Danny Woodburn [Interview]

 

Happy Wednesday Everyone! I am so very excited to share this incredible interview we have for you all with the incredible actor Danny Woodburn. Danny is the man that you know and love, you has worked in just about every genre and field imaginable. Possibly most notable would be his appearances in the hit sitcom in which we have managed to have several writers, producers, and stars here on this very site, which would be Seinfeld. But, as we are compelled to do around here, he is yet another of the cast of wonderful characters to have a reoccurring role on our beloved sitcom, Becker. That’s right Folks, we HAD to ask about Becker. And you will not be disappointed with what he has to say about working on our favorite series.

Of course, there was so much to discuss in regards to Danny’s inspirational and multi-faceted career in the world of performance, as well as his selfless advocacy work for performers with disabilities, which he will discuss below. With that, I feel like we should just jump right into it! Folks, please enjoy some wonderful words from the brilliant Danny Woodburn!

 

******

 

What inspired you to get into the world of entertainment? Was it an early aspiration you have had since a youth, or did you simply find yourself in this world one day?

My choice to begin my career came in my early 20s.  I had always aspired to be like the comedians I saw in the day and 70-80s (from Flip Wilson to Don  Rickles and Cosby Carson,  Carlin to Pryor,  Winters to Williams;  the list goes on and on.   But, at first I did not see it as a career choice.  Hollywood did not seem attainable. In my mind it was some other.  But I always had the bug to perform as far back as age 4 when I used to act out the songs on a Woody Guthrie album called Songs to Grow On.  To try to get a laugh from my mom.  But after high school, once I decided to study acting, it was all over, that was where I was headed.

What was your very first paid gig in the world of acting? And where there any sort of lessons learned on this specific project?

On stage in an improv troupe called Loose Change.  We headlined at a bar/club in New Hope, PA called John and Peters.  I got $7 after we split the door.  The lesson I learned was that improv troupes did not make money.

First TV role was an episode fo Hunter in 1991.  I played a thief who hit bars after last call.  What I learned here was that it is very easy to look like you are overacting if the director never yells cut.

In 2001 & 2002, you made a couple of appearances on one of my favorite TV series of all time, one that we have actually just showcased a full week of interviews about, which is the absolutely wonderful show Becker. We are compelled to ask anyone who has ever worked on this program in any form, including the show’s creator, what they thought about working on the set of Becker? And was there anything about this show that set itself apart from others you have worked on?

I had a great time and being asked back to any show in my view shows a real sense of family by the creators and lead cast.  Ted and the gang there were very welcoming and I loved the smart ass nature of my character.  I liked the fact that this was a real character, a person and not some exaggerated version of little people that so often was posed for me to play.

 

 

Now, I know that Becker may be my favorite show, but I know that you have worked on other more legendary programs. Another one of which we have spoken with many writers from, is perhaps one of the most legendary sitcoms of all time, which would be Seinfeld. You had a brilliant reoccurring role as Mickey Abbott. So again, what was it like playing through the mind of folks like Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David?

Seinfeld was my first sitcom and maybe only my 4th or 5th TV show.  I was thrust into the work day immediately after my audition, so I felt I had to really be on my game.  The show ran very smoothly in my novice opinion and the cast was a terrific group to work with.  My scenes with Michael were always a highlight for me and he was such a perfectionist in his craft it inspires a young actor to be at his best.  Coming back again and agin has been one of the great stories of my career and I was honored to have been a part of such a legendary TV show.  It changed my career.

In 2014, you portrayed one of my childhood heroes in the 2014 film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The film was very CGI heavy, but I know there is still has to be a lot of work that goes into portraying the legendary Master Splinter, even if you had somebody else doing the voice over work. So, how was this experience for you? What sort of work goes into making a film like this?

It was a new experience for me working in Mo-caps suits all day.  It is meticulous work and scenes are filmed many more times than in a traditional film shoot.  We all had Tobe on our acting game and create a physicality and expressiveness worthy of out character.  But it was strenuous work to be sure.

When you look back on your career that spans almost 30 years in this business, what would you say you are most proud of? Not necessarily one specific project, although it could be, but as a whole what do you look back on with the most pride? 

To work directly with legends like Angela Lansbury, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, James Earl Jones, Anne Francis, Billy Barty  James Garner, Gene Wilder,  Eddie Albert Jr., Vincent Schiavellli, and of course Robin Williams.

Probably my greatest joy working on a sound stage came while working on Death to Smoochy.  Under Danny DeVito’s direction who was like the papa on that film surrounding himself with a comedy family was truly one of the greatest privileges. And to have scenes with Robin and work with him every day, for someone who saw him as an inspiration of comedy, was something I will cherish; all the more now that he is gone.

Also to be able to be an advocate for actors with disabilities is where a great deal of my passion lies.  I continue to try to make strides for performers with disability to be given equal opportunity to employment.  This is of the utmost importance to me.  This is why I work as SAG-AFTRA Performers with Disability co-vice chair, with the Ruderman Family Foundation,  the ReelAbilities Film Festival and the National Disability Theater Company

What does the future hold for you? Anything you would like to plug to our readers?

Today in addition to acting and advocacy, I write and direct and am creating my own content with my wife of 21 Years, Amy Buchwald.  We have a short film we just finished recently and are posting now.  Also I just acted in a movie called Faith Based which will be out soon.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Re-binging The Office and just watched the Michael and Holly proposal scene.  Sadly I did not really watch it while it was on and now that I have worked with and met a couple of the cast I am hooked.

About rontrembathiii
write. write. write.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: