- Associated Press - Sunday, August 4, 2013

LONG POND, PA. (AP) - Comedian Dane Cook’s career is soaring to new heights.

He’s leaving the comfort of the stand-up stage for the friendly skies as the voice of Dusty Crophopper in Disney’s “Planes.”

Cook was pitched by Pixar executive John Lasseter about starring in a new franchise set in the “Cars” universe. Cook was thrilled at the chance to follow in the tradition of comics-turned-cartoon stars.

“I was just so completely astonished that I would get a call like that,” he said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. “After many, many years of hearing my peers like Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy in animated films, it was like, `Finally I get to come in and play in the sandbox.’ It’s a thrill.”

Hey, if George Carlin can play Mr. Conductor, then Cook can voice a small-town crop-dusting plane with dreams of becoming an air racer.

Cook played it straight with Dusty. So no Scottish accent like Mike Myers and “Shrek.”

“I thought they’d want me to come in and do some kind of Scandinavian thing,” Cook said. “They said they wanted him to have a real edge, some real heart. They didn’t need him to be squeaky clean, to sound like a guy who’s been out there for a little bit. I have.”

Cook attended his first NASCAR race Sunday to promote the movie (which opens Aug. 9) and serve as the grand marshal. The “Planes” logos also were slapped on Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet. Johnson won a race last season with a “Madagascar 3” paint scheme and drove to Victory Lane in a clown wig.

It’s great to have them on the race car,” Johnson said. “It gets my daughter excited. The way I became a fan was going to the race track as a kid and if we can capture young eyes and have them watch a race for whatever reason, if it’s a cartoon that they enjoy or a movie from Disney that they enjoy, it’s helpful.”

Johnson and Cook teamed up for a pre-race Q&A and showed a trailer for the film for kids before the green flag dropped.

“I’m hanging with Jimmie Johnson. I guess it was worth the wait,” Cook said.

Disney is betting big on “Planes.” Without a dime made yet at the box office, Cook is already at work on a sequel.

“I finished a lot of the voice work on that and I’m starting to see the animation come in,” Cook said. “But you’ve got to see the first one to know where we’re going with it.”

He returns to his regular job in September when he starts the latest tour in a 23-year stand-up career.

Cook then moves from “Planes” to pilots. Cook is working on a return to television and is working with partners on a script for an untitled project.

“I want to do something that’s outside the box but still has humor,” he said. “I did a show with NBC last year but unfortunately it didn’t go the distance. This particular one isn’t primarily a comedy. It’s a little dark with some humor in it.”

Copyright © 2023 The Washington Times, LLC.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide