Alan Tudyk of Firefly, V, Rogue One, Suburgatory and Powerless fame stars as the misshapen antagonist Eric Morden a.k.a. “Mr. Nobody” on the DC Universe original series Doom Patrol. A character made famous from Grant Morrison’s run on Doom Patrol from DC Comics, Mr. Nobody not only torments the team, but is also narrating the series and pointing our the absurdities within.
KSiteTV recently spoke with Tudyk — who had previously dipped into DC TV live action as Van Wayne, Bruce Wayne’s cousin, in Powerless on NBC — about the ins and outs of what it’s like to be Nobody. Enjoy!
KSITETV’s CRAIG BYRNE: Is it true that Eric Morden once pretended to be Bruce Wayne’s cousin?
ALAN TUDYK: No, he did not. Although, in the comic that I have, he did have a robot, and he tried to steal the Statue of Liberty. You know in the beginning when he was like “I was a bad guy?” There was a comic that I have from the original Doom Patrol, a really old comic, where Eric Morden, before he becomes Mr. Nobody, is piloting this big, massive robot and he’s trying to steal the Statue of Liberty. I can’t even figure out why, but he fails at it, of course.
Can you talk about Morden’s history with The Chief?
I can say that they’ve known each other for a very long time, and he deserves what he gets from Morden. And I’ll never stop!
Do you think that Morden is jealous of the camaraderie between the Doom Patrol team?
Myself, Alan? Yes, I do. I absolutely do. I think he’s lonely. There aren’t a bunch of other Nobodies around to hang out with. In the comics, he has a crew; he ends up putting together a crew. This is pre-crew, so he’s kind of alone, on his own.
What was your reaction you first saw the visual effect for Mr. Nobody?
It’s great. I said something I rarely say: “I look really cool!” I don’t often say those words. I look really cool in this.
Can you talk about Mr. Nobody’s narration for the show?
It was a lot of fun, because it’s different. It’s funny. There’s a lot of humor to it; it breaks the third wall. Or the fourth wall. The third wall too! That’s how he got to the fourth wall — the only way! He’s aware of the audience. Even when I’m on screen — I think it’s in Episode — he maintains the narrator’s voice, and then The Chief goes “who are you talking to?” And that’s great! They call it out. It’s almost like Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles, where Hedley Lamarr says “why? What do I do? What am I doing? Why am I asking you?”
Is Mr. Nobody just a twisted version of Gossip Girl?
I had not thought of that. I’ll go with “if Mr. Nobody was here, he’d say yes.”
What makes Doom Patrol so special as a series to you?
I love when humanity is brought to extraordinary characters. Reality. And these characters are on another level. Just “where do you sleep?” Questions like that, they go even one step further, like neuroses, and issues about their sexuality, and body issues. Even though they’re from different times… they’re not superheroes yet, they’re just extraordinary… they have great potential. To see that in a world that has so much that is extraordinary. Not just “I have this great power” and that’s what’s extraordinary.
It’s also very different. It’s so very different. Take Robotman, for instance. He’s a race car driver’s brain in the body of a robot. For what reason? He’s a RACE CAR DRIVER. What purpose is he? It’s not like he’s the greatest race car driving robot. It’s that he’s just this brain in a bot body, and that’s why he’s amazing, because he’s alive. He’s got all of these issues with it, and he’s a very important member of the team, and he’s really likable, and he ends up becoming a hero. But surprisingly, they’re not super-people. They just happen to be forced into being super people. And that’s what’s neat about it. It’s also in a world where roaches are born-again Christians sometimes, and all of those villains and superheroes that are in the comics that are unlike any other… you kind of have to describe it to get to understand. Everybody says “it’s not like any other, it’s very different!” But a donkey farting in sky writing… that’s a different superhero world where that happens. That’s our show.
Beyond Powerless, you’ve done a lot of voice work in the DC Universe, in shows like Brave and the Bold, the Injustice video game and the upcoming Harley Quinn animated series. Had you been aching to re-enter the DC Universe in live action?
I have so many aches, it’s tough to identify each one, what their origin is, but I am so happy to be in Doom Patrol. I think everybody is. It’s a good show, and I’m excited for people to see it.
Is it more fun to play the villain, though?
Yes, when they’re kick ass like Nobody! He’s got a sense of humor, and he’s a sadist at times, and he’s messed up! I guess a sadist is messed up, but yes, it is. Playing the villain — playing this kind of villain, specifically — one who has a philosophy based in absurdity, that’s rare.
When you were younger, did you ever think that you’d be playing a character who would be sadistically tormenting Timothy Dalton?
Hell no. No, I didn’t. And I have to say, it’s a joy. I love working with him.
On the subject of icons and DC TV, what was it like working with Adam West when he appeared on Powerless?
He was very generous. He was very nice to me. And he was very cool parodying himself! He would do that narrator. He had all of those big words like the old Batman [TV show]. But then, like, it would be revealed that he’s talking to a plant. Why is he talking to that plant? But he was very nice. It was weird that he passed away so soon after that, because he was there all day. I’m not saying that Powerless killed him, but I think it’s a possibility.
Now that you’ve done the narration for Mr. Nobody, do you ever get tempted to narrate other TV shows that you watch, in character?
I would love to. I wish they would just let me narrate whichever one I wanted. I’d like to narrate one of those “unsolved crimes” things, because they’re so serious.
You know, Unsolved Mysteries is coming back.
Is it? “But this little sleepy town didn’t know what was going on! This drifter wasn’t a drifter at all!” Like, that’s the type of [stuff] I want to do, and then I’d love to narrate Ozark. I’d like to do a completely unnecessary narration on Ozark, if I could, please. I would also like to lend my narration to this last season of Game of Thrones, just to put that in, you know. “Said Daenarys.” Or do the voiceover of what the dragons are thinking! God, now I’m going to be seeing a lot of shows and thinking “what if I could do the voiceover for that?”
You’ve been a part of many major franchises which come with expectations. Is it relieving to be a part of something that the general public doesn’t know much about?
I think so. I think it’ll be refreshing for those who don’t know it, for sure, because it’ll catch them off guard. And everybody’s always looking for something new. There are so many things out there…. so how do you stand out? Because you’re different. And also, if you spend a ton of money… there’s so much money in this. It looks amazing. It deserves to be watched on a large phone. That’s how big it is. On the biggest phone you can find!
What other projects do you have coming up?
There’s the Harley Quinn [animated show] on DC Universe, it seems appropriate [to mention]. I’m the Joker. I haven’t really spoken about it much, but I’m the Joker.
Is it trippy to do the Joker?
It’s amazing to get to be the Joker. He’s a star! Like when I tell people I’m doing the Joker… “Oh! Ah!”
Is it a thing for actors who have been in the Star Wars franchise to do?
You’re right! That’s so cool. I hadn’t even thought of that, even though I know that [Mark Hamill] did it. And I won’t be better than him.
Tony Hale is in the series, he plays Dr. Psycho, and we met [at the studio]. I didn’t know he was doing it, I just finished and he was coming in and he asked one of the producers, “oh, hey. Did you all get Mark Hamill to do Joker, ’cause he’s the only one who can do it.” And I said “hey! I’m the Joker!” And he said “oh, I only say that because I did the Joker for something and everybody said that I sucked, and the only person who could do it was Mark Hamill.” But it’s a very funny take on that world. There’s a lot of cussing, and I play Harley Quinn’s boyfriend. The Joker is her man.
Do you have any final words for the people who will be reading this?
Yes! A – Congratulations for still reading. Most people only get past the first paragraph and then they’ve moved on. B – Watch the show! C – Seriously, it’s really, really good. If you’re a nerd, you have to watch it because people are going to want to talk about it, and you won’t know what you’re talking about unless you see it.
New episodes of Doom Patrol drop every Friday on DC Universe. Subscribe here!