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Here's a Lot of Voice Actors Doing Voice Acting for a Documentary About Voice Actors

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | July 13, 2012 | Comments ()


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FUN ROWLES FACT: My wife's second cousins are the Beach Family: Lisa Beach (a casting director who cast Horrible Bosses, Wedding Crashes, Walk the Line, Knight & Day, 3:10 to Yuma and basically every third movie Hollywood makes); Reb Beach (guitarist for Whitesnake and Winger), and John Beach, who is the voice behind a ton of the voice-overs you hear on television (he is, for instance, the "voice" of Headline News, Nickelodeon, and FX). I've never actually met any of the three, but they're all often a topic of conversation when her extended family gets together.

I mention this as a seque into the trailer for I Know That Voice!, a documentary about the exciting profession of voice acting. The trailer is fun, the movie looks fun, and almost all of these people -- even the actors you recognize -- are well suited to voice acting for whatever .... OH MY GOD IS THAT MARK HAMILL?

The aging of Cary Elwes doesn't look so bad anymore, now does it?




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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • joey

    Any interest I had was murdered by the women trying to do baby-girly-high-pitched voices. Ugh.

  • PDamian

    The Aladdin DVD has an interview with Robin Williams in which he says that the first day he recorded the genie's voice, there was an animator in the studio with him drawing his expressions. The next day there were three, and the day after that, ten, and by the time he was done with recording, there wasn't enough room in the studio for all the animators and their sketchbooks -- and it all ended up in the movie. Now there's a good example of a voice actor really making a difference to the final animation.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Neil Gaiman and Jim Dale are my favorite voices, I would listen to them read the phone book.
    And H. Jon Benjamin... Of course.

  • AudioSuede

    Seriously, where is H. Jon Benjamin in this trailer?

  • Uriah_Creep

    One of my favorite episodes of Inside the Actors Studio was when Lipton had the Simpsons voice cast on, so I look forward to seeing this.

  • damnitjanet

    Shitballs! I have to see this!

  • Fredo

    Mark Hamill is and will forever be The Joker. Sorry Jack. Sorry Heath.

  • stryker1121

    DiMaggio did a pretty decent Joker in "Under the Red Hood" I believe. But no one "gets" the joyful sadism of the character like Hamill, that's for certain.

  • Guest

    If Elwes was in there, I completely missed him.

  • Brown

    He wasn't. Dustin was merely comparing the two.

  • Gina

    OK, but where are we going to get to see this? Is this on TV, or is it going to be released on DVD?

  • ,

    Nice to see these people getting their due. It's unfortunate that they (likely) don't get anything like the opportunities or the money that (and I've ranted about this several times, and here I go again) the "name" actors get for voicing animated movies. My argument is always: Why don't they use voice actors like these folks, who would do every bit as good a job and doubtless count it a windfall payday to get a tenth of what a "name" actor gets, then cut the price of the movie tickets in half so a family could actually afford to go without taking out a second mortgage?

    The New Yorker did a piece about Ben Stiller and the making of "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" a couple weeks ago, and he noted how strange it is that he has to travel overseas to promote animated movies that even his voice isn't in anymore, because it had to be done in translation by someone else and dubbed in.

    "It's weird to be promoting a movie you're not really in," he said. "They introduce us, and then they introduce our counterparts -- the Italian guy who's Ben Stiller."

    As an aside, in college I hung around some radio guys, including one named Ed Barrett who had a great deep, perfect voice for radio. He worked for a real-world station and told us one time about having to do andbys.

    We asked: What the hell are "andbys"?

    He said, you know when you listen to a show and they run two commercials for the sponsors and before the first run someone says, "This program brought to you by ..." and then they run the second one? The "andby" goes in between.

    "And by ..."

  • kushiro -

    I wonder if having the "name" actors do voice roles actually makes such a big difference for animated films. Sure, maybe for Toy Story, because it was one of the early ones and because of Tom Hanks, but would Monsters Inc have made significantly less at the Box Office if it were Billy West and John Dimaggio instead of Billy Crystal and John Goodman? Was "Up" so huge because of Ed Asner? Wall-E had almost no dialogue and, whoops, made $520 million worldwide. I'm not saying actors should be denied a chance to get work they're interested in doing, but it seems like the studios think they absolutely MUST have a famous person involved to have a hit.

  • ,

    "I'm not saying actors should be denied a chance to get work they're interested in doing ..."

    Well, few people turn down a good paycheck, for sure, but to me, it just seems like such a naked marketing ploy, because I doubt most 8-year-olds could give a shit whether that's Robin Williams' voice or Joe Schmo's voice behind the talking oyster. It's purely a ploy to get their parents into the seats as well and try to distract them from the fact they're paying $11 a ticket to watch a cartoon.

    But in a world (Hollywood) where I doubt moral/ethical reasoning ever makes much of a dent, it would be nice if some of the big shots would get out of the way and let the little guys have a piece of the pie too. To me, it's just like one of the many reasons I detest the Olympics. I've already seen LeBron James play more basketball than I ever want to see for the rest of my life, and I seldom watch pro basketball. He might be the best player in basketball, but really, what is he doing (broadly) that Jordan and Kobe in their primes didn't do? He's not suddenly going to dunk from midcourt or something I've never seen before; there are only so many ways to score in basketball, and he didn't invent any of them ...

    Look at that, I'm digressing. The point I was getting to was, LeBron has a $20 million (or whatever) a year contract and an NBA championship ring, what the FUCK does he need with a gold medal? He'd just have to add another trophy room to his LeMansion. Why can't he and his extraordinarily well-paid and well-rewarded Dream Team teammates get the fuck out of the way for once and let somebody else have the spotlight?

    Of course, I know the answer to that is TV. If you pay a billion dollars or whatever to show the Games, you want the biggest audience you can get, and who's going to watch 12 guys named Bill play Angola? Same, I imagine, with the studios. They put a lot of money into producing and promoting and distributing a movie, they want recognizable names they can attach to the investment, and fuck the smaller people who don't have NBA contracts or get $20 million a movie.

    I know nothing's going to change in that regard, but I can still call them out on it. It's pure 1-percenterism at work: The rich get richer. But strangely, there's no Occupy Hollywood movement.

  • Jezzer

    Pixar tends to go for voices that suit the character rather than playing for pure star power, which is how you end up with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen together in a buddy comedy, or Sarah Vowell as a shy teenage superheroine. I have never come away from a Pixar movie and felt cynical about the casting.

  • Maguita NYC

    I thought they manipulated character mannerism and facial feature to reflect the actor (if a popular one) behind the voice.

    Like Skaar in the Lion King; He was made to look like Jeremy Irons at his baddest. Tigress in Kung Fu Panda was made to resemble Angie Jolie's feline steeliness, as well as completely making Grendel's mother in her likeness in Beowulf. Look at Eddie Murphy's Donkey, etc.

  • Jezzer

    *cough*

    "PIXAR tends to go for voices that..."

  • Gregory Allen

    It can add sometimes. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen both have distinctive voices and comedy backgrounds, much like Jack Black, John Goodman, and Billy Crystal. It's when you have Matt Damon/Alec Baldwin in Titan A.E., Cameron Diaz in Shrek, or Angelina Jolie in Kung Fu Panda where it's kind of lame. They offer no real distinction beyond just being regular voices with big names, and would be better served by people who know how to do that type of acting.

    I also didn't see Jennifer Hale on the list. I'm hoping I just missed the name, because it'd suck if the voice of Trishka Novak and "Better Shepard" wasn't in the game.

  • ,

    Not sure what "comedy backgrounds" have to do with reading jokes someone else has written in a context where no one can see your own facial expressions or body language. And isn't the point of immersing one's self in the movie experience forgetting that that's Tom Hanks' voice or Tim Allen's voice? It shouldn't even register for purposes of buying into the characters, should it? So it's basically stunt casting.

    Look, Mel Blanc could have done every voice in every cartoon ever done and they would all be the greatest cartoon ever*. But Mel Blanc's name on a poster probably never sold a single ticket. That's what voice casting name actors is all about.

    *--Perhaps with an assist from the great sound effects guy on "Prairie Home Companion" whose name even I don't know, so his name wouldn't sell tickets either.

  • Gina

    Even the Shrek movies weren't too bad: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders, et cetera, were all strong in their roles.

  • Arran

    Biggest offender: Shark Tale.

  • emmelemm

    "Reb Beach (guitarist for Whitesnake and Winger)"

    Whoa whoa whoa. So, Dustin, you're even tangentially related to hair metal royalty? This changes everything. (OK, it doesn't change anything, but it made my Friday.)

  • Fredo

    I gotta imagine those Thanksgiving dinners.

    "Dustin, could you pass the potatoes?"

    "Sure, Reb. So tell me, how hard was it to play a three-necked guitar shaped like a heart on the 'Is This Love?' video?"

    "Dustin, shut up."

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Whoa. Did not recognize. And it wouldn't be that bad, if, as noted, he would merely button up his shirt.

  • ManBearPig

    Was it Cary Elwes with the baseball cap, near the end of the trailer?
    Very excited about this movie....
    Is "Sterling Archer" in it?

  • Maguita NYC

    I'm surprised the trailer got me interested! Huh, Voice acting... Does it pay well? I know, I know all about the Simpsons contracts, syndication, and such, but the rest, does it pay well?

  • Arran

    Well come on, Hamill is 60 and we've barely seen him on screen for the past 30 years. It can't be THAT surprising.

    I love the idea of this documentary. The great voice actors are as talented as any screen actor in Hollywood, but they don't get a whole lot of recognition outside of geek circles.

  • Ian Fay

    Also, his face was wrecked by a car accident, not drugs/surgery.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M...

  • Anne At Large

    Ian, thanks for that! I could never figure out why he looked so different in Empire, that makes so much more sense now.

  • emmelemm

    Hmm... am I to understand from that Wikipedia page that he's been married to the same person since 1978? That's pretty impressive.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Wow... he should really button that shirt.

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