Even if you don’t know his name, you undoubtedly recognize his face. With such movies as The Lord of the Rings, Goonies, Rudy, and 50 First Dates in his back pocket, Sean Astin is hard to miss. He’s also the voice of several animated projects, including his work as Raphael in Nickelodeon’s The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the voice of Chester on the television series Bunnicula.
As one of this weekend’s special guests at Wizard World Comic Con (February 2-4 at the America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza in downtown St. Louis), Astin took a moment to talk about the event, as well as his past and future projects and characters.
The Arts STL: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for our readers. With Wizard World Comic Con quickly approaching (February 2-4) diehard fans in St. Louis are gearing up for a weekend of activities at the convention center including cosplay, gaming, panels, and meeting special guests. What is your favorite part of comic con, and why?
Sean Astin: I think that I enjoy the flow of the whole weekend. Sign with happy con-goers. Stretch your legs. Visit friends in the greenroom. Take pictures with more eager con-goers. Stretch your legs. Stand on a stage with tons of con-goers at the panel. More autographs. More pics. More friends. More con-goers. Now you can’t tell the difference between friends and con-goers. There’s food in there somewhere. And con-goers. A word on con-goers: in my experience, as a group, they are thoughtful, pleasant, caring, intelligent, creative, passionate people. So, I guess my favorite part is them.
Of all the projects you have done recently, fans will undoubtedly know you from your most recent portrayal of Bob from season two of Stranger Things. What has the reaction been like from fans since season two was released? Have you seen many Bob cosplayers at conventions?
This is my first convention since Stranger Things 2 was released. I’m excited to see what happens. No wailing, people. No wailing.
Bob was such a great character and had to be the best part of season two. His lovable and optimistic nature helped shine a light in an otherwise suspenseful, yet doom and gloom filled season. What about the part drew you to it?
Everything you just said. And Winona Ryder.
I read that you were not a fan of the horror genre prior to watching Stranger Things. Has that changed after being part of the show?
I’m a fan of making horror films, just not watching them. I need a good reason.
You’ve been part of so many great movies and series and have played so many memorable characters. Are there any particular criteria you look for when choosing a project? Do you have any particular routine you go through when preparing for a part?
I used to joke that money was the criteria. And, in a sense, that is a little true. But, for better or worse…a lot of times better, but not always…instinct. I hear about something, I read it, and I just feel, yes that is right and good and I can do it. I think, oh, I see who these people are and what they’re going for, I might fit.
Do you keep a souvenir from every movie/show you do and what is the oddest item you have?
I am not a thief. (Ask me privately.)
If you could bring back any character to play for another installment or season, who would it be and why?
Mean question. Mean. I liked the bit part I had on NCIS. I was in great physical shape and I got to carry a gun and kick in a door. Is that show still #1? [Amazingly enough, yes!—Ed.]
Of all the characters you’ve played, which one would you say is the most like you?
Pop Funko recently posted a poll on social media asking which movie character fans wanted them to make into a doll next and Rudy won by a landslide. Have you heard any news yet regarding if they are indeed going to offer a Rudy doll?
Ha! I’m not allowed to say. But, I am clearing a place on my shelf, just in case.
This past couple years, Netflix audiences have seen you appear in quite a few Netflix Originals: Stranger Things, The Do Over, and Unleashed. What’s the next project we can see you in?
Hmm. I narrated a civil war documentary called The Sultana. That’s close to a release…like, we should have a date any second. I’m hoping Netflix will run it. I did an indie called The Lears. It’s a talky drama with Bruce Dern and Anthony Michael Hall, among others…Nic Bishop…I loved making it and it turned out really well. If people knew the shooting time and rehearsal, etc.…they’d be blown away. It’s an actors’/writers’ piece and I loved it. My part wasn’t big, but we were all together.
I’m doing a few big animated series characters, but I can’t talk about them yet. Except for Shazam in Justice League. And the last season of Bunnicula. I could go on, because I’m lucky and blessed that people keep hiring me. Shh. Don’t let anyone know the truth. | Jennifer Manjarez
For more information on Wizard World St. Louis, visit https://wizardworld.com/comiccon/st-louis.