ And then I kind of play with voices in the booth until Raphael goes, ‘No, that sounds like something you’ve done before.’ ‘No, it’s too Olivia, it’s too Olivia.’ And then we find it.”

Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Creator, Alison Brie, Paul F. Tompkins, Mike Hollingsworth, Supervising Director,

“Well — Paul also — you two are kind of the two in the cast where I just throw everything at you,” Bob-Waksberg said. “Will [Arnett] is mostly just BoJack, and BoJack’s dad. Amy [Sedaris] is just Princess Carolyn and Aaron [Paul] is just Todd. Occasionally they’ll do other stuff [laughs] but it’s not good.”

Brie then asked if that was true, surprised that she and Tompkins were the only main cast members repeatedly called upon to do multiple voices. (Bob-Waksberg also voices characters, including the inept assistant-turned-agent Charley Witherspoon.)

“I always feel like the table reads are the audition for those extra characters,” Tompkins said. “For the table reads, we cover a lot of additional voices that we don’t do in the show. So a lot of the time I’ll do an extra voice at the table read and then I don’t get to do it for the show, and I think, ‘I guess I didn’t do a good job.'”

“Often, with both of you, there will be a new character and I’ll say, ‘OK, the main thing I need for this character is just to not sound like any other characters you’ve done before,” Bob-Waksberg said.

But what Tompkins said he looks forward to most is when he’s subbing in for a well-known voice and has to approximate their voice as closely as possible; a comment that inevitably led to a fan-favorite pseudo-impersonation of one Andrew Garfield.

Raphael Bob-Waksberg, Creator, Alison Brie

Appearing in multiple episodes across Season 1, Tompkins voiced Garfield after the Oscar-nominated actor turned down the role.

“This was before we actually thought we could get people,” Bob-Waksberg said. (“BoJack Horseman” has wooed real-life celebrities like Jessica Biel, Felicity Huffman, Zack Braff, and Character Actress Margo Martindale to play themselves in the series.) “So we wrote this part for Andrew Garfield, we went out to Andrew Garfield, he said, ‘No, thank you,’ and they asked me, ‘Well, do you want to change it and actually go after someone else?’ And I said, ‘No, it has to be Andrew Garfield!'”

“One of the reasons it had to be Andrew Garfield was because of this joke that I loved — that we ended up cutting from the episode because we had, like, four pages of Andrew Garfield material, and the episode was not about that at all, and you’ll see why this joke got cut because it’s not a good joke, but I loved it — but I wanted him to introduce himself to people by saying, ‘Hello, I’m Andrew Garfield: The Amazing Spider-Man. [pronounced Spid-er-man] Or as you Yanks refer to him, ‘The Human Spider.’ And I don’t know why that delighted me, but I thought that was so funny. And that’s why it had to be Andrew Garfield — unless we could get Tobey Maguire.”

Needless to say, they could not, and Tompkins subbed in magnificently. As for Brie, she still wants to voice more characters and make a lasting mark — like with Vincent Adultman — even with the demands from her creator… and questionable support from her husband, Dave Franco.

“Sometimes there are voices where I’ll take a big swing for a smaller role — like in this season, the governor’s wife, and you’ll be like, ‘Just do a normal voice,'” Brie said to Bob-Waksberg. “But they sound too Diane, so I’ll be like, [very big] ‘Whaddya mean?’ and I was watching the episode where the character’s in a scene for the first time with my husband, and the voice comes on and he goes, ‘Oh my God.’ And I was like, ‘That’s me. I came up with it. Isn’t it cool and unique?’ And he was like, ‘It’s something.'”

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox