Sarah Vowell: From NPR to ‘Incredibles’

 / Updated  / Source: The Associated Press

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Sarah Vowell is quite familiar with hearing her own voice — both from her work as an essayist on public radio’s “This American Life” and, she joked, from everyday activities such as talking to her dry cleaner.

But the journalist found a new place for her distinctive puckish tones in “The Incredibles,” voicing the superheroic teenage daughter, Violet, who has the power of invisibility and force fields.

“In my real life I’m more of a walking Woody Allen movie,” Vowell told The Associated Press in a recent interview. “I’m afraid to drive and I can’t swim and all that stuff so it is incredibly thrilling and fun to listen to my voice do things that, when it’s in my regular body, it would never get to do.”

Vowell, author of “Take the Canolli: Stories From the New World” and “The Partly Cloudy Patriot,” said she had turned down previous offers to play animated characters.

“My natural inclination as a writer is to underplay everything and just be very deadpan,” she said. “Animation requires a kind of bigness and a lot of exclamation points. That’s not my normal mode.”

Doing “The Incredibles” with Pixar, which made the “Toy Story” movies, “A Bug’s Life” and “Finding Nemo,” was a chance she couldn’t pass up. She remained nervous, but ultimately pleased.

“I guess I do sound kind of cartoonish. And I sound about 20 years younger than I am,” she said.

Vowell made a small documentary about her work as Violet for “The Incredibles” DVD, and said she had fun supplying the voice for toys and cell phones. Her next book, “Assassination Vacation,” chronicles the offbeat tourism around places where U.S. presidents have been killed.

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