Filipino Canadian Eric Bauza, 41, will be the voice of the iconic Looney Tunes character Bugs Bunny, who turned 80 this year.
Since being featured on CBC’s The National, he’s been inundated with interview requests and even got some shout-outs from celebrities, leaving him exhilarated and a bit bewildered, according to the Toronto Star.
“Ken Jeong just tweeted at me,” he told the Star from his home in Los Angeles. “This is getting out of control.”
Bauza can effortlessly shift in and out of character. His repertoire includes Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird and Marvin the Martian.
The voice imitations started at home when Eric would mimic the accents of his Filipino parents — Elvira, a property assessment clerk, and Eddie, a correctional officer.
Bauza grew up in the Scarborough area of metropolitan Toronto. At Cardinal Newman Catholic High School in the 1990s, he delivered the morning announcements in the voice of Homer Simpson and produced video sketches for school assemblies invoking Ace Ventura and Austin Powers, according to the Star.
He pursued radio, television and film at Centennial College. He had an internship at an animation studio in Los Angeles, where he worked as a production assistant and voiced some side characters. He got his name out by distributing a rudimentary demo reel on audio cassette.
In the mid-2000s, he got his first big role after meeting Jorge Gutierrez, who was developing a pilot for Nickelodeon called El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera.
Gutierrez says he had auditioned hundreds of people to play Rodolfo Rivera, the overprotective superhero father of the title character, but couldn’t find the person with the right voice — a blend of Ricardo Montalban and Scarface but with a Mexican accent.
Bauza took up the challenge. Gutierrez says he told Nickelodeon executives: “We found a Canadian-Filipino guy who can do a better Mexican accent than any Mexican I’ve ever auditioned.” The studio agreed to bring him on and get him a U.S. work visa.
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