EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – David Danipour Talks Playing Dr. Stevens in AVATAR Flight of Passage in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is home to lots of unique characters, but one that particularly sticks out to guests is Dr. Stevens, our pre-show guide to Avatar Flight of Passage. David Danipour, the actor behind the role, recently gave an exclusive interview to WDWNT’s Dreamfinders podcast, where he spoke with host Nathan Hartman about his role in the attraction, the audition process, and his history with the Disney parks.

As Danipour’s work is currently trending in the Disney park’s fan community, we thought we’d release our full interview with him to our Youtube page a whole month before the podcast release!

Keep up with David on Instagram, Twitter or his YouTube Channel.

To catch other amazing interviews, such as Imagineer Kevin Rafferty, Circle-Vision director Jeff Blyth, and composer Bruce Broughton, make sure to subscribe to Dreamfinders on Apple Podcasts, YoutubeSpotifyGoogleiHeart RadioOvercastStitcher, or your favorite podcatcher using our RSS feed.

Here are some highlights from our interview!

David actually taught science…

“Yeah, so I went to U.C. San Diego and then I studied molecular biology and, right after I graduated, I just needed like a temporary job and I did substitute teaching in San Diego…So I taught this class with no experience of teaching ever, but I did understand all the concepts. Physics…and I taught these kids that didn’t want to learn physics a lot of the time I’ll tell ya that (but) I did enjoy it.”

David once got lost in Disneyland…

“At the end of the night, the streets sort of start to clear as everyone starts to file one one side of the street or another for the Electrical parade and there’s a lot of people. So here I am this seven or eight year-old and I somehow get on the wrong side of the street from my family and I lose them. So there was like a ten minute panic. I couldn’t enjoy the parade because the whole time I’m like “where are they?”….and when I do find them there like, not a care in the world, oh there you are! I thought it was the end….but then I found them and everything was great.”

David on auditioning for Dr. Stevens…

“I think it (the part) was labeled “Grad Science Student” or something like that…You go in and audition with sides….and I think I was guiding people through a martian ship or something and then I get it and they’re like “this is for Disney” and I got to go to Imagineering and the Imagineers were awesome and you can tell they’re all very passionate and enthusiastic about what they do and it’s pretty infectious.”

David on creating Dr. Steven’s unique vibe…

“I remember when I was there on set and they wanted me to be someone who was like in Antarctica. You’re in this remote place, you’re by yourself all the time and then all of a sudden these people pop out at you….they didn’t want me to shave. Disheveled is great way to describe it.”

His lines might sound real raw and nature for a particular reason…

“They had all new lines the day before and, when I got there, they’re adding new things I’ve never seen before…so there are all these new lines coming in and they’re for reference on this iPad (underneath the camera), but they want me to look into the camera….so I had to do a lot of versions with new dialogue on the day.”

And that famous uhhh…

“Also, the entire thing is ADR’ed (Automatic Dialogue Replacement) so I went back and lipsynced myself and they really wanted those uhs and ums and I think, like in an effort to place them on right spot, I think they might have come off a little too hard.”

Lastly, he’s yet to actual experience the ride…

“I’d love to go, but I haven’t been able to….I got a message from all these Disney employees that work the ride and they wanted to fly me out and I thought it was unfair for them to pay for it. I was like “That’s okay. One day I’ll get there.”

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