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Adrian Grenier is going to outer space.
The Entourage star has joined forces with Sascha Paladino, creator and executive producer of Disney Junior’s Miles From Tomorrowland — and longtime friend of Grenier’s — to voice a role in the animated series. This marks Grenier’s first voiceover role.
The intergalactic family adventures series, which debuted Feb. 6, charts the outer space missions of young adventurer Miles Callisto and his family as they help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Each episode combines space and science facts with action/adventure and humor and individuals from NASA, JPL, Space Tourism Society and Google consult on the show.
Grenier and Paladino recently talked to The Hollywood Reporter about their longtime friendship, how Grenier inspired his character and what’s next for Miles.
How did you two meet?
Sascha Paladino: Adrian and I have known each other for 25 years. We met on the same Little League team and ended up going to high school together at LaGuardia in New York.
Adrian Grenier: Certainly, we were friends, but there’s been a lot of [physical] distance. Only recently, Sascha moved to L.A., and I’m in L.A. often, so we see each other a little more.
Adrian, I heard you dropped a lot of hints to Sascha before you were cast in Miles From Tomorrowland.
Grenier: Yeah, I’d heard about the show early on from Sascha, and I’d always wanted to do voiceover for animation, and so I secretly wanted to do the show, but I didn’t want to bring it up. I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable if he said no. But I couldn’t fake it anymore. So in jest, I said, “Hey, maybe you should hire me, ha ha ha.”
Paladino: I think his actual words were, “Who do I get to play?” And I was thrilled because the thought had crossed my mind, but he’s a busy guy. He’s a successful actor, and I didn’t want to be bugging him to do something. It came about in a really nice, organic way in the way that he let it slip. I was thrilled because I thought he’d be perfect for this character and a way for us to work together. We made movies together as kids, and this would be a way for us to reconnect.
What was it about this show in particular that appealed to you?
Grenier: It’s full of adventure. It follows Miles across the galaxy going on quests, and I’m a big science geek myself. I used to skip recess in junior high school to hang out in the science lab and do experiments. I’m really excited if this sparks imagination in young people and to be a part of the whole community of thinkers.
What can you tell us about your character?
Grenier: Captain Joe is not only a member of the SpaceGuard, sort of protecting the universe, or the galaxy, from the bad guys, but he’s also Miles’ uncle and often brings Miles along for the ride to go out on different adventures.
How many episodes will you appear in?
Grenier: At this point about five, but there could be more. I was actually surprised how much I wanted to do it more. It’s different than ADR [automated dialogue replacement]. I’ve done countless hours of ADR. … This was not just fixing bits but really creating the character and being part of the storytelling.
Sascha, how much did you base the character on Adrian, if any?
Paladino: Once I got the idea for a space captain, and Adrian started dropping hints and signed on to do the role, I was able to fashion him to be like him. Ever since he was young, he’s had a certain coolness to him, a certain swagger, and everyone wanted to hang out with him. He was a perfect match for Captain Joe. Some aspects of his personality went into the character. One other thing that was meaningful to me: My father passed away while I was developing this show, and so I ended up naming Captain Joe after my dad. Adrian knew him, and Miles looks up to Captain Joe, and I look up to my dad, so it’s special to me that Adrian is doing the voice.
Sascha, what do you hope kids watching Miles From Tomorrowland take away from the show?
Paladino: A lot of things — a sense of wonder at the universe and our place in the universe. I was obsessed with outer space as a kid, and I still am. I wanted to be an astronaut, and I still do. I wanted to communicate that excitement and wonder that I felt as a kid. There is no shuttle program anymore, and there’s not that anticipation as the shuttle is taking off. I wanted kids to have that feeling again.
The cast also includes Tom Kenny and Olivia Munn. Any other famous voices we’ll be hearing?
Paladino: We have collected some sci-fi luminaries to do the voices on this show: Mark Hamill, George Takei, Wil Wheaton. Our show has some of the DNA of Star Wars and Star Trek, so this is amazing.
Any funny stories you can share from your time growing up together?
Paladino: For our biology class, we got an assignment about the brain, and we decided to make a movie instead of writing a paper. In the movie, [a friend] and I were wearing lab coats, and we “opened” our heads and had lots of fake blood and took our “brains” out. … We were really trying to be informative but make it fun and light. … Buckets of blood were a big part of it. I think we got an A, and we made people laugh.
Grenier’s character premieres in the episode airing Friday.
Disney Junior targets kids ages 2-7. In the U.S., Disney Junior is a daily programming block on Disney Channel as well as a separate 24-hour channel.
From left: Sascha Paladino and Adrian Grenier (Courtesy of Disney Junior)
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