Story & Characters
Outrageous comedy reigns supreme in a mythical mountain kingdom when arrogant young Emperor Kuzco is transformed into a llama by his power-hungry advisor - the devious diva Yzma. Stranded in the jungle, Kuzco's only chance to get back home and reclaim the high life rests with a good-hearted peasant named Pacha. Kuzco's "perfect world" becomes a perfect mess as this most unlikely duo must deal with hair-raising dangers, wild comic predicaments and - most horrifying of all - each other as they race to return Kuzco to the throne before Yzma tracks them down and finishes him off. Ultimately, Kuzco's budding friendship with Pacha teaches this royal pain to see his world in a different way.
The Main Characters and the Voice Talents that Bring Them to Life...
David Spade is the voice of Kuzco and brings his sarcastic edge and unique brand of humor to this arrogant and insensitive young Emperor who is reluctant to change his selfish ways. The popular comedian/actor jokes about how he got the part:
"My nasally sarcastic monotone voice seems to really sell tickets. It really generates interest. America loves it.
"Seriously though, I was excited to be part of a Disney movie. It's an honor and it's been fun. It's something my friends' kids can always look at. It'll go in my little time capsule. After doing these sessions for so many years, it's all falling into place and starting to seem real.
"I'm never the good guy," he adds. "I'm getting used to that. But my character has spunk and charisma and a little 'vivre de llama.' Providing the voice of Kuzco was a great experience. He has some similarities to me and they did film all my Elvis moves during the sessions. The llama looks pretty good although he's not what you would call good-looking.
Pacha the Peasant
John Goodman, one of the entertainment industry's most respected and busiest actors, adds warmth and humor to the voice of this humble peasant who gets tangled up with Kuzco.
"Pacha is just a big, virile, good-looking family man," explains Goodman. "He is basically a good citizen, strong, not the quickest-witted fellow in the world, but he's dependable and loyal. I think he ought to run for office. He doesn't have a tricky bone in his body and is more than willing to bend over backwards to see the other fellow's point of view. At the same time, he's on a mission to save his village and do right by his family. He's got a big heart and he trusts Kuzco again and again because he wants him to be a better llama-person.
"My character is definitely the straight man," adds Goodman. "He is the Bud Abbott or Larry Fine of the picture feeding all the good lines. He's the guy you build things on. He's got big shoulders so you can build those pyramids of comedy for him to carry.
"This is unlike any Disney animated film I've ever seen. The hero of the piece is such a jerk and remains a jerk throughout most of the picture. But he's funny that way. I wouldn't have him any other way. It's so different and good and funny. And it takes off like a rocket. I've been working on this thing for two years now and it just took me by surprise. It does what good animation is supposed to do. It creates its own world and sucks you into it.
"I had a ball doing this," concludes the actor. "I love doing animation because it's a different style of acting. All acting is based on truth. The role of Pacha did have some strenuous vocal demands. Climbing the rock was a tough scene and you have to throw your body into it a lot. It required a bit more vocal gymnastics. I was working my little tootsies off in front of the microphone. But everything that you use shows up on the voice track. It's an honor being part of the Disney heritage. I grew up watching Disney everything and now my daughter watches a lot of it too. They make you feel very special to be a part of it."
Yzma the Evil Advisor
Eartha Kitt "wants to be evil" and infuses this duplicitous diva with just the right combination of nastiness and glamour. The legendary performer is nothing less than a household name, with an enduring career that has spanned theater, film, cabaret, television, and the recording industry. An international superstar, she is one of a handful of performers to be nominated for three Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards, and two Grammy Awards.
"I love Yzma," enthuses Kitt. "She is wicked but always with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. Playing the villainess is much more fun than playing the good guy. The film itself is really hysterical and I look at the scenes and think, 'How'd they do it? How'd they write it and draw it?' I really am amazed. I'm beautifully amazed."
"I think Yzma is one of those people who feels that she's entitled to everything that she's entitled to," adds the actress. "She is very glamorous and she must have been very beautiful in her day. Her humor is hysterical, even though it's biting all the time. She's very much like me in that way because my humor depends on what I get from those around me.
"Yzma has a tendency to be a user of men and a lot of us girls in one way or another like to have the man carry us on their backs. So grrrrr to that, if you can succeed in it. Kronk isn't the smartest guy in the kingdom, but I don't think Yzma would really want that. He frustrates her to such an extent and it's so very funny. I really am happily elated with the way this film has come together. It is so funny and humane and beautiful. I came out of the film feeling like I did when I was a kid. I think Disney equalizes, to a great extent, whatever Hollywood is doing. This is one of their best stories and I am glad to be a part of it. As a mother and a grandmother, I am always concerned about how we are affecting children through television and the movies and this is a very healthy piece of entertainment."
Kronk the Evil Sidekick
Patrick Warburton puts muscle and laughter into the role of Yzma's easily distracted "right hand man" who usually gets things wrong. Well-intentioned but often oblivious to the big picture, this muscle-bound manservant aims to please but often misses the mark by a mile. "He's about as sharp as a marble," observes Warburton.
"He's a big sort of lovable guy who likes to cook spinach puffs and converse with the animals. He really is a savant of sorts. He also happens to be Yzma's whipping boy and she's not exactly the easiest woman to please. Kronk has no malice. He's just taken the wrong path. I think the audience is rooting for him to get out because he's basically a real sweetheart.
"What's fun about doing this role is that Kronk is not traditionally bad; he's just working for the wrong team. There's a lot of hope for him and he resonates goodness of heart. He also seems to be very adaptable to whatever is going on around him.
"I think Yzma is destined to be one of the great villainesses," says Warburton. "Although she is wretched, there is something humorous about her and she is pretty silly looking. Playing Kronk was a lot of fun and it really gave me a chance to create a character using my vocal intonations and inflections. You get a character in your head and you just know when it feels right and when it doesn't. My kids are thrilled that I'm a character in a Disney film and so am I."
Chicha the Wife of Pacha
Wendie Malick provides the voice of Pacha's loving and devoted wife and the mother of their children. This vocal role re-teams the actress with David Spade, her co-star on NBC's comedy hit, "Just Shoot Me."
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