Taking Flight

Roger Craig Smith ’04 lands dream role as voice actor in Disney’s Planes, combining passions for aviation and all things Disney.

Building on the success if its 2007 film Cars, Disney has taken to the sky for a new spin on the concept, with a Chapman University alumnus among those at the controls.

In Planes, Roger Craig Smith ’04 is the voice of Ripslinger, the rightfully arrogant carbon-fiber racer who for years has dominated an around-the-world aerial competition.

Smith studied visual storytelling at Dodge College, and by 2009 he had already built up an impressive resume of voice acting work. He was at DisneyToon Studios when he recognized a model plane hanging from the ceiling. “That’s an old WWII Corsair,” Smith said. And that’s when casting director Jason Henkel introduced Smith to
Planes, in its concept stage at the time.

“I’ve always loved aviation, growing up near El Toro Air Station with planes flying overhead all the time,” Smith said. Combine that love with Smith’s passion for all things Disney, and now he’s living a dream. “I’m an animated Disney plane! Could life get any better?”

Smith had a good time playing the bad guy.

“I’m a geek, and Ripslinger is far from anything I can ever be as a cool factor in life,” Smith said. “He’s the champ.”

Smith’s thrills include a red-carpet premiere at the El Capitan Theatre, and it seems that things are only going up from here.


(from left) John-David Currey ’98, Roger Craig Smith ’04 and Michael Penn ’04 meet up for a premier of

Ryan Hines

Ryan is the public relations coordinator at Chapman University. He's passionate about finding and sharing the most compelling #ChapmanStories.

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