The talented Elliott Garcia, voice of Bruno the Brake Car
Earlier this year, it was announced that Mattel Inc. was introducing the first autistic character in the “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go” series and franchise. The next question on everyone’s mind – who would be the lucky individual to play Bruno the Brake Car, and would they have autism?
In September 2022, it was announced that nine-year old Elliott Garcia, who has autism, pathological demand avoidance and tics Tourette’s, had landed the in-demand role – being selected out of hundreds of children to be the voice of Bruno the brake car, the ground-breaking character marking the show’s commitment to diversity and acceptance.
We were lucky enough find a moment in Elliott’s busy schedule to find out a little more about his newfound stardom and Leaders’ List win.
“I am very happy that I am a Learning disability and Autism leader for Sports, Art and Entertainment I am very proud of myself and thank you so much to the judges for choosing me. I think that it will make others with Autism realise that anything is possible, I love being the neurodiverse brake car for ‘Thomas and Friends all engines go’.”
Wow, this is such an impressive achievement – congratulations! Can you tell us a bit more about how you landed this amazing role?
It all started in November last year when I moved from my local school to start at a specialist Autism school, this was a major transition for me which came with a lot of anxieties. However, just one year later the opportunities that have come my way since are incredible – past Elliott would never believe what I have achieved.
At school, the opportunity arose to audition for Bruno, the new Thomas & Friends autistic character. My teachers encouraged me to go for it – they could see a talent within me that I didn’t even know I had yet.
A few week later I found out I was shortlisted and thought – wow I might actually have a chance here, but at the same time I didn’t want to get my hope us too much. Then I made the final three and had to travel all the way to London for the final audition!
Even just getting to the audition meant I had to face my fears – I really didn’t like train journeys so I needed to make sure I had meticulous strategies in place to cope.
The audition must have gone well because I got the part! I couldn’t believe it, it was amazing! It has taught me to take any opportunity that comes my way, it could lead to something incredible.
“It’s amazing how Elliott has built coping strategies to manage his anxiety when some fully grown adults haven’t even developed them. He’s a superhero.”
And now you are a winner of the Dimensions Leaders’ List, how does that feel?
I am so proud and happy to be a winner of the Dimensions Leader’ List and I’m very excited about the event. I love the certificate that I was given, I feel very lucky to have been chosen.
We need to show the world that there are all different kinds of people out there whose brains and body’s work differently. So the Leaders’ List is an amazing thing to be a part of.
“It’s really important to show that people with learning disabilities and autism can do amazing stuff too”
Do you think you would like to do more voice acting in the future?
Yes, definitely. I hope this is just the start of my career! I’m now on going to be on The Voiceover Gallery’s books, thank you to Marylou, so I hope that more opportunities will come my way.
In the future, I also hope to see more and more diversity and representation of disability on our screens. I wonder if Thomas & Friends will ever have a LGBTQ+ character, that would be amazing to see.
“Elliott has given hope to others like him and families like ours, dreams don’t have to be out of reach, the world is opening up for people with Autism.”
You’re such a busy person, what do like to get up to in your spare time? I heard you’re a huge WWE fan!
Yes, I am! In fact, when I was interviewed by Holly and Phil This Morning, they gave me a WWE a Championship Commemorative Title Belt, I love it!
I use wrestling as a way to regulate myself when I am spiralling, I love the physical movement, the sensory feedback I get helps me to reconnect and when I pretend, I am a wrestler it is a lot of fun.
I have a life sized stuffed wrestling buddy who I call Kyle, so Mummy doesn’t have to wrestle any more.
I can’t believe you met Holly and Phil, what other news shows have you been on?
I was on CBBC’s News Round in October which was very special, and I got the opportunity work with presenters who I have always admired.
Meeting Ricky Boleto was definitely the highlight.
It’s been such a privilege to meet you Elliott, is there anything else you wanted to add?
I want to say thank you to Mattel for getting an autistic character on the TV and a huge shout out to Joe, Erin, Cat and Helena for being such great people to work with at The Voiceover Gallery.
“We are so proud of him for taking that scary step and putting himself out there. Watching and listening back to interviews, we are so impressed and proud of how he handled himself with such confidence and so articulately.”