VAs on DVD: Disney’s Bolt

The 3.24.2009 DVD/Blu-Ray release of Disney’s computer-animated feature film, Bolt includes bonus material featuring the voice cast:

– “A New Breed of Directors: A Filmmaker’s Journey” is a 4-minute documentary hosted by the film’s directors as they cover the movie from concept to completion, although there’s only brief mention of the voice recording.

– “Act, Speak! The Voices of Bolt” clocks in at just under 10 minutes and features interviews with John Travolta (Bolt), Miley Cyrus (Penny), Susie Essman (Mittens), James Lipton (Director), and Mark Walton (Rhino).

Ultimate Disney’s review of the featurette says, “I don’t like when Pixar DVDs neglect this area, yet I also don’t like when DreamWorks ones overstate it. I’d like to think this is a happy medium. The video of talent is appreciated. But it’s hard not to cringe when John Lasseter calls Miley Cyrus ‘the real deal.'”

In Session with John Travolta and Miley Cyrus: a behind-the-scenes glimpse into recording “I Thought I Lost You,” which says is “barely enough time for Travolta to compare Cyrus to Olivia Newton-John and for Cyrus to explain why the song is special.”

I Thought I Lost You Music Video, featuring Cyrus and Travolta.

Besides the aforementioned lead roles, Bolt‘s voice cast also includes Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Calico), Greg Germann (The Agent), Diedrich Bader (Veteran Cat), Nick Swardson (Blake), J.P. Manoux (Tom), Dan Fogelman (Billy), Kari Wahlgren (Mindy), Chloe Moretz (Young Penny), Randy Savage (Thug), Ronn Moss (Dr. Forrester), Grey DeLisle (Penny’s Mom), Sean Donnellan (Penny’s TV Dad), Lino DiSalvo (Vinnie), Todd Cummings (Joey), Tim Mertens (Bobby), Kellie Hoover (Ester), Brian Stepanek (Martin), Jeff Bennett (Lloyd Spoon), Daran Norris (Louie), John Di Maggio (Saul), and Jenny Lewis (Assistant Director).

In related news, Mark Walton, visual development artist and voice of Rhino, participated in a roundtable discussion on Bolt, which Ultimate Disney and Toon Zone covered respectively.

In Ultimate Disney’s article, Walton is asked about Disney’s films being dubbed into other languages: “I really like to try to watch films in the original language, because I want to hear the original performance as it was directed, and I think there’s a lot of people that feel that way. It’s hard when people want to see the original language version but the only one that plays is the dubbed version, but there’s always the DVD at least. Picking the right voice is really important, and the guys who do the dubbing have to be amazing, to match the lip-synch, and say things that have often been changed in intent (not just the language) to make more sense to the local culture, and still ACT. I have to say, the people that Disney International picks usually do a really good job.

And from Toon Zone’s article:

Q: (To Mark Walton) How did you come up with the voice for Rhino? Was it based on anyone?

WALTON: I’m pretty much just doing my voice, my personality. I tried doing what I thought was a hamster voice when I first auditioned, but the directors (who know me) told me to just be myself as much as possible. I just tried to imagine how I would feel if the character of my favorite book or movie showed up, in the flesh, at my door to take me on an adventure – how would I feel? How would I act? (Ecstatic and slightly crazy.)

Q: (To Mark Walton) Was there chemistry with the other actors? Or did you always work separately on the voice acting?

WALTON: Unfortunately, I never got to work with the other actors. The good thing about recording everyone separately is it gives the directors more control – they can change one character’s lines in a scene without having to re-record everybody, and the story changes a lot before the movie comes out.

Q: (To Mark Walton) Will you be doing a lot more voice acting in the future? Do you think it is a lot of fun?

WALTON: It is a lot of fun – at least for me! Rhino was a really broad, silly, over-the-top character that got to be funny, dramatic, angry, serious, touching, and it was great having my voice attached to a well-animated, cute fuzzy character! I just think it’s a blast to come in in whatever clothes and pretend for the mic, and get paid for it! I haven’t been asked to do anything else yet, but I really hope I get to do more voice parts. There’s a lot of talented people I have to compete with, but I can hope!

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