Happy Birthday, June Foray!

09.18.2010

June Foray in an undated publicity photo.

Voice Actors in the News would like to wish a very happy birthday to “The First Lady of Cartoon Voicing” — June Foray — born September 18th, 1917.

June Foray with fellow Looney Tunes character voicers Maurice LaMarche and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

For cartoon voice actor fans, June needs no introduction. With more than 300 credits listed on The Internet Movie Database, her most notable roles are… well, all of them, but the most widely-known characters she’s voiced are Granny and Witch Hazel in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, Rocky and Natasha in Rocky & Bullwinkle, Magica De Spell and Ma Beagle in Disney’s DuckTales, and Jokey Smurf in The Smurfs.

June Foray, Dave Nimitz and Ginger. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

And as we’ve reported here a few times, there’s a June Foray documentary forthcoming, which according to the official site is currently in post-production. (A new trailer was added on August 5th, 2010.)

There’s also the Smurf Justice for June Foray campaign which needs the continued support of all her fans and a great deal more media exposure if it’s going to be successful:

There’s also more than 40 links, interviews and video related to June that I collected via June’s category at The Open Directory Project. And I’ll probably be adding more to it over the next week. One link in particular that’s highly recommended is The Archive of American Television’s 2-hour video interview with June from 2008. Here’s part 1 via YouTube:

Additionally, animation artist Dave Nimitz, who has been close friends with June for ages (and who also donated personal photos for this article), has home videos with June on his official YouTube Channel, and many, many photos featuring June on his Flickr photostream.

Voice Actors in the News staffer Doreen Mulman also has a tribute to June on her blog, including an image Dave Nimitz created for June in honor of her birthday.

Cover image for June Foray's autobiography courtesy of BearManorMedia.com.

Lastly (but certainly not leastly), June’s autobiography Did You Grow Up With Me Too? is available through her official site, JUNEFORAY.COM. Mark Evanier stated via NewsFromME.com in February 2010:

[We] will soon be closing down her site and it will no longer be possible to order signed copies from there. But I like you so I’m giving you what may be your final opportunity. If you want a copy autographed by the legend herself — the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Natasha, Tweety’s owner Granny, Nell Fenwick, Jokey Smurf and so many more — go there now and order one…or more. And don’t come crawling to me when you finally decide you need one and they’re no longer available.

Mark hasn’t followed up on this since, and the site does appear to still have copies available. But if for some reason they’re sold out, you can still purchase the book through the publisher: BEARMANORMEDIA.COM.

June Foray and Bob Bergen at VOICE 2010. Photo courtesy Dave Nimitz.

June’s character voices have been entertaining me since I was a toddler. I hope to finally get a chance to meet her so I can tell her in person how much I admire and appreciate her work, and how much it influenced me to pursue a career as a performer.

And from myself and the staff here at Voice Actors in the News, we wish you a very happy birthday, June.

Actress June Foray arrives for the 2009 Governors Awards at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, California on November 14, 2009. Photo credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images.


Cast Details for New Scooby Doo D2V and TV Series

04.02.2010

The March 12th press release (courtesy of Scoobyfan.net) for the upcoming live-action/CGI sequel to Scooby Doo: The Mystery Begins reveals an upcoming animated direct-to-video title: Scooby-Doo: Camp Scare, which releases on DVD in September 2010.

In addition to the principal voice cast fans have come to expect from the animated series and features (Frank Welker as Fred and Scooby Doo, Grey Delisle as Daphne, and Mindy Cohn as Velma), I have a source confirming some of the supporting cast for this new D2V title: Tara Strong, Phil LaMarr and Lauren Tom. Scott Menville was also mentioned, which leads me to believe that Menville will be reprising his role as Shaggy rather than Matthew Lillard who voiced Shaggy for the February 2010 DVD release, Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo. [Menville also voiced Shaggy for the previous TV series, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo: Get a Clue!]

My source added that they were putting the “finishing touches” on recording.

The press release also mentions that the new animated TV series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated will air in 2011. However, since I first published this article here I now have two sources confirming that the series will air summer 2010, possibly in July, and that the 2011 date mentioned in the press release is believed to be for international markets.

A preview of the new series is scheduled to air Monday, April 5th at 7:00 PM (EST) on Cartoon Network, and it’s been given a full 30-minute time-slot on the CartoonNetwork.com Schedule.

The voice cast for Mystery Inc. includes Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (whom I’ve confirmed through a fellow cast member that Lillard will voice Shaggy for the new series).

Additionally, David Kaye (voice of Megatron in five Transformers series to date) shared news that he had a recording session April 1st for an episode of Mystery Inc. with the aforementioned Welker and DeLisle, as well as fellow guest stars Cree Summer and Maurice LaMarche. Kaye added that he got to deliver one of the most famous lines of the Scoobyverse.

And as an exclusive for the blog, Kaye graciously granted permission to share the photos from the recording session:

Maurice LaMarche and Frank Welker


Cree Summer and Frank Welker


Group photo for a recording session of an episode of 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated': Left-to-right: Frank Welker, Maurice LaMarche, Collette Sunderman (voice director), David Kaye, Mitch Watson (writer).

And on a related Scooby note, I neglected to mention the February 16th release of Scooby Doo: Abracadabra-Doo in my VAs on DVD coverage earlier this year, but it’s worth the rental. It’s been well-received by fans (click here comments via Scoobyfan.net) and it also received positive reviews (toonzone called it “an uncommonly good Scooby-Doo movie”) due to its return-to-roots retro look and feel as well as some of best 2D animation Warner Bros Animation has produced for a Scooby feature since Scooby Doo on Zombie Island (1998).

Overall, it’s also one of the most entertaining Scooby features released in the last decade (or more). It just seems like more attention was given to producing a quality product which appealed both to kids and nostalgic Scooby Doo fans. For starters, it’s directed by Spike Brandt (Duck Dodgers, Animaniacs), and both Alan Burnett and Paul Dini — two of animation’s top writers — were involved in developing/writing the story and teleplay.

And it boasts a great cast too. Of course you’ll hear Welker, DeLisle, Cohn and Lillard (as Shaggy), and guest stars include Danica McKellar (The Wonder Years), Brian Posehn (Mission Hill, Transformers Animated), Jeffrey Tambor (The Larry Sanders Show), and comedian Dave Attell as the voice of the Mystery Machine’s wisecracking GPS. Also listen for cartoon voice acting regulars John DiMaggio, Dee Bradley Baker, Crystal Scales, Olivia Hack, Diane Delano, James Patrick Stuart, and John Stephenson whom I believe has voiced a character in nearly every Scooby Doo production since 1969.

Wikipedia also mentions a Scooby-Doo and the Wild West Frankenstein animated D2V feature for 2011, but I have been unable to find any sources confirming this title. And according to a post on ScoobyAddicts.com, there was a Wikipedia entry in October 2009 which listed this title as Scooby Doo and the Wild West Boogeyman. The listing was removed less than a week later.

A very special thanks to David Kaye — DavidKaye.com for the photos.


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


Saturday Morning Cartoon: The Beginning

01.09.2010

As I mentioned in December 2009, I’m introducing a regular feature for the blog called “Saturday Morning Cartoon.”

Pardon me whilst I wax nostalgic to set this up…

I don’t doubt that most reading this have pleasant childhood memories watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV. Even though Saturdays were a “day off” from school, we’d still get up early to sit in front of the TV in our PJs enjoying a bowl of our favorite cereal (at that time filled with less vitamin-enriched sugary goodness).

We laughed at Looney Tunes, Laff-A-Lympics and lots of other comedic characters. We got spooked by cartoon phantoms and costumed villains thwarted by “meddling kids” and their “stupid dog.” We were thrilled by toy-selling animated adventures of robot fights, space flights, rainbow brites, fairy sprites, Bat-Mites and men in tights, but mostly cartoon kids who did the sort of exciting and dangerous stuff that in real life would get us killed, incarcerated or taken away from our parents and sent to foster homes.

And for those of us born before the 90’s, it’s hard to imagine that the major TV networks would ever have shortage of cartoons to watch on Saturday mornings, and yet that’s precisely what has happened. Outside of niche cable programming like Boomerang, Nicktoons, Cartoon Network and Disney XD, it’s slim pickings on the major networks as far as Saturday morning cartoons go. And who’d have ever thought that there would be a time when Looney Tunes weren’t on TV at all, except through a paid cable subscriber service?

But the digital era combined with government-mandated educational programming has brought about an end to broadcast kids TV. Kids mostly don’t want to watch the E/I-rated shows — they get enough educational stuff at school without it being forced on them through what they watch for fun. And with things like videogame consoles and handheld gaming systems, along with the era of streaming videos and content-on-demand, kids no longer have to wait until weekday afternoons or Saturday mornings for their entertainment of choice. And the networks hate it. The advertisers hate it. But it’s the reality we live in.

For animation fans, other than the aforementioned cable channels, our only option for watching cartoons is via DVD, reruns on-demand, the web and digital downloads for portable media devices. And for the duration of this blog (and as regularly as I’m able to do so) I will feature a cartoon here for your viewing pleasure on Saturday mornings, along with behind-the-scenes trivia and details on the voice cast.

So go put on your footie pajamas, pour a yourself a bowl of your favorite cereal, and enjoy.

First up (not counting the cartoons I featured here during the holidays), is Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, which I was excited to discover in December 2009 that the complete series (all 26 episodes) is being offered on Hulu.com (in partnership with Crackle.com).

Based on the Dark Horse Comics mini-series by Frank Miller and Geof Darrow, Big Guy and Rusty aired from 1999-2001 on Fox Kids. It felt more grown-up and “mature” than most animated fare on Fox Kids, and developed a fair following from adult animation fans as a result. I consider it to be an underrated and largely undiscovered gem of a cartoon show that needs more exposure.

The episode I’m featuring here is “The Inside Scoop” which originally aired October 2nd, 1999. (Sorry, I’m unable to embed videos from Hulu via WordPress.)

Voice cast for this episode:

Pamela Adlon as Rusty, Jo
Jonathan Cook as The Big Guy
Gabrielle Carteris as Dr. Erika Slate
Jim Hanks as Dwayne Hunter
Stephen Root as Dr. Axel Donovan
Kathy Kinney as Jenny the Monkey
Kevin Michael Richardson as Garth
M. Emmett Walsh as Mack
Maurice LaMarche as Dr. Ellerby, Medical doctor, Security officer
– and Tim Curry as the voice of Dr. Neugog

Trivia and notes:

– Brain gags galore in this episode.
– This episode reveals full details on the subplot that Big Guy is actually piloted by Hunter, a secret that Hunter and the team manage to keep from Rusty for the rest of the series.
– This episode features Dr. Neugog’s second (and unfortunately last) appearance in the series.
R. Lee Ermey voiced General Thorton in this series, although the character doesn’t appear in this episode.
– Big Guy’s voice, Jonathan Cook, will likely sound familiar — not so much from his other animation and video game work, but more from the huge volume of TV promo announcing he does for CBS, Bravo, NBC, FX and others.
– The sibilant slurp-like sound Dr. Neugog makes at one point closely resembles the same eerie sound Anthony Hopkins made as Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs.

And by the way, if the same ad plays for you that ran during my viewing — that’s Roger Rose (voice actor in The Tick, Grim & Evil, The Super Hero Squad Show and many other cartoons) appearing in the Ad Council spot cautioning against reckless driving.


Lexus Has A New Luxury Voice

08.27.2009

Maurice LaMarche (Futurama, Pinky & The Brain) announced via Facebook on August 19th that he is officially the new image voice for Lexus. Moe says the new ads should begin airing in early September.

My congrats to Moe on his success. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

As I’ve mentioned here previously, I’m working on relocating photos from my old defunct Geocities page before Yahoo permanently drops Geocities in October. Here’s one such photo of me with Moe at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con:

My first time meeting Maurice LaMarche at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con.

My first time meeting Maurice LaMarche at the 2000 San Diego Comic-Con.


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.]


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.”

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