We chatted with a Sloth... and it was amazing!

Leah Cohen
Yahoo7 Entertainment

It's likely you've never heard of him, but no doubt you've seen his lovable, slow-paced character on screen.

Raymond Persi is the voice of Flash Slothmore in Disney's 2016 animated film Zootopia. He's the so-called fastest sloth working in the Department of Mammal Vehicles (DMV), which, if you can imagine, isn't fast at all.

Raymond Persi. Photo: Getty Images

Yahoo7 Entertainment caught up with Persi about his role as Flash and got chatting about his time working on set with The Simpsons crew.

Was it frustrating speaking so slow for the sloth role?

RP: I really wanted to do the job right. Rich Moore, the co-director when he was directing me, he would say ‘slow, give space between your words,’ and I would do it and he would say ‘more, slower, slower.’ Until finally I got to the point where when it seemed wrong, that was right.

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Y7: What was the most exciting part about the role?

RP: The most exciting part was when they told me they were going to keep my voice in it, that it was just a silly enough voice. I naturally sound silly enough that it worked for the character.

Y7: Do you have any connections with Flash?

RP: Yes, I would say I am also slow, at getting things done, and I think we probably wear the same size pants.

Persi as Flash Slothmore in Disney's Zootopia. Photo: YouTube

Y7: What’s your spirit animal?

RP: Hahaha is pizza an animal?

Y7: I don’t think so…

RP: Can we pretend it is one? Because I like pizza.

Y7: Ok sure, why not!

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Y7: What was it like working with The Simpsons crew?

RP: So fun. I’d say one of the best educations in comedy you can get as an artist is working on The Simpsons. A lot of really great talented people have come out of working on that show. People like Brad Bird, Rich Moore for example, Jim Rearden - it’s such a great education.

Y7: What was the biggest thing you got out of your experience working with them?

RP: It was my first job and I really learnt how to draw on the show and also I learned a lot about comedy, timing, what makes something work, what makes something funny, how to make a job be as good as it can be but also because that show was emotional and it gave me a lot of tools I needed to work here, such as how to make a scene feel more emotional, how to make you care more about these characters and not just laugh at them. Those were all great skills to learn working on that show.

Persi is an Emmy Award-winning director for the 2006 Simpsons episode: 'The Seemingly Neverending Story'

Y7: It seems you love to play comedic roles, are they something you'll continue to pursue? Or will you look to more serious roles?

RP: I’m drawn naturally to comedy and I think that's what I like. But ultimately whether you’re working on the film behind the scenes or as a performer, the main thing is you’re trying to make a person feel something. So even if it is something kind of dramatic, you’re still helping them connect to the character emotionally. What I love about comedy though, if you can make a person laugh with your character or at your character, then they’re going to love your character right away.

The cast of Zootopia. Photo: Getty Images

Y7: What roles can we expect to see you in in the near future?

RP: There is a short that’s coming out with Moana this fall that I did some voices in the short too so I guess you’ll hear me in that. It’s a short called Inner Workings and more information on it is going to come out real soon.

Zootopia will be available on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD from June 15.

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