This New Looney Tunes Show Makes Up For One Tragic Flaw
Looney Tunes has been reimagined as Bugs Bunny: Builders. Eric Bauza, the new voice of Bugs, explains what’s different this time out.
Bugs Bunny is back! And he’s brought his Looney friends with him. Bugs Bunny Builders, the new series produced by Warner Bros. Animation, is the first-ever educational Looney Tunes show. You read that right. This version of Looney Tunes has traded explosions for engineering. Geared towards pre-schoolers, the show features Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky, and Tweety as they used a variety of wacky vehicles to problem solve, build, and learn the value of planning, creativity, and teamwork. It’s a far cry from the scheming and slapstick violence of the original shorts. As parents know, watching old Looney Tunes can be tricky, simply because an exploding cigar or body-smashing anvil is never too far away. If Looney Tunes has one tragic flaw, it’s simply that; it’s heavy on explosions and lacks a certain gentleness.
So, in the new version, Bugs Bunny Builders, parents finally have a version of Looney Tunes you can watch with your little ones without any concerns about Bugs blowing someone up with a stick of dynamite.
Fatherly had the opportunity to talk with the delightful and talented Eric Bauza, the voice of Bugs, Daffy, and Tweety, who voices those Looney Tunes and others, across multiple projects including Space Jam: Legacy, and Bugs Bunny Builders, about getting his start in voice acting, following in the footsteps of the iconic voice actors, and why this show is so great for parents of very young kids.
What’s your research process like in terms of voicing these specific characters of Bugs Bunny, Tweety, and Daffy? How do you teach yourself how to talk like Bugs Bunny?
I’ve given up my 24-hour fitness gym pass for Looney Tunes on HBO Max. [Laughs]. That’s my version of the gym. If I watch an hour of Looney Tunes a day, I’ll keep the carrots fresh if you know what I’m saying. The bottom line is it’ll always go back to Mel Blanc, the creator of these characters. you know Bugs Bunny and Tweety are now 80 plus years old, Bugs is 82, and Tweety’s 80 this year. These are characters that we know like relatives. We know them like the back of our hand and I owe it all to the great Mel Blanc for creating such personalities. They’re more than characters, they’re forces of nature. Blanc had so many different like dials to his voice.
Even though you’re following Mel’s what you’re doing is more than it’s more than mimicry, it is a performance. So how do you add yourself to these characters?
It’s definitely still going back to that musicality of what the original shorts laid down. What’s great about it is that it’s not just me, there are brilliant writers, directors, producers, and musicians that all love the characters in Looney Tunes as much as I do, and they’re all trying to go back and put those Easter eggs in there.
But how is your performance in Bugs Bunny Builders different?
It’s almost like a remix - here’s a familiar beat but here’s a new spin on it. You can still jam with these new cartoons but it’s all new lyrics and different scenarios. So, I’m trying to get the familiarity of what I loved about Saturday mornings and watching The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show and I’m reading scripts that have never been read by anyone, or Mel Blanc for that matter, and trying to think of how would he say it. There are instances where Bugs is young even in the original cartoons where Mel Blanc does [imitates Baby Bugs] like a little Baby Bugs. He’s making fun of it but I still take from that.
Speaking to parents, what is great about this show?
I’ve been a voice actor for a long time. But I only started booking these preschool shows, when I became a dad. If you look at that list of credits you’ll see I only started booking preschool shows when I became a dad in 2016. It’s been a blessing and it’s helped me a lot. And the best part is I get to watch these cartoons with my son. Bugs Bunny Builders is a show you can watch with your very young ones.
What’s your best dad joke?
[Laughs]. You know I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but it’s from another preschool show that I was on called Disney Junior’s Muppet Babies. I played Fozzie Bear I’ll tell you one of Fozzie’s corniest dad jokes. [Does Fozzie voice] Ah wacka wacka, Richard, why did the chicken cross the playground?
To get to the other slide. Ah? Wacka, wacka.
New episodes of Bugs Bunny Builders air on Cartoonito on Cartoon Network, and on HBO Max. Here’s an exclusive clip from one of the new episodes.