As a voiceover actor, Ethan Pugiotto voiced the role of Charlie Brown in the Apple TV+ series The Snoopy Show, and he took over the role of D.W. in 2019 for TV series Arthur, and was the last actor to voice the character when he continued as D.W. until the series finale in February 2022. Amongst Ethan’s other voiceover work, he voiced Kevin in PJ Masks, and lead characters Rod in Top Wing and Eddie in Little People (which was based on toys by Fisher Price). For Ethan’s first screen character role, he was cast in My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, before going on to film a number of projects including Holiday Joy as Miles alongside Bailee Madison as his on-screen sister, playing Thaddeus Sivana (1974) in Shazam!, and he worked on an episode of Series 2 of Creeped Out, when he played Aiden Whitaker in the One More Minute episode. We chatted to Ethan about voicing Charlie Brown in The Snoopy Show, his time as D.W. in Arthur and filming for Shazam! as Thaddeus Sivana (1974).
You voice the role of Charlie Brown in The Snoopy Show for Apple TV+, what is the character like to play and how is it being in the cast?
Charlie Brown is an iconic character which originally debuted in the Peanuts cartoon in 1950. Created by Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown is the most recognised cartoon character of all time. He was ranked eighth on the Greatest Cartoons of All Time survey and is a part of a franchise which includes fashion collaborations with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Hugo Boss, Coach and Lacoste. Charlie Brown has a very calm personality and I adjusted my technique to align with his personality. The tone for this character is conversational, which is not typical of all of the other voiceover roles I played.
How is it working on the series and being part of the Snoopy franchise?
When I had my second audition, my agent called my mom and said, “I have been in this industry for a long time, my wish would be to be able to say that one of my clients was Charlie Brown”. I am glad that he will now be able to say that! I loved being Charlie Brown, mostly because his personality is somewhat like mine and also because it’s an iconic character which has been around for decades. Really, who doesn’t know Charlie Brown?
What’s it like getting into character for Charlie Brown and how did you prepare for taking on the role?
I watched episodes of Peanuts to learn the vocal style and personality of Charlie Brown. It is important to really understand the personality of the character you voice, which will allow you to anticipate his reactions and guide your tone accordingly. Charlie Brown has a very subdued personality, so I had to ensure that his voice did not hit any high tones, as this would not align with the character’s personality.
In 2019, you took over the role of D.W. in the hugely popular animated series Arthur, what was this like to do and how was she to voice?
Arthur is an iconic cartoon series which has been on air for 26 years, with the first episode airing on October 7th, 1996. I was the last actor to voice Dora Winifred (D.W.’s full name) with the series finale airing in February of 2022. The series first aired on television in 1996 and throughout its 25 seasons, it aired a total of 253 episodes.
D.W. has always been voiced by boys, as the huskier tone fits her sassy and mischievous personality. I was thrilled to be cast as D.W., as she is my mom’s favourite character on the show, and a pop culture icon familiar to many generations. I voiced D.W. from Season 22 to Season 25, which happens to be the last season of this popular cartoon series. It was somewhat sad to record the last episode, but luckily re-runs are still running in many countries.
How much did you know about the series before joining the cast and was there anything that drew you to the character?
I remember watching the Arthur episodes when I was five years old, so I was quite familiar with the series and all of the characters. I find Arthur to be a very educational cartoon with great life lessons for kids and witty humour which can be enjoyed by kids and adults. When I was filming Shazam!, the director, David Sandberg, talked to me about voicing D.W., as he watched Arthur back in Switzerland when he was a kid.
What was it like seeing the fan response to the final episode of Arthur, and what are some of your stand-out highlights from voicing D.W.?
I know that a lot of viewers were sad when the series came to an end, as this was an iconic series which spanned among many generations. The issues which were touched upon on the show were very relatable to our everyday lives.
One of the stand-out highlights for me was when I had to sing a song for an episode titled D.W.’s New Best Friend. I actually thought the song was very well written and had a great beat. During my record, the composer attended the recording session and coached me on how to perform the song.
Can you tell us about your character Kevin in PJ Masks and how was it working on the show?
Kevin was one of the werewolves which were a part of a wolf pack called the Wolfy Kids. He was the youngest of the three villains, but was actually the one who had the most wisdom and common sense. PJ Masks is an extremely popular, international production airing on Disney Junior, and includes merchandise such as household goods and toys under the PJ Masks brand name.
You voiced one of the lead characters Rod in Top Wing, do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role?
I was thrilled to be cast as Rod in Top Wing as this was my very first series lead role since I started acting at the age of ten. After I joined my agency, Noble Caplan Abrams, I booked this role on my first voiceover audition.
What did you enjoy most about voicing Rod over the years?
Rod was an energetic rooster with a charismatic personality. I really enjoyed working on this production and had a lot of fun with the cast, whom became friends.
What was Eddie like to voice in the animated series Little People?
Eddie was one of the lead characters on Little People, which is an animated series based on the toys made by Fisher Price. The toys were originally introduced to the market in late 1960s, and quickly grew in popularity with over two billion Little People figures being sold around the world. In 2016, the toy line was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. This is another animated series which has a long history and is recognised by adults and children around the world. Oddly, I still have the Little People toy bus with Eddie as the driver!
In Series 2 of Creeped Out, you played Aiden Whitaker in the One More Minute episode, what was it like reading the script for the first time?
Creeped Out was an anthology fantasy/horror series which premiered on CBBC in the United Kingdom, Netflix in the United States and the Family Channel in Canada. I really enjoyed working on this project and thought that the episode was very interesting.
How did you find the experience on set of Shazam!, in which you played Thaddeus Sivana (1974)?
I had a lot of fun working on Shazam! and I was elated to find out that I would be playing a role in a DC Comics movie. The movie had a lot of VFX effects, and I got to do a lot of really cool things. This was the first time I had a body double, who was another boy my age who was made to look like me for shots from behind, where my face was not visible. There are strict laws, which mandate how long young actors can work on set, so when I would reach my limit of work hours, the body double would be available to film scenes where only his body was visible. In the opening scene, young Thaddeus is in a car accident, and that was definitely a very unique experience for me. In order to film the scene, we were in a studio with a vintage car on a spinning wheel. As we simulated that car spinning out of control (the real scene was done with stunt men and mannequins), one of the crew was spinning the car, to give the effect of the car spinning out of control. The shattering glass, which hit my face in the scene, was actually silicone pieces which were lightly sprinkled to give the effect of flying glass. Definitely a lot of memorable experiences filming this feature film. I saw my scenes for the first time in a movie theatre, which was also a unique experience.
You played Miles in Holiday Joy, what are some of your favourite memories from working on the film and acting with the rest of the cast?
That was a lot of fun! I was the youngest cast member, but everyone treated me like an equal. In one part of the movie, I had to hold a live rat by its tail, so that definitely was something new! Bailee Madison was my sister in the movie and she really took on that role off screen as well.
Over your career, you’ve worked on a number of other projects in both voiceover and screen, can you tell us about some of them?
I hosted a Healthy Eating web series when I was nine years old and that was both fun and educational. My very first on-screen project was playing the son of John Stamos and Rita Wilson in the feature film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. This is another movie which was very successful in the movie theatres and was a follow up to the huge success of the first My Big Fat Greek Wedding movie.
Where does your love of acting and voiceover come from and how did you start in each?
My mom went to an arts school and majored in drama and dance. She knew that I had the personality and character which was a great fit for acting. I wasn’t shy and being on camera was something that came to me naturally. Some young kids shut down in front of a camera, but for me that was never the case.
My mom sent in my headshot to the most prestigious agency in Canada, Noble Caplan Abrams, and we met with Norbert Abrams shortly after for an in-person audition. I was nine years old at that time. Some of the top Canadian talent like Nina Dobrev, Drake, Simu Liu and Stephan James are some of the actors with my agency so I was definitely happy to be on the roster as a nine year old actor.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
Surprisingly, I don’t watch a lot of television as being in high school has me really busy. I play competitive hockey and enjoy spending time with friends and family. I have two younger brothers and my youngest brother is also a voice actor. He has been recording for almost a year for a new PAW Patrol spin off, Rubble and Crew, which came out in February.
What are you hoping the upcoming months bring for you?
I always treated acting as a hobby. Something I did for fun. I had a lot of memorable experiences which will be with me forever. I continue to focus on my education and enjoy spending time with my friends and family. I am going to spend this summer in Italy (I am of Italian and Polish descent), so I am really looking forward to that.
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