Charitable Voice Actors

02.03.2011

Celebrity charity auction site ClothesOffOurBack.org has listed a few items that some voice actor fans may be interested in bidding on: two bottles of 2008 Merlot wine autographed by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Anastasia) and Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Robot Chicken), and a dress donated by CCH Pounder (Justice League, Batman Beyond).

Both auctions end March 1, 2011. Proceeds benefit various children’s charities.

In a bit of related news, Paul Rugg (voice actor and writer on Freakazoid and Animaniacs) has announced that he is going to be auctioning off animation cells and memorabilia from shows he has worked on to help raise funds for Angels Way Maternity Home in California. Paul has a video on his Froynlaven! blog showing many of the items he’ll be donating from his own collection. We’ll provide an update when his auction officially begins.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

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

The Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is a 501c3 organization that hosts charity auctions showcasing today’s hottest celebrity attire. Items are put up for bid to the public with proceeds going to benefit children’s charities. Clothes Off Our Back was founded by actors and philanthropists Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm In The Middle,” “Raising the Bar”) and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) whose efforts, along with their celebrity and designer friends have helped improve the lives of children across the globe. For more information and to bid, log onto www.clothesoffourback.org.


Jolly Green-Grant Get Hitched

05.05.2010

Seth Green and Clare Grant at the 61st Emmy Awards, 9.12.2009 (Photo courtesy aceshowbiz.com, © Albert L. Ortega, PR Photos)

Congratulations to newlyweds Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum) and Clare Grant who tied the knot May 1st during a private ceremony at a vineyard outside of San Francisco, CA. (Weird Al Yankovic was a wedding guest.)

Grant is a native of Memphis, TN and has voiced characters on Robot Chicken.

For more photos and wedding details, visit the links below:

– People.com (5.04) — Newlyweds Green and Grant Can’t Believe Their Luck

– MTV.com (5.04) — Seth Green and Clare Grant: Wedding Details!

– People.com (5.03) — Seth Green Gets Married!

– GossipBooCrew.com (5.03) — Seth Green Got Married At Skywalker Ranch This Weekend


‘Scrubs’ Donald Faison Inspired by ‘Robot Chicken’

01.19.2010

Actor Donald Faison, who plays surgeon Dr. Christopher Turk on ABC’s dramedy Scrubs says in an interview with the Boston Herald that he was inspired “to pursue [an] interest in stop-motion animation” after voicing characters on Robot Chicken:

[Faison] became passionate about the craft when he performed a voice-over on his buddy Seth Green’s show “Robot Chicken.” He recently turned the gym at his house into a stop-motion animation studio.

“It’s been about a year and a half now that I’ve been practicing hard-core,” he said. “I would love to be a professional one day and create my own project.”

In addition to voicing nearly two dozen characters on Robot Chicken, Fiason has also provided voice-overs for Kim Possible, Higglytown Heroes, Clone High, The Boondocks and American Dad.


Seth Green News Round-up

11.18.2009

Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken) was a guest on The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien Wednesday, November 18th on NBC. You can now view the interview online: Part 1, Part 2.

– Seth is co-starring in the Disney comedy “Old Dogs” with Robin Williams and John Travolta.

The LA Times recently interviewed Seth on what it was like working with Williams and Travolta on “Old Dogs”. Here’s an excerpt:

“I’ve had a lot of surreal experiences in my life, a lot of things I have to recognize later actually happened in my real life, and this is one of them. I’d met Robin before but never worked with him, which is a totally different thing. I wasn’t nervous, per se, but I wanted to get it right, make a good first impression. So I see him on set. I was like, ‘Hey, Robin.’ He’s like, ‘I . . . love “Robot Chicken!’ ‘That . . . totally throws my game off. What did you say?’ It’s one thing to work with somebody and interact with them; it’s another thing for them, at a distance, to see something you’ve done and take note of it. That was really cool. Blew my mind.”

And in related news, on Friday, Nov. 20th Moviefone.com will be publishing a Q&A here with Green and Travolta.

“Old Dogs” opens in theaters Nov. 25th, and for anyone interested Ecoworld.com has photos of Seth from the LA premiere here and here. Also, USAToday.com has two articles featuring Seth with publicity photos here and here.

AdultSwim.com interviews Seth on the stop-motion mecha comedy series, “Titan Maximum” in which he voices the villain Gibbs and serves as producer as well.

AdultSwim.com also has 20+ video episode commentaries featuring Seth on “Robot Chicken.”

– Seth is among the celebrities interviewed on the Oct. 27th DVD release of the IFC documentary Monty Python: Almost The Truth which celebrates 40 years of the influential comedy troupe.

3news.co.nz: Seth Green Visits Armageddon Expo

Stuff.co.nz: Robot Chicken Guys Proud to be Nerdy

Stuff.co.nz: Seth’s on chicken run

– Seth Green as “Celebrity Look-A-Like” for Snoopy as “Joe Cool” on Peanuts 60th Anniversary photo contest site.

– Seth Green asks, “Dude, Where’s My Butterfinger Bar?”

Related post: 9.15.2005 — ‘Family Guy’ Cast Guests on ‘Inside The Actors Studio’


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 —


Comic-Con 2009: Wednesday-Thursday News Highlights

07.24.2009

G4 TV will host the first-ever live TV broadcast of The Star Wars Spectacular! “The Official Lucasfilm Panel” Saturday, July 25, 2-4PM ET/PT:

The panel will feature never-before-seen footage, breaking news, surprise announcements, guest stars, a live table read of an exclusive new Clone Wars script and much more. Guest panelists include Steve Sansweet (Lucasfilm’s Head of Fan Relations), Star Wars: The Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni, voice actors Matt Lanter (Anakin Skywalker), Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano), James Arnold Taylor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), Catherine Taber (Padmé Amidala), Tom Kane (Yoda), and several other surprise guest stars.

Cinema Blend has a video documentary featuring Mark Hamill as the voice of “The Watcher” for the upcoming video game, Darksiders.
+ GameTrailers.com has a “Voice Actor Diary” featuring Liam O’Brien, voice of “War, Horesman of the Apocalypse.”
+ IGN.com has a video interview featuring Hamill and O’Brien.

Toon Zone reports from the Disney 3D panel with thoughts on the Robert Zemeckis-directed CGI/3D feature film A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey coming to theaters November 2009:

Zemeckis stressed that the motion capture technology and animation he’s used in previous movies such as Polar Express and Beowulf has now been “perfected.” While I sort of liked Beowulf, the characters just came off really stiff, with very blank faces and eyes. Zemeckis discussed how for Christmas Carol, they are now mapping the retinas of the eyes to improve the facial expressions of the animation.

The first clip featured Scrooge identifying his old business partner, Marley (Gary Oldman) in the morgue. Scrooge yells at the mortician’s apprentice, Pip, and takes the coins off of Marley’s eyes. Scrooge is such a miser. Scrooge is then famously visited by Marley’s ghost, the Ghost of Christmas Past. What was impressive about the footage is that it used a lot of dialogue verbatim from Charles Dickens’ original novel. I will say, the animation and facials for these characters look much improved from Polar Express and Beowulf. The major improvement being that the characters look to be more than just walking characters.

+ G4 TV reported from the same panel that Jim Carrey will be voicing eight characters in the film.
+ Toon Zone’s comment on the Q&A with Zemeckis, when he was asked about the possible sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?:

Remember a little while back, Zemeckis hinted that there could be some sort of follow-up to the 1980’s classic, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Well someone did ask about this follow-up. Zemeckis repeated that he can neither *confirm* or deny this movie. However, Zemeckis seemed to be emphasizing the *confirm* word in his statement. The other little tidbit Zemeckis revealed that all the characters introduced before in the first movie would come back as 2-D animated characters.

G4 TV’s coverage posted Zemeckis’ full statement on this: “I can neither confirm nor deny… I will tell you this: If that ever does happen, the 2D animated characters will remain 2D. They will not be dimensionalized… but who knows. That’s my feeling if anything was to happen down the road.”

Neil Kaplan announced that he is providing the voice of Tychus Findlay for the StarCraft II video game.

MTV’s Splashpage has a preview of Stan Lee/Walt Disney Studio’s Time Jumper “digital motion comic” and reports that “the first 8-10 minute episode of the 10-part series will be released on iTunes Friday, July 24.” It features the voices of Stan Lee as Lee Excelsior and Natasha Henstridge (Species, Eli Stone, The Whole Nine Yards) as the voice of villain Charity Vyle.

– Summit Entertainment, the studio releasing the Twilight sequel New Moon and the CGI feature Astro Boy, announced that Samuel L. Jackson and Charlize Theron have signed on join the voice cast for Astro Boy. Several media sources claimed that their characters were not revealed, but after a little digging I discovered (via io9.com, linked below) that Jackson will be voicing a “killer robot named Zog, a mean junkyard robot, who has a small but pivotal role in the film,” and Theron is narrating “a little movie that opens the film — a movie within a movie” (via comingsoon.net, also linked below).
+ DaemonsMovies.com has con photos of Freddie Highmore and Kristin Bell (the respective voices of Astro Boy and Cora).
+ Yahoo! Movies has three photos of Highmore and Bell here. (And then click “next photo.”)
+ io9.com has interviews with Bell and Highmore (including a video interview with Bell).
+ ComingSoon.net has an interview with director David Bowers, who discusses Jackson and Theron’s performances.
+ SuperHeroHype has a transcript of the panel’s full Q&A, which includes quotes from Highmore and Bell. Of note here:

Bowers also revealed that the film has “quite a few” hidden references/homages to the original Japanese manga and TV series. Bowers says, “I’m not going to give away all of them. We have Osamu Tezuka (creator of Astro Boy) himself in the movie quite a lot. He’s a character actor. In the Japanese version Simo Koto Tezuko [is] doing the voice, which is really special. There are lot of characters from the ‘Astro Boy’ universe in there. You’ll see them.”

And answering how the cast was assembled, Producer Maryanne Garger says:

“It really was a goal for David and myself to have the best actors in the role for the movie. Fortunately, everyone we asked said yes. We feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful cast. Freddie, of course, is just fantastic as Astro Boy. And Kristen and Nathan. Hats off to both of them. We also have Nicolas Cage in the role of Dr. Tenma, who is Astro Boy’s father. He is a big comics fan and an anime fan. He has a real passion for the property, so it was really great to get him onboard. Donald Sutherand. How great is that? He’s our villain, President Stone. Bill Nighy is Dr. Elefun. (Huge cheers from the audience) We loved him so much we actually put him in twice. He’s Dr. Elefun and he also plays another robot character. We have Eugene Levy. There’s Nathan Lane as Ham Egg. We have Matt Lucas from “Little Britain” in the movie.

Cinema Blend reports that the video game Real Heroes: Firefighter (a Nintendo Wii exclusive) will feature the voices of Michael Jace (The Shield), James Marsters (Buffy, Angel), comedian/actor Jamie Kennedy, Jenette Goldstein (Aliens, Terminator 2), Jack McGee (Rescue Me, Malcolm in the Middle), and John DiMaggio (Futurama). A portion of the proceeds from this game will be donated to the Firefighter Cancer Support Network.

G4 TV’s coverage of The Hobbit (directed by Guillermo del Toro) panel includes the announcement that the film “should” hit theaters for the 2011 Holiday season and that they are “95% sure that Ian McKellen, [Hugo] Weaving and Andy Serkis are in for the films.”

1up.com reports that the “anime compilation Halo Legends was announced, bringing several legendary Japanese animation studios together to produce short stories based on the popular Xbox 360 franchise.”

Production I.G. (Ghost in the Shell, in-Roh: The Wolf Brigade) is producing a Halo Legends as a “seven-part series of animated films that will vary between traditional animation and CGI,” called Codename Duel.”

“The origin of the Spartans will be broken into two parts,” reports 1up.com, “While the rest of the stories will focus on different facets of the Halo universe. Each episode will feature a different cast, and will use Japanese voice actors. As of right now. casting has not been completed.”

IGN.com has coverage of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken panel:

Panel attendees were treated to a sneak peak at the upcoming second half of season four, which will include sketches featuring MASK, The Dark Knight, The Lord of the Rings, and an extended Dark Crystal parody featuring hip-hop artist T-Pain. Co-creator Matthew Senreich also told the crowd that instead of a season finale where everyone gets killed, they changed things up this year with a huge music and dance number that should certainly be different.

+ AdultSwim.com has a feature article on their “Most Awkward Comic Con Moments,” and includes quotes from voice actors Dana Snyder, Doc Hammer, Breckin Meyer, and Dave Willis. The site also has a list of the Robot Chicken creative team’s favorite sketches.
+ G4 TV has a “behind the scenes” video interview with Seth Green.

Billy Dee Williams (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) will voice a character in the new stop-motion Voltron-esque mecha spoof Titan Maximum from the Robot Chicken creative team. The new series will premiere on Adult Swim in September. (Thanks to Jeff Birnbaum for the news.)

Wired reported in May that Titan Maximum will differ from Robot Chicken because it will have a “steady narrative” rather than a series of rapid-fire comedy sketches. Wired’s description of the show: “In the 22nd century, a group of pilots called the Titan Force Five merge their spaceships to form the mega-mecha Titan Maximum, which then soldiers forth to save the universe from extinction.