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Why The Cast Of Strange World Sounds So Familiar

After working together in the Oscar-nominated "Raya and the Last Dragon," director Don Hall and writer Qui Nguyen have once again teamed up with Disney Animation to deliver another fantasy adventure in the form of "Strange World." When the animated film was first announced nearly a year ago, Hall described the project as a nod to the pulp magazines from the first half of the 20th century which he loved reading when he was growing up (via D23). This marks Hall's fifth directorial project with Disney after over two decades of working with the studio on critically acclaimed films like "Big Hero 6" and "Moana."

"Strange World" takes the audience on a journey to an uncharted land located beneath the land of Avalonia where fantastical and dangerous creatures reside. At the center of this adventure is the legendary Clade family, who must set aside their differences and learn to work with each other for the sake of their most crucial mission. Through this expedition led by President Callisto Mal, farmer Searcher Clade discovers that his missing father Jaeger Clade, a famous explorer, has been navigating the unknown land on his own for the past 25 years.

Helping Hall and Nguyen bring this fantastical story to life are Jake Gyllenhaal, Jaboukie Young-White, Dennis Quaid, and Gabrielle Union. If you're wondering where you've heard the cast members' voices before, don't fret because we've created a list of the actors who've lent their voices to the "Strange World" characters.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade

Portraying the leading role of Searcher Clade in "Strange World" is Jake Gyllenhaal. His character is introduced as a harvester who's constantly living in the shadow of his famous explorer father, Jaeger. More than two decades since his dad went missing, Searcher has now become a family man himself and is a father to a teenager.

Growing up, Gyllenhaal found himself on production sets regularly, due to his parents' respective professions in the film industry. Along with his older sister and acclaimed actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal, they had made brief appearances in some of their father Stephen Gyllenhaal's directorial features, including the 1993 film "A Dangerous Woman," which was written by their film producer mother Naomi Foner. In 1999, Jake Gyllenhaal landed his first leading role in the biographical drama film "October Sky" about a coal miner's son who dreams of becoming a NASA engineer despite his family's lack of belief in him. Throughout the 2000s, he continued nabbing big parts, including in the cult classic thriller "Donnie Darko" and the sci-fi disaster film "The Day After Tomorrow."

Some of Gyllenhaal's most notable performances to date include playing Jack Twist in "Brokeback Mountain," Anthony Swofford in "Jarhead," Detective Loki in "Prisoners," Lou Bloom in "Nightcrawler," and Billy Hope in "Southpaw." For his emotional performance as a closeted cowboy in "Brokeback Mountain," he earned his first Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

Dennis Quaid as Jaeger Clade

In "Strange World," Dennis Quaid stars as Jaeger Clade, a fearless explorer who finally reunites with his son after missing for years in a subterranean world located under the land of Avalonia. This marks the second time that Quaid plays Jake Gyllenhaal's father in a movie, after previously starring together in Roland Emmerich's "The Day After Tomorrow."

Quaid began his acting career in the mid-1970s, with parts in films like "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," "September 30, 1955," and "Our Winning Season." By the 1980s, he began securing lead roles in movies like "The Right Stuff" as Gordon Cooper, "The Big Easy" as Remy McSwain, "D.O.A" as Dexter Cornell, and "Great Balls of Fire!" as Jerry Lee Lewis. Quaid's career then took a temporary hit due to health problems and addiction, which he reflected on during a 2018 interview on "Megan Kelly Today," saying, "I was basically doing cocaine pretty much on a daily basis during the '80s."

Fortunately, Quaid managed to bounce back and was able to deliver some memorable performances of his career including Bowen in the fantasy adventure "Dragonheart," Nick Parker in the Lindsay Lohan-led remake of "The Parent Trap," Cap Rooney in the sports drama "Any Given Sunday," and Jim Morris in "The Rookie."

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Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade

Taking on the role of Meridian Clade in "Strange World" is Gabrielle Union. Meridian is Searcher's dependable wife who also works with him as a harvester. It is also revealed that she's not only a natural-born leader but also a skilled pilot.

Union's acting career began in the '90s, when she scored some one-episode appearances in popular shows like "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," and "Sister, Sister." In 1999, she made her feature acting debut in two classic teen romantic comedies: "She's All That" as Katie Darlingson and "10 Things I Hate About You" as Chastity Church. The following year, Union's breakthrough performance came in the cheerleading comedy "Bring It On," in which she starred as Isis opposite Kirsten Dunst. In 2003, she joined Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in the blockbuster action-comedy "Bad Boys II" (the sequel to the 1995 hit film) as Syd Burnett. Speaking with Elle, Union praised the experience, saying that the film "changed her life."

Other notable performances include Eva in the comedy "Deliver Us from Eva," and Kristen in the "Think Like a Man" films. Union's turn as Inez French in the 2022 A24 drama "The Inspection" has been praised by critics. Her commanding portrayal of a homophobic mother who disowns her son for being gay has been hailed as "career-best" by Variety with suggestions she could even be in line for an Academy Award nomination.

Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal

Lucy Liu lends her voice to the role of Callisto Mal in "Strange World," the fierce president of Avalonia. She previously worked with Jaeger Clade as one of his former exploration teammates. In the film, she embarks on a new expedition where she'll lead her team to explore the world beneath Avalonia.

Liu is no stranger to voice acting, with her most prominent role in animation being Master Viper in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise. Liu is also best known for roles in high-profile action movies like Alex Munday in the "Charlie's Angels" films, and O-Ren Ishii in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill: Volume 1." Following "Strange World," Liu is set to make her action comeback in 2023 in the highly-anticipated "Shazam!" sequel, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," and the Dwayne Johnson-led "Red One."

In addition to establishing herself as a movie star, Liu has had huge success in TV, which includes a breakout role as Ling Woo in the legal comedy "Ally McBeal." Despite playing an antagonistic character, Liu became a fan-favorite due to being a significant and strong representation of Asian women on television (via Far Out Magazine). The role also earned Liu her first Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series.

Jaboukie Young-White as Ethan Clade

Jaboukie Young-White plays the role of Ethan Clade in "Strange World." His character, Ethan, is the teenage son of Searcher and Meridian. This is a groundbreaking role for Young-White as he voices Disney's first openly gay animated lead. Speaking with Variety, he praised the way Ethan's sexuality is presented as a "normal reflection of our reality," rather than "self-congratulatory."

Audiences may have also heard Young-White in other previous Disney projects including "Ralph Breaks the Internet" as McNeely and in the 2022 Disney+ series "Baymax!" in which he also lends his voice to a queer character named Mbita. He has also done some voice work in adult animated shows including "BoJack Horseman," "Fairfax," and "Big Mouth." After dropping out of DePaul University, he pursued a stand-up comedy career when he was 19 years old, and in 2017, he made his television debut on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon." Soon after, he signed on as a correspondent on "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah," in which he appeared in over 50 episodes.

On the big screen, Young-White made his debut with a minor appearance in the 2017 Scarlett Johansson-led comedy "Rough Night." He went on to play supporting characters in the romantic comedies "Set It Up" and "Someone Great," and in 2021, he landed his first leading role as Milo in the independent dramedy "Dating and New York." In the same year, he also had the opportunity to star opposite Joaquin Phoenix in the black-and-white drama, "C'mon C'mon."

Karan Soni as Caspian

Karan Soni voices the supporting character of Caspian, one of the members of Callisto Mal's expedition. Soni gained recognition for playing the fan-favorite role of taxi driver Dopinder in the "Deadpool" films. Speaking with Hindustan Times in 2018, the Indian-American actor said he was "really surprised" when the film's star Ryan Reynolds and the creative team decided to expand Dopinder's role in the sequel.

Soni has previously landed supporting roles in other high-profile films such as the horror comedy "Goosebumps" as Mr. Rooney and Paul Feig's "Ghostbusters" reboot as Benny. In 2021, he made his feature writing debut with the quarantine romantic comedy "7 Days." This also marked his first leading role in a movie, which he developed with real-life partner and director Roshan Sethi. In 2022, Soni appeared in two more star-studded comedies, including the Hulu satire "Not Okay" with Zoey Deutch and the Amazon Studios original "The People We Hate at the Wedding" with Allison Janney, Kristen Bell, and Ben Platt.

Soni has also made appearances on a number of popular sitcoms since the 2010s, including one-episode roles in "The Middle," "Silicon Valley," and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." In 2019, he nabbed a major part in the anthology comedy series "Miracle Workers" which sees him working with Daniel Radcliffe, Steve Buscemi, and Geraldine Viswanathan. The fourth installment of the show, "End Times," is set to premiere in 2023.

Alan Tudyk as Duffle

In "Strange World," Alan Tudyk lends his voice to the role of Duffle, the expedition team's pilot who, later in the story, will be replaced by Gabrielle Union's Meridian. His character is also loosely based on his fan-favorite role as Wash on the cult classic space Western drama "Firefly." Tudyk also briefly voices the minor characters of the Narrator and a radio announcer.

Tudyk is a well-known voice actor whom you might have heard in many blockbuster films and on popular animated shows since the early 2000s. "Strange World" officially marks his fifth voice acting project in 2022 alone, having recently voiced the characters of Optimus Prime in "Transformers: Earthspark," the talking scroll in "Disenchanted," and Duke Weaselton on the Disney+ spin-off series "Zootopia+." He also returned as Clayface and The Joker in the third season of the DC adult animated series "Harley Quinn."

Tudyk has given some memorable live-action performances in films including Steve the Pirate in the 2004 sports comedy "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," Simon in "Death at a Funeral," and Tucker in the horror comedy, "Tucker And Dale vs. Evil." He has also made a number of appearances in popular TV shows such as "Arrested Development," "Suburgatory," "Doom Patrol." and "The Rookie." Tudyk is confirmed to reprise the role of Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle in Season 3 of "Resident Alien."

Nik Dodani as Kardez

Portraying one of Ethan's friends, Kardez, in "Strange World" is Nik Dodani. This marks Dodani's second collaboration with Disney Animation, after previously lending his voice to the character of Gavin in an episode of Disney Channel's fantasy series "The Owl House." He also nabbed a recurring role as the voice of Randy Betancourt in the Paramount+ series "Big Nate" in 2022.

Dodani is a multi-talented Indian American actor who first gained recognition in 2017 through his role as Zahid Raja in Netflix's coming-of-age dramedy "Atypical." His character is the nerdy best friend of Keir Gilchrist's Sam Gardner. The following year, Dodani joined the cast for the reboot of the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown," and he returned to Netflix after scoring a recurring role in the short-lived teen drama "Trinkets." In 2019, along with creative partners Bash Naran and Vinny Chhibber, Dodani co-founded The Salon, an organization that aims to promote and connect South Asian artists with each other.

As for his film career, Dodani made his feature debut in 2016 with a minor appearance in the comedy-drama "Other People" starring Jesse Plemons. He also had key roles in "Alex Strangelove" as Blake, "Escape Room" as Danny Khan, and "Dear Evan Hansen" as Jared Kalwani. In a 2022 interview with  Teen Vogue, Dodani opened up about his struggles with getting typecast as "America's sidekick character," saying "I do think the industry is getting more imaginative, but I will say it's been tough."

Abraham Benrubi as Lonnie Redshirt

Abraham Benrubi voices the supporting character of Lonnie Redshirt, one of Callisto Mal's crew members. Benrubi started acting in the early '90s, with recurring appearances on sitcoms like "Wings" and "Married... with Children." His most notable TV performances are playing the series regular role of Larry Kubiac in the teen sitcom "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" and the recurring character of Jerry Markovic in the classic medical drama "ER."

By the 2000s, Benrubi was landing voice acting roles in adult animated shows including "American Dad!" and "Robot Chicken." In the latter's special episodes of "Star Wars," he lent his voice to the characters of Darth Vader and Owen Lars. He has also completed some voice work in video games such as "World of Warcraft" and "Skylanders: Giants." In 2006, Benrubi scored a major role in the ABC series "Men in Trees," in which he played millionnaire Ben Thomasson, who owns the town bar and local hockey team. He also made small appearances in popular shows like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Criminal Minds," "Bones," "Community," "Once Upon a Time," and "Bosch."

Benrubi has also played supporting roles in notable films like "George of the Jungle," "Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous," "Bounty Killer," and "The Call of the Wild." He previously worked with Disney in the Oscar-winning animated film "Big Hero 6," in which he voiced the character of the General.

Francesca Reale as Azimuth

Francesca Reale voices the character of Azimuth in "Strange World," who is one of Ethan's friends in Avalonia. This project reunites Reale with Jaboukie Young-White, who previously worked together as the leads in the independent comedy film "Dating and New York."

Reale made her acting debut in 2016 with a one-episode appearance in the CBS police drama "Blue Bloods." In the same year, she nabbed the series regular role of Emily in the Netflix comedy "Haters Back Off" for two seasons, before she signed on to work with the streaming platform again in "Stranger Things." In the show's third season, she features as lifeguard Heather Holloway opposite Dacre Montgomery's possessed Billy Hargrove. In a 2019 interview with W Magazine, Reale revealed that she initially auditioned for the role of Robin Buckley (which eventually went to Maya Hawke), however, was later offered the role of Heather. Due to the secrecy surrounding the story, producers didn't give her the actual scenes for the character and instead asked her to audition using the famous Drew Barrymore scene in the 1996 slasher film "Scream." 

Reale's feature film debut came in 2019's "Yes, God, Yes," and in 2022, she again reunited with Netflix for a minor appearance in the teen dark comedy, "Do Revenge," alongside Hawke from "Stranger Things" and "Riverdale" star Camila Mendes.

Emily Kuroda as Ro

In "Strange World," Emily Kuroda plays the minor character of Ro. Kuroda is a Japanese American actress best known for her recurring role as Mrs. Kim in the iconic comedy-drama "Gilmore Girls." For over 40 episodes, she portrayed the strict mother of Keiko Agena's Lane Kim, the best friend of Alexis Bledel's Rory Gilmore. Nearly ten years after the show ended its run, Kuroda reprised Mrs. Kim again for the Netflix revival "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life."

Before landing "Gilmore Girls," Kuroda made one-episode appearances in shows like "MacGyver" and "L.A. Law." Throughout her four-decades-long television career, she has played a number of doctor and nurse characters in popular programs such as "Doogie Howser, M.D.," "Melrose Place," "The Young and the Restless," "Party of Five," and "Chicago Hope." 

Compared to her extensive TV career, Kuroda has only appeared in a few notable features including "Worth Winning" as Cory Chu, "The Suburbans" as Mrs. Lee Lee, and "Red" as Mrs. Chan." In 2022, Kuroda lent her voice to the Disney+ spin-off "Baymax!," in which she voices the character of Kiko, an old woman who Baymax helps by pushing her to overcome her fear of water.