Vanity Fair’s Top Hollywood Earners of 2009


I might have saved this one for the next edition of Frivolous List Friday except that it involves some heretofore unmentioned upcoming animated feature films and details on earnings from voiceovers — a “hot topic” here as one of this blog’s most-read articles.

Names of note on Vanity Fair’s list of “Top Hollywood Earners”:

#7. Ben Stiller: Madagascar film series
– VF: Estimated “$5 million: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (back-end bonus for voice work, and share of DVD)”

#8. Tom Hanks: Toy Story series
– VF: Est. “$15 million: Toy Story 3 (fee for voice work in upcoming “3-D-quel”)”

#12. Adam Sandler: voices in 8 Crazy Nights and upcoming Zookeeper
– VF: Est. “$2 million: Zookeeper (fee for voice work in and producing upcoming animated feature)”

#16. Owen Wilson: voices in Cars and upcoming Cars 2 sequel and Marmaduke
– VF: Est. “$1 million: Marmaduke (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film based on tired comic strip)”

#17. Nicolas Cage: G-Force
– VF: Est. “$2 million: G-Force (back-end bonus for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $285 million)”

#19. Cameron Diaz: Shrek series
– VF: Est. “$10 million: Shrek Forever After (fee for voice work in upcoming 3-D “fourquel”)”

#21. Johnny Depp: voice in upcoming Rango animated feature
– VF: Est. “$7.5 million: Rango (fee for voice work in upcoming animated film)”

#22. Steve Carell: voices in Over the Hedge and upcoming Despicable Me
– VF: Est. “$500,000: Despicable Me (fee for voice work in upcoming animated feature)”

#29. George Clooney: Fantastic Mr. Fox
– Earnings info from Fantastic Mr. Fox not available.

#31. Reese Witherspoon: Monsters vs Aliens
– VF: Est. “$10 million: Monsters vs. Aliens (back end for voice work, based on worldwide gross of $381 million, and share of DVD)”

#40. Brad Pitt: voice in upcoming Megamind feature film
– VF: Est. “$5 million: Megamind (fee for voice work)”

Related post: 4.27.2009 — How Much Do Voice Actors Earn?

Pixar CGI Fairy Tale to Feature First Female Lead


In an August 24th video on, John Lasseter says that Pixar’s first computer-animated fairy tale The Bear and The Bow will also be Pixar’s first film to feature a “very strong female lead.”

This film is also worthy of note in that it’s the first Pixar film to be directed by a female, Brenda Chapman, who also is credited with writing the film.

Although the film — currently slated for a 2011 holiday release — is still listed as “in development,” Wikipedia lists the following celebrity voices (although these have not been officially confirmed to date): Reese Witherspoon (Monsters vs Aliens, Walk The Line), comedian Billy Connolly (Muppets Treasure Island, Lemony Snicket ), Emma Thompson (Harry Potter series, Treasure Planet), and Julie Walters (Harry Potter series, Billy Elliot).

Reese Witherspoon is a Giant


The Toronto Sun interviews Reese Witherspoon on her role as “Ginormica” in Dreamworks’ CGI film, Monsters vs Aliens which opens in theaters Friday, March 27th:

“It definitely is the most action-packed movie I’ve ever been in,” Witherspoon said in a Canadian exclusive telephone interview. “(Being animated) makes it a lot easier to kick butt. And the best thing is, I didn’t have to diet to fit into that cat suit.”

[The] requirements of her voicework for Monsters vs. Aliens didn’t actually require Witherspoon to knock out alien robots or lift sections of the Golden Gate Bridge, [but] she did have to sound like she was doing it — which is pulse-raising activity itself.

“We worked pretty hard on those scenes. Initially, they wanted me to do a voice like a Schwarzenegger/Stallone-type action voice. And I had no idea how to do it. It’s not like anybody ever asked me for that before. As for the action-packed stuff, they’d just play out the scene for me, and I’d have to give them grunts and groans and jumping noises.”

Continue reading: Reese’s giant step [The Toronto Sun].

In related news, MvA co-director Conrad Vernon (who also was the voice of The Gingerbread Man for Dreamwork’s Shrek trilogy) talks with about working with the voice cast:

“We…found that everyone of them could ad lib like crazy,” said Vernon. “For instance, Steve Colbert would come in, read the line straight. Then he would say ‘wait a minute’ and sit there in the booth for a minute. Then he would giggle and ad lib. To top it, he would keep it on point. The whole thing where he was being carried into the helicopter shouting, ‘I’m brave! I’m a brave president!’ is a total ad lib. We are actually trying to get Dreamworks to put in all the ad libs Colbert, Rainn Wilson and Will Arnett and Seth Rogen did in their sessions for the DVD. Many of it we couldn’t use in the movie, but it was incredibly funny.

Kiefer [Sutherland] told me how he came up with the voice of General Monger. Rob and I, when we first thought the character up, thought of George C. Scott from Patton. Kiefer looked at him more like the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket with Yosemite Sam.”

Continue reading: Talking w/ Monsters vs Aliens Co-Director Conrad Vernon [Newsarama]

Additional source:

Previous Monsters vs. Aliens report: 3.21.2009 — Seth Rogen is a Monster.

Seth Rogen is a Monster


Australia’s Herald Sun has interviewed Seth Rogen on his role as the blobish character B.O.B. in the Dreamworks Animation feature film Monsters vs Aliens. Here’s an excerpt:

[Seth Rogen is] one of the most in-demand child-friendly voice actors, with credits including Horton Hears a Who, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Kung Fu Panda to his name.

But he says he couldn’t have been happier when asked to give his voice to B.O.B. — a cheerily dopey, indestructible blob of goo in the new 3D animated Dreamworks film Monsters vs. Aliens.

“I would have been insulted if they didn’t ask,” he says.

“I thought, ‘Who else can do that?’ In fact, I pursued it.”

So it would only be an insult if they based it on his actual body shape?

“Exactly,” he says.

“Well it actually is. It was all a motion capture performance. That’s just my naked body with blue dots all over it.”

“I am amazed [they] let me do [this film]. But I actually go to see these types of movies so to me, that’s the biggest thrill I get from it.

Rogen [also] says Monsters vs. Aliens provided endless opportunities to ad lib.

“I found it to be one of the most improvisationally free things that I have done because it’s just you, there is no sense of, ‘We’d better get this down so we aren’t wasting people’s time’,” he says. “If you want to try it 100 different ways, there is time to do that.”

Monsters vs. Aliens opens in theaters March 27th, and also features the voices of Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, Rainn Wilson, Stephen Colbert, and Paul Rudd. Video interviews with the voice cast are available on the official website:

Continue reading: Seth Rogen: An unlikely hero [Herald Sun]