VO Behind The Scenes: Transformers
Transformers has been one of the world’s most popular entertainment franchises for over 25 years, spawning lines of toys, comic books, t-shirts, merchandise, and, oh yeah, even a few cartoon series and movies. With all of the attention the films and the ensuing video games have received over the past few years, I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights of the extensive voice over work that goes on behind-the-scenes of Transformers to bring all those memorable characters to life.
This first video gives us some great interviews with the voice cast behind the video game based on last year’s sequel film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
While all of the voice actors involved are very talented, it’s interesting to none that none of them are celebrities, just good old-fashioned voice actors. The most recognizable of the group is John Di Maggio, who’s probably best known for his role as Bender on the hit series Futurama.
In the next video, we get to meet the voices behind the Transformers in Michael Bay’s blockbuster 2007 film. I think the most fascinating part of this video is watching voice actor Jess Hartnell try to get the timing down in a scene between Spike and an evil Transformer, using beeps as a timing marker. As you can see, he nails the take (and even comments, “That felt pretty good.”) That’s an interesting tool that isn’t necessarily the norm in voice overs, but clearly in a film of this magnitude, the producers use every advantage at their disposal to get the best performance they can.
I also love watching Hugo Weaving switch back from his Megatron voice to his regular voice (and you even get a sense of how difficult talking like Megatron is on his vocal folds). It goes to show how different one voice actor can make himself sound when throws himself into a role.
In the final video, we are treated to an interview with Peter Cullen, discussing returning to his iconic role of Optimus Prime for the first time in 20-plus years. Cullen is one of the most highly-regarded voice actors in the world, and probably one of the most famous. It’s very interesting to hear him discuss the physical aspects of voicing the big red guy as well as the more character-driven parts of it. It’s clear that Optimus Prime’s motivations affect Cullen’s performances as the lead Transformer, and I don’t think anyone else could fill Prime’s considerably large shoes.
Just like the Transformers themselves, voice acting is always “More than meets the eye!”
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