All I have to say is, “Will…cut your hair & let me snuggle inside your sweater.”
Photo from M.Mercer’s Facebook
All I have to say is, “Will…cut your hair & let me snuggle inside your sweater.”
Photo from M.Mercer’s Facebook
Just came across an article on behindthevoiceactors.com and saw that they compared Larry Kenney’s Lion-O to Will Friedle’s Lion-O. It’s pretty obvious that the author prefers Larry over Will, which is fine, but I have to say that I much prefer Will over Larry. Even if I didn’t love Will so much, I’d still vote for him because I actually love that he puts more effort into his Ho call. However, at the same time, is there really a comparison?
Back in the 80’s, the cartoons were so cheesy. I almost felt like I was watching one of those horribly dubbed Asian movies where American “actors” would voice over their english, or one of those violent video games they have at the arcade where the main character is talking to his comrades with an unneccessarily overexaggerated fervor. Of course, that was the 80’s and it was completely acceptable back then. Today, I’m not so sure it would fly. Plus, Will has had training in actual acting and Larry’s background is more radio personalities & voiceovers so perhaps that’s where Will is one up on Larry in the acting department? Of course one could argue that given Larry’s background in voiceovers, that he, in fact, has one up on Will.
In the end, it doesn’t matter. To each their own. I’m not going to debate over it because it’s a known fact that I FUCKIN. LOVE. WILL. You can’t change my mind. There will always be people who will love Larry for specific reasons and Will for specific reasons and it’s all good. Anyway, you can judge for yourself here. Oh, and be sure to check out the poll on the right. ;0)
It’s Will’s 35th birthday today! I’ve decided that in addition to going to work & memorizing lines & fighting my traffic ticket in court today, I would celebrate his birthday by drawing some main characters he had voiced & listening to “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons on repeat. Then I’m going to watch my favorite episode of Boy Meets World, which is What A Drag where he dresses up as a damn hot lady. I might even buy some birthday fruit basket cake from Schubert’s and eat it too. Yum.
I really enjoyed drawing these characters but it took me 17 hours and that’s a lot of time to be doodling. I may not be a real sketch artist but it was fun to try. I really hated coloring it though. Looks like it was done by a 12-yr-old. This was my first time coloring anything this large and in colored pencils. I was going to leave it in black & white but my cousin, who’s an aspiring anime artist, told me things always look better in color. Damn him for saying that. Damn him a lot because I totally ruined some parts that could have been avoided. Oh well, life isn’t perfect and neither is my coloring inside the lines. Anyway, happy birthday Will!! If you ever read this, I just want to say hi, how are you?
Per their request, I’m placing a link to their interview. I’m starting to think Will has memorized some sort of script for these interviews, haha! But seriously, hmm…
Seriously, when do I get to interview him? I certainly wouldn’t be asking these types of questions. ;0)
By Albert Ching, Newsarama Staff Writer
posted: 05 August 2011 04:10 pm ET
Cartoon Network’s new Thundercats series debuted with an hour-long premiere this past Friday, introducing updated versions of Lion-O, Cheetara, Mumm-Ra and the rest of the cast to modern audiences.
Will Friedle — you may know him as Terry McGinnis on Batman Beyond or Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World — is the voice of lead character Lion-O, and with a new episode airing tonight, talked with Newsarama about his own past as a Thundercats fan, why the time is right for a new series, and reuniting with legendary voice director Andrea Romano.
Newsarama: Will, first question is one you’ve surely gotten multiple times promoting the show, but just how much of a fan were you of the original Thundercats cartoon?
Will Friedle: I was a huge fan . I was 8 years old when Thundercats came out, so exactly my age demographic. I always say that the original Thundercats was made for me.
I had my plastic Sword of Omens, and I’ve said this to people before and it’s absolutely true, I still know where to put the cushions on my couch in the house I grew up in to make my ThunderTank. Or if I was feeling particularly bad that day, it would be a Cobra H.I.S.S., but that was few and far between.
I was a massive fan of the original show— really all the ’80s cartoons. Thundercats, G.I. Joe., M.A.S.K. and Transformers; what I consider still all the best cartoons.
Nrama: So from your perspective as both a fan and the lead voice actor, why do you think now is the right time to revisit these characters and concepts?
Friedle: I don’t know why now is the right time, it just seems to be. I think it’s been 20, 25 years, the characters are still vibrant, and still iconic, and I think enough time has passed now to where some of the original fans might have accepted a new version a little bit easier than had they done it five years after the show had ended.
I think also the state-of-the-art animation that we have nowadays really lends itself to these characters and to this story. I think people are also maybe a little more able to accept a darker story nowadays than they would have been in the ’80s; something that’s a little more real. I think when Batman: The Animated Series came out, it kind of changed everything when it came to animation and storytelling.
Hopefully, so far, it’s been working. We seem to have gotten some great reviews, and people seem to like the show, so we’re all very excited.
Nrama: Yeah, and unlike a lot of the other ’80s properties, there really hasn’t been any updated Thundercats material until this series.
Friedle: Right. It ended, and that was it. I know that there have been several attempts over the last, say, 10 years, to make the show. Man, am I glad that this is the first one to come out, because I think the scripts are just phenomenal, and if you’re a fan of Thundercats, wait until you see what happens next.
Nrama: Reviving a beloved franchise like this is always a tricky proposition, because the original fans often have very particular ideas of what made them like the shows in the first place. But with one episode aired at this point, the reaction for this has seemed to be pretty positive. Have you monitored that response at all from fans?
Friedle: We were obviously worried, because the last thing we want to do — especially as fans — is go in and ruin these iconic characters. We knew we were taking a risk with the new angle. So we were very excited that the fans seemed to accept it, and really seem to like it, and want to see what happens next.
Nrama: You’re in the lead role here, and the lead role comic book fans know you best from is, of course, Terry McGinnis in Batman Beyond. How does your approach to Lion-O compare to Terry?
Friedle: I think Terry had a much darker side to him, whereas Lion-O, especially in the first 35 minutes of the pilot, was really kind of the happy go-lucky kid. If memory serves, the first time we ever meet Terry, he’s in a fist fight in gym class, whereas Lion-O is more of the type of guy who wants to make everything better, and is a prince, but wide-eyed, and still believing in fantasy, and still believing that there’s this mythical tech out there.
I think Lion-O is far more naïve at the start about what real life on Thundera is about than Terry was about Gotham. With some of the stuff that is going to happen to Lion-O, I wouldn’t doubt that there may be a darker turn in his personality in the future.
Nrama: And Thundercats is also reuniting you with legendary voice director Andrea Romano, who you worked with on Batman Beyond.
Friedle: I’ve worked with Andrea for probably the last 15 years, and this is probably the 10th or 11th project we’ve worked together on. She’s incredible. Knows actors, knows animation, knows what is expected, and man, she can really pull it out of us.
Nrama: So given your background on live-action shows like Boy Meets World, did you ever foresee yourself working so heavily in voice acting back then?
Friedle: No. Not at all. Totally out of left field.
I had assumed that if the business would still have me — because it’s a very fickle business — that I would be a sitcom actor for my whole life. And then I hit about 30, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Just really wasn’t feeling the vibe of the on-camera work.
I was very lucky that I was able to continue to work in voiceover. I still feel the same way about going in to recording that I did the first day I went in to record Batman. There’s still the butterflies in the stomach and the wonderful kind of nervousness that you want to grab that I used to get when I went before an audience, which started to fade. As long as the business will have me, I will stay here and happily do my voice work, because it’s so much fun.
I’m starting to feel like the “Go-To” person for Will Friedle news. Maybe I should be privatizing these posts so I don’t sound insane? I’m not insane, I just love him very much. Thanks for the article, Val!
Posted 54 minutes ago by Charles Webb in Animation, Cartoon Network, Interviews
Being the lead voice actor for an iconic role for one of the most anticipated animated shows on TV can’t be easy. But Will Friedle, who voices Lion-O in the new ThunderCats series on Cartoon Network seems to take it all in stride. It’s probably no sweat for the man who’s lent his voice to cartoon heroes as diverse as future Batman to Blue Beetle. I spoke to Friedle recently about what it was like taking on his latest role, and about capturing the magic of the ThunderCats in the VO booth.
Will Friedle: You guys have done some great coverage of the show from way back and it was all very complimentary. Really cool of you guys.
MTV Geek: Thank you, too. We’ve been really excited about the show—what we’ve seen so far from the first hour has been excellent, and I’m personally really excited about the new season.
WF: Hey, we are too. It’s one of those shows where we’re psyched anytime we get to go in to record.
Geek: Getting into that, what were your feelings when you were offered the role?
WF: Uh, I’m sure that I can say my thoughts out loud. [laughs] I was so unbelievably excited. It was one of those things where I’d been a huge fan of everything ThunderCats from the time I was eight years old, when the show came out. So, an enormous ThunderCats fan, and the chance to be anything in the show—I originally read for Tygra. So to then actually find out that I was playing Lion-O was pretty amazing.
Geek: What was the take that you had in mind for the character? Or was there much guidance from the show runners?
WF: You know what it was? I’m always kind of guided by the material. So the script really—the one you saw for the first hour-long episode—was really the kind of coming-of-age story [and] I knew that’s where we were coming from in this incarnation. So, it was more the young hero, the young unproven hero at this point, which is kind of where I was coming at it from.
And frankly, it was the only thing going through my head other than “Please don’t be the guy to screw this up. Please don’t be the guy to screw this up.” I just don’t think I would have handled it well if I was the guy who ruined Lion-O. It was daunting and I was certainly nervous, but was so excited as a fan that I just wanted to sit down and let it go.
And here all the other voices in the room, I thought they all just worked so well together. Especially that first episode where we’re all coming together and learning each other and learning the energy—we just had such a blast. Very excited at this point. Still excited—I feel like that little kid getting the amazing opportunity.
Geek: Did you have any concerns about somehow matching your portrayal of Lion-O with the work done by Larry Kenney?
WF: You know, there is and there isn’t. It’s definitely a different take on Lion-O, but of course at the same time you don’t want to be the guy who, “Oh my God, after the amazing work Larry Kenney did, I’m now going to come in and screw this up.” So that was certainly a concern of mine.
Again, it’s amazing to say, but this is one of the first shows that I did where my concern wasn’t as an actor, but as a fan. Because I was such a fan of the original that I didn’t want my name associated with ruining ThunderCats. It was nerve-wracking. But hopefully we pulled it off.
Geek: You’re kind of the go-to guy for young characters and these guys going through the coming-of-age experiences. How do you tackle that expectation as an actor? Do you enjoy that perception?
WF: You know, I do. It’s one of those things where I still can’t believe it myself. Because again—and I know it sounds kind of trite but it’s true—but I’m a fan first. So it’s one of those things where I get to go in and I get to play some of these characters—whether it’s Batman or Blue Beetle or Ron Possible, I mean any of these kind of young, fun characters—and I’m just excited to be involved, frankly. It’s so much fun, we have a blast in the room, we have a blast working together, and the final products have been great. I’m feeling very excited and very lucky at this point.
Geek: Was there a particular moment in the booth with the other actors where you realized, “Hey, this is working—this is what we want it to be?”
WF: You know, you hope, you’re never sure. Especially with something like ThunderCats, which is a reboot of such a popular show. We thought we had something, [and] I thought we had something from before we even recorded when I got my hands on that first script for the hour-long episode.
Being such a fantasy fan, which I am, I felt it really was along the lines of high fantasy, which I love. So to see these characters put in that kind of world, I was all for it. So, yeah, I thought there was the possibility of having something before we even started. And then you’ve got the voices in the room, and then hearing these people say these wonderfully-written lines, it really did work. So, it was just amazing.
It was a little scary when I got to the ThunderCats call for the first time, but other than that I think we handled it well!
Geek: Looking at the tone of your show when compared against the original, what do you think the major difference is?
WF: I look at it this way: ThunderCats in the 80’s—and I shouldn’t even say just ThunderCats in the 80’s—most of the cartoons in the 80’s were incredible cartoons. Very bright, very vibrant, very big acting, very big stories, that kind of thing. Then, in 1989, 1990, Batman: The Animated Series came around and kind of changed the whole ballgame for animation, and for script, and for acting.
So, I can compare the two in that we don’t want to ruin what was done on the show in the 80’s, but at the same time, it’s like that’s the ThunderCats cartoon, and that will forever be the ThunderCats cartoon and stand alone. And this is like, ThunderCats: The Animated Series, which is like a newer, darker kind of take on these original characters. So you can compare them, but even to me as a fan, the original ThunderCats will always be the original ThunderCats. It will always stand alone. And it should, because of what it did in the 80’s.
I don’t think we’ve ruined any of the characters. I feel like we’ve added some dimensions to the characters and added some great backstory, but I don’t think there’s any that we look at and go, “Wow, I don’t recognize that character at all anymore.” So, I think in that sense, we’ve stayed true to the original 80’s cartoon and updated it with a little 2011 feel.
Geek: Who’s the standout character you love interacting with the most?
WF: Mumm-Ra used to scare the hell out of me as a kid. So to actually be in the booth and in the room—I’m usually sitting next to Robin [Atkin Downes] as he’s doing the role. So to sit together, right next to each other is pretty cool. And every time I hear his take on Mumm-Ra, I love it. And it’s still very creepy, but at the same time, I’m looking at him going, “Hopefully, it won’t scare me as much this time because I know the guy and he’s sitting right next to me.” ‘Cos when you’re eight years old, that Mumm-Ra, he can rob some sleep from ya.
So I said to Robin, I think by the third recording, “You’re gonna be the soundtrack of the new generation of kids’ nightmares. So I hope you’re okay with that.” And he just started laughing.
Geek: And obviously, without spoiling anything, did you have any favorite moments from the coming season?
WF: There’ve been so many—it’s one of those things where I think the writing is so good that they try to get some of those moments into every single episode. So there’s at least one moment if not more than one in every episode where there’s that feeling of “Man, this is cool!”
And for me, the last moment of the first season—and I’m not going to give anything away—there were a couple of moments and we finished recording and the room just silent because it was so cool, and so amazing, and well kind of sat back and let it sink in. So, yeah, there’s some pretty neat stuff coming up.
Geek: What do you think it is that keeps fans drawn back to ThunderCats after all these years? What is it for you?
WF: You know, that’s a good question. I don’t know, to be totally honest with you. I think it was very bright, it was a whole new take on a cartoon character—I mean, they’re cats. But it so easily could have been ridiculous and horrible and yet it wasn’t. It was this brilliant, new world that we were learning about with this new, young king. Again, I don’t know what it was, but it just worked, and I think that’s why it’s lasted for 20, 25 years—because there was something about it that appealed to everybody.
And I loved it, I absolutely did. I’d run home and see as much as I could, I’d pick up my plastic Sword of Omens—which, when I go back home, I’m going to look for again. So, yeah, there’s just something that grabs people and we’re hoping to recapture that same sense of wonder and hopefully be able to grab the older fans and the new generation.
Spoke too soon. I get to see him after all. Does his shirt look familiar? Must be his “Go To'” shirt.
Seeing this video today really cheered me up as I was thinking about my late grandpa. The funeral is tomorrow. It just shows how little it takes to put a smile on my face.
On another note, just got a text message from someone asking to write a screenplay together about our culinary school days. Oh the memories of drama & crazy people came flooding back to me. I’d love to write about that. It’d be an exposé! ;0)
Just sharing an interview with Will Friedle. My favorite part is where he said “It was so cool. I mean, I try to keep it cool. [In laidback voice] Yeah, I’m playing Lion-O. But man, inside I’m just jumping up and down.” He’s just like me. :0) Thank you, Miss Angela!
“ThunderCats” Star Will Friedle: “It’s just the coolest thing in the world” by Angela Henderson
I admit, I’m totally a geek. I love “Star Wars” (the first three, which are now the last three), I love comic books and comic book movies and especially animated series based on comic books or even action figures…
It all started with the “Wonder Woman” TV series and “Super Friends” when I was a little girl. That morphed into “G.I.Joe” and “ThunderCats” when I got a little older and then “Batman: The Animated Series,” “WildC.A.T.S,” “X-Men,” “Batman Beyond” and now the DC Universe animated movies.
So, it’s no surprise that I love talking about those things. But I never dreamed I’d get to talk about them with someone who’s actually been a part of some of them…
Yet, there I was, talking cartoons, “Star Wars” and much more with Will Friedle, who gave voice to Batman/Terry McGinnis in “Batman Beyond.” He’s currently the voice of Lion-O in the Cartoon Network’s update of ThunderCats, which premieres Friday, July 29th at 8 p.m.
Here’s the transcript of our conversation as we talked about “ThunderCats,” giving voice to the ThunderCat call (“Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCats, ho!”), why we won’t see him on camera again and the wonderful creepiness of one of my all-time favorite animated movies, “Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker.” Plus, Will interviewed me a little about what I thought about the new show…
Tell me how you got involved in “ThunderCats.”
I always say luck. Every time I get to do a show like this, I always attribute it to luck. Luck and friends, I think I would say. I’ve been lucky in that I was able to work with these producers before on a number of other shows and the director Andrea Romano for many, many years. But then like everything else, like every other actor, I had to go and audition. I mean, they don’t just give you anything, no matter how friendly you are. You’ve got to go and you’ve got to earn it. And I originally read for the role of Tygra and started there and found out four or five days later that in fact, I was going to be playing Lion-O and I was just ecstatic.
It was so cool. I mean, I try to keep it cool. [In laidback voice] Yeah, I’m playing Lion-O. But man, inside I’m just jumping up and down.
So I’m going to presume that means you were a fan, or are a fan, of the original.
Was and am. Yes, huge. I was eight years old when “ThunderCats” came out. So I was exactly the demographic for this show and I would run home and watch this as often as I could and it was the coolest thing in the world. I think one of my first crushes ever was on Cheetara. So the idea that I got a chance to then do the new version of the show was…I still don’t really believe it. It’s funny, Matthew Mercer, who plays Tygra, occasionally whether it’s after the ThunderCats call or some other cool ThunderCats line, we’ll both look at each other and again, it’s like we’re both nine years old and kind of going, “Can you believe we’re actually doing this? Like, this is the coolest thing in the world.” So yeah, we’re pretty excited.
I watched the first two episodes of the show and I was a fan of the original, I admit. You mentioned the call, that’s the moment you’re waiting for. Like the whole hour, you’re like, “Would he just pick up the sword and do it already!”
So tell me, the first time you did it, was it like this rush?
Actually, the very first time I did it was during rehearsal and I stopped before I did it. We were reading the lines, you know, you read it like a straight radio play so all the actors are in the room. Everybody’s reading their dialogue and I think by about the second line of the page, I was looking down at the bottom and I realized it was coming. And I started getting nervous and by the time it was there, I stopped. And the whole room was quiet and I looked up at Andrea and I said, “I don’t know if I can do it.” And then Kevin Michael Richardson, who plays Panthro, grabbed me and started shaking me back and forth yelling, “I want to hear it! I want to hear it!” So, I’m shaking back and forth the very first time that I actually did it. But, yeah, it was, when we actually got a chance to record, I was a little more relaxed and I was able to give it a little more voice. I think I had a smile just etched on my face the next day and a half knowing that I had an opportunity to do that.
Well it was awesome…
Thanks, now you said you were a fan of the original show. So what did you, did you like the first pilot? Do you like the hourlong episode?
I do. You mentioned Cheetara. As a girl you relate to the girl heroes. And I always thought she was such a wimp in the original. And I always hated that.
Oh yeah. Not any more.
Yes, in this one it was like finally, we get to see her kick butt and take names.
Oh, and it’s just starting too. Wait until you see some of the stuff that’s coming down. It’s awesome. She’s awesome. It’s very cool.
I’m glad you liked it, though. I like to hear from the original fans whether this is something they really enjoyed or not. So I’m glad that you enjoyed it.
Well it’s a great update. The spirit is the same, but obviously the storyline and the origin are taking a different take. And I think that’s good.
I think so too. We also, you know, I’m a huge fan of fantasy. That’s pretty much all I read. So I love the idea that they’ve gone almost the high fantasy route with the kings and the queens. I love that kind of stuff. So, very excited for a lot of the stories coming up.
You’re so familiar with this world, you know how it is. You know there are people out there going, “Why are they doing this? Why are they screwing this up?” What would you say to the original fans to kind of put them at ease?
The first thing I would say was give it a shot. Because there’s a lot of people out there that are saying…which is how I was for instance when I heard they were remaking “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” It was that initial, what are you kidding me? I’m never going to watch this. What were you thinking? And then after about a month my friends were like just sit down and watch it. And I watched it and I went okay. They went a completely different route. It was very entertaining. I could separate it from the original. So that’s the first thing I would say would be give it a chance and watch the show. If you were a fan of the original show, just sit down and watch it and then make your judgment. Because I think we’ve kept, like you said, to the spirit of the original show. I think we’ve maybe improved on the story arc a little bit, a little bit of the backstory and you get to delve a little deeper into the characters. And I think that’s really what it comes down to. I was such a huge fan of the show, the original show, and such a huge fan of the original characters, that to me, as a fan, getting to read these scripts and seeing some of the backstory and creating some of the stuff that maybe we didn’t know before I find very exciting. So I think the fans of the original will feel the same way. So they can kind of say, “Okay, I see what they’re doing, they’ve gone a little bit of a different route, but all the characters are there, they’ve kept the characters with essentially the same personalities they should have. They’ve just amped them up a little bit and I think fans are going to be happy. We also understand that there are going to be purists and you can’t possibly please everybody, but I think we’ve really tried. And I do believe that as a fan of the show, I could watch the show even if I wasn’t involved and go, “Hey, wow, this is pretty darn good.” So, yeah, I’m excited to see what the people will say. I know some people are hesitant but I think once the show airs and people really get into the story, they’re going to be pretty excited.
Now you’ve been down this road before with “Batman Beyond” because there was this same kind of talk of what are they doing and what is this new character and that obviously went very well. Were there some lessons that you learned from that experience that are helping you with this one?
The lessons that I really learned from “Batman Beyond” were about myself as a voice actor. That was the first show that I had ever really done. And talk about trial by fire. It’s like, “Oh, you’ve never done an animated series before. Well, now you’re Batman.” So it was kind of one of those oh man, wow. And I was so lucky to have people like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill and these other really wonderful actors around me. Kevin Conroy, who of course, is Bruce Wayne and was Batman in the original animated series, has that amazing deep bass gravely voice. He kind of took me under his wing in the voiceover world. And it’s little things, the diaphragm and the breathing and stuff like that. From “Batman Beyond,” I really learned more about how to be a voiceover actor than anything else.
As for the show, you can just never tell. You do some shows that you’re sure are going to be huge hits that nobody likes and other shows where you’re like I don’t really know about this one and they become enormous. So you never know. When we did “Batman Beyond,” I loved doing “Batman Beyond,” I loved the story, I loved playing the character and that’s how I feel about “ThunderCats” and that’s really all I have to go off of is the fact that I’m having a blast and I know the rest of the cast is having an amazing time. We love the scripts. We’re constantly sitting there talking and it’s one of the first shows I’ve ever been on where when we’re not recording, the actors we’re texting each other, we’re e-mailing each other. “Hey what do you think of this?” That’s kind of a new experience for me in an animated series where we’re even when the show’s not going on talking about the project all the time. And I think that bodes well. I think that’s a good sign for things to come, so yeah, we’re all very excited at this point.
So, is there some kind of frame of mind or process that you do before you head in there and start recording?
Not really. You obviously want to have read the script and gone through your lines and tried to see the tone because again with something like “ThunderCats,” the tone will change occasionally from episode to episode, whether it’s an episode that is a darker type of episode that leads into the arc or like the original episode where there’s occasionally an episode or two that are a bit lighter and a bit more kind of 80s “ThunderCats.” So you really kind of have to set the tone the night before when you’re reading the script and knowing what you’re getting in for and then it’s just everybody getting in and playing. And Andrea Romano’s great with that. We go in and we read the whole script back to front in just a readthrough so everybody gets to know what’s going on, everybody gets to know the tone. And then we just jump right into it. It’s more the process of getting prepared to actually record than it is getting into character or anything along those lines.
I know you can’t say much, because there were a lot of twists and turns just in the first hour. But, give me a little teaser about what people are going to get.
[Laughs] A little teaser. Let’s see. What can I throw out that won’t get me in trouble? You know, it’s one of those things where there’s going to be some very cool backstories that you get to learn about. Some old characters that people were sure weren’t coming back may be, and there’s again a lot of, like you said, there’s twists and turns in the first couple episodes, just wait to see what’s happening. It’s twists and turns all over the place and it becomes pretty cool. So I think everybody’s excited. Again, I don’t want to give too much away. But I think, it’s one of those things where legitimately the scripts kept getting even better and better and better. To the point that when we recorded the last one of the first season, it was stunned silence when we finished. It was one of those kind of like, man, that’s awesome. So we’re pretty excited to see everything come down when the animation gets back.
I would compare the end of the first hour to an “Empire Strikes Back” situation where the heroes are like oh, what do we do now? We’re going to get together and we’re going to…
Right, exactly. It has the bit of the “Star Wars” at the beginning with the young kid trying to find himself into “The Empire Strikes Back.” And we’ll just skip “Jedi” and the other three movies. [Laughs]
Did I just reveal my geekiness to you? I’m sorry.
Are you kidding? I could talk about this stuff forever. [Laughs]
What are the kinds of movies and books and characters that you’re really into right now?
It’s one of those things where I love reading. You talk about geekiness, if I had a hobby it would be reading. I know that sounds odd…
No, I’m right there with you, so it’s okay.
So good. So yeah, I try to read everything fantasy I can get my hands on. And I’ve gone through, you name it, I’ve gone through it. Whether it’s Terry Goodkind or Robert Jordan or David Eddings. I actually just read a great series by a woman out of Washington named Robin Hobb, who wrote a series called “The Assassin’s Apprentice,” which was really, really good. So, yeah, that type of high fantasy I enjoy. David Eddings called it building the world and I love to think of a writer sitting there with a blank piece of paper and completely building a world of his or her own whether it be the caste system or the magic system, whatever they have to do they have to start from the beginning. And I love that. I’m always drawn to that kind of thing. And that’s one of the reasons why I love this iteration of “ThunderCats” so much. That’s really what they did. They took these amazing characters and took the world that was already built and just kind of added a little bit more structure to it, which I think really brought it into kind of the high fantasy world, which you know, had me at page one. So, I was very excited to be a part of this.
You’ve carved out such a great voice career for yourself. Are there any projects coming up where we’ll see you in front of the camera again or do you really just enjoy the voicework now?
No, I hit 30 and I retired. I’d done it for 20 years and I came to the realization I just, I couldn’t do it anymore. On camera is a much different world and it was one that I enjoyed. I thoroughly enjoyed for a while, but I hit a certain age and said, “You know what, I don’t think I can do this anymore.” And I was so lucky in my voiceover career that I was really able to continue to do that which was, it became…It was one of those things where I had never done voiceover before and then I started “Batman Beyond” and about minute two I was hooked. It’s just the greatest job in the world. You are working with the most wonderful people in the world. It’s such an interesting form of acting. It’s just you and a microphone and they had me. By that point, it was one of those things where I said, hey, if they’ll allow me to continue to do this then this is what I want to do forever. So, I’ve been very excited. And then when you get to smile and say, by the way, I’m Lion-O, it’s like come on. It’s just the coolest thing in the world. Any time you can look at your nephew and say I’m Batman and Lion-O and not be lying, that’s pretty cool [Laughs]
Well, if I can share one more geeky thing with you, I still think that “Batman Beyond: The Return of the Joker” is one of the creepiest and coolest animated movies ever made. That was a great piece of work that I don’t think got the recognition that it deserved.
Well thank you. Yeah, that was one of four or five days of solid recording. We just had so much fun. I was literally sitting between Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill so it was kind of one of those looking around left to right going um, one of these people doesn’t seem to belong here and I think it’s me. So, what the heck is going on? And we had a great time and I agree. I think that’s a phenomenal movie.
Well I mistakenly watched it alone in the dark the first time I saw it. I think I was creeped about for about three days. Just that moment when [SPOILER OMITTED]…
Now did you watch the unrated version?
No. I have it. I figured sometime in the daylight I’m going to watch it.
You should because if you were creeped out by the original, wait until you see the flashback scene of the one that’s unedited. That one is pretty intense.
Okay, sometime when my husband’s here…
Yeah, that is a lights on situation. Not a by yourself in the dark situation. [Laughs]
You can see more of my thoughts on “ThunderCats” in tomorrow’s “Stay Tuned” column in “The Herald-Dispatch.
Photo Credits: Cartoon Network and Warner Home Video
Ok, I know I said no expectations but I just can’t help but do the happy dance right now. His name wasn’t mentioned and I’m not expecting him to be there but I just can’t help but hope. Oh Will, please don’t disappoint me again. Please! *wishing & hoping & praying*
3:30–4:30 p.m. ThunderCats Premiere Episode Screening and Q&A – Comic-Con, Ho! From the moment this series was announced, fans have answered the call — now, the wait is finally over as Warner Bros. Animation is proud to bring the fans at Comic-Con the world premiere of this all-new reimagining of the beloved ’80s franchise. Lion-O, Tygra, Panthro, Cheetara, Wily Kit, Wily Kat and Snarf are back! After the screening, producers Michael Jelenic (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Ethan Spaulding (Avatar: The Last Airbender), art director Dan Norton (G.I. Joe: Resolute) and members of the voice cast will discuss what viewers can expect in the first season of this exciting new series. ThunderCats premieres in a special one-hour episode on Friday, July 29 at 8/7c on Cartoon Network. Become a fan of ThunderCats on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thundercats. Room 6A
Sooo…I was reading up on the Wondercon schedule and read this:
ThunderCats Special Video Presentation and Cast/Producer Q&A— ThunderCats Ho! The cats will be loose on Sunday as WonderCon hosts the first-ever panel for this all-new animated series produced by Warner Bros. Animation, coming soon to Cartoon Network. Based upon the iconic 1980s action classic, ThunderCats is the epic tale of Lion-O and his battle against evil in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power. Fans will feel the magic and hear the roar as producers and cast unveil their vision for the show, debut exclusive footage and answer questions about one of the most highly anticipated animated series of the year. Esplanade Ballroom
Umm, yeah. I was meant to see Will Friedle in person. Yes, that is what I believe. Haha! I don’t know if he will be there for sure but it’s just a good chance, I guess. *crossing fingers* Good thing I’m prepared for this anyway. I’ve loved Will since 1993, that’s even earlier than Paulo. Wow, hope this doesn’t turn out like my Paulo Saga all over again. It was as if the powers that be were working against me that day. Yeah, I don’t think I could handle another day like that.
I wonder what I would say if I actually ran into Will at Wondercon while just randomly walking around. I imagine it’d go something like this:
WILL, wearing dark colors with jeans, is casually walking around looking at different booths on the floor. Multiple teenagers are walking around, some dressed in costume.
AVA, wearing bright colors, is using the web on her cell phone, not paying attention to where she’s going.
Ava bumps into Will, looks up and apologizes. Will simply smiles. Ava’s eyes grow large and she opens her mouth to speak but nothing comes out until Will speaks.
A: Hello…umm, are you Will Friedle?
W: That’d be me, yes.
A: Oh wow, ok. Hi, I’m Ava.
W: Hi Ava, I’m Will. Nice to meet you.
A: Me? Nice to meet YOU! I’ve loved you since 1993. I used to have your picture on my wall. I even have your picture on my phone, see? (raises phone to Will’s face) And I can’t believe I just told you that.
W: It’s ok, thank you though.
A: Can I take a picture with you?
Will and Ava pose for a picture while a random person takes it.
A: Thank you so much! This is a dream come true!
W: Aww, you’re welcome, it was my pleasure.
Ava gives Will a hug and they go their separate ways.
My ideal meeting is a little bit quirky. I’d rather meet him in a more crazy way, as if we were in a comedic parody of a soap opera. Not comedy, not dramedy, but stupidity.
AVA is wearing the Kim Possible costume and sprints around Wondercon yelling, “RON!!! RON! Where are you?! RON!!!”
WILL hears her call and is in the same area with her in a flash. They see each other. A big, open-mouthed smile appears on both their faces as they’re running towards each other. When they touch, they give each other a big spinning hug. They gaze into each other’s eyes.
A: I can’t believe it. We’ve only known each other for such a short time and we’re already so in love.
W: I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. Anyone who dares to run around calling my character name in character to find her character’s significant other is significantly magnificent to me out of character. Please. Tell me, what is your name?
A: My name is Ava, but I won’t bother to ask you for your name because I know your name already. I don’t waste time, as moments like these pass by so quickly, I can’t bare to take the chance-
W: Oh Ava, it’s so good to know you don’t like to waste time. Let’s skip getting to know each other, dating, engaging, and almost calling off the wedding over a stupid fight about nothing, marriage, a dog, a house, and kids. Let’s just go straight to retirement and growing old together. What say you?
A: I…I…oh WILL! Yes! Yes! I would love to! This is the best day of my life! I’ve always dreamed of what it would be like to hold your hand, to touch your face, to see myself in your beautiful hazel eyes. Please, tell me, can I borrow twenty dollars? I’m famished and their pasta dishes look…expensive.
W: Twenty dollars? Twenty dollars?? My god! Have twenty five! My love only deserves the best! Add shrimp! Let me feed you with eco-friendly, biodegradeable chopsticks so that our marriage will not impact any further damage to our already dying planet. And THAT is how we will be superheroes and save the world.
A: Oh Will, I always knew you cared.
Will grabs Ava by the waist, pulls her toward him, dips her and gives her a sloppy, grotesque, cheek-licking, open-mouthed, tongue sloshing kiss.
W: I’ll be your lip moisturizer, my love.
A: Oh my. You’re a pro.
They kiss again in the same disgusting way.
And THAT would definitely be the worst script I’ve ever written in 15 minutes or less. LOL! Sometimes, you just have to write a bunch of crap to mold your words into emotions. Do I really wish I could meet him this way or that? No. I don’t want to imagine these kinds of things because anything and everything can happen, just like my unpredictable Paulo Costanzo drama day. As long as I don’t have any expectations, fate will take its course. If he’s there, it will be a pleasant surprise. If not, I won’t be utterly disappointed. If only I could jump into my future to take a peek so that I can rewind back and prepare for the worst. If only…