What could these two guys possibly have in common?
A. They're both Homer Simpson!
That's because the guy on the left is actor Dan Castellaneta, who supplies the voice of Homer. And in this exclusive interview, Dan the Man tells Santi Pintado what it's like to be the dopey dad in TV's funniest family.
So, Dan, are you similar in any way to Homer?
There are some parts of me that are like Homer, because, obviously, I play the character, but I think he's sort of an amalgamation of the dopey things all our fathers did. So I think he's more based on our fathers, but i guess we're all doomed to be like our parents!
Homer likes donuts and pork chops - what are your favourite snack treats?
I like corn chips, popcorn, potato chips, almost all types of chips. I don't drink been and I do like donuts, but I try and stay away from them because I just put on weight otherwise.
If you could change one thing about Homer, what would it be?
I guess I wouldn't make him so dumb. He's getting dumber and dumber. I'd bring up his IQ to 50!
Why is Homer getting more stupid with each episode?
Well, they're thinking of devoting an episode to that. They think that it might be because he's got radiation poisoning. However, that was just an idea, it hasn't actually been written yet.
Do you make prank phone calls like Bart using your Homer voice?
No, but I have done messages for peoples answering machines.
Do you ever take the Homer voice home with you, and does this annoy your wife?
No. Occasionally I go past a donut shop and go (breaks into Homers voice) "Mmm, donuts!", but I never usually do the voice around home. Don't take the work home, as they say (laughs)!
If you had a son like Bart, how would you handle him?
Oh wow. I'd try to keep him as busy as possible, getting him to do anything just to keep him out of trouble. Unlike Homer, I would take a real interest rather that leave him by himself to conjure up his own ideas. Like maybe play catch with him, take him to a ball game - you know, just generally keep him busy.
If you had kids, would you let them watch The Itchy & Scatchy Show?
(laughs) I think in dribs and drabs on The Simpsons I would, but any longer than 30 seconds I suppose not. There was a proposal to make Itchy & Scratchy have their own show, but even the guys on The Simpsons thought that you couldn't carry gratuitous violence for too long before people got ... well, not sick of it, but it just wouldn't be funny for too long.
When you're recording the voices for an episode, do you act out the lines too?
You're right. There are times when Homer's doing something physical, like strangling Bart or running down the stairs, and I might run in place for that. Usually a lot of it is Homer eating, so I'll stuff my mouth full of bagel, or if there's a cuddling scene between Homer and Marge, sometimes Julie Kavner (who plays Marge) will come over to the microphone and hug me, just to get the feeling.
How long does it take to tape an episode?
It takes a full day, usually anything from three to ten takes per scene. There's people who ruin the take from laughing. We're all in the same room and it's kind of unusual because everybody has to sit in the same room and try to be quiet. I've cracked up and I've seen Matt (Groening) literally bite his lip and stick his head in a cushion so as not to ruin a take.
Everyone knows that Homer has his bad points, but what's his best quality?
I think he's willing to try or willing to change. And he loves his family, I really think he does.
Michelle Pfeiffer plays one of Homer's co-workers at the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant in an upcoming episode. Did she record her lines in the same studio as you?
Yeah. Homer and her have a thing for each other, and Homer tries to avoid her, but they keep getting pushed together - he tries to avoid temptation.
So did she kiss and hug you like Julie Kavner?
(laughs) She didn't get near me! She was on the other side of the room.
Who's been the best guest star on The Simpsons?
Oh, there's been so many people - Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor, Luke Perry. We get an autograph of every guest person that comes to the studio. How was Luke Perry? He's a very nice guy. He seemed very likeable, very loose, and obviously, a very good sport.
Who's your favourite regular character?
I really like Mr. Burns. I think he's a great melodramatic.
Which is your all-time favourite Simpsons episode?
I liked the one where Homer grew hair. That was a great script, it was like a mini-movie. It just had a lot of really great moments.
What storylines can we look forward to in the new season?
There's one where Homer is going to be chosen to go into space!