Ultimate Fan Aneurism – Allspark Audio Interview with Peter Cullen and Frank Welker
Now that we're not-dead-yet and have recovered a bit from BotCon 2009, here's the audio interview of voicing legends Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, as teased! Courtesy of Allspark's own loudmouth Rook (Daniel Ross), and his ever affable partner Cog, with major kudos to Activision, on granting us this interview such two wonderful figures of the voicing realm! Both actors talk a bit about the work done in astf: The Game, as well a bit of comparison to the previous game, a snippet of history prior to being so popular, and more!
Don't forget to sound off here!
Peter Cullen Frank Welker Daniel Ross Peter Tagstrom
as as as as
Optimus Prime Megatron Rook Cog
(radio fuzz and click)
Rook: Greetings Neuroloaders! My name is Rook coming to you live via Allspark radio transmission from Mouth04 studios in Cybertron City. Ladies and gentlebots, I have here quite possibly the two greatest people in the history of people- two legends of their own right, and the voices of many cherished characters including Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Megatron, and Soundwave. Their combined careers span almost a century, and their work can be described as nothing less than extraordinary. I’d like to give a VERY special welcome to my guests Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker.
Cog: Rook! Look at what I've found!
Rook: Um, give that to me Cog.
Cog: It was in the bathroom, next to the sink, it's so pretty and shiny.
Rook: Right, now give that to me please…
Cog: NO! I found it, it's mine.. my own.. my preciousssssss…
*struggling noises* *popping noise*
Rook: Ahem.. Uh, excuse me Optimus…I think this may be yours. Did you by any chance lose a Matrix of Leadership? I think Cog might have nibbled a bit on it too…
Optimus: That’s ok Rook, it is not a problem.
Rook: Thank goodness for that because you never know who might find one of these things
(cut off with Peter’s next line)
Peter: Is Frank there too?
Rook: Hmm… Frank was supposed to be beamed in simultaneously with you Peter, Cog where is he?
Cog: I’M WORKING ON IT!!!
Rook: (long pause) *sigh* (quietly) Well, um.. Peter can I get you anything while we wait?
Peter: No I’m- I’m good thanks.
Rook: Ok… well, we’re just going to wait for Frank to get here before we start.
Rook: Um…Cog? We’re a little strapped for time here…
Cog: DON’T PRESSURE ME ROOK!
Rook: And there we have it… Well, Peter I’m sorry I didn’t have much to talk to you about beforehand… it’s just, well, I read from the cue cards to sound natural… so…
Peter: How are you doing?
Rook: OH, I’m great yeah thanks… very well… took some time off… been going to the robo-gym more lately…
Cog: (knocking/banging/clanging sounds) Oh *bleep* you *bleep* piece of *bleep* WORK! (electrical whirring noises, then TRANSPORT!)
Peter: …perfect timing.
Frank: Good morning everyone!
Rook: Good morning to you too Frank, and welcome to the show! Sorry about that, something happened with the transporter and, well I hope you weren’t doing anything important beforehand…
Peter: I just had a knock on the door.
Frank: Oh no no Pete, that’s me.
Peter: Oh it was you!
Frank: Where’s the coffee and donuts you promised?
Peter: There under the bottom step but watch out for the rattler?
Rook: …this must be some human cultural exchange. What do you think Cog?
Cog: (very calmly) I… have no… *bleep* idea…
Rook: Alright gentlemen, if we’re ready let’s go ahead and get started… feel free to improvise and use your character voices whenever possible, and no need to worry about trivia- I mean after all, we’re not Trekkies.
Frank: I think the fact that there’s no knowledge necessary is perfect for the both of us.
Peter: That works for me Frank!
Rook: Cog, can you cue it up again please?
Rook: Greetings Neuroloaders! My name is Rook coming to you live via Allspark radio transmission from Mouth04 studios in Cybertron City. I have here quite possibly the two greatest people in the history of peopledom- two legends of their own right, and the voices of many cherished characters including Optimus Prime, Ironhide, Megatron, and Soundwave. I’d like to give a VERY special welcome to my guests Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker.
Peter: Great to be here Rook.
Frank: Thanks for having us, I appreciate it very much.
Rook: As always, I’d like to introduce my scraplet assistant Cog.
Cog: Hello Frank, hello Peter. It’s very nice to meet you. Peter, does your moustache come off?
Rook: Oh for crying out loud.. Cog, didn’t I tell you to refrain from odd questions? You’re going to make them uncomfortable…
Peter: Cog, forgive my words but you are cute.
Cog: (build up laugh) Aha.. AHAHA.. AHAHAHHAHAHAHAHA!!! (runs around in circles, fading in and out with panting and laughing)
Rook: Oh my, Peter now you’ve done it, is this bothering either of you?
Frank: He kind of makes me uneasy, like a nightmare of dreaming about Starscream or Optimus Prime.
Rook: Um.. yeah.. those would have been my exact words too.. Well, it needs to be done, and the listeners love it so… Frank, would you mind pushing this button for me please?
Frank: Muahahaha.. I’d love to.
(Cog gets fried)
Rook: OK, on to questions shall we?
Rook: What do you think Transformers fans will like the most from the new Revenge of the Fallen game?
Frank: Well, uh, y’know Peter and I were fortunate enough to have an opportunity to go over to Activision and meet some of the folks that worked on this game and developed it, and we watched kind of a rough cut of some of the things, and they were telling us what was going on, and both Peter and I sat there with our chins touching the table it was just so awesome. Now I’m going to be honest, so Pete you can tell em what you think, but y’know I’m not really game savvy so I was just enjoying the visuals and trying to understand what was going on. But it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun for the gamers and it’s just action packed, and I wish I knew more about it and how to play it because it sure looked like a lot of fun.
Peter: Well absolutely right on. To tell you the truth, Frank is not exaggerating when he said “Drop Jaw” it was very evident that the game has explosive new elements to it and I was particularly excited by the fact that they can take this online and battle with friends, they can be a Decepticon or an Autobot and assume those characters, it’s a long way from the original series and it’s almost biblical in proportions when you look at it today what they are capable of doing. The weaponry, the choice of characters, and the intensity of it plus the music it’s fabulous.
Rook: Tell us, approximately how many hours of studio time did you clock while recording lines for the new game?
Peter: Well Frank, I’m not aware of how many hours you spent, because we did work alone Rook. We had a lot of sessions, mine added up to a little more than 5 sessions at a couple of hours each or more, and that was from beginning to end without break. So it was just continual lines with no lines from anybody else, just my own personal lines.
Frank: Yeah, y’know it’s interesting cause I had put in my contract with Activision that I had to have more lines than Optimus Prime. But obviously he succeeded in getting more lines than me, so there will be some discussion on that in the future. Actually, it’s pretty much the same as what Peter said, in two hours at a time doing all those lines by yourself is a lot of work, and I don’t know about you Peter but I was kinda reflecting on the series and I was thinking about when we actually did a show with a full cast we might have had 15 or 20 lines separated by other actors, so y’know it’s a different type of work mode that’s quite different than what we did when we did the show.
Peter: Oh that’s for sure, it’s very concentrated and you couldn’t possibly do all the grunts and fighting sounds during that, you have do it at the end of the session when you’re most exhausted.
Frank: That’s exactly right.
Peter: Very similar to the way we did the series.
Rook: Now Frank, while recording for "Revenge of the Fallen", did you finally succeed in making Peter laugh water out of his nose, and if so, what are your current goals?
Frank: Well, as Peter mentioned, unfortunately we had to record by ourselves. So as much as I tried to sneak in to his sessions to disrupt him, I was barred by his security, you know he travels with 2 or 3 security guards now that he’s so popular. I still just drive my Volkswagen, and nobody knows who I am but there’s Optimus Prime and that Rolls Royce with 4 body guards. But actually, when we go to a commentary, now I’m going to work on tring to get him to choke on a chocolate chip cookie, I think that would be good.
Peter: I’ll be prepared, you know what Frank I won’t forgive you for showing up in that Eeyore costume dragging your back feet behind it. Anything to break me up, but that I won’t forget.
Rook: Hahaha… excellent, excellent.. so Scooby Doo vs. Eeyore, who would win in a death match?
Peter: Boy there’s one from outfield.
Frank: Yeah, really…
Peter: Yeah, I’ll strike out with that one…
Rook: Note to self, avoid animal related questions when interviewing humans…
Rook: Alright then, two words- Megan Fox. What are your reactions?
Frank: Yeah, Megan is definitely a fox.
Peter: She is definitely a fox, I tell ya what, it’s her eyes- the intensity of her eyes, the kind of deep sapphire blue eyes that just keep twinkling. As a matter of fact, if I were a moth, I’d probably flutter around her face for hours.
Frank: Wow… Y’know that’s why Optimus Prime is Optimus Prime.
Rook: Ahahaha… ok, so no animal questions, but insects appear to be ok… Peter, in an alternate universe, if you had been given the role of Megatron, could you give us an example of what he might have sounded like?
Peter: Well I do recall auditioning for Megatron, and I didn’t get very far because I based my character analysis on Truman Capote. And I really, it was a bit of a stretch but I guess they didn’t buy it, I mean I guess it’s hard to sound mean and evil when you say “Y’know you reaaaaaly are making me mad, I would do anything to just throw this glass of water in your face.” I don’t think that would have worked.
Rook: Frank, if roles had been reversed and you were given the roles of Optimus Prime and Ironhide, can you give us an example of what they would have sounded like?
Frank: “Well I was trying so hard to do this voice for Optimus Prime, that I hadn’t realized that he’s already done it for Megatron!”
Peter: Truman! Oh… Truman!
Frank: But I’ve gotta admit, his is much much better than mine. “I think that maybe Ironhide might be a little bit more like the president.(CUE THEME OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. to play lightly in background) Look, here’s the deal we need to take on the Autobots, and regardless of their political stance whether this is a unilateral/bilateral doesn’t matter, we need to spread the economy around, we need to make more things available for the Decepticons because they can’t afford it, and we need to place a little bit more taxes on the Autobots.”
Peter: “Mr. President… I would just like to ask this question, how will that affect my taxes?”
Frank: “Well, the critical thing here- and is this Optimus Prime?”
Peter: “I’m not sure who that was.”
Frank: “Oh, well the critical thing that is necessary to understand is that in order for me to do the people’s business, I have to tax somebody and it appears to me that the Autobots have a lot of control over a lot of the gold products that the flesh creatures have.”
Rook: This question is for both of you- Can you recall the one moment in your life which motivated you to become a voice actor, and at what point in your career did it settle in that you had succeeded?
Frank: Well actually, I was doing standup comedy at a nightclub in Westwood and a fella came in from an advertising agency and said y’know we’re doing a Frisky dog food commercial, and we’re looking for a voiceover for the tail of the dog, and I said what’s a voiceover? “Well, just show up tomorrow and you’ll do it and you’ll see.” So that was really the first time I was ever exposed to doing voiceovers, then when I got the- it was funny, this fella’s girlfriend was casting a show called Scooby Doo on ABC, and she had me come in for that, and when I ended up getting that show, then that’s the first time I realized that maybe this was a whole independent business that I hadn’t been aware of. and could be a lot of fun, so that was my first jump into the voiceover area- “And I was basically doing my voice Freddy!” “And now, I’m Scooby-Dooby-DOO!”
Peter: That’s why he’s the greatest, well Rook he is- he’s the greatest. I guess I realized I had a particular talent when I didn’t want to go to school as a kid, so I’d call up the teacher and impersonate my father and then impersonate my mother, and then do them at the same time. And I spent a lot of time playing hooky I guess going down, taking a streetcar and going into movie theaters and watching movies, and saying this is my life, this is what I… no, seriously I guess I really wanted to just go into voiceover after I realized there were, I had a few voices that I could do and I didn’t want to be an on-camera actor at the time, I wanted to raise my kids and be home most of the time, which it turned out to be because I didn’t get much work!
Frank: Peter does a lot of great impressions too, and that’s one thing that voice people do, we all kind of do some mimicry but Pete does amazing… a lot of people don’t realize how good he is with impressions.
Peter: Compared to you Frank, I’m a plebe!
Frank: Alright, you get a better Christmas present this year.
Peter: And I’m more humble!
Rook: Peter, Jess Harnell is a very talented voice actor, but how did it feel to relinquish the role of Ironhide for the movies and games?
Peter: That was easy, and Jess Harnell he is a very talented guy. My choice for the original series was, I broke down that character, and it kind of reminded me of Wallace Barry and the Champ, “Aw gee willikers!” You know that guy…
Frank: “Oh don’t go in there champ, he’ll beat you up! Don’t go in there, I’m telling ya please please don’t fight him please!”
Peter: “Aw now kid don’t worry about me, I’m gonna be just fine…”
Frank: “But I’m worried about you, I don’t want you to get hurt anymore!”
Peter: “Aw cut your cryin kid, you’re makin me all soppy…”
Rook: Frank, how does it feel to return to the character of Soundwave in an official capacity after voicing him again in Robot Chicken?
Frank: Well, ahhhhh… well I’m not really sure, I don’t think I can talk about that, you mean Megatron in the game?
Cog: No, he meant Soundwave, you know, the guy with the tape thingy that would go (cog impersonates soundwave) *click, swoosh* “Ravage, Ratbat, Frenzy, EJECT, EJECT, EJECT.”
Frank: He’s gotten his part.
Rook: Awwww.. that was cute. Peter, I believe it’s your turn to push the button ok?
(Cog get’s fried yet again)
Rook: In general, how was the experience this time around working on the video game?
Frank: Well I think having a little more experience and knowing what to expect is always helpful just in terms of getting in there and doing the job and being prepared. And then also, being able to go back and look at the show was good I kind of like doing that now, and it was fun seeing what everybody did back then, and remembering some of those shows- that was a kick. But actually, physically doing it was a lot of fun, I think we had even more background because we just did the other one not too long ago. “Megatron enjoyed it!”
Peter: Really… that’s very true.
Rook: Ok, now this is the portion of the program where we take emails from our listeners. This question is from a Lonegamer8 and is actually for Lord Megatron. Now we all know your opinion of the flesh creatures known as humans, but what is your take on puppies and kittens?
Frank: “Puppies and kittens! Hahaha.. very low on the food chain, they’re expendable like little ducklings. You see, humanoids waste their time on these creatures they spend enormous amounts of money making them better, and building little pools, and little yards. But I must search for the Allspark, to make the universe better and of course to get more power!” Very harsh…
Peter: It’s hard to think that Optimus Prime and Megatron were related…
Rook: Interesting… This question is for Optimus Prime from one GalenRaff… if you had to choose an alternate form other than a truck, what would it be and why? And may I suggest an extremely large Segway?
Peter: At this very moment, I think I’d like to be 45 foot sport fisherman- a Bertram yeah, with a bevy of quail…serving me green tea… with a rod and reel. I couldn’t imagine anything more difficult than trying to imagine Optimus Prime, it was hard time to try and conceive him as a truck to begin with but um… A BERTRAM! A Bertram 45 foot sport fisherman, let’s see those guys try to put that together huh?!
Rook: Ok and finally, this final one comes from Mouth04. Hmm.. ok, well I guess neither is an animal or insect so let’s see… Gentlemen, if you had to place bets on who would win, would it be ninjas or zombies?
Frank: Ninjas or zombies…
Peter: Ninjas or zombies…
Frank: “Well I’ve always had a penchant for ninjas, but there’s nothing quite as good as a zombie! Starscream is the number one zombie in the universe, and I have to deal with him everyday- I would say, I’m going to go with zombies!”
Peter: “Then I… will go with ninjas.”
Rook: Very enlightening… Well gentlemen, we’ve about come to the end of it. In conclusion, what would you like to say to all your adoring fans out there?
Peter: Well um, I can’t speak for anybody but myself because this has been a long ongoing thing for me. I feel deep appreciation, a sincere deep appreciation, and I’ve always found it to be a privilege, it’s a privilege to be a part of this life and sharing it with the fans together because we’re living something that started many many years ago, and we continue to live it and share something quite special. I thank you, and I really- a sincere thank you.
Frank: And I would absolutely echo that, and Peter and I have had more than one conversation discussing this same subject, and for a couple of old guys- old in the sense that we’ve been in this business for a while, kicked around, and we’ve got a few scars in our hides- we appreciate so much, the fanbase and the loyalty of these great people to bring us back and be so sincere in their kindness towards us, it’s truly humbling and we definitely appreciate it, so I think that’s the big thing we can say is just thank you, we appreciate it very much.
Peter: That’s well said Frank, I agree with you completely. We love you guys!
Frank: Yup, hang in there and enjoy the summer, I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with the new game and a lot of fun with the feature so just enjoy all things Transformers and have a great time!
Rook: Excellent! I would like to take a moment to especially thank the fine people over at Activision for facilitating this interview- Shout out to my peeps Dan Suarez, Neil Wood, Wiebke Hess, and Kyle Walker! You guys rock the hizzouse. Please be sure to purchase your copy of “Transformers Revenge of the Fallen: The Game” available on June 23rd for most major consoles, and check out the movie coming soon! You can find more information on http://transformersgame.com/ , and http://www.transformersmovie.com/.
Peter Cullen, and Frank Welker everyone- thank you very much for speaking with us gentlemen!
Peter: It was my pleasure.
Frank: Thanks again, Muahahahah….
Cog: Beginning transport back to Earth!
(warm up sounds)
Frank: All right, see you Peter!
Peter: See you Frank!
(cue outro music)
Rook: Well I think that went well… but really Cog, the moustache?
Cog: I couldn’t think of anything else to say, I was starstruck!
Rook: Starstruck, really, by what the moustache?
(Rook and Cog sing a maniacal duet to the outro song karaoke style)
(radio fuzz and click)