British actor Benjamin Evan Ainsworth didn’t exactly wish upon a star for his latest role – but he suspects that being the voice of the world’s most famous puppet was meant to be. Talking to Yahoo as the latest version of much-loved classic Pinocchio was about to debut on Disney+, he revealed he’d already watched the 1940 animation well before the possibility of a part in the film came along. “I watched it once or twice before,” he remembered. “I saw it with my family.” And he agreed that perhaps the role he describes as “a dream come true” was meant to be. “When you wish upon a star, right?”. Pinocchio is streaming on Disney+.
FREDA COOPER: Presumably, that was the first time you'd seen the 1940 version?
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: [CHUCKLES] Well, I'd watched it one or two times before. But like, it was the first--
FREDA COOPER: Oh.
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: Yeah, so like I watched it with my family a few times.
FREDA COOPER: So maybe this was meant to be then.
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: Maybe, you know, yeah.
FREDA COOPER: Maybe.
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: "When You Wish Upon a Star," right?
FREDA COOPER: Yeah, absolutely. Listening to you talk I can hear a vague, I think, perhaps Yorkshire accent sort of coming through there.
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: Yeah, a little bit.
FREDA COOPER: So you obviously had to change your voice a bit--
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: Yeah.
FREDA COOPER: --for the role because I think the voice is a little bit higher as well. So what sort of voice coaching did you do?
BENJAMIN EVAN AINSWORTH: I mostly worked on watching the movie, so the 1940s movie and Dickie Jones. I thought it was very important to keep it faithful to him because, you know, that voice is Pinocchio. So I watched the movie again, and over and over again. Trying different pitches and volumes. And then I got it to a place where I liked it and I'd put a bit of my own energy into it.