Metro Canada: Meeting Hicccup not all it’s cracked up to be
Jay Baruchel has a unique voice. Instantly recognizable, the nasally twang he uses to bring the character of How to Train Your Dragon 2’s Hiccup to life is so distinctive it even has it’s own facebook fan page.
You would think that kids, who made the Viking teenager and his dragon Toothless so popular on the big screen—the original 2010 movie grossed almost half a billion dollars— and on the TV show and video games, would be thrilled to meet the man behind the voice. Right?
“Friends who have kids will say, ‘Hey! Look! It’s Hiccup,” and then it is utter, sheer disappointment,” he says. “‘This is not Hiccup. It’s a real life human dirt bag I’m looking at.’ Although I have to say I was in a liquor store in Los Angeles a few months ago and I was saying something to the cashier and this guy turned around and said, ‘You’re funny. You know you’re doing something right when you get recognized by your voice,’ but usually with the kids, they’re super bummed to actually meet me.”
Baruchel has voiced Hiccup in two films (with at least one more on the way) and forty episodes of the television show. Director Dean DeBlois says that the actor and the character are now interchangeable, with Brauchel bringing character ideas to the table every time out.
“How much input I ultimately have is purely up to (Dean),” says Baruchel. “I have played this character for seven years and I think he has a very specific way of speaking and a specific way of communicating. What’s really cool is that Dean, who created this epic world that comes from his head and heart, and who has so many things to think about, still finds time to be a collaborator and will always allow me to find my own way into things. I’d like to think we can equally take ownership over (Hiccup).”
One of Hiccup’s vocal tics unmistakably came from Baruchel—his habit of calling his dragon by the nickname Bud.
“That is clearly me,” he says. “I remember the first time we did it in the first one and it just kind of stuck and became a thing. I call everyone Bud in real life and half the work is for me not to call every character in this movie Bud. It’s kind of specific to Toothless now. I still fit in some hoser wherever I can.”