Frank Welker Cameo on ‘Futurama’

09.01.2010

The head of cartoon voice acting legend Frank Welker has been immortalized in a cameo appearance on Futurama.

Below is a screen capture from “Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences” (Season 6, episode 11 – production number 6ACV11) in a scene where Fry, Leela and Lrrr visit Orson Welles in the Head Museum. You can see Frank’s head in a jar on the upper shelf:

Frank Welker cameo on 'Futurama' along with (L to R, top shelf) Raquel Welch, Lawrence Welk, Paul Weller, (L to R, bottom shelf) Peter Weller, Orson Welles, Dawn Wells and H.G. Wells. Image courtesy of FOX and is used here for the purpose of commentary. 'Futurama TM and copyright FOX, its related entities and the Curiosity Company. All rights reserved.

Futurama‘s Season 6 finale airs Thursday, September 2nd at 10 pm (EST) on Comedy Central.

ComedyCentral.com also has web exclusive video interviews with Futurama cast members Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, John DiMaggio, Lauren Tom, David Herman, and two videos featuring Billy West here and here.

There is also a video clip from the San Diego Comic-Con 2010 Futurama panel with a teaser on the season finale which includes guest voices Coolio and Al Gore, and special musical guests Devo (<–click for a preview).

A very special thanks to Futurama fan “Bend-err” for posting this image at my request to the Planet Express Employee Lounge – The Futurama Message Board.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Futurama Cast @ Atlanta’s Dragon*Con 2010

08.18.2010

Four Three principal Futurama cast members will be attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA September 3-6, 2010.

Billy West, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and Maurice LaMarche are all scheduled to appear at the con and will be participating in panels hosted by Dragon*Con’s Animation Track.

Billy West and John DiMaggio will be participating in Voice Actors panels (along with Adult Swim voice actors Dana Snyder, C. Martin Croker and George Lowe) on Friday at 4:00 PM in the Hyatt International North Ballroom, and Saturday at 11:30 AM in the Hyatt International South Ballroom.

West, DiMaggio and LaMarr will be featured together in an all-Futurama cast panel on Sunday at 4:00 PM in the Hyatt Cent. I Ballroom.

And according to the Star Wars Track schedule, Phil LaMarr will also be participating in three Star Wars panels. However, the actual Dragon*Con program schedule shows that he will only be involved in the “Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons” panel on Monday at 10:00 AM.

We will have a follow-up post to include all of Dragon*Con’s voice actor-related guests, panels and events, and one of our staff will also be attending the con and will provide coverage with audio, video and photos.

Update: 9.02.2010 — Unfortunately, Maurice LaMarche had to cancel his appearance at Dragon*Con:
http://dailydragon.dragoncon.org/2010/2010-programming-changes/

Moe sends his apologies to all the fans, and hopes he will be able to attend in 2011.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Futurama Cast News Round-Up

02.11.2010

Some tidbits on the upcoming sixth season of Futurama collected from around the web:

Previously reported here, but certainly worthy of mentioning first is that Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder won an Annie Award for “Best Home Entertainment Production.” Scroll down through my report and you’ll find a video which includes a very brief moment of footage showing the Futurama cast and crew receiving the award, with a shout-out from Bender (John DiMaggio).

– Via SLURMED.com (aka Futurama Point): The Kevin Pollack Chat Show interviews Billy West and John DiMaggio — fast-forward through Pollack’s opening commentary to the 17:45 mark to see the interview which is both long and wonderful:

– Season 6 3-minute preview from the October 2009 Florida Animation Supercon:

(with better video)

(with better audio)

– Also from the Florida Animation Supercon: John DiMaggio interviewed by plughitzlive.com (in two parts):

Honestly, you could waste away an hour or so watching all the panel footage and interviews that plughitzlive shot at the con, and most of it is full of Futurama goodness. Watch it all here:


http://www.youtube.com/user/PLuGHiTzLive

– On September 2nd, 2009, Maurice LaMarche revealed via a very brief video on Facebook that late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson will guest star in the upcoming season.

On January 8th, Moe announced that the cast was doing a table read for the landmark 100th episode of the series. Fellow cast members mentioned: Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Phil LaMarr, Dave Herman and Lauren Tom.

On a related note, GotFuturama.com has a “teaser” from David X. Cohen on what the 100th episode and Holiday-themed episodes will include:

Episode 100 which was recorded the other day may serve as a mini-season finale depending on Comedy Central of course. Also, episode 101 is an Anthology of Interest-style episode with 3 stories based on Xmas, Robanukah, and Kwanzaa.

– Via RadioInk.com: Phil Hendrie, voice of various members of the Waterfall family on Futurama (as well as Tom Landry and Little John on King of the Hill), will be the keynote speaker at the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Luncheon on April 13 in Las Vegas.

– Via GotFuturama.com:

Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Phil LaMarr will be making an appearance at the Wizard World Comic Con in Anaheim, CA.

The convention runs from April 16th to April 18th and includes appearances from lots of stars including several Star Trek actors who also guested on Futurama.

SciFiWire.com posted an interview with Katey Sagal in mid-January discussing details on what to expect in the upcoming season. “It is so funny,” Sagal said. “I can’t wait for people to see it. I’ve always thought the writing is amazing, but this year it’s hysterically funny.” The article also mentions that 12 of the 26 planned episodes have been recorded as of that posting.

– Newsarama.com has an interview with Phil LaMarr discussing Futurama which I covered in a separate post (which also includes a video of LaMarr at the Animation Supercon discussing Futurama).

And since what LaMarr says specifically pertains to this report, I’ll repeat it here:

“[T]he new episodes, in my opinion, are the best yet,” says LaMarr. “They’re really, really funny. Some of them are really, really thoughtful as well. The guys have come back to the show with renewed energy. The writers and producers. And they’re happy to be back, and know the world and the characters so well that they’re able to…it feels like they’re better at it. They’re able to do more with it than they were before.”

– Spike TV/Comedy Central press rep Melissa Sugiura tweeted Feb. 9th: “Heading to the set of #futurama. Looking forward to checking out my first voice recording session!”

…and afterwards posted a a couple follow-ups:

@kitchelfilms great meeting you today, so great to see it all in action. congrats on a very funny episode!

@gotfuturama @slurmed i had an awesome time! i can’t wait to see it all put together when we air it!”

– Thanks to Twitter-er @kitchelfilms (one of the Futurama writers, whose identity I don’t know at the moment), we have photos of the cast in-studio recording the episode “The Silence of the Clamps.”:

Phil LaMarr and Maurice LaMarche
John DiMaggio
Lauren Tom and Tress MacNeille
Katey Sagal
LaMarche and DiMaggio
David X. Cohen directing the cast
DiMaggio and Billy West

Finally, according to “kitchelfilms” (in response to my previous report that Futurama was “currently casting”), unfortunately Futurama “isn’t casting voice actors.”

To stay informed of future developments on Futurama’s sixth season, please visit TheInfosphere.org (The Futurama Wiki).

Additional Sources: Except where noted, most of the above news items are courtesy of the fans on the Futurama forum PEELIFIED.com — The Planet Express Employee Lounge. Nice work keeping fans updated, PEEL members!

Related post: 7.17.2010 — Futurama Cast Full Coverage


An Open Letter to ‘Variety’ and ‘The Hollywood Reporter’

08.01.2009

Dear “Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter” and Their Respective Reporters Michael Schneider and Nellie Andreeva,

First of all, I would like to thank you both for your coverage of the “Futurama” recasting. Both publications were among the first on the Internet to break the news to the public.

I also appreciate your follow-up coverage on Friday, July 31st, when it was announced and confirmed that all five of the show’s principal cast members had closed deals with 20th Century Fox.

However, both of your original articles (first published July 17, 2009) contained assumptions, inaccuracies and exaggerations of the salaries the “Futurama” voice cast members were actually requesting. This projected an unfair and negative image on the “Futurama” actors.

Furthermore, both publications (Variety and The Hollywood Reporter) have since edited the original articles to downplay prior misstatements, without offering any printed retraction for the reporters’ errors.

The original version of Variety reporter Michael Schneider’s article (first published Friday, July 17, 2009, 12:34 pm PT — Link: ‘Futurama’ without original voices?) read thusly:

It’s believed that the “Futurama” cast members were asking for around $75,000 per episode; it was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned.

The statement was afterwards edited to read:

“…salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking — believed to be around $75,000 per episode. (It was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned.)” [Emphasis mine.]

This statement was publicly proven false by a statement made by a “Futurama” cast member, and also confirmed as being untrue by sources close to the cast as well.

Within the same hour Variety‘s article was published, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Nellie Andreeva originally made the following statement in her article (first published Friday, July 17, 2009, 3:11 pm ET — Link: ‘Futurama’ cast in limbo):

20th declined further comment but sources indicated that the voice actors had been seeking at least a tenfold increase of what they made when the animated series ran on Fox from 1999-2003. [Emphasis mine.]

And as was the case with Variety, THR‘s article was also edited after it was published. It currently reads:

The cast of “Futurama,” which ran on Fox from 1999-2002, are said to have been offered modest pay increases but have insisted for bumps of several times what they used to make. [Emphasis mine.]

THR‘s follow-up article (published Friday, July 31, 2009, 6:40 pm ET — Link: Back to Futurama: Voice cast closes deal), also written by reporter Nellie Andreeva, includes the following statement:

Financial terms of the agreements were not released but it is understood that both sides have made compromises to bridge the initial salary gap, in which the actors were said to have asked for several times what the studio was offering. [Emphasis mine.]

Andreeva went from saying a “tenfold increase” to “several times,” which appears as an attempt to remove blame for her earlier misstatement.

In the most recent article from Variety (published Friday, July 31, 2009, 3:26 pm PT — Link: ‘Futurama’ cast returning for reboot), also reported by Michael Schneider, the assumption made in the previous article has been downplayed, but does at least correct the prior error:

It was believed that the “Futurama” cast were asking for around $75,000 per episode, although the actors have said their request was actually much lower than that. It was not clear what 20th was offering.

And while Schneider did state in his original article that “calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned,” that does not excuse his misrepresentation of the cast by publishing an unconfirmed and exaggerated amount.

Now, if the figures of “$75,000 per episode” and a “tenfold increase” were what both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter were told by 20th Century Fox representatives, that makes this an entirely different matter. If that’s the case, 20th Century Fox should have been cited as the source, rather than reporting it vaguely that it was “believed” or “was said” to be what the cast was asking for. That would’ve removed both publications from fault.

But the fact remains that both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are responsible for publishing statements which have since been proven to be false, inaccurate and unfair assumptions. Furthermore, both reporters have attempted to gloss over the aforementioned errors by covertly having the articles edited.

And most importantly, both publications misrepresented the cast and portrayed a very negative image of them to the public by implying that the actors were asking far and above what the studio was offering, when in reality that was simply not true. It’s also obvious from the feedback comments on both Variety.com and HollywoodReporter.com that the statements made regarding the salaries were indeed misleading to the public.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter owe their readers — as well as “Futurama” fans and the cast of “Futurama” — a public retraction for the published errors, rather than trying to quietly augment previous statements.

It was unfair and unnecessary to misrepresent the cast in such a way, and unprofessional to change your prior articles without issuing a retraction.

I would like to request that both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter issue a public retraction for inaccurate and misleading statements about the cast. And while it would likely be ignored to request a public apology to the cast for making them look bad, I feel it’s a fair request that would be most appreciated.

Sincerely,

Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News
https://voiceactors.wordpress.com/

=======================================

Now to address my fellow Futurama fans.

I have already contacted some individuals concerning this open letter campaign, which according to replies I have received should be seeing some fan forum buzz within the next 24 hours.

Any fans reading this are more than welcome to join in this campaign and have my permission in advance to use my letter as a template for the cited sources. But if you decide to contact Variety and The Hollywood Reporter directly I must insist that you please not copy/paste my entire letter verbatim. Please use your own thoughts and opinions, not mine.

You can send feedback to both publications via the contact pages on Variety.com and HollywoodReporter.com.

Previous report: 7.17.2009 — Futurama Recasting Full Coverage — It’s Over! Futurama Cast FTW!

[This article was edited/updated on 8.05.2009 in order to protect my sources.]


Futurama Cast and Fans FTW!

07.31.2009

Good news, Everyone! The Futurama cast is back! Full coverage now available via my previous article.

On a related note, I’d like to bump a recent feature I did on Futurama’s John DiMaggio, for any who might have missed it: John DiMaggio: More Than Just A Pretty Face.

Additionally, I have added five photos to my tribute article on Dallas McKennon, as well as several news updates to my continued Comic-Con coverage… which I will continue to update throughout the next week. There’s a heaping huge helping of voice actor-related news coming out of the con, so bear with me while I find the time to cover it all.

And the con photos I promised are forthcoming. I’ve run into a formatting issue with WordPress and am looking into some hosting options as an alternative before I publish more of them here.


Comic-Con 2009: Friday-Sunday News Highlights

07.26.2009

Continued Comic-Con news coverage…

The latest updates are time-stamped below as they are added. Please keep checking back for more updates that will be added throughout the week.

Previous reports:

7.25.2009 — Comic-Con 2009 Thursday-Friday, covering Disney/Pixar, Futurama, Marvel’s The Super Hero Squad Show, Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Robot Chicken/Titan Maximum, and More.

7.24.2009 — Comic-Con 2009: Wednesday-Thursday covering Disney 3D/A Christmas Carol, Astro Boy, Halo Legends, Robot Chicken, and More.

10:15 PM — I have an early call time Monday morning for a TV shoot and unfortunately don’t have time to provide more coverage this evening. In the meantime, here are two photos from the Drawn Together and Chowder events, courtesy of the talented Tara Strong:

'Drawn Together' voice cast: Cree Summer, Jess Harnell, Tara Strong. (Photo credit: Tara Strong)

'Drawn Together' voice cast: Cree Summer, Jess Harnell, Tara Strong. (Photo credit: Tara Strong)

San Diego Comic-Con 2009 'Chowder' autograph session: (L to R) Dana Snyder, C.H. Greenblatt, Tara Strong. (Photo credit: Tara Strong)

San Diego Comic-Con 2009 'Chowder' autograph session: (L to R) Dana Snyder, C.H. Greenblatt, Tara Strong. (Photo credit: Tara Strong)

A very special thanks to Tara for sharing these photos. More news and photos to come!

5:15: PM — News direct from Mark Hamill at the the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game panel, on the Batman: The Brave and The Bold episode mentioned earlier with guest star Julie Newmar voicing Martha Wayne:

Adam West as Thomas Wayne
Mark Hamill as The Spectre
Kevin Conroy as The Phantom Stranger

A special thanks to “dark knight 90” for posting this update to Toon Zone’s DC Animation Forum.

I’ll have more coverage of this panel later. But right now, I have a voice-over session I need to get to.

5:00 PM — Highlights of Newsarama.com‘s full panel report on Marvel’s animated Hero Up! Super Hero Squad Show:

+ Show is described as “a major animation detour for Marvel” in that they “dared to be funny.” Producer Cort Lane describes Hero Up! “as a mash-up of the Marvel Universe, with tongue firmly in cheek”:

Captain America is an antiquated old warhorse who still thinks Roosevelt is in office and says things like “ah, those were the days, hot jazz and skinny eyebrows.”

The Silver Surfer is a cosmically powered beach bum. The Hulk is a simple-minded behemoth who’s easily distracted and entertained.

+ This will be the first time in Marvel history where they have “done a [TV] show that merges all the Marvel universes into one series.”

+ Stan “The Man” Lee voices The Mayor of Hero City, and says “seeing many of the characters he helped create decades ago in such a different type of show, poking fun at the superhero genre, was ‘wonderful.'” Lee adds that the voice cast is “undoubtedly the best… I have ever worked with.”

+ As reported earlier, Cartoon Network will debut the series September 19th with a 4-episode marathon.

A complete cast list for the show was published here on Saturday, and scroll down for some additional news on this series.

4:45 PMHome Media Magazine has a promo for the Batman: The Brave and The Bold Volume 1 DVD release, with quotes from James Arnold Taylor (Green Arrow) and casting/voice director Andrea Romano.

4:40 PMGameTrailers.com has the trailer for Metalocalypse: Dethgame based on the Adult Swim property.

3:55 PM — Highlights from Newsarama.com‘s full report on the Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 video game scheduled for release September 15th:

+ When asked about the voice talents’ history with the properties, Armin Shimerman (voice of Green Goblin and other characters in the game) says that he’s “loved comics longer than most panel attendees have lived, and so the characters were always in his head. When he had the opportunity to audition for the game, for the part of the Green Goblin, the higher-ups liked it, and so things went forward.”

Fred Tatasciore (voice of Thing, Hulk and other game characters) says he is also a “longtime fan, and added that he didn’t mind doing long, hard research with the comics.” The audience demanded to hear him say “It’s clobberin’ time!” which was met with wild enthusiasm.

+ When asked about the “variation in voices by the actors,” Shimerman said he “looks at the characters and their needs and wants in life, and goes from there. The challenge, he said, is recalling what you’ve done in sessions long past, and reclaiming that voice.”

+ When a fan asked about the “most interesting part of doing superheroic voices” and called it “not acting,” he was booed by the audience. Shimerman replied that “most interesting part is that all they have when they work is the director, a mic and a script, so it takes a lot of imagination to create the performance without any visual reference. It’s like carving, and you cut away what doesn’t work until you get there.”

Tatasciore added “how much they become the characters, and how they must create a lot more in one’s head to get there. It is acting, but it is a different kind of thing. And they don’t act off other people.”

Stan Lee defended the voice acting as well: “An actor in a movie can use their whole body to convey expression; hands, face, eyes- but a voice actor only has his own voice. And it’s very difficult, and many don’t realize how difficult, or how good these guys are.”

And both Shimerman and Tatasciore agreed that it was a great honor to voice such iconic characters.

+ Characters confirmed to appear in the game (from the trailer that debuted at the panel): Gambit, Wolverine, Phoenix, Venom, Juggernaut, Thor, Human Torch, Patriot, Captain America, and Deadpool. It was hinted that Marvel Comics legend Stan “The Man” Lee may also be an unlockable bonus character as a character model of Lee was previewed, at which Lee responded, “Is that me? He looks more lively than me. No, if I don’t say it’s beautiful they’ll kill me.”

Click here to read the complete report, plus view videos of the character animation for Gambit and Jean Grey/Phoenix.

3:30 PMToon Zone has a preview image and trailers for the upcoming Marvel Anime titles Wolverine and Iron Man, as well as a full report of the Marvel Animation panel. Here are some highlights:

+ “Nicktoons will be broadcasting all 26 episodes of Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes…[including] all the episodes that Cartoon Network neglected to broadcast in the US.”

+ Commentary on the Thor: Tales of Asgard preview (click the link above for plot details) notes that Matthew Wolf returns as the voice of Thor from Hulk Vs.. The direct-to-DVD title is slated for release in 2011.

+ Characters appearing in season 2 of Wolverine and the X-Men include Havok, Colossus, Colossus’ sister Magik, and Deadpool who will be voiced by Nolan North (the voice of Cyclops in season 1) who also voiced Deadpool in Hulk Vs..

+ “Steven Blum… said being the undisputed and definitive voice of Wolverine is a dream come true.” Blum adds that his performance for Wolverine in Marvel Super Hero Squad will have a more “comedic spin.” Blum also tells Toon Zone that “Wolverine actually says ‘Snikt’ in the show.”

+ Marvel Super Hero Squad will premiere on Cartoon Network in September 2009.

+ Toon Zone has commentary on the previews for Marvel Anime/Madhouse productions Wolverine and Iron Man, as well as Planet Hulk. All three are direct-to-DVD features planned for release in 2010.

+ Two more Marvel Anime features were announced for Blade and X-Men.

2:05 PM — Another update on my Futurama recasting feature article with additional details on upcoming episodes and a possible feature film.

1:50 PMBlogger “Movie Mom” comments on Stan Freberg‘s panel:

One of the most endearing aspects of Comic-Con is seeing the audience enthusiasm for people whose work has been overlooked or forgotten by the mainstream. It was a thrill to see a packed ballroom cheering for Stan Freberg, who talked about his experiences doing voices with Mel Blanc for more than 400 cartoons, helping to create “Beany and Cecil,” and revolutionizing advertising with his cheeky commercials for Pizza Rolls and Contadina.

Here’s the TV ad for “Pizza Rolls” she’s referring to:

If I’m not mistaken, that looks like Stan making a cameo around the 0:06-08 mark.

“Movie Mom” also promises upcoming coverage of the panels for Chowder, The Misadventures of Flapjack, and Robot Chicken.

6:40 AMFancast.com has an “extended trailer” of FOX’s upcoming Family Guy spinoff, The Cleveland Show.

6:35 AMDaemonsMovies.com has some additional highlights from the Disney 3D panel presentation of the 3D/CGI feature film A Christmas Carol, including a photo of all 8 characters Jim Carrey will be voicing in the film.

+ The animators used “flush technology” to mimic and record human facial expressions. [I think that might be a typo, since “flush technology” involves plumbing. Probably meant “flash.”]

+ Director Robert Zemeckis says he thinks Carrey is “the perfect actor for [motion] capture recording, because he’s great at building characters. He works with his whole body and understands comedic timing.”

6:10 AMTVSquad.com has highlights of the Henson Company’s Farscape panel hosted by Brian Henson:

+ A new Farscape complete series DVD box set was announced which will include “more than 90 minutes of extra footage and 29 episode commentaries.”

+ Henson announced new Farscape webisodes were in development.

+ Fraggle Rock announced as a feature film; Henson assured audience it was “on the schedule.”

+ Dark Crystal sequel The Power of the Dark Crystal “will accompany the Fraggles into theaters in a couple of years.”

+ SciFiCool.com has some additional details on a Farscape revival:

According to Henson, they are looking at the very real possibility of continuing the Farscape story, or as Henson puts it more than once, “the next big chapter”. The plan was originally to do a series of short, 5-minute long webisodes and parlay that into something bigger. Neither Henson nor O’Bannon would elaborate on what that “next chapter” is, or in what form (Henson did remarked that they have talked about a Farscape movie when prompted by a fan), but everyone involved seemed very keen on doing more with the Farscape universe.

5:30 AM — Highlights from G4TV.com coverage of the Star Wars Spectacular panel:

+ The MMORPG video game Star Wars: The Old Republic will be released on October 6th.

+ Star Wars Celebration 5 announced for summer 2010.

+ Star Wars in Concert begins a “worldwide arena tour” and exhibit October 1st, 2009. The show will be narrated by Anthony Daniels (voice of C-3PO). Read the press release at StarWars.com.

+ Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 2 described as “more intense” and will air on Cartoon Network “later this fall.”

+ Anthony Daniels says C3PO is an “exageration of his actual voice” and mentioned that he voiced Legolas in Ralph Bakshi’s 1970s version of Lord of the Rings.

+ The voice cast performed a live table read of an upcoming Clone Wars episode. [I’ll do my best to find footage of this and link to it later.] It revealed spoilers, which if you want to read them click on the G4TV link above.

Additionally, Toon Zone has the Season 2 trailer for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

5:00 AMSeth Green posts pics of the Robot Chicken Skate Party on Twitter and silly Comic-Con video footage via Facebook:

Twitpic #1
Twitpic #2

Elsewhere, AdultSwim.com has a video feature on “A Day in the Life of Robot Chicken.”

4:20 AMToon Zone has coverage of the the DC Animated Universe panel, with press releases and photos of Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, and casting/voice director Andrea Romano.

4:00 AM — Another update on the Futurama recasting. This time with an “update” from Variety, and a full panel report.

On a related note, Phil LaMarr is now on Twitter. Also check out his recently-launched official site: PhilLaMarr.com.

Phil also participated in an additional autograph session at Comic-Con to promote the indie film directed by Tim Russ, A Night At The Silent Theater. This production from Highlander Films features Phil in an on-camera role with co-stars Tony Todd (Candy Man) and Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager).

3:35 AM — Not that most reading this will give a flying frog, but I just surpassed 100 followers on Twitter. Why anyone would want to follow me anywhere, I’ll never understand. I’d just get them lost. But seriously, I find it very flattering that so many people would actually want to follow my status posts.

3:30 AM — Following up on yesterday’s news regarding the Batgirl: Year One motion comic (now available on iTunes), voice actor Erin Fitzgerald says in addition to Keith Silverstein (Robin) the other voices are performed by Neil Ross, Lex Lang, and Kate Higgins (Batgirl). Erin adds that beside voicing Black Canary, “I’m every other female in this series.”

Previous reports:

7.25.2009 — Comic-Con 2009 Thursday-Friday, covering Disney/Pixar, Futurama, Marvel’s The Super Hero Squad Show, Batman: The Brave and The Bold, Robot Chicken/Titan Maximum, and More.

7.24.2009 — Comic-Con 2009: Wednesday-Thursday covering Disney 3D/A Christmas Carol, Astro Boy, Halo Legends, Robot Chicken, and More.


Comic-Con 2009: Thursday-Friday News Highlights

07.25.2009

Continued Comic-Con news coverage…

The latest updates are time-stamped below as they are added. Please keep checking back for more updates that will be added throughout the weekend. Also, photos are forthcoming!

7:05 PMThe Pixar Blog has a photo and recap of the Disney/Pixar panel.

And on a related note, this is the current confirmed voice cast for Toy Story 3: Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Joan Cusack (Jessie), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), Wallace Shawn (Rex), Estelle Harris (Mrs. Potato Head), John Ratzenberger (Hamm), Jodi Benson (Barbie), Michael Keaton (Ken), Ned Beatty (Lotso), and James Anthony Cotton (Chuckles the Clown).

And if you’re scratching your head wondering who “Chuckles the Clown” is, The Pixar Blog interviewed the actor about the role back in February 2009.

It is rumored that Lucy Liu (voices in Kung Fu Panda, King of the Hill, Futurama) and child actor Emily Hahn may be lending their voices to the film as well, but this has yet to be confirmed.

John Lasseter told MTV News in a November 2008 interview that the voice of Slinky Dog (originally performed by the late Jim Varney) is being provided by “another actor… an old friend of Jim’s [we found] who sounds an awful lot like him.”

Elsewhere, The New York Times has a Comic-Con recap with a comment on the Disney/Pixar panel that John Lasseter “let slip that the Disney animation shop will be soon be posting tidbits about its works in progress online, beginning with a video blog he expects to begin in the next day or two.” As of this writing, I have not been able to find a link for this — The Times comment is vague and they didn’t provide a link, but I’ll try to track it down.

[For more Toy Story 3 news, scroll down to the last entry on this post.]

6:00 PMFuturama update with response from John DiMaggio and panel details direct from Comic-Con.

5:20 PMPress release for new book from voice actors Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal, Voice-Over Voice Actor: What It’s Like Behind The Mic.

2:40 PMIGN.com has the press release for Marvel’s The Super Hero Squad Show, which boasts a massive voice cast:

Tom Kenny (aka Spongebob) as Iron Man, Captain America and M.O.D.O.K., Grey DeLisle (Fairly Oddparents) as Ms. Marvel and the Enchantress, Alimi Ballard (“NUMB3RS”) as the Falcon, and Charlie Adler (“Cow & Chicken,” “Transformers” 1 & 2) as Dr. Doom. In addition, superstar guests have joined the cast to play various villains and heroes from throughout the Marvel universe, including Shawn Ashmore (“X-Men” films) as Iceman, LeVar Burton (“Ali,” “Roots”) as Rhodey, Taye Diggs (Private Practice) as the Black Panther, Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”) as Dormammu, Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”) as Ant-Man, Mark Hamill (“Star Wars”) as the Red Skull, Lena Headey (“Sarah Connor Chronicles”) as the Black Widow, Tricia Helfer (“Battlestar Galactica”) as Sif, Cheryl Hines (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “The Ugly Truth”) as Stardust, Wayne Knight (“Seinfeld”) as Egghead, James Marsters (“Smallville,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”) as Mr. Fantastic, Jennifer Morrison (“Star Trek,” “House”) as the Wasp, Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) as Hawkeye, Kevin Sorbo (“Hercules,” “Meet The Spartans”) as Ka-Zar, George Takei (“Heroes,” “Star Trek”) as Galactus and Michelle Trachtenberg (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Gossip Girl”) as the Valkyrie. The cast is also joined by comics legend Stan Lee (co-creator of “Spider-Man,” the “Fantastic Four,” the “X-Men,” “Iron Man,” the “Hulk,” “Thor” and many other Marvel characters) in a recurring role as the Mayor of Super Hero City.

“The talent that has signed on truly speaks to the strength of the Marvel brand as well as the uniqueness of this series,” says Eric Rollman, Marvel’s President of Animation commented. “This is the first time Marvel has produced an action-comedy show and the reaction from both broadcasters and celebrity talent indicates we have something very special in the making.”

Actors not mentioned in the press release but listed on IMDb.com (and most have been confirmed for the show) include Tamera Mowry as Misty Knight, Tara Strong as Scarlet Witch, Steve Blum as Wolverine and Abomination, Maurice LaMarche as Magneto, Scott Menville as Quicksilver, Travis Willingham as Hulk and Human Torch, Hynden Walch as Jean Grey, David Boat as Thor, Antony Del Rio as Reptile, and Ted Biaselli as Mole Man.

2:30 PM — Added several new interview links to my coverage of Disney’s live-action/CGI feature film G-Force which opened in theaters this weekend.

2:20 PM — Movieweb.com has video interviews with Freddie Highmore and Kristin Bell, voices of Astro Boy and Cora.

2:10 PMMovieweb has a video interview with Bobb’e J. Thompson voice of Cal Deveraux in Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, as well as an interview with director Chris Miller.

Movieweb has a featurette from Where The Wild Things Are.

2:05 PMAccess Hollywood has a preview of Tron Legacy. Additionally, Movieweb has a video interview with cast members Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, and Olivia Wilde. [Don’t ask how this applies to this blog’s coverage. I don’t need to justify it. It’s freaking TRON and I’m a geek, okay?]

Update: 2:00 PMMovieweb has a video interview with the Drawn Together creative team on what to expect in the movie and Season 5.

Original post first published 7.25.2009, 3:56 AM:

IGN.com has additional details on yesterday’s San Diego Comic-Con news coverage of the upcoming stop-motion comedy Titan Maximum created by Robot Chicken creative team members Matthew Senreich and Tom Root who wanted to do their own spin on Voltron, but make it “as stupid and destructive as possible.”

IGN’s review of the short preview that was shown:

[What] we can expect is a foul-mouthed parody of not only the Mecha cartoon genre, but of pop culture as well, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the talent involved. The creators admitted the concept of teenagers saving the Universe in real life was ridiculous, so they ran with that idea. What would really happen if a Princess, a nerd, an animal and an overweight guy were a team called Titan Force Five who joined up to form a giant fighting robot called Titan Maximum? We can only assume something horrible, apocalyptic and funny as hell.

Titan Maximum is slated to premiere Sept 27th at 11:30 pm on Adult Swim. IGN adds that the pilot will be a half-hour special, while “subsequent episodes will be 15 minutes long.” The voice cast includes Robot Chicken regulars Breckin Meyer, Seth Green and Dan Milano, and listen for “familiar” guest voices Rachel Leigh Cook, Donald Faison, and Billy Dee Williams as Admiral Bitchface.

Another update on the Futurama recasting, this one courtesy of Maurice LaMarche.

Newsarama.com has coverage of Cartoon Network’s Batman: The Brave and The Bold panel, revealing news that the original Catwoman Julie Newmar will voice Martha Wayne by way of a flashback scene in the episode “Chill of the Night.”

Newsarama says, “The highlight of the panel… was the premiere screening of the episode featuring Neil Patrick Harris as The Music Meister. It’s a musical episode that has to be seen – and heard – to be believed. Whether you like musicals or not, you’ll appreciate the effort that went into crafting this ingenious, and downright catchy, story. Harris is his typically brilliant self as the Evil Orchestrator, and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Aquaman and Gorilla Grodd two-step, with Black Mantis pirouetting stage left. It certainly struck the right chord with the SDCC audience, which gave the panelists a standing ovation when the final note was hit.”

+ IGN.com has more detailed coverage of the panel:

The audience obviously loved [John] DiMaggio‘s Aquaman, with [Michael] Jelenic recalling that he was resistant when the voice actor came up with Aquaman’s catchphrase, “Outrageous” – which DiMaggio said onstage to more cheers. As [Deidrich] Bader put it, it might not seem like much on the page, but then neither was, in his words, “What are you talking about, Willis?” Taylor added that he felt Aquaman, who originally was going to be played more straight, is essentially, “John when the mic isn’t on.”

As for “Mayhem of the Music Meister” – If you don’t want to know any spoilers at all, stop with this paragraph, but know this: It’s simply awesome and one of the best and most entertaining episodes of any TV series, animated or live-action, I’ve seen this year.

IGN also has a full review of the musical episode, so don’t click the link above if you don’t want spoilers.

When asked whether Superman and Wonder Woman might appear on the series, series producer Sam Register says they “have thoughts about” using them, “though it seemed some work had to be done to get the powers to be to allow permission to use those characters.” And when asked by a fan if they would adapt Crisis on Infinite Earths, Register answered, “Only if we can do it as a musical!”

– Voice actor Erin Fitzgerald (Bleach, Ed, Edd, and Eddy) says that the Batgirl: Year One digital motion comic debuted on iTunes Friday. Erin provides the voice of Black Canary, and Keith Silverstein (Bleach, Naruto) voices Robin.

Warner Premiere hosted an entire panel on motion comics: “Graphic Novels in the Digital Age,” with industry guests including animation writer/producer Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, Freakazoid!). Newsarama.com has full coverage of the panel, with details on previous iTunes motion comics releases Batman: Black and White (previously mentioned here) and Watchmen, and announcements of new and upcoming titles: Batgirl: Year One, Superman: Red Son, and Batman: Black & White Collection 2. Warner Premiere’s press release is also included.

No details on the voices for these projects were provided by Warner Premiere or even mentioned at the panel, but I’ll try to do a follow-up with their PR department to rectify that.

Newsarama.com has full coverage of the DC Universe Animated panel which featured Green Lantern: First Flight and Batman/Superman: Public Enemies. Two highlights with mention of the voice actors:

[Lantern director Lauren] Montgomery praised [Victor] Garber for nailing Sinestro’s sense of entitlement and superiority. [Voice director Andrea] Romano praised the work of the two lead voices.

“You would have thought Christopher Meloni (Hal Jordan) and Victor Garber had been working together for years,” Romano said. “They were so good together.”

Garber, BTW, was not the first choice to voice Sinestro. Deadwood star Ian McShane was, according to [Bruce] Timm.

[Kevin] Conroy says part of the reason the DC ‘toons are so good is that Romano insists the voice actors lay their tracks down together. He says interaction between the actors ultimately translates to the animated final work.”

It was also announced at the panel that the DC Shorts program has been officially greenlit for production. Newsarama confirmed “that a series of shorts will be created to be included with DCU’s Direct-to-DVD films.” The first short produced will tie-in with the Jonah Hex feature film coming to theaters June 18, 2010, and starring Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex), Megan Fox (Transformers), Will Arnett (Monsters vs Aliens), and John Malkovich (Con Air, In The Line of Fire).

IGN.com reports that Avatar: The Game (the video game version of James Cameron’s feature film of the same name) will feature the voices of Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine), Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacon), Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge) and Stephen Lang (Col. Quaritch).

IGN adds, “Rodriguez’s character, Trudy Chacon, functions as the player’s chopper pilot throughout the Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3 system and PC versions of the game. Ribisi reprises his role as the arrogant Parker Selfridge, appearing exclusively in the Wii version of the game. The film’s antagonist, Col. Quaritch, played and voiced by Lang, will appear in the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC versions.”

Yahoo! Movies has “red carpet” photos from Comic-Con, including Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Robot Chicken), James Marsden (X-Men), Freddie Highmore (Astro Boy), and Kristin Bell (voice of Cora in Astro Boy).

RopeofSilicon.com has coverage of the Disney/Pixar panel, where it was announced that Michael Keaton (Batman, Cars) would be providing the voice for Barbie’s plastic pal Ken for Toy Story 3:

Yup, Barbie is back in Toy Story 3 in a much larger role and Ken will be making his big screen debut as Keaton returns to Pixar after voicing Chick Hicks in Cars. Unkrich ended the news saying, “I think he was born to play Ken,” just before they played a bonus feature called “Groovin’ with Ken” poking fun at the plastic sidekick to Barbie telling him many thought of him as a glorified accessory and pointing out how his name is three times smaller on the packaging than Barbie’s. It was pretty good stuff.

As for the plot of Toy Story 3 the film will center on the idea of Andy and his growing up and too old for his toys. Lasseter said, “It’s one thing to make peace with something and another thing to find yourself at that day.” At the start of the movie Andy is grown up and heading off to college and the film will focus on the emotional implications of that.

“At Pixar we believe it is important to focus to not only make [a movie] funny and make it beautiful, but [to also focus on] the emotion.” And with Toy Story 3 they set out to find “a totally different emotional core” than what they explored in the first two films.

Other highlights of the Disney/Pixar panel:

+ Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich said they have been working on the film “about three years and the voice cast has already laid down their tracks and a quarter of the film is animated.”
+ Preview of scenes from Toy Story and Toy Story in 3D.
+ Beauty & The Beast in 3D preview. (Coming to theaters February 12, 2010.)
+ Preview of the made-for-TV ABC animated special Prep & Landing about “a group of elite elves that prep the scene before Santa arrives each night. It will air this holiday season. According to IMDb.com, the voice cast includes Sarah Chalke (Scrubs) as Magee, Dave Foley (Pixar’s A Bug’s Life) as Wayne, and Derek Richardson (Men in Trees) as Lanny.
+ Previews of two scenes from The Princess and the Frog, one featuring Keith David singing “Friends on the Other Side.”
+ Anime legend Hayao Miyazaki was a panel guest, introduced by John Lasseter who said, “I think this guy is one of the most important filmmakers working today.” Then they offered an extended preview of Ponyo. RopeofSilocon.com says, “While we weren’t able to really grasp the narrative it was a lesson in unique animation as a film from Miyazaki looks like nothing you have seen before, that is unless you are comparing to another Miyazaki film.”

Previous report: 7.24.9009 —