'Spies in Disguise': Meet the Voices Behind Each Animated Performer

10:30 AM 12/25/2019

by Lily Rosenberg

Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, DJ Khaled and Karen Gillan lend their voices to the animated feature, which hits theaters Dec. 25.

Spies in Disguise, inspired by Lucas Martell's animated short film Pigeon: Impossible, is about super-suave spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith), who has to team up with almost-opposite, super-unsmooth scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland), who creates the gadgets Lance uses on his missions. When events take an unexpected turn and Lance becomes a pigeon, the spy must work with Walter to complete an impossible mission.

The film was directed by Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, who are no amateurs when it comes to animated films. Bruno is known for Rio, Rio 2, Epic and Horton Hears a Who. Quane's credits include Ice Age: Collision Course and Enchanted along with directing The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol. The two also previously joined forces for The Peanuts Movie.

Before Spies in Disguise hits theaters this Christmas, read on to find out more about the actors bringing life to the film's characters.

  • Tom Holland

    Walter Beckett

    Han Myung-Gu/WireImage; Blue Sky Studios/Twentieth Century Fox

    The English actor voices the role of scientist Walter Beckett in the animated film. Holland started his career onstage as a performer in Billy Elliot: The Musical in London's West End in 2008. Before his breakout role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Holland was in The Impossible and The Heart of the Sea and won the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2017.

    Holland will voice a role in The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle with fellow Marvel star Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek and Emma Thompson. His other projects include Chaos Walking with Daisy Ridley, Nick Jonas and Cynthia Erivo and animated film Onward with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and another Marvel star, Chris Pratt.

  • Will Smith

    Lance Sterling

    Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Blue Sky Studios/Twentieth Century Fox

    In his first animated film since DreamWorks' 2004 Shark Tale, Will Smith voices the suave agent Lance Sterling, who turns into a bird and must complete his mission with the help of scientist Walter Beckett. Outside of voicing spy pigeons, Smith has been nominated for five Golden Globes and two Academy Awards and won four Grammy awards over his career. The Men in Black actor starred in the live-action blockbuster remake of Aladdin this summer.

    Smith also reunited with Martin Lawrence for a third Bad Boys film, set for release in 2020. He recently starred in Gemini Man, fighting a younger version of himself thanks to advancements in VFX techniques.

  • Karen Gillan


    Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Blue Sky Studios / Twentieth Century Fox

    Known for her role as Nebula in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers films, Karen Gillan voices Eyes in the spy film. The Scottish actress, who also plays Amy Pond in the BBC One Doctor Who series, made her directorial feature debut with The Party's Just Beginning, which she starred in as well.

    The actress also reunited with Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black for another Jumanji movie and is working on the TV series What If...?, an alternate-reality animated series from Marvel Studios on Disney+ based on the comic of the same name.

  • Rashida Jones

    Marcy Kappel

    Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Blue Sky Studios / Twentieth Century Fox

    Rashida Jones voices Marcy Kappel, the secret agent who works with security forces. The actress is recognizable from her role as Ann Perkins on the NBC show Parks and Recreation. She also voices a character in Fox's Duncanville, produced by Amy Poehler and Simpsons duo Mike and Julie Scully.

    Apart from acting, Jones has written Celeste & Jesse Forever, a Black Mirror episode and recently worked on the script for Toy Story 4. She has produced Claws and Angie Tribeca. Jones also directed and wrote a documentary about her father, 28-time Grammy-winner Quincy Jones, which earned her a Grammy.

  • Ben Mendelsohn


    Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; Blue Sky Studios / Twentieth Century Fox

    The Australian actor voices Killian in the film. The Rogue One star has also been a part of Captain Marvel and Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One in recent years. His latest film is The King, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, with Timothée Chalamet, Lily-Rose Depp and Robert Pattinson, in September.

    He won an Emmy (for his role in Netflix's Bloodline) and is set to star in the adaption of Stephen King's most recent novel, The Outsider, for HBO. The series will be produced by Jason Bateman and Mendelsohn.

  • Masi Oka


    Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images; Blue Sky Studios / Twentieth Century Fox

    The Emmy-nominated actor plays Kimura. The Heroes and Hawaii Five-0 star has done animation before, with his role in the animated TV series SuperMansion with Byran Cranston, Chris Pine and Keegan-Michael Key.

    His recent work includes Amazon Prime's Mozart in the Jungle, The Meg and Death Note. Other than acting, Oka has been involved in visual effects, working on Star Wars films in the early 2000s, Hulk and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.

  • DJ Khaled


    Blue Sky Studios; Thaddaeus McAdams/Film Magic

    The record executive, songwriter and media personality has not acted in many films — he starred in Pitch Perfect 2 as himself — before voicing the role of Ears in Spies in Disguise.

    The Grammy nominee and triple platinum artist started as a radio host in the 1990s on a Miami hip-hop station and grew his career producing music from there. Working with music artists like Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Chance the Rapper, Rihanna and Justin Bieber, Khaled has had two No. 1 hit songs and 11 top 10 hit songs on Billboard charts.

    Khaled has produced songs for films such as A Wrinkle in Time and the live-action Aladdin remake. Now moving into film and television, DJ Khaled has two MTV original specials, both reflecting on his career and documenting his journey on becoming a music mogul. He will also star in Bad Boys for Life (with Spies in Disguise co-star Will Smith), to be released in 2020.