Exclusive Interview with The Amazing World of Gumball’s Jacob Hopkins

Photo Credit: Anabelle Munro: Bash Photography
Photo Credit: Anabelle Munro: Bash Photography

Jacob Hopkins is a young actor who has been featured in True Blood, RCVR and The Goldbergs.  He currently provides the voice of Gumball Watterson in The Amazing World of Gumball on the Cartoon Network.

I recently chatted with Jacob about Gumball, acting and where he sees himself in the future. Read on to find out what he had to say.

How do you train your voice for the role of Gumball?

I usually put my voice in a higher range (raises voice pitch) ‘I don’t talk like this, like a little twelve-year old’ (voice returns to normal) I talk like this. For Gumball, I turn my voice into a more raspy tone. I add a lot of diction and a lot of volume so I’ll be able to talk fast. It’s a really fun role. I love Gumball.”

How would you describe your character of Gumball?

Gumball is one of those quick, sarcastic, catty (no pun intended) talkers. Despite his sarcasm, he’s a good caring brother and often protective of his family. He fights for good. And let’s just say he has a flair for misadventure. He gets into a lot of trouble. A lot of crazy, zany adventures!”

For people who don’t know, can you briefly walk us through the process of voice animation, how is it done?

“The animation is not done first before the voice over, it’s the opposite. They record first. They have small penciled animatics that give me an idea of some of the scenes. I don’t get to see all moments of the script. I do different takes – I give various colors and takes on it.  I get to explore different things within Gumball and within the scenes. There are other times where it is very closely timed, because the animators have done things to a certain timing, so I will have to match the timing within the frames and moments in the scenes.”

Who is your favorite Gumball character that isn’t from the Watterson family? 

Besides Gumball, I’d have to say that I really like Banana Joe. He’s a naive, fun character. He’s just so wild and crazy. I also really like Clayton. I like how they put in the clay animation. I think that was really cool how he transforms into different things. I really like Penny and not just because she’s Gumball’s girlfriend (laughs). I like Penny because in the episode “The Shell” it shows that she’s not just a peanut with antlers. She is a mystical shapeshifter after she escapes from her shell. I think she’s a super cool character. My final choice would have to be Carrie the ghost. She’s hilarious in her emo tone, she’s so awesome. Ghosts are awesome so that’s another contributing factor (laughs).

What’s is your favorite Gumball moment?

“I really love the animated Dragon Ball Z. We were talking about it and they discovered that I liked it.  So they were like ‘ You know what? Why don’t we put in a Dragon Ball Z moment!’  In the episode “The Pest”, I just screamed at the top of my lungs ‘Let’s nail this guy.’  Everything just burst away with power. I just thought that was so funny. I started laughing and saying, ‘Oh My Gosh, this is the best thing ever!’ Because it was!”

We never saw what happened to Darwin and Carrie’s relationship after Halloween, will that ever be explored?

“Well as they say, “No spoilers’ (laughs). You’ll just have to see for yourself. There are upcoming episodes so just be patient. I don’t blame everyone for wondering.”

In regards to you and your other cast mates recording the voices for Gumball, is that all done in the same location? Or do each of you record your parts separately in different venues?

“It’s a fascinating process really.  The creators of Gumball, the production team and some of the people who I work with live in London. There’s only three actors who do Gumball that live in LA. Me, Terrell, who plays Darwin and Kyla, who plays Anais. I record in L.A., using Skype to connect with the people in London. The adult actors live in London and they play all the other characters so that’s basically how the process goes.”

Is it difficult balancing acting while trying to be a normally kid?

“I don’t really think of it as not being normal, because there are so many child actors. It can be difficult, mainly with school, like trying to get the work done. What I do is I get the schedule for auditions or jobs that I booked. Then I get my work beforehand. I have a lot of time to act like a normal kid. I get to spend time with my family and play video games. I’m in a band, I play the drums. That’s really fun! I also do martial arts. I’m almost a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do! I have plenty of time to act like a normal kid.”

What are some things you enjoy doing outside of acting?

I love spending time with my family and my friends. Besides the band and playing video games, I really enjoy spending time with my brother. Terrell, who plays Darwin is also in the band. Our band is called The Pedestrians. Terrell plays guitar and sings. My brother is also in the band and he sings. I also sing sometimes. It’s really fun. And, as I said before, I’m almost a second degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, so that’s fun too. I love Tae Kwon Do! I’ve been doing it for three years. I started in sixth grade.”

Do you want to continue a career as an actor or is there something else that you would love to do when you get older?

“If I don’t continue my acting career, which I hope I do, I would say there are many options for me.  I really want to be an artist in anime. I’m really good at drawing. My drumming skills could be really useful. Let’s see, I’m also thinking about becoming a doctor. I’m interested in that. Or maybe a Master in Tae Kwon Do? You never know! Or maybe an author?  I’m really good at language arts.”

*Featured image photo credit Credit- Suzette Troche Stapp (www.glitterguru.com).

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