Patrick Warburton has brought a number of fan-favorite characters to life on the screen throughout his career, including The Tick, Kronk, Joe Swanson, and more. That said, there was one character that has developed a cult following despite the fact that it didn't receive the mainstream promotion of those other projects, and that's Richard Hudson of The Woman Chaser. The Woman Chaser (full trailer right here) was a take on neo-noir that initially received big buzz at film festivals, but afterward, it was quite hard to find on home video. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the film, a screening of the original version of the film is being held at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX, and we recently had a chance to chat with Warburton all about the project and what happened to the original version, as well as some other fan-favorite projects like The Tick and Emperor's New Groove.
First, we had to ask if the legend that has built up around the film's mishandling and subsequently tampered-with release was true or just a part of the film's promotion, and it looks like it's a little bit of both, though streaming helped bring it back into circulation.
"Wow. Is it possible it could be both? Yeah, it might be," Warburton said. "It's one of those weird movies. You know, our film's been called everything from a student film to a masterpiece. That encapsulates what this thing is. In a sense, is a gritty little... It was guerrilla filmmaking. We had to steal locations at times. We got kicked off of locations. Rob made a really cool ode to film noir there, with this adaptation of a Charles Willeford book. Those that just love it, I've had people that I really respect in the business approach me and say, 'Hey, I love The Woman Chaser.' And of course, my jaw drops open that they have even seen it. When The Woman Chaser went from VHS, when the format, the home format, went from VHS to DVD, they didn't even make a DVD of The Woman Chaser. At that point, it was essentially lost. And then with streaming, it's come back."
That resourcefulness was a key to not just the filming but also the casting. "A lot of actors too, that were in it, a few of them were just first-timers," Warburton said. "But Rob knew what he wanted. One of the actors helped Rob. Rob would help out answering phones for a suicide helpline, and there was another guy there that answered phone calls. Rob just looked at him and said, 'You'd be good for this role.' And then put him in the movie. So, yeah. Of course, I think it was Uncle Leo as I recall. He just fits it perfect. He fits it perfect."
It's been a bit since Warburton has actually seen the movie, and now he gets to see it with an audience that's grown to love it just as much as he has over the years.
"You know, I look forward to it, because I can't remember the last time I saw this with an audience," Warburton said. "It was a while ago. We had a good festival run when we came out. We debuted at the New York Film Festival, and we were at Sundance, we were at South by Southwest. Everything was great until when we debuted. One of the things that hurt us is that the New York critic wasn't very kind to Rob, our director. Although it gave me a great review, it didn't help with the movie. I would argue, because of the nature of this film, I'm in almost every frame... how he could have appreciated the performance and then had a problem with Rob, the storyteller. Rob was really responsible for making this entire film look the way it did. He shot it the way he did. He directed me, and I listened. I think Rob is responsible for making this wonderful unique and quirky movie."
When Warburton isn't filming a new project, he is raising money with his wife for St. Jude, a cause that is close to their hearts.
"My wife and I were just inspired by the hospital and what it does," Warburton said. "We wanted to do something outside of trying to raise our four kids, and do the best we could as parents, and help do something in society. Something that really inspired us, something to help people. Children with cancer and their families, there's no better hospital in the world than St. Jude, for a number of reasons. Not only that they're the pioneers of most of these therapies and cures for pediatric cancer, but they're not proprietary, which means they share everything with the rest of the world. So St. Jude really is we've always felt, the best that humanity has to offer from the bottom to the top."
In fact, just a weekend ago they took part in an event that had 1000 people, who raised $3.6 million for St Jude, breaking all of their existing records in the process, so they are more than living up to what they set out to do.
One of Warburton's more beloved roles is as the at times clueless but always lovable Tick, and he has nothing but fond memories of his time on the early 2000's show.
"The Tick was so much fun, because it was so imaginative and ridiculous and bigger than life," Warburton said. "I loved his personality and I loved the confusion. I loved all the humorous aspects of that. That's what made it easier to lube up with two tubes of KY Jelly and slide into a suit that I'd be stuck in for 12 hours a day at times. That was an interesting time in my career because when I did The Tick, it was right around the time I did The Woman Chaser."
Another beloved role is Krunk from Emperor's New Groove, a personal fave of mine. Tha's why I had to ask what Krunk would be doing now in the modern-day, and Warburton had a pretty good idea.
"Well, let's see. He would be a trainer at Gold's Gym," Warburton said. "But he would be trying to become a trainer at Equinox, because they pay better. He would also, let's see, be writing a book on how to communicate with the animals in the forest."
Yeah, that totally fits, and now we kind of want to see that explored in a series on Disney+. Make it happen Disney!