HATS OFF FOR MARK
A few months ago, I was in a darkened theater waiting for Wall-E to start. On came a trailer for a Disney film called, "Bolt." I thought I heard something familiar during the tralier, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
A few hours later, I was on the phone with a friend named Mark Walton. He's an animator at Disney and I call him any time I've just seen an excellent animated film, which Wall-E certainly is.
"Did you see the trailer for Bolt?" he asked me.
"You were in that, weren't you? I knew it! I just couldn't figure out where! Who were you?"
"Let it begin! Let it begin!"
That was all he needed to say to let me know he was the voice of that little hamster in a ball called "Rhino." It happened quite by accident, really. He was doing "scratch" (temporary) voice for the character, and the directors liked it so much they kept his voice instead of hiring a "real" actor to voice the part.
There's something quite amusing about a tall person like Mark (he's... 6' 5"?) playing a tiny hamster, but it kind of makes sense. With his lanky frame, full beard, and outsized smile, Mark is practically a cartoon character himself.
Now the reviews are out (most positive) and Mark is the subject of feature articles in such notable publications as the New York Times. They're saying he steals the show from the cast of experienced actors. I won't be able to see the film for another week or so, but I can't wait to hear his performance.
Those of us who know Mark are just thrilled that the rest of the world is getting a chance to meet our big, goofy friend.
Congratulations, Mark. Enjoy this fun time in the limelight. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.