Brock Powell has an extensive list of credits but there has been one thing missing – a television holiday special. The Nevada native got an early Christmas wish this year, landing the voice of Santa Claus in the new Disney stop-motion animated production “Mickey Saves Christmas.”
“Stop-motion holiday specials – especially those by Rankin-Bass – were pivotal for my growing up,” Powell says. “When I think of iconic voices and holiday magic, I definitely think stop-motion. To be part of that is wild and crazy.”
The project that made Powell so happy will debut as a simulcast on ABC, Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD on Nov. 27. It will be available to stream on Disney+ starting Nov. 28.
When a mishap occurs while Santa is making his holiday run, it is up to Mickey, Minnie and the rest of the gang to save Christmas. While they are accomplishing that, they also discover the true meaning of the holiday.
Powell’s fellow voice actor, Camryn Grimes, didn’t have a holiday project on her acting bucket list for a long time. It wasn’t until she started doing voiceover work that Grimes realized she could take on a role like Mrs. Claus.
“I never thought I would be able to do a project that checks all the boxes of things that I love and are so near and dear to my heart,” Grimes says. “That’s what I love about voiceover. You get these opportunities to do things that you never realized you wanted to do.”
It is fitting that they provide the voices for Mr. and Mrs. Claus because they are engaged. Proving it really is a small world after all, they were introduced by Bill Farmer, the longtime voice of Goofy.
Powell is a veteran voice actor having worked on “Hamster & Gretel,” “Mickey Mouse Funhouse,” “Avengers Mech Strike: Mech Files,” “Marvel’s Long Short Story.” This means Powell has the rare distinction of being the only person who can boast of having voiced but the gift-giving Santa Claus and the world-threatening Thanos.
The approach Powell took to giving Santa a voice was influenced by the film “Miracle on 34th Street” that featured a very centered and grounded Santa Claus. The voice actor also was able to draw on past work having played a real-life Santa where there was the chance to interact with children.
Despite having been a part of so many animation projects, Powell has worked extremely hard to make sure each comes across as being very unique.
“Each of my characters, I try to imbue with a sort of physical stance or posture,” Powell says. “Part of that is just because my background was that I was a stand-up comedian and I did a lot of impersonations.
“When you do impressions of famous people, no matter who it is, you have to learn what makes each person’s cadence unique. So when I am creating a character, I am thinking about what a character is doing. For Santa, a lot of it sits in the belly.”
Grimes is an Emmy Award-winning actor whose career began at age six when she was cast as Cassie Newman in the CBS daytime drama “The Young and the Restless.” Throughout her career, Grimes has been nominated for five Daytime Emmy Awards and has won twice. Her first win in 2000 made her the youngest Daytime Emmy Award winner, a title she still holds.
Being a daytime actor and a voice talent are at opposite ends of the way actors work. Those who are part of a daytime drama learn to work fast while voice work ends up being more of a casual approach.
Grimes was drawn to voiceover work because it was so different from all of her past jobs.
“There’s an amazing journey of being on daytime where unlike any other acting fields you get to play one character for a very long time. And you live this very long life as these characters. That is fantastic,” Grimes says. “But conversely with voiceover, I can have 10 auditions in a day and one is an alien and one is a little boy.
“They are both beautiful journeys.”
Other credits for Grimes include “Magic Mike,” “Swordfish,” “NCIS,” “ER” and “Make It or Break It.” The lifelong Disney fan finally broke into the voice acting world with “Hamster & Gretel.”
Grimes is delighted to be working as a voice actor. Not only does it give her the opportunity to audition with her future spouse but she finds the animation world to be so rich in creativity.
She explains her approach to playing Mrs. Claus with a quote from the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
“The man might be the head but the woman is the neck and she can turn the head anyway she wants,” Grimes says with a laugh.