Sorry Tumblr, Jay Baruchel is taken. The star of the How to Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World may be an unlikely sex symbol, having started out as a geeky Canadian in Judd Apatow‘s Undeclared, but he’s grown up a lot…especially in animated form. We began the films with Hiccup (voiced by Baruchel) as a gawky teen in a Viking village whose fondness for dragons make him a reluctant heir to his father, the village Chieftain, Stoick (Gerald Butler). After bonding with a crippled dragon named Toothless, Hiccup is forced to adapt to brutal realities: in the first film, he loses his leg; in the sequel, his father.
In the final chapter of this trilogy, Hiccup has a lot more to lose…but what’s got a lot of film’s fervent Internet fan-base excited is what he’s gained: namely, a beard.
We sat down with Baruchel to talk to him about the fandom, and his desire to work more behind the scenes.
Collider: The film is so gorgeous, but from what I can gather, fans are most excited to see how your character Hiccup has developed physically over the arc of the three films. What are your thoughts on being known as a hot animated dude?
Baruchel: I don’t know if this plays into my narcissism, but I see myself in Hiccup, so it’s hard not to be flattered. It’s weird. I don’t know. I’m just happy people are psyched to see him. The opposite would be kind of weird, right?
Collider: You’ve essentially gone through puberty in cartoon form, I don’t how I’d feel about that either.
BARUCHEL: It’s a strange thing. And again, I don’t know if I’m terribly vain, but I like to think that Hiccup looks more and more like me.
Collider: The way you interact with Toothless makes me think you had an actual puppy there in the sound booth with you. Do you have any memories of pets to draw on when you record?
BARUCHEL: Yes, definitely. My family, we always had cats my whole life, and I have a cat now. Now with my fiance, we have the dogs with the two cats as well. So there’s been plenty of opportunities for me to babytalk and embarrass myself by being all smushy with animals. That’s a very easy thing for me to channel. I wish it wasn’t.
Hidden World leaves viewers on a very bittersweet note. What were your first impressions on reading the script?
BARUCHEL: Just…pride. Pride that we’re still committed to doing stuff that I think might scare other films of this type. In the first film, our hero loses his leg, which for a kid movie was like…I can’t name another kid movie like that, you know? And this is just an extension of that, which I think is an incredible thing for kids to experience.