Dobby has no master, Dobby is a free elf. But it’s still a terrible idea to speak to him, sir. Or at least, it’s a terrible idea to ask Toby Jones – the actor who voiced the clothes-loving elf in the Harry Potter films – to speak like Dobby for you.
Turns out the actor has gone to some lengths to avoid showcasing his house-elf voice ever since hanging up his socks and stained pillowcase at the end of 2010’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
“I made the very sensible decision that as soon as I finished to never EVER do that voice again. I would come up with an alibi for when somebody thrust their mobile phone in my face, or hold up their baby, or their weeping children,” Jones told RadioTimes.com.
“They offer me money and bribes to do the Dobby voice. But I have not yielded yet, otherwise I’d be stuck with it!”
But fear not, house-elf enthusiasts, there is one circumstance Jones would treat us to his Dobby voice again: the Fantastic Beast films. Although the prequel movies are set several decades before the events of Harry Potter, Dobby’s age isn’t made clear in the books – and Jones says he’d “of course” voice a younger version of house-elf if he appears in the Potter spin-offs.
And who knows, if Jones is up for that then Potter fans could be treated to the movie they’ve been begging for: a fully-blown Dobby origin movie.
Jones first voiced Dobby the House Elf in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
However, while Jones isn’t set to reprise his house-elf role anytime soon, he has recently stepped into the voice booth to portray supervillain Arnim Zola in the Marvel series What…If?. Although the anthology show – which explores what would have happened if major moments in the MCU transpired another way – is out in Summer 2021, Jones has already recorded his parts.
Although Jones didn’t comment about sections of the script he was allowed to see (true to their usual secretive form, Marvel gave him his lines only), he did give an opinion on Martin Scorsese’s recent criticism of the MCU. Unsurprisingly, Jones doesn’t completely agree with The Irishman director when he said Marvel films were “not cinema” and comparable to “theme parks”.
“What I think everyone worries about is that you get the same thing over and over and over again. So far, I’d say that Marvel has done a very good job of diversifying the diet they’re handing out,” Jones said. “I’m very proud of being part of it – I’m obviously very fond of the Marvel films. But I’m fond of Martin Scorsese too.”
Toby Jones (L) in Captain America: The First Avenger
Jones’ latest role, however, is far from battling Captain America and SHIELD. The actor has lent his voice to Around The World in 80 days, Audible’s new adaptation of the Jules Verne classic.
Playing gentleman gambler Phileas Fogg in the “faithful” dramatisation, the Victorian-set story sees Jones’ character travel by steamer, rail, and elephant after wagering that he can – you guessed it – get around the world in 80 days.
“Everyone knows the basic outline of the story, but the fun of it is getting into the specifics – getting to know Fogg, this rather archetypical picture of a strange 19th-century gentleman and his companion [French valet Jean Passerpartout, voiced by voiced by Versailles’ George Blagden],” Jones said.
“He’s a Victorian gentleman doing this absurd thing and trying to maintain standards – All the fun in his lack of flexibility, really. What’s funny is the Englishman coming up against various different cultures and to what extent he remains impervious to them.”
“But the fundamental thing is that it’s fun – it’s a real caper!”
Around the World in 80 Days is available to download for free as part as Audible’s 30-day free trial