Alan Tudyk Talks ‘Con Man’s Star-Studded Season 2, ‘Rogue One’ and a Crazy ‘Transformers’ Secret
It’s a fine time to be Alan Tudyk. Not only is he currently a featured voice in Moana, he’ll also be heard as droid K-2So in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story starting next week. And on Thursday, the second season of his comedy Con Man begins streaming on Comic-Con HQ.
The tale of Wray Nerely, an actor who bounces from one fan convention to another while trying to make sense of the fame he gained for his role on the (fictional) cult-hit sci-fi series Spectrum, Con Man mines meta humor aplenty thanks to Tudyk’s past on Fox’s late, lamented Firefly and even featured co-stars Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Jewel Staite and Summer Glau. Here, he shares the details on what awaits Wray now that a Spectrum movie may become a reality, who we should expect to show up along the way, and which Rogue One hero got away.
Congratulations, man. What a month!
Yeah, right? It’s been an exciting time.
I can imagine. Now, getting Con Man off the ground when you first started it, that was like this huge crowdsourcing thing. How did you guys get the go-ahead for Season 2?
Well, after we did Season 1, Lionsgate saw it and they were launching this new channel Comic-Con HQ and felt like our show was the perfect fit for their audience, which is people who like going to fan conventions, people who really like sci-fi. They’ve put together some shows that are aimed at those audiences and wanted to make us sort of their flagship show I guess, if I understand what a flagship is. It’s kind of a ship with flags, right? [Laughs] There’s a lot of flags in season two, so many. So, they came along, and we made it.
And while other shows take jabs at the Con crowds, you guys really did a smart job of not insulting the fandom.
Right. They’re the heroes of the show really, you know? They’re the constants, which is love and support for these [celebrities] who are sort of broken and strange. They’re supporting them and a lot of actors embrace it, and my character, Wray Nerely, is confused about his own celebrity and doesn’t appreciate what he has. So, that helps the engine go.
Last season, you had every guest star possible who would be at a convention. Who have you kind of roped into this season?
Well, my favorite one, or the episode I like most—I loved them all by the way—is with Lou Ferrigno. We’re scoring this episode right now. It involves a musical. We wanted to do a musical episode because Joss Whedon had done one with Buffy and also Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. So it’s a musical set within the episode and we have Lou Ferrigno, we have Tahmoh Penikett if you are a fan of…
Battlestar Galactica and Dollhouse.
Yeah! We were on Dollhouse together, so that was really fun. We brought in Jon Huertas from Nathan’s Castle. He’s not as much of a sci-fi guy, but goddang it, I’d always wanted to work with him. And we had Stephen Root. He’s brilliant in this, and I think people know Stan Lee, probably. He’s been around the sci-fi world.
He’s been building a nice resume for himself.
You know, he’s an up-and-comer. He shows promise, and I like his can-do attitude. [Laughs]
And, you have Eliza.
Yeah, Eliza Dushku, who we got to work on Dollhouse together. She’s fantastic doing comedy.
You even have Arrow‘s Echo Kellum in the first episode playing a random network executive!
Yeah! Yeah, hanging out. He does a great job. And it’s not just that they’re people who are around the sci-fi world and people you may recognize. They’re really good actors and they’re actors that I’ve wanted to work with. Ultimately with Con Man, we want to reach an audience of people who not only go to Cons and have conventions as part of their life, but that just know that Cons exist. And this will be the window into that, albeit a very warped and funhouse mirror, but that it can appeal to a broad audience of people who just like things that are funny.
It seems like this season is going to be built around getting the Spectrum movie made. How much of that is actually going to draw from the experiences you guys went through turning Firefly into a movie?
Into Serenity? Very little, actually. When we did Serenity, that was Joss Whedon behind the scenes just doing all the heavy lifting. This one, it’s Nathan Fillion’s character Jack Moore—he was sort of a big superstar in the first season and this year his career is on the ropes—who has to get the Spectrum movie made.
How does Wray feel about this?
Wray comes clean to him and says, “Look, I’ll do anything but Spectrum. I’m not doing it. I want out of this sci-fi world.” And so they make a deal. Jack says, “I’ll help you get a legit job,” which turns out to be Doctor Cop Lawyer, this TV show where the doctor is a cop and also a lawyer. [Laughs] And, if he does that, then Wray promises he will be in Spectrum and will help spread the word at different Cons that Spectrum the movie is coming.
Does he at least beg to be killed in it?
[Laughs] No! That would spoil Season 3.
How long did this season take to film?
We shoot for five weeks and it ends up being six half-hours. So, it’s fairly fast when we’re shooting it. We did a really big [shoot] with the musical and then we also go to the biggest Con in the Con world, the Shaka-Con. We’ve created the Shaka-Con this season, so that was a really big episode. Laura Vandervoort is in that, who you’ll recognize from the…
Yes! There you go, exactly. The original Supergirl from Smallville. She has a nice sci-fi pedigree and is our beautiful starlet in that episode.
Can we expect to see any of your new Rogue One friends?
Oh my God. I had one…Diego Luna had told me to write him a role this year, but amazingly, he’s busy as hell. He said “Look, tell me when you want me again.” And I was like, “June. Next June for next season, and I’ll keep you, when I write the role, I’ll tell you about it.” Next season, I’ll be asking them all. I’d love to get Ben Mendelsohn in there. I mean, that guy is one of the best actors on the planet. Felicity Jones, of course, who is the lead of Rogue would be amazing, but I imagine she’s really going to be busy. [Laughs]
Put your reservations in early!
Yeah. We can usually get these guys done in a day, but the cast that they put together for Rogue One is just like they said, “Can we get Alan Tudyk’s favorite actors all in one place?” Like, “You got it. Should we put Alan in it?” “Give him the droid.” [Laughs]
And now you’re an action figure.
They made so many! It’s ridiculous. There’s I think six or seven. I mean, there’s like four true action figures and then there’s a pop-up figure and a bobblehead. They made Hot Wheels cars out of him. I don’t even understand.
And, is your next month going to be all press for this and the movie?
Yes, and then also there’s a TV show called Powerless that’s coming out next year. It’s in the DC Universe on NBC [premiering February 2], so that’s part of it as well.
And one last question I have to ask you. People still come up to you surprised that you’re not German and killing plants from 28 Days?
[Laughs] Not in awhile! You know, I did that same character, it was one of the best things that I got to do, in a Transformers movie. Transformers 3, I think it was. I play a character named Dutch. That was like they said, “You need to be gay and German and sort of flamboyant.” I was just like, “I’ll do the same character, and I’ll just link their storylines” from the Sandra Bullock movie that she got to rehab, then he went into special services, he had a breakdown, and now he works for John Turturro’s character as his assistant because that’s the only job he feels comfortable doing. So, he was reborn and called himself Dutch.
That is awesome! I love that story…that final scene was so sweet.
Thanks, man. That was a fun little scene. That was a reshoot scene. It wasn’t even supposed to be in the movie!
Con Man, Season 2 premiere, Thursday, Dec. 8, Comic-Con HQ