Voice Actor Balances TRANSFORMERS and GREEN LANTERN

Josh Keaton has made a career of living out geek fantasies, from playing Spider-Man in the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, to voice acting in video games including Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Ninja Gaiden II, to his current gigs as Jack Darby on Transformers: Prime and Hal Jordan on Green Lantern: The Animated Series. With the last second season episode of Transformers: Prime before hiatus airing this Saturday on The Hub, Newsarama talked to Keaton via email about his role on both series and beyond.  

 

Newsarama: Josh, Transformers: Prime is now deep into its second season. What's your perspective on how the character of Jack Darby has progressed?

Josh Keaton: Jack's had to grow up quite a bit since season 1. He's gone from a kid with high school problems who first doesn't want anything to do with the Transformers, to going to freaking Cybertron, as well as developing some cojones, and becoming a pretty shrewd tactician.

Nrama: In what ways does your approach differ on a show like this — where you're in more of a supporting role — than in other series like Spectacular Spider-Man or Green Lantern, where you've played the title character?

Keaton: Supporting roles are hugely important! The part of Steve Urkel on Family Matters was originally a one-episode guest star part and the character was so loved that he pretty much became the show.

That's not to say I'm looking to take over every show I do a small part in (or am I?) but I still do the same preparation I would do for a bigger role. Supporting roles can add a lot so not giving them the attention they require simply because there are fewer lines and scenes is definitely a missed opportunity. 

 

Nrama: You've mentioned in past interviews that you came into Prime already a Transformers fan, so, at this point, what do you think this series has done differently from the many other TF shows in the past?

Keaton: Well my experience is somewhat limited to G1. I was involved in a bunch of other things when things like Beast Wars, Animated, etc. came out so I'm not as familiar with them, but I would say the degree of serialization in the story telling is quite different as well as the fact that the Autobots are stuck here and are pretty much a skeleton crew — G1 had way way more bots in it.

I also don't remember G1 being as brutal either. Some of the fight scenes in our show make me sympathy hurt, particularly when Knockout gets banged up (I'm a car guy so I completely understand his fastidiousness).

Nrama: Between Transformers, Spectacular Spider-Man, Green Lantern and more, you've clearly been involved with many projects closely associated with "geek culture." How connected do you feel to that community?

Keaton: I'm a member of it. Have been since I was a kid. It's a dream come true that I now get to be involved in the creation and continuation of stuff I loved as a kid. I almost feel guilty taking the money for what is essentially playtime. Almost. 

 

Nrama: Speaking of Green Lantern, how do you compare your gig on Transformers to your other current job — voicing Hal Jordan? What have you enjoyed about playing that character?

Keaton: Hal's is definitely the manliest character I've played and is completely different from a lot of the coming-of-age teen roles I've played before. The closest I've come to that role would be my Aquaman cameo in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. His unapologetic brashness is a lot of fun as is his ladies-man-ness. I have no game in real life so it's fun to be swooned over.

Nrama: As someone who is always busy with several different projects, is there anything else you have in the works currently beyond Transformers: Prime and Green Lantern that fans should know about?

Keaton: There are some big video games on the horizon but I've signed my life away so I can't talk about them, unfortunately.

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