Richard Kind, who is in the upcoming Amazon Prime series “Red Oaks,” is involved with two other big projects. Along with playing the Mayor in the FOX series “Gotham,” he’s the voice of “Bing Bong” in the huge Pixar animated hit “Inside Out.” The film – set to be released on DVD Nov. 3 – looks at the inner workings of a young girl’s mind and Bing Bong is her imaginary friend.
The actor has done a lot of voice work over the years. Despite having a very distinct voice, Kind has never expected youngsters to recognize him when he’s out in public.
“There was one night when I was walking home and a mother was walking her two kids home,” Kind says. “I heard them talking about Bing Bong. I would never do this but I stopped them and asked them if they liked ‘Inside Out.’ I asked them if they liked Bing Bong and they said, ‘yeah.’
“I told them, ‘I’m Bing Bong.’ One of the kids couldn’t compute it but the other one was old enough to understand. Then the phones came out and we all took pictures. But, they have no idea who I am when they see me. They aren’t going to go, ‘Wait, you were on ‘Spin City.’”
Children might not be able to match Kind to the voice of the odd animated character, but adults do. He’s often approached by adults who say that when they were kids, they had an imaginary friend. They tell them that seeing Bing Bong was a very emotional experience.
Kind says the reactions he’s been getting makes him a very lucky man when it comes to acting.
His luck’s holding up when it comes to “Gotham.” His character was in most of the first half of the season but was not used much in the second half. He’ll be back to face detective Jim Gordon again this year. The first season of “Gotham” is available on DVD.
Scoring on TV
Dwayne Johnson has had monstrous success in the professional wrestling and film worlds. Now he’s having equal success in the TV world with his HBO series “Ballers.” Johnson plays an ex-NFL star who runs a sports management business.
Johnson never got to live out his dream of playing professional football but he’s at least getting to pretend with his new show. While Johnson was going off to professional wrestling and action film fame, teammates from the University of Miami made it to the NFL.
For those teammates and his love of the NFL, Johnson wanted to make sure the series was top quality.
“I can just tell you from my perspective that I felt going into this thing that the anticipation from the league, the anticipation from coaches, certainly from players, was high, and there was a great expectation for us to deliver some quality, and what we’re feeling now is the expectation that has been met,” Johnson says. “We’re incredibly cognizant of respecting the game and respecting the league and respecting the institution.”
Johnson believes the TV series will help him finally move on from that dream of playing in the NFL. That was a dream he held for more than a decade through youth football and college. When he graduated, Johnson was not selected in the NFL draft and ended up playing in the Canadian Football League for $200 a week.
He was cut after a couple of months and had to move back home. He eventually followed family tradition and became a professional wrestler. His father not only trained him but also trained Hulk Hogan. That’s why the recent tirade that got Hogan booted out of pro wrestling was upsetting to Johnson.
“I was pretty disappointed with what I heard, like all of us. I’ve known Terry (referring to Hogan’s real name, Terry Bollea) for a lot of years, and my dad helped train him in Florida in the ’70s when he was breaking in the business. … I come from a very long line and lineage of professional wrestlers. And my uncles helped train him, too, as well, in Florida,” Johnson says. “So I have not known the man to be racist.
“It’s one of those things where – and not justifying what he said – we’ve all talked trash, especially in private. And he said what he said, and he’s paying the price.”
Anniversary date: In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, TV One will present a two-hour special from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. The evening’s programming, presented by “News One Now” host and managing editor Roland S. Martin, will feature the network television premiere of the acclaimed documentary “The Million Man March Story,” followed by a “News One Now” primetime roundtable discussion.
Marvel-ous: Netflix’s second original Marvel series, “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” will premiere at 12:01 a.m. Nov. 20.
It is an edgy look into the life of Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), one of the most popular new Marvel characters of the last decade, as she faces demons from within and without. The drama will premiere with 13 one-hour episodes.