Casting has begun for that most prestigious of new roles amongst the upcoming productions at Walt Disney Studios Park. Tower bellhop? Bah! Turtle twister? Don’t get in a spin. This is the big one: the chance to portray a genetic mutation like never before at the Disney Channel Studios – real, live, in front of a studio audience!

Don’t worry, Julie hasn’t returned from the dead – this is Stitch! And for the upcoming Stitch Encounter, some very lucky Cast Members will be spending their days speaking his voice and controlling his movements on-screen, effectively acting out his entire role and interacting with the unprepared – and sure to be quite unexpected – dialogue of the watching audience.

A work position was posted on a French casting website, calling for “comedians capable of imitating the voice of Stitch”. Aware of the strong audience participation in Walt Disney Imagineering “Living Character” show, they’re also asking that applicants be capable of holding an audience and interacting off-script with an audience. You’d need to be between the ages of 20 and 35, fluent in French, English or both. Any additional languages will be a good bonus.

The need for a comedian is particularly highlighted, which already sounds promising for an attraction which relies heavily on the live roles of its Cast Members. The voice of Stitch for each show will need to not only portray the alien’s voice but also control his CGI movements on the giant projection screen and shape the narrative of the show through pre-designed animation rendered in real-time. Another requirement is therefore that the chosen Stitch(es) must be able to work a computer console and joystick.

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At the attraction itself, work appears to have already begun on transforming the interior of the old Walt Disney Television Studios tour into the new theatre-based attraction. Closed for good on 16th April 2007, the largely unpopular attraction was swiftly surrounded by blue construction fences and stripped of immediate references to the old walk-through attraction.

The layout configuration of the new Stitch Encounter is still unconfirmed. Will it follow the same route as the former tour, passing by hard-working/solitaire-playing Disney Channel video control crew, or could a totally new design be used? With the former Disney Channel CyberSpace postshow closed since January already, this actually gives two perfect spots for the new theatre room, including the Art Attack stage which has been widely rumoured to be the chosen location.

The casting call posted above also throws up more questions about the actual launch date of the attraction.  Originally rumoured for November 2007, the official press release of 1st April 2007 announced it for an ‘Early 2008’ opening.  Strangely, the casting position is for October 2007 to March 2008!

One thing is certain – they’d better have a longer queue line planned out. Julie might have been legendary, but no-one can match the popularity of Stitch. Especially not if he’s appearing live, courtesy of a professional comedian!

Photos by Photos Magiques.

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