The TV, Voice, & Film Actor With His Husky, Havok
By Sarah Fisher
Actor Tod Fennell has been in the game since he was a young boy. Having many TV, film, and even video game voice acting credits to his name, Todd has a lot on the go. A native Montrealer and born dog lover, it was only natural we meet Todd at one of his favorite spots, the dog-friendly Hot Dog Cafe, with his wife Gina and best friend, Havok. Read on as we chat about his upcoming projects, how he became a husky owner, and what he’s currently binge watching.
Please tell us about yourself, your profession, and what a typical day in your life is like:
I’m a professional actor and voice over actor. I get to work on all kinds of projects including best selling video games, to TV and radio commercials as well as movies and TV shows. Walking my dog is literally the first thing I do in the morning, besides putting on clothes. 4:30am, no breakfast, no coffee, no brushing my teeth. I just crawl out of bed, put my boots on and mumble “Come on bud”, and we’re out the door. Havok cheers me up and the walk helps me to mentally and physically prep for the day. After that, it’s breakfast, coffee and the New York Times and I hit the gym. By 8am, I usually either head into town for a quick voice job for a radio commercial or something or head to a coffee shop to prep for an on camera audition or record an Mp3 for a voice audition. Sometimes I need to scream or swear for some for some of those, so I either do them in the car or a friend’s house. If I did some of those in a condo, someone would definitely call the cops. When all the essential stuff is taken care of, I sit down to write my pilot script for a TV show I’m trying to sell. At the end of the day, we try to sit down to dinner as a family at least a few nights per week when we can, put our son to bed, have some wine, debrief or watch TV and have some adult time.
Please tell us a bit about Havok. How did he come into your life? Is there a story behind his name or particular breed?
Growing up, I always had at least one dog. I had two standard poodles back to back. Winston and Odo. Odo lived to be 14 and he started to fade right after my mother passed away, so losing him was extra painful. I wasn’t able to get a dog for 3 years, I was really busy and I couldn’t handle it emotionally. But then something clicked one day and a light went on in my head. I can’t explain it, but I was like “I need a dog right now”. I always thought huskies were beautiful animals and I worked with them when I was a kid on a dog sled movie called Kayla. Needless to say, when I saw little Havok at 8 weeks old, I picked him up right on the spot. I knew huskies needed a lot of exercise but what really surprised me was how affectionate they were and how quirky their personalities could be. Gina and I loved him to pieces, even while he ate most of our stuff.
We know you have a long history with dogs from being a part of the well loved series, Lassie. Have you always been a dog person?
I’ve definitely always been a dog person. Even when I go to someone’s house, I go straight for their dog. I have to hold back most of the time, ‘cause I can tend to ignore the person completely, get on all fours and play with the dog. I love all the different breeds too. It fascinates me how much they can differ yet how much they’re the same. Like retrievers have it in them to bring a ball back when you throw it and huskies will go get it and take it further. Dogs are the best, and the dog park always cheers me up, no matter what’s going on.
What are some of your current or upcoming projects that our readers can follow?
I recently voiced one of the prisoners in Deus X Mankind Divided: Criminal Past. I also had a few scenes with Kate Bosworth on The Art of More on Crackle. I also am voice of Julian in April and The Extraordinary World, available on iTunes. I just did some really exciting motion capture and voice work for a Ubisoft title, but I’m still under non disclosure until it’s announced, but I can tell you that it’s gonna rock!
What are some of your favorite dog-friendly spots in Montreal to visit?
Mount Royal is a great place to walk the dog. Hot Dog Cafe in Brossard is great, there’s an indoor dog park with supervision, a groomer and a restaurant. You can get your dog groomed while you have a meal, or they can even sit with you at your table. I also love the Brossard dog park. It’s huge and really well equipped. We actually just bought a condo around the corner from it just to be close!
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m a chameleon. One day, I’m business casual, the other I’m rocking a hoodie, NASA bomber and a baseball cap. It all depends on the mood and the occasion. I think it comes from acting, some days I’m playing a tech startup billionaire, some days I’m playing a soldier or a FBI agent, other days I’m a thug from Riker Island. I like constantly re inventing my image and my outfits to keep it fresh. Also, I am a huge car guy and a big fan of German luxury cars and the Tesla S.
How would you describe the style of your home?
It’s a mix of old wood and stainless steel. I like to blend the old with the new. I like sharp edges but I like them contrasted by antiques and real wood to keep things grounded. Logs, if there’s going to be stainless steel appliances, then there has to also be actual logs somewhere.
When you get some time to yourself, what is your ideal weekend?
My ideal weekend is to wake up Saturday morning with nothing on the agenda and completely play it by ear. There are so many meetings and last minute auditions during the week that I like to have a day where there’s nothing I have to do, and I can literally do anything. I think it’s important to have one day where you completely let your mood and creative intuition guide you. That could be anything from dropping off my son at the grandparents and going to see a scary movie with my fiancee, to taking Havok and good book down to the water and having a little quiet time.
With so many TV credits to your name, is there anything that you’re binge watching lately, or have on your list to check out?
Westworld, Westworld, Westworld! I’m also a huge fan of “Game of Thrones” and “Better Call Saul”. Whenever I really need some down time and reflection, I like to rewatch Star Trek TNG. My guilty pleasures are “South Park”, “Family Guy”, “Archer” and “Rick and Morty”
What inspires you?
Space. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the… Lol. No but seriously, space is what inspires me the most. It’s right above us and all around us and a constant reminder of how small we are, and how enormous the universe is. It’s full of potential and mysteries for us to unravel. I like to read Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot” speech when I need inspiration.
Finally, if you could leave our readers with a funny story about Havok, or share any of his funny mannerisms that you love:
Well, out of all the books in my library, he specifically chose “Animal Farm” and tore it to shreds. I guess he didn’t like the message. This one time, Gina and I came home and found a chewed up blue fountain pen and Havok had dark blue streaks all over his snow white paws and face. He was pretending to play it cool and kind of avoid us, but it was pretty obvious what happened. Another thing I still can’t figure out is why he can tirelessly sprint through thick bushes if he sees a bunny, but is terrified to nudge a door open even if it’s already open. I’ve tried tempting him with baby back ribs, but a door that’s slightly ajar is like his kryptonite. He’ll cry on the other side for an hour before he’ll just nudge the door with his nose to open it some more. It makes zero sense!
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