Animated Shorts: Voicing the Hulk with Fred Tatasciore

Hulk VS. Thor Preview 4

Hulk VS. Wolverine Preview 2
Hulk VS. Wolverine Preview 2
Hulk Vs. Wolverine

When we last interviewed Fred Tatasciore, he was awarded the role of voicing the Hulk “for life,” by head Marvel Animation man Craig Kyle.

You’re going to hear, and even see, a lot more of him in the very near future. Not only is Fred the central character of the Hulk vs. Direct-to-DVD release coming next week. He’s also the Beast in the upcoming Wolverine & The X-Men series. But that isn’t all. He’s currently doing multiple roles on Cartoon Network’s Secret Saturdays and apparently has a sizeable role coming in the Nick series Planet Sheen.

As for seeing Tatasciore? He and buddy Nolan North are werewolves in the upcoming Anthony Hopkins/Benecio Del Toro film The Wolf Man.

To top it, he’s a howlingly funny guy who has a lot to say. Here’s all of it:

(Check out a video of Tatasciore here - check the rest of the clips at the video player for more on Hulk Vs.)

Newsarama: One of the things I noticed is you started your voice over career by doing ADR for kung fu films like Jackie Chan’s Project A. Would you say that gave you lots of preparation for doing the Hulk?

Fred Tatasciore: Yeah! I definitely cut my teeth. A lot of the best practice was marking scenes. That’s where you look at an action sequence and act out what’s going on. That’s where you hear all the ‘HOO! HAH! HYAH!’…all that kind of fill. Yelling jibber jabber is kind of like choreography.

Of course, it also taught me how to lip synch. I also came up with all kind of fun villain voices. Kung fu movies, I worked mainly for Miramax at that time, were full of all kinds of villains.

NRAMA: So was it good for being the Hulk years later?

FT: It was perfect training. Again, it was the action sequences because animation sequences are a lot like the kung fu ones. Also, both tend to be long, really long, sequences. You can really wreck yourself if you’re not careful. I admit Hulk is still the hardest one I have to do. By far.

NRAMA: So Hulk Vs. must have been a heck of a workout.

FT: It was, especially those long scenes he did in the mountains. That’s a real vocal thing. I actually have to warm up before I do something like that.

NRAMA: In “Hulk v. Thor” you have virtually no dialogue. It’s almost all just you screaming.

FT: I know! Just straight out big action sequences. The real trick is to just space these sessions out. Then again, if you read the credits you’ll see this team has worked together that by the time Hulk v. came around, we knew what was going on. That meant we never push these sessions. Also, by the time I do the ADR, which by that time the guys have changed just about everything anyway, we save the hardest sessions for the end of the day.

NRAMA: So was it originally only going to be Wolverine or was it planned to be both from the get go?

FT: I don’t know what the original plan was. When it got to me, it was very clear they were going to both. They had both scripts ready. We were going to do one after the other. I mean I was aware of them both when I did them, because as I was working on Wolverine they were telling me to wait until I see Thor. They were showing me advanced previews of it. I have to admit that they blew me away.

Becoming The Hulk
Becoming The Hulk
Frank Tatasciore

NRAMA: So you did do Wolverine first.

FT: I did do Wolverine first, but they weren’t that far apart. I actually got to do a little bit with Steve [Blum, the ‘lifetime’ voice of Wolverine] there. Still, with both movies I was there pretty much by myself. Usually, I work with other people, but Hulk is one of those characters that truly is an isolationist. He’s also so loud you don’t really have room for anyone else to be there with you.

NRAMA: Professionally, you and Steve came into the business about the same time, right?

FT: Yeah yeah! He had a hell of a workout, too. As everyone knows, he has ‘the voice.’ The Wolverine voice he comes up with just naturally. Just to hear him take off is just amazing. He’s also hysterical. We have fun together. Without trying to give away too much, there’s a lot of humor in one sequence. I mean he’s trying to help Hulk, at the same time he’s using Hulk like this typhoon he’s pointed at the Weapon X crew. One of my favorite moments is I’m going ballistic he’s in the background going ‘atta boy!’ At the same time, he’s not only trying to destroy Wolverine. Steve and I got a real kick out of that.

NRAMA: What about Nolan North (Deadpool)?

FT: Isn’t he a lot of fun? He steals my show! You know what they did is they also let him go.

You know, with Deadpool, there’s what we call the Spider-Man aspect. He wears that mask, so there is really nothing to lip synch. So he can just let go. Now Nolan is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He’s also a terrific actor. We’ve been working together for years. We’re actually together in an upcoming Wolfman movie. He’s also a Ninja Turtle guy. We were both in the feature length movie. I was one of the bad guys.

I mean I love the final scene, as well as the one where he asks Sabretooth after they’re done with the Hulk they could go out and kill some babies, especially when he goes ‘bang bang bang BABY!’ He really adds so much to all these other grim characters. He’s a perfect foil for the rest of us.

NRAMA: So, overall, it sounds like with Wolverine you guys just had fun.

Hulk VS. Thor Preview 4
Hulk VS. Thor Preview 4
FT: We did. Let me tell you, doing that one was a real physical commitment. Yes, I really had to throw myself into it, but how could you not have fun? Hulk v. Wolverine really is a buddy movie with a slasher element thrown into it in a strange way. I played it like that. Hulk is much pure in this one. In Thor he’s really a puppet. Then, in Thor, when I get to cut loose, no one can control Hulk. They were two very different projects.

NRAMA: Now what was Frank Paur’s involvement in both projects?

FT: He’s pretty much the head guy. His contribution is all the designs and art work. Obviously we had other designers and artists involved, but they all took their cues from Frank. He had to oversee a really huge staff of people. In fact, he would explain to me the theme of each movie through his artwork.

Then again, I’m such a fan of his work, I would take his story books. Usually at the end of a session I would go ‘Frank, can I steal this?’ and he would go yes. Then I would go, ‘then would you mind signing them for me?’ because I think he’s a genius.

NRAMA: Considering his past with Gargoyles, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm to Doctor Strange that Hulk v. Thor was more his thing?

FT: I think so. I really don’t know. I remember that when I started working on Wolverine he was telling me to wait until I see Thor. He said he really wanted that one to be very ‘other worldly’ in every respect. They really pulled it off. He was really, really working on that.

NRAMA: What I was saying is fantasy is more Frank’s M.O. He’s really known for it.

FT: He does love that. Most definitely. I also know he tries to add his own vision to it. I mean, Thor is a perplexing character, too. When we started working out Thor, we also realized that here was a character that had a lot of power, too. It was enough to make him a little delusional. Frank was the one who went, ‘No. He’s a god…and here’s how you deal with it.’ We also made Loki more wicked than the actual mythology.

NRAMA: So would you work on the upcoming Tales of Asgard?

FT: If they ask me. They haven’t yet. I don’t know if they would need me or not. I’m always the last to know, anyway.

NRAMA: Well, you must be keeping busy. You are Beast in Wolverine and the X-Men. I understand it’s already been renewed for two more seasons.

FT: Yeah! I am completely impressed with that project. I first saw it at last year’s Comic Con. I just couldn’t believe the audience’s reaction. That really clued me in that it was going to be good.

I love playing Beast, too. I always use the quote that Beast is what I try to be, but I usually end up being Hulk. It’s kind of a twist on the old Chuck Jones line about Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

NRAMA: After seeing the first two episodes, it seems pretty obvious that Beast is a pretty important character. It’s really Wolverine and Beast that go about reassembling the X-Men. Now when you started working on it, did you use the Kelsey Grammar version?

Hulk VS. Thor Preview 5
Hulk VS. Thor Preview 5
Hulk Vs. Thor

FT: I did base him loosely on Kelsey Grammar. He really did a great job on the voice after all. Then what I did was just throw myself into it.

Normally, when I do a show it sounds really weird to hear my own voice. Usually, I’m either way over here or there. It really sounds strange for me to go over to Steve and say ‘we have a problem’ in almost my own voice.

It’s also weird to have almost a whole paragraph of dialogue. Shouting I’m use to. I can do a whole lot of that. Now dialogue I can do a lot of, it’s just I’m not used to doing it in my own voice. I mean there were a couple of times in Robot Chicken where I use my own voice. Those are when I do just regular people.

Still, the good thing about Beast is his peaceful nature. I really wanted to play that up. When I did my research on Hank, I really wanted to point that out about him. I made him as diplomatic as possible, to be a good foil, again!, to Steve’s Wolverine. That’s another reason why I love working with Steve. We got this one thing going when it’s Hulk and Wolverine. When I’m doing Beast we really become good foils for each other. It would often be something like Beast saying he’ll think up some way and then Steve, as Wolverine, going ‘yeah…we’re doing it my way.’

NRAMA: One thing they point out in the extra content of Hulk v. is that Logan is not a true leader. In fact, they say he’s a lousy one. He’s really a lone wolf.

FT: Exactly, and he’s been one for so many years.

NRAMA: So are you playing Beast kind of like Wolverine’s conscience?

FT: I couldn’t have put that better. Beast’s main role here is to keep the team on point and in line, especially Wolverine. The funniest part about Hank is he’s not just this tremendous font of information. He’s a lot like Mr. Spock, he’s not only the conscience but he’s really aware of all the weak points of the team. He knows there is a sort of ragtag nature to all of them. Most of the remaining X-Men are not really well trained. He knows that because he was really well trained. They make that a big point, too. He’s the one that constantly says that Wolverine may be the leader, but all the X-Men are really parts of a whole. He constantly has to deal with X-Men coming and going, never really knowing if they are staying or leaving. It takes him nearly half the season to see if the team is really together or not. In a way, he’s now a lot like Xavier in trying to hold it all together, and he has never really explored his leadership abilities either.

NRAMA: Looking over the voice cast I couldn’t help but notice a lot of familiar names. It’s almost getting to the point where I want to call it a Naruto Mafia.

FT: (Roars with laughter) Yes!

NRAMA: It’s not just you and Steve. You have Kari Wahlgren, Yuri Lowenthal, Nolan again, Liam O’Brien. It’s like every casting director in town is trying to see who they can steal off of Mary Elizabeth McGlynn again.

FT: That’s because it’s an amazing group. Everyone you have mentioned I have worked with for years. More important, every time they are given a new role, they constantly amaze at how good they are. I would see something with them, and then look over and have to ask, ‘is that you?’ Then they got Tom Kane on top of all this! C’mon already! It’s a fun group.

When you want to have fun, put us all in a group together. I don’t know how Jamie Simone does it. I mean there have been time when Nolan and I had to be excused, kind of like two kids who are being timed out. There’s also now a rule of when they have to put Steve and me in the same room you know there’s going to be trouble. If you could only hear the outtakes.

NRAMA: What’s it like working with Steve Gordon? I mean he worked on a lot of stuff over the years, including X-Men: Evolution, but this is his first time as supervising director. What’s he like?

FT: I don’t think that I’ve had worked with him in the past. Yet, from what I understand he is one of the main reasons I got the role of Hulk. I believe what happened is I was auditioning for the role and he was just sitting in there. Mind you we’re talking way back now, like the 90s. From what I understand they were having a real difficult time just trying to find anyone who could do Hulk. He somehow knew I had been doing a lot of monsters, and said I should be the one.

Hulk VS. Thor Preview 3
Hulk VS. Thor Preview 3
Hulk Vs. All of Asgard

NRAMA: What’s interesting is he’s been around since the late 70s with Ralph Bakshi.

FT: In that sense he’s amazing. I think it’s that kind of experience that makes him a very vital part of Marvel now. At the same time he’s a very easy going guy. I mean what’s funny is Craig Kyle is so animated. He’s hysterical. There’s a work tape where he’s just screaming at the top of his lungs, throwing his fists in the air and I’m doing it right back at him. We actually call him potty mouth. At the same time, Steve is in the background just watching it all go by, only speaking when he needs to. It’s a great dynamic.

NRAMA: How does it feel to hear that even before Wolverine & The X-Men has aired in the U.S. that the show has already been renewed?

FT: Everyone here is just jumping for joy. We always had a feeling it would go over well. We had high hopes for it. So, to answer your question, we’re really, really happy. I mean one thing you have to realize is even though we felt good about this, the show was constantly being pushed back. Then when we heard it wouldn’t air until 2009, we really got worried about it.

NRAMA: What about your future roles?

FT: I can’t wait for you to see Planet Sheen, especially for Corey Burton. I play the evil ruler of the world and he plays my underling. Corey is just hysterical in the role. I mean in Secret Saturdays we reverse the roles. He’s the evil villain, Argost, and I play his Lurch, Munoz. There’s going to be a future episode where the Saturdays meet their evil dopplegangers, and they are led by Kimodo. For that role I do my own kind of Ricardo Montoban.

NRAMA: And you are also playing the Wolfman?

FT: We are doing the classic horror movie. It stars Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro. They are turning into wolves and so are Nolan and me. I mean they are going to do some crazy stuff with that.

NRAMA: Animated or live action?

FT: Live action. It’s pretty freaky. It’s going to be a pretty scary movie from what I’ve seen. It’s very gory, a real popcorn muncher man. Still, it wasn’t hard for me. Having transformed into the Hulk so many times, I didn’t have too much trouble becoming a werewolf.

NRAMA: So when is this film due?

FT: I don’t know. Soon I think. Again, we actors are the last to find out.

BILLY WEST COMING TO FLORIDA CON

The Broward Anime Festival, which is sponsored by the group that also does the Florida Supercon and Anime Cons, is proud to announce the additions of several new guests to its growing line up of stars. Chief among them is superstar voice actor Billy West.

West is known around the world for his roles in Futurama (Fry, Prof. Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg and Zapp Brannigan), The Ren and Stimpy Show (Ren and Stimpy), Doug (Doug) and such classics as Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd and Woody Woodpecker. Over his career West has been the voice talent for close to 120 different characters including some of the most iconic animated figures in television history.

Other guests include:

• Yaya Han - To this day, she has made over 75 cosplay costumes, with more to come. Her intricate and lavish creations have won awards and acclaim worldwide.

• Stephanie Sheh: She is also credited as Jennifer Sekiguchi, Tiffany Hsieh, Lulu Chiang, and Laura Chyu. Her works include Girls Bravo, Haré+Guu, Naruto, Bleach and many, many more

• Sophie Mcnutt: Sophie McNutt, Director of FUNImation's Operation Anime.

The convention hours of operation are: Friday, February 6: 5:00PM - 2:00AM, Saturday, February 7: 11:00AM - 2:00AM and Sunday, February 8: 11:00AM - 6:00PM

For more information and updates: visit www.animesupercon.com

BOOMERANG DECLARES HUCKLEBERRY BOOMER ROYALTY

Boomerang had declared February will go to the dogs as Huckleberry Hound is the star of the weekend Boomeroyalty Franchise. His coronation will start Sunday, February 1st at 2:00 pm.

The network also announced the following:

Teen Titans Series Launch: Series premiere on Monday, February 2nd at 10:30pm.

Johnny Bravo St. Valentine's Day Marathon and Premiere: Who better? The 6½ hour marathon features love themed Johnny Bravo cartoons and the premiere of It's Valentine's Day, Johnny Bravo at 8pm. The marathon will air from 2pm to 8:30pm on Saturday, February 14.

• Smurfs' President Day Marathon. A-12 hour marathon featuring the popular and loveable Emmy Award Winning Smurfs! The Marathon will air from 8am to 8pm on Monday, February 16.

NEXT COLUMN: We continue to talk Hulk with supervising director Frank Paur.

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