|Backstage - Interviews - Wil Wheaton
Hello! First off, to those who may not be
familiar with your work, care to give us a quick rundown
of your resume, perhaps highlighting some of your most
Iíve been acting since
I was a kid, but Iím probably best-known for playing
Gordie in Stand By Me, and Wesley on Star
Trek: The Next Generation. Recently, I played a
seriously evil serial killer/rapist on Criminal
Minds, and a pretty douchey comic book publisher on
NUMB3RS. Animation fans may recognize me from
Teen Titans, Ben 10: Alien Force, or Legion
of Superheroes. When Iím not acting, Iím a writer.
Iíve published three different books, written two manga,
and have regular columns at the LA Weekly, and Suicide
Girls. I write in my blog way too much, and I founded
and run the Geek community at Propeller.com.
Now, weíre here to discuss your turn as the
Silver Age Blue Beetle in the upcoming Batman: The
Brave and The Bold episode ďThe Fall of the Blue
Beetle!Ē So Ė tell us about your role!
play Ted Kord - yes, the Ted Kord! - in a bunch of
Brave and The Bold takes a more light-hearted
approach to Batman. Do you take that into consideration
when playing the role of Blue Beetle? Do you have any
preference over a darker Batman, like in Batman: The
Animated Series, or the lighter one we see here?
Yeah, I absolutely did. My introduction to Blue
Beetle was during the late 80s in Justice League, when
he was a wisecracking, light-hearted guy who didnít take
much of anything seriously. My job as an actor is to
interpret the writerís intention in the script as
faithfully as I can, so I was lucky when I noticed that
they were looking for Ted to be similar to the Blue
Beetle I already knew.
Iím probably one of the
biggest Batman fans in the world. I love everything from
Dark Knight Returns to the Adam West series to Bob
Kaneís really early work to Gotham Knight. The only
Batman that I dislike are the sequels from the 90s. And
Alfred walking Vicki Vale into the Batcave in Tim
Burtonís Batman. I mean, itís like Alfred decided on his
own to just bring her in. ďHey, Master Bruce, I know
youíre really secretive about this whole Batman thing,
but I think itís time you took your relationship with
the effing reporter to the next level, so I took it upon
myself to just bring her right into your secret lair.
Thatís cool, right?Ē
Now, hopefully you
wonít mind if we swing off-topic for a second. Now, this
isnít your first foray into the world of animation. What
attracts you to voice-acting?
really hard to do it right, so I feel a tremendous sense
of pride and accomplishment when I get to work alongside
people like Yuri Lowenthal, Lex Lang, Kari Wahlgren, and
Diedrich Bader. While some people can be stunt cast for
their looks or whatever in on-camera roles, that just
doesnít happen in animated television, because there are
so many truly talented people available to do the work.
I feel like Iíve really earned a spot in the room with
those guys, and thatís just awesome.
Itís also a
different type of acting from on-camera, so it presents
a unique set of challenges. I didnít realize how much we
rely on subtle facial movements and body language to
convey intention and emotion when we perform, and Iíve
really enjoyed learning and attempting to perfect doing
all of that with just my voice. Also, voice acting isnít
nearly as repetitive as on-camera acting; we donít have
to do things for forty-seven different angles on Batman,
so it never gets boring or dull.
also appeared in Teen Titans and Legion of
Super Heroes, two comic book-based series. Is it
safe to assume you grew up on comics? If so, what did
you read? Do you have a favorite character?
I actually wasnít into comics as a kid, other than
the occasional EC comic or Donald Duck thing that I
grabbed off a rack in the drug store. Everything changed
in the late eighties, when I came across what was then
called the Prestige format books from DC. This was stuff
like Sandman and Hellblazer, stuff that eventually
became Vertigo. I read X-Men and Justice League, and of
course I read Batman - In fact, Batman is one of the
very few books I make time to read in single-issue
format these days - but it was Sandman, Dark Knight
Returns, and Watchmen that turned me into one of those
Canít Wait for Wednesday guys.
I donít have a
favorite character, really, but there are a few writers
who Iíll read no matter what: Warren Ellis, Grant
Morrisson, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Alan Moore, Neil
As a semi-follow-up to the
previous question, is there any comic book character you
want to take a crack at voicing? Why?
donít think any of these would ever be animated, but Iíd
love to voice any of the Endless, or any of the male
characters in Criminal. I think I could have a lot of
fun with Casanova, and Iíd actually love to see Baís
work brought to life via animation.
only do you have a substantial voice-over resume, but
youíve done a host of live-action appearances too,
ranging from Stand by Me (when you were younger)
to the lines of CSI and Numb3rs today. Do
you find working on a live-action television program or
movie more difficult than voice-acting, or vice-versa?
I love performing, and
Iím very lucky to be able to support my family doing
what I love, so I donít really prefer one over the
other; Iím grateful to have the work when I can get it.
I wouldnít say that one is more difficult than the
other, but each certainly presents a different set of
challenges. On-camera work involves a lot more than just
knowing the lines and understanding the character, his
relationships, and what the scene is about: I have to
keep the same timing on take after take, so things match
when they edit the show. I have to know where the light
is so I donít end up in a shadow or casting a shadow on
another actor. I have to stay focused when there are
dozens of people standing around watching us. I have to
do it like itís the first time, every time, even when
weíre into the third different set up, and weíve been
shooting the two page scene for hours, and weíre all
sick to death of doing it. I have to get to work around
90 minutes before we start shooting, just to get dressed
and made up, and then there are all the challenges
associated with filming at different locations all the
Voice acting presents the same set of
dramatic challenges, and makes the same set of dramatic
demands, but all the repetition and visual
considerations donít apply. We usually show up 15
minutes before we record, read through the script once,
make some notes, and then start rolling. Iíd say the
average amount of time spent recording any of the shows
Iíve worked on is about 4 or 5 hours per episode,
compared to 7 or 8 days for an on-camera show.
Now, in my previous question, I mentioned the
movie Stand By Me, which also happened to feature
Keifer Sutherland. Any chance we could see you reunited
with Sutherland on 24 sometime down the road? And
since Zachary Quinto started off in 24 and
graduated to Heroes, any chance we could see you
in Heroes in the near future? There have been
rumors of you appearing on both shows circling the net
for some time nowÖ
Iíve had two
auditions for Heroes, and I totally tanked both of them.
I was so excited to be there, and so nervous about doing
well, I was like Lenny with the rabbit behind the barn,
petting the poor thing to death because I loved it so
much. I seriously doubt that anyone at Heroes is
interested in giving me a part on the show, even though
I know that, once the anxiety about getting the job was
removed, Iím sure I could do something memorable with
whatever part I played.
So, as we begin
to wrap this up, do you have any upcoming projects youíd
like to let us know about? Let us know!
I just released the audio version of my latest book,
The Happiest Days of Our Lives, and thereís a
special edition of the book coming from Subterranean
Press in a few months. I also have some really awesome
projects in various stages of development, but I canít
talk about any of them right now.
Finally, as we bring this Q & A back to the topic at
hand, any final thoughts on your upcoming Batman: The
Brave and The Bold appearance? Any last words?
It was as much fun working on the show as I thought
it would be, and I want to publicly thank James Tucker
for giving me the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong
dream and work on something in the Batman universe.
James gave me one of the greatest jobs Iíve ever had,
working with some of the best people in the industry,
when I was Cosmic Boy on Legion. Iím delighted that
weíre working together again.
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