When Will Forte signed on to voice the iconic and beloved “Scooby-Doo” character Shaggy in the upcoming animated film “Scoob,” he knew it would be a daunting task.
“Shaggy is very beloved, and it has everything to do with Casey Kasem and that amazing voice of his, and it just is an iconic voice like no other,” Forte told TheWrap. “That is what I think really made people fall in love with Shaggy in the first place. I thought Matthew Lillard did an amazing job… and as much of an honor as this is, it was an incredibly daunting thing to come in and have to do the same thing that already was just such a tough thing for him to do. So I had to come in figure out a way to do my own version when these two people have done such an amazing job. It was nerve wracking and it took a patience from the director [Tony Cervone].”
Forte’s goal was to pay homage to the previous voice actors who had voiced Shaggy, but also add his own spin to it.
“Tony also said, ‘don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a spot-on impersonation. You can do your own thing,’ but of course, as you say, it’s one of the most beloved characters out there,” Forte added. “So I don’t want it to be too far off the mark. So it was interesting trying to find that version that paid honor to the original, but also was something I could actually do with my voice.”
Norville ‘Shaggy” Rogers is, of course, the long-time best friend of Scooby-Doo, in a franchise that spans back to 1969 — Joe Ruby and Ken Spears created the original series “Scooby-Doo: Where Are You!” for Hanna-Barbera Productions, and it features Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo who solve mysteries involving supernatural creatures.
In “Scoob,” hitting video-on-demand on Friday, Zac Efron voices Fred Jones, Amanda Seyfried voices Daphne Blake, Gina Rodriguez voices Velma Dinkley, and Frank Welker returns to voice Scooby.
Casey Kasem was the first actor to voice the iconic character, with Matthew Lillard stepping in for two live-action movies: 2002’s “Scooby-Doo” and 2004’s “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” He also took over the voice in animation when Kasem retired from the role in 2009.
Forte said while he did not speak to Lillard to prepare for the role, he certainly did a lot of research to get Shaggy just right.
“I certainly studied a lot of the Casey version of the character and the Matthew version of the character,” he explained. “It’s really interesting because Matthew doesn’t sound exactly like Casey… When I listened to his version, I never go like, ‘Oh, that’s Matthew’s version.’ It just sounded like Shaggy to me. So I’m hoping that it’s kind of the same with me cause I do not sound like Casey or Matthew, but hopefully it’s not so far off with what I did that you don’t go, ‘okay, that’s in the ballpark, I guess?'”
Forte definitely didn’t take this honor lightly — he says he became a “head case” for a while and didn’t sleep. After all, Forte had grown up with the “Scooby-Doo” franchise himself.
“I was born in 1970, so since I came out of the womb, Scooby has been around and you grow up watching it,’ he said. “You feel like you’re almost family with that gang. So to get to be a part of this was a real honor. It was very exciting. I was just a lifelong fan.”
“Scoob” was supposed to hit theaters on Friday, but once the coronavirus hit, Warner Bros. made the decision to release the film straight to streaming.
“I’m excited for people to see the movie because of how hard these people have worked,” he added. “Tony has been working on this for years and years… It’s very special to get to release something in a movie theater, but that’s just not an option right now. So I think it could be also a very special thing to release it in this way — a lot of families are home together, in a different but equally special way. I think it’s great.”
Watch the interview above.