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Backstage - Interviews - Will Friedle

WF: Hello, Will! James Harvey from The World’s Finest (hopefully you’ve heard of the site) here! To start us off, tell us how you came into the voice-acting profession! How did you land the role of Terry McGinnis?

By luck! Bruce Timm, the executive producer of “Batman Beyond”, was casting the role of Terry McGinnis and his wife was a big “Boy Meets World” fan. She’s the one who pushed him to “bring in Will to read for the part” so that was my ‘in’! My best friend, Jason Marsden, is big in the voice-over industry so I’ve always been aware of this world.

WF: Did you ever think that Batman Beyond, particularly the character of McGinnis, would resonate so much with the fans?

I had an idea that it would be popular, but not nearly as popular as it was. Just because it’s the character of Batman, and also a younger Batman, I figured the younger viewers would really enjoy it but ultimately, the huge success of the show definitely surprised me.

You had the opportunity to play McGinnis again (a couple times) in Justice League Unlimited. In one particular episode, “Epilogue”, it seems to bring McGinnis’ story to an end, yet leave the possibilities open for more. Do you have any thoughts on the controversial “Epilogue” episode, and any thoughts on returning to the role?

“Epilogue” was actually one of my favorite episodes because I’m a big fan of mythology, so the origins of characters are always important to me. As for doing it again, I would love to play Terry again. That’s the fun part of working with the different Batman and Superman incarnations. These characters continue to come back!

Having played the role of Batman in multiple series (Batman Beyond, Justice League Unlimited, The Zeta Project, Static Shock), you must have amassed some great experiences from it. Any stories to share about your time under Batman’s famed cowl?

One of my favorite memories was working with Mark Hammill in “Return of the Joker”, that was definitely very cool. I also remember vividly the first day I met Kevin Conroy. His physical stature exactly matches his voice. When this very large man came into the room and opened his mouth, you knew this strong commanding voice would follow. It was a perfect match to my expectations of how Bruce Wayne should sound.

Now, let’s get to why we’re here - Batman: The Brave and The Bold! You play Blue Beetle, a character with a semi-regular recurring role. What makes this role different from anything you’ve done before? Why gravitate toward this character?

Normally when I’m doing a comedic sidekick, it’s someone like Ron Stoppable, who is the comic relief of the entire show and was written in to be funny. In Brave & the Bold, Blue Beetle still gets to be the hero, save people and have a cool suit all the while cracking jokes and finding his way in the world as a fledgling super hero.

You played Batman before, but now you’re somewhat a sidekick to the Dark Knight. How does that dynamic play into how you play your role?

Being a sidekick is always fun. I think there’s less pressure on the sidekick to solve the crimes and he definitely has room to explore secondary storylines and provide another perspective for the viewers.

Batman Beyond was a dark series, yet Batman: The Brave and The Bold is considerably lighter. You even worked on the incredibly violent and dark Batman: Gotham Knight. Do you have a preference between the darker roles or the more light-hearted ones? Why?

I don’t have a preference. The people that are involved with the Batman series have such a love of the character that the scripts are always amazing. The other actors are also just incredible so being involved in any version is a huge honor. Batman is one of those iconic multifaceted characters that is always exciting to work on.

Will we be seeing you take on other roles outside of Blue Beetle on Batman: The Brave and The Bold? What’s next for ol’ Blue?

There are a couple other projects I’m currently working on. I do a show called “Secret Saturdays” which airs after “Batman Brave & the Bold” on Cartoon Network. I am involved in several video games and have a couple other cartoons coming down the road. As for Blue Beetle, there is a lot of fan interest and it would be great to see him move forward in another project. We will have to wait and see what they have in store for him.

Now, you do more than voice-acting, in fact, you have a considerable fanbase from your time on Boy Meets World. Do you have plans to continue your acting in front of the camera on top of your heavy voice-acting roles?

I don’t have any immediate plans for returning to on-camera work. I’ve been working in front of the camera since I was 11 years old, and I’ve had a wonderful time doing it. Right now, I really want to focus on other aspects of this industry, particularly the voice over side.

Are there any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to let us in on?

I can’t let you in on certain things yet, but be on the look out for some fun stuff!

As we wrap this up, you’ve become a major player in the DC Animation world, thanks to your role on Batman Beyond and your current role on Batman: The Brave and The Bold. Do you hope to keep your feet in the DC pool for the foreseeable future?

I love the DC characters and everyone I’ve worked with in that world. I’ve been so honored to be part of the DC family and I’d like to continue voicing characters for as long as they will have me.

Any final thoughts you’d like to share on Batman: The Brave and The Bold as we bring this to a close?

I really hope everybody enjoys the show! As a huge animation fan myself, I can tell you this is one of the most visually exciting cartoons I’ve ever seen. The style and the stories really add up to a great experience for the viewers. It’s always nice to be involved with a show where you can’t wait to get the next script. Be sure to tell the readers that we are on Friday nights at 8pm on Cartoon Network!

Thanks, Will!

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