Wendie Malick finds working on ‘The Owl House’ magical

Rick's Reviews

Wendie Malick is the voice of Eda in “The Owl House.” (Photo courtesy of Disney)

(KGET) —  Wendie Malick has been a voice talent in such animated projects as “BoJack Horseman,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.” She has loved all of the voice work she’s done over the years but Malick’s latest work on Disney Channel’s “The Owl House” – a Peabody Award nominee – holds a special place in her heart.

“I am so proud to be part of this show and the fact that we have been nominated for a Peabody Award is just so crazy wonderful,” Malick says. “It’s very groundbreaking in its messaging about diversity and inclusion. No matter how much a misfit you might feel in your own world, there is a world out there where you belong and you will find your family.

“I think that is such an important message to put out there for kids and adults. So often we try to be like everyone tells us we ought to be but it may not be our journey.”

The second season of the animated series of “The Owl House” begins at 10 a.m. June 12. New episodes will debut every Saturday through Aug. 14.

Not only is Malick proud of the show but the response from viewers (with more than 58 million views on Disney Channel YouTube since its launch in January 2020) and critics has been so positive, a third season was ordered before the second-season launch.

“The Owl House” follows Luz (voiced by Sarah-Nicole Robles), a self-assured teenage girl who stumbles upon a portal to a magical realm where she befriends Eda, and a tiny warrior, King (Alex Hirsch). Despite not having magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda’s apprentice at the Owl House and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.

The second season of “The Owl House” opens with Malick’s character facing a very big challenge. She’s gone from being the powerful teacher to a student having to relearn her magic.

Malick says that’s an easy element to play as she has found in the real world that she has often learned as much from young actors as they have learned from her. Her years of experience – that date back to her first professional role in the TV movie “How to Pick Up Girls!” in 1978 – is that mentoring has nothing to do with age.

The Buffalo, NY, native has had plenty of opportunities to be a teacher and a student in the acting world. As one of the busiest working actors in Hollywood, her TV credits include “This Is Us,” ABC’s “American Housewife,” “Mom” “The Ranch,” “Darrow & Darrow,” “Grace and Frankie,” “NCIS: New Orleans.” “Hot in Cleveland” and “Just Shoot Me.” Her film credits range from “The American President” to “Confessions of a Shopaholic.”

The first voice work Malick did was a commercial for Excedrin PM. She laughs and says that was an amazing job because it paid her rent for an entire year.

At the start, Malick had to audition for voice roles but that changed and now she is sought out for roles. That’s great for Malick because she loves animation work.

The big difference when it came to recording sessions for “The Owl House” was that due to the pandemic, Malick did most of her work at home. She would go inside a closet to read her lines. That originally sounded like a good idea but in the end, enough background noises came through that she had to re-record all of her lines.

Malick has often been the first choice to play a strong, aggressive and determined character. Those elements were put in place for the rebellious Eda – and much more – by series creator Dana Terrace (Disney’s “DuckTales”).

“This is the lovely gift of when you are working with someone who is a great writer and also has a long plan down the road of where these people might go,” Malick says. “Initially, Eda was just a head-strong, sassy, independent wild girl who just didn’t play well with others.

“I also think she’s rebellious in the best sense of the word. She wanted to make her stand, follow her own bliss and be her own person. Then Luz comes into her life and busts her heart wide open. She suddenly cares more than she thought she wanted to care for this young girl.”

Along with her high praise of the writing, Malick stresses that the animation is also of the highest quality. The magical world around Eda is an explosion of odd looking characters, wild hues and geometric designs not seen since the heyday of psychedelics.

The way Malick describes the look of “The Owl House” is that “nothing is too weird.”

Those who can’t get enough of Eda and her world through the Disney Channel series can turn to two children’s books inspired by the series – “The Owl House: Witches before Wizards” and “The Owl House: Hex-cellent Tales from The Boiling Isles.” They are available at www.DisneyBooks.com.

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