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X-Men Anime: Voicing Cyclops
(Originally Posted January 5, 2012)
Scott Porter loves the X-Men. Even before landing the gig of voicing Cyclops in the English-language version of their anime, Porter was a devoted Marvel and X-Men fan. Lending his strong vocal talents to the cast of "X-Men" and giving Cyclops an authoritative presence, Porter helped bring the team's anime adventure to life for English-speaking audiences. Continue below for more from Porter about the series and his love for all things Marvel.
Question: I know you’re a big Marvel and comics fan, so what was your first reaction when you heard you got the role of Cyclops in the "X-Men" anime? Has your view of the character changed since your work on the show?
Scott Porter: I was driving down the road on the way home from work when [Head of Marvel Television] Jeph Loeb called and asked if I'd be interested in playing Cyclops. I pulled over and asked him if he was kidding me. True story. Now, I was never really a huge Cyclops fan. I always found him to be a bit of a stick in the mud and too much of a goody-goody to really be interesting to me. I've always been a fan of the characters who have yet to reach their full potential for one reason or another, who are overshadowed and sometimes don't realize how powerful they are. Iceman and Havok really spoke to me for ages and were my favorites, so I really connected with the other Summers brother.
That being said, once I got into Cyke and really started putting in my research, I found him to be way more interesting than I had before. He's always had responsibility thrust upon him, and he's always responded by being a leader. Not a perfect leader mind you, but someone who has the courage to step up and take that role regardless. Not a lot of people can do that, but Scott did time and time again. He's suffered loss after loss with his parents and with Jean and with Nathan, and somehow has always pulled it together and stood tall. He's led a ragtag group of oppressed outsiders without flinching.
The other aspect of him that I really began to appreciate is just why he is always so in control. What forces him to always check himself. It's his power. His raw power, his ability to level towns if he wanted to. He is dangerous and he has to be in control or people get hurt.
So yeah, I'd say my opinion of him has changed.
Question: Were there any challenges to voicing Cyclops?
Scott Porter: The challenge with Cyke in this series was not to allow him to wallow in his self-pity too much. He can often be a bit emo in shows like this, especially starting where the anime began, right at the end of Jean's Dark Phoenix saga. I think we found a good mix and a good arc for him during this series; we figured out how to bring him out of that darkness and make him a leader again.
The other challenge was just that--making him sound authoritative, making him sound like a leader. You can't do the typical moves of giving him a gruff tone like a lot of cartoon leaders have because Wolvie is there doing that. We had to find a nice pitch for him. That was fun.
Question: Apart from some work on "Robot Chicken," I believe this was your first voice over role--what was the experience like overall?
Scott Porter: This was my first real voice over work outside of "Robot Chicken" and the video game "X-Men: Destiny." I did the game and the cartoon concurrently and man, are they two different worlds, both of which are entirely different than acting on screen or on stage. You have to really find yourself, and it's a struggle to make it real with all of the action involved in the genre of this show.
The really tricky thing that folks have to understand about this particular show is that it was already produced, voiced, and aired in Japanese. So all the "lip flaps," when the character is opening and closing his mouth, was built for an entirely different language. It was a real adventure not only trying to translate the dialogue to English but also doing it in a way that fit the art. We wrote and re-wrote a ton of lines to try and get it right.
To be completely honest, I think you can feel a little stiffness in my voice in the game and the anime early on, but I think we really started to find something great as we went along. I can't wait to get another crack at it.
Question: As a fan, what was your favorite part about the series?
Scott Porter: Figuring out the identity of the main villain was one of my favorite moments. The back and forth with Wolverine throughout the series was another. That is just classic X-Men right there. And the teasers at the end of the episodes of all the mutants outside of our show...I'd love to see some of those characters anime'd up.
Question: What are some of your personal favorite X-Men stories?
Scott Porter: Wow. Too many to count. The first Nimrod saga was my first introduction to the X-World. Watching Harry Leland die made this universe so dangerous to me that it grabbed me immediately. This wasn't a book where no one bit it or where everyone was safe, and it intrigued me. Peter David's X-Factor runs--both the '90s and current--are some of the best X-books ever. His grasp on relationships is untouched. "Days of Future Past" and the "Dark Phoenix Saga" go without saying. Inferno was a blast. I read that as a kid and it was my favorite of that '80s period. I'm really enjoying Regenesis, it got me back in on the main X-books after being away for a bit and I'm enjoying the Schism stuff.
Question: What other Marvel heroes/series are you a fan of right now?
Scott Porter: Other characters I'm really into? I love the Guardians of the Galaxy and all of the books that came out of Annihilation. The galactic scale books are great for me. SECRET WARRIORS was a book I really enjoyed. Bring back NEXTWave! Please?
I'm always a Hawkeye guy, I love Iron Fist, and I've loved Hercules for the past few years. Really love seeing Alpha Flight in most of their forms, and I tend to follow [writer] Greg Pak around from book to book.
Question: If you could voice any other character in the Marvel Universe, who would it be?
Scott Porter: Wow. I'd go with Iceman, Human Torch, Hawkeye, Iron Fist, Madrox, or Quicksilver...I don't think I can choose just one. Give me a call and I'll do ‘em all.
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