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UNDERDOG

The Human Cast
The enduring affection for Underdog as a character drew a lot of the actors to this new UNDERDOG adventure – both to voice the canine characters and to portray Capitol City's human citizens and villains. Naturally, the first order of business was the quest to find an actor who could bring Underdog to life. Those who grew up with the cartoon fondly recall the milquetoast voice of actor Wally Cox, who made the character so endearingly funny – and the filmmakers of the new UNDERDOG wanted someone of equal flair, but with his own unique style. 

The search ended with Golden Globe-nominated Jason Lee, one of today's most popular comic talents who broke out in the indie films of Kevin Smith and stars in the acclaimed NBC comedy series "My Name Is Earl” as the hapless crook who decides to right all the wrongs he has inflicted on the world. Lee has also made his mark in animation, voicing the role of the villain Syndrome in the Academy Award® winning Disney•Pixar blockbuster "The Incredibles.” 

Lee didn't hesitate for a second. "Like most people my age, I was a big fan of the cartoon and I love doing voice work,” he says. But he did have to spend some time working out just the right approach to refreshing a character so beloved. "This film is inspired by the original cartoon but it's really its own modern take on the story. So, ultimately, I just set out to be me – knowing that part of the appeal would be that my voice is coming out of something that isn't me, and playing with that idea.”

He continues: "Part of what sets Underdog apart is that he has this very clumsy, likable quality, until he becomes a superhero, reluctantly taking on responsibility. It's a case of someone ordinary becoming extraordinary. So finding the inflections, the energy, the rhythm and the pace for his transformation was a lot of fun.” 

Lee also had a blast with the romantic tension between Shoeshine/Underdog and the alluring but seemingly unattainable Polly Purebred. "He's out of his league with Polly,” admits Lee, "so he's always trying to be very suave with her. He's putting on this bravado but it's still innocent and charming and I think that's why we like him so much.”

Playing against Lee as the voice of Polly Purebred is Academy Award® nominee Amy Adams, who won widespread critical acclaim in the dramatic comedy "Junebug” and was recently seen in the hit comedy "Talladega Nights.” Like Lee, she was a stand-out winner in the casting process. "She was a real inspiration,” says Glickman. In fact, when we started recording, she took her hair down, which is normally up, and the look matched our dog's ears. An unanticipated coincidence, but it turned out to be a great thing.”

It was the script that drew Adams' interest. "I absolutely fell in love with the dogs and with Polly and the way they made her more modern. I always like playing sassy girls,” she laughs. "Polly is very feisty and not afraid to say what she thinks. She craves adventure, but she is absolutely hard to get.”

As a dog owner herself, Adams loved getting the chance to explore what a dog might say – if she was granted a voice. "I guess you could say Polly just wants the freedom to be her own dog,” observes Adams. "To prepare further, I not only watched my own dog, I also went to Central Park and watched some Cavalier King Charles Spaniels to get a better sense of their personalities. What's fun about this movie is that the dogs are presented with a mix of realistic dog behavior and very human emotions.” 

Also joining the voice cast as the canine villain Riff Raff, is Brad Garrett, known for his hang-dog role on "Everybody Loves Raymond” as well as his voice work on such Disney•Pixar animated films as "Finding Nemo” and the recent hit "Ratatouille.” 

While the extraordinary hijinx of Underdog brings superhero adventure to the film, it is the<

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