THE STORY ·
MAIN CHARACTERS ·
Actor Josh Keaton sat down with Marvel Animation Age to discuss his new project Spider-Man: Edge of Time, an all-new video game adventure from
Activision, Beenox, and Marvel Entertainment. Keaton voices the Amazing Spider-Man, the classic Marvel Super-Hero who finds himself in the midst of a devastating plot
that could destroy both himself and the future.
Keaton's no stranger to the web-slinger, having voiced him in the critically-acclaimed The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, which
wrapped up its 26-episode run back in November 2009. Spider-Man: Edge of Time, available to own on all major video game consoles as of October
4th, 2011, is just one of many projects Keaton currently has on the go. To find out more about Spider-Man: Edge of Time, and other projects
Keaton currently has in the works, continue reading below...
Marvel Animation Age: Quickly run us through Spider-Man: Edge of Time and your role in the game. Is it exciting to the play the ‘real’
(aka “Amazing Spider-Man”) for the game? How does your performance here differ than your take on “Ultimate Spider-Man" in last year’s hit
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions game?
Josh Keaton: I can't lie, it's pretty sweet to be Amazing. It's familiar territory because Spectacular was pretty much a younger Amazing
with a few Ultimate elements mixed in. The sound of the performance isn't too different from Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. I originally
went in to the Spider-Man: Edge of Time sessions with a voice closer to my speaking voice but the problem that kept arising is that Chris Daniel Barnes
and I have speaking voice pitches in a very similar place and with there being so much dialogue between the two Spideys, it would get hard to tell who was saying
what. As a result, Chris pitched his voice down and I pitched mine back up to Spectacular/Ultimate territory.
MAA: How much information on the game do you have when you go in to do your voice work? Would you call the experience similar to voice acting for
JK: It really depends on the game but there are definitely some significant differences between the typical animation session and the typical video
game. With animation sessions, you get the script about a week in advance and read with the rest of the cast (unless there's a scheduling issue that
prevents this). With video games, most of the time it's an ice cold read, meaning you don't really see the script until you're in the booth and about
to record. Also, many times with video games, the script you're reading from is simply a list of your lines only. No stage directions, no narrative, no
other characters lines! As you can imagine, it's insanely difficult to know what's going on and how to act appropriately when you're acting with
absolutely no context. With video games, you have to ask a lot of questions to make sure that your scene choices are appropriate, and trust
that the voice director (who know what they've heard and/or want to hear from the other actor) will keep your performances consistent with each other.
With animation sessions, you usually read it radio drama style, in order from the beginning of the episode to the end (this doesn't apply with films -
they jump all over the place). With video games, you record the cutscenes in no particular order and then there's a massive amount of incidental in-game
dialogue as well as the grunts, pain sounds, death sounds, etc. Fight sounds are very stressful on the voice so they usually record all the painful
stuff at the end so that we don't lose our voices for the scenes.
MAA: Do you get to see footage of the game when you go in to contribute? If so, how different is it when you see the finished project?
JK: Sometimes, but it's usually very basic, lots of rough/unrendered stuff. Seeing the finished project is like seeing it for the first time.
MAA: Did you get a chance to play last year’s Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions? Any thoughts on it?
JK:Most definitely. I loved the art styles. On one of the Ultimate levels, there's this section where you have to run, jump, and swing really
quickly to get away from these waves and Nolan North's Deadpool with his relentless taunting made me go absolutely insane. I felt what Spidey's foes
must feel when he just won't shut the eff up.
MAA: Do you think fans who enjoyed Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions will enjoy Spider-Man: Edge of Time? Would you call this game a
sequel, or its own beast entirely?
JK:It has common elements with Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions but it's definitely its own game. I'd say it's akin to playing a Spider-man movie
or comic arc.
MAA: You voiced Peter Parker on The Spectacular Spider-Man, the most acclaimed Spider-Man cartoon to date. Care to share any fond memories of
working on that cartoon? Any highlights in particular?
JK: It was a madhouse when we would have Kevin Michael Richardson, John Dimaggio, and Darren Norris in the same room. So much hilarious banter and
crazy voices going back and forth. That's not just limited to that show, however. As for highlights…I have trouble remembering last week let alone 4
years ago. Plus the fact that I've worked with them on many projects since…it's all a blur.
MAA: While new episodes of The Spectacular Spider-Man are unlikely to happen, would you return to the project if given the chance? Why would you
return? Do you find your take on Spidey in that cartoon influencing your work on Edge of Time?
JK: If it could happen again I'd jump at the chance. I'm not the only one who wants to see what the hell Harry's gonna do next, and I really wanted
to see where Stan Carter ended up. The last thing he said was kind of creepy. Yes, my Spider-Man: Edge of Time portrayal is heavily influenced by The Spectacular Spider-Man.
It also helps that both projects have the same great voice director - Jamie Thomasson.
MAA: You’ll be tackling a whole different type of hero when Green Lantern: The Animated Series debuts for a one-hour special in November 2011. Care
to fill us in on Hal Jordan’s space adventures and how he differs from Spider-Man?
JK: The show's going to center around Hal and Kilowog (buddy cop vibe). While Earth will figure into the show, it's not an Earth based show.
The universe is the limit. Spidey's a neighborhood hero, Hal's got a freaking massive neighborhood. I see Hal as funny, but not Spidey/jokey funny.
I still see him as a military man with a certain amount of military bearing. He's also a bit more comfortable in his own shoes than Peter.
MAA: How true will the Green Lantern cartoon play to the comic mythos? And what of the CGI animation? Do you think it’ll work for a cartoon such
JK: It's going to pull from different parts and there will be some new things but the comics are definitely the backbone for the show. I've been
seeing some final renders and the CG looks great. I can't wait to watch it in hi-def.
MAA: Comparing Green Lantern to Spider-Man is like apples to oranges. Do you find them to be possibly two sides of the same coins, or on completely
different ends of the spectrum. Do you find that you have to stretch a little when playing Hal as opposed to a character like Spider-Man (or even Flash
in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths)?
JK: They're of the same coin but Hal's definitely different from Spidey. Spidey really tends to think things through whereas Hal has this pretty much
unfailing instinct that keeps him out of hot water. I personally tend to approach problems the Spidey way so it was a change to play a character as
immediately sure of everything he does as Hal. The humor was also a bit different to pull off. Spider-man is a ham even when you take away spider-pig and
Spider-ham. Hal is drier and more off the cuff. Again, I tend to do things more the Spidey way so Hal's humor took a little thinking.
MAA: Your voice work on Green Lantern sounds noticeably different than your work on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Edge of
Time. Is it a plus to be able to stretch and play such characters in such different situations (like Hal in space or Spider-Man time-traveling to save
his own life)?
JK: Without a doubt. It's always fun to get cast in something completely different from what I usually do. Yes, I've voiced several superheroes and
Hal is a superhero, but most of my roles have been younger (teenage) roles. Hal's a man. He's taller than me and has the squarest jaw I've ever…er…voiced.
I'm also working on a new to Nickelodeon show called Winx Club in which I play an evil wizard. It's definitely a plus to get to play parts different
from my usual. It keeps things fresh and keeps the imagination sharp.
MAA: To continue on the voice acting questions for a moment, how was it sharing the spotlight with Christopher Barnes in Spider-Man: Edge of Time,
also a favorite in the Spider-Man fan community. Or even getting to work with the likes of Katee Sackoff or Val Kilmer?
JK: I actually didn't get to do any in-studio work with Val or Katee. It would have been cool to work with Katee - I'm a huge fan of her's from
Chris is a great guy; we had an instant rapport and it was effortless to work with him. I'm also friends with Dan Gilvezan and what struck me is how
similar all of our personality types are. There really is a Spider-man type. At least with voice actors.
MAA: Lastly, to wrap things up, tell us why we should rush out to pick up Spider-Man: Edge of Time on October 4th – give us one last teaser!
JK: It's two Spider-Men, a Batman, and Starbuck. How could you not?
Marvel Animation Age would like to thank Josh Keaton for taking the time to participate in this Q & A! Much appreciated, Josh!
Spider-Man: Edge of Time is available for all major consoles - Playstation 3, XBox 360, Wii, Nintendo 3DS, and the NintendoDS - as of October 4th, 2011. Click on the links at the top of this
page to check out other details and aspects - including bios, images, videos and more - for Spider-Man: Edge of Time.