SDCC 2012 – “OPTIMUS PRIME: Up Close and Personal”

{mosimage} Peter Cullen being interviewed by Larry King. What could be better? Panel started at 6:00pm PST.

How Peter got into VA
– Peter had 12AM – 6 AM radio show "Milkman's Matinee" in Montreal years ago
– Peter would invent characters during his show
– Got the job on recording commercials for radio station
– got A job doing voices for commercials
– Peter got into theatre, graduated from National School of Theatre in Canada
– radio job lead to TV.
– Did several gigs in Hollywood, one was his "first big break".
– "Sonny and Cher" show

Optimus-inspiration, mentioning Pete's brother Larry
– "I'm going to an audition." "for what?" "A truck. … But he's a hero." "A hero truck, Peter."
– "Be gentle, be calm, be strong enough to be gentle" from Larry
– Brother Larry was "honest, truthful"

Why does the public love Optimus?
– Peter think it's what Optimus stands for, well-written, just added bro-Larry's composure, and he thinks it's strength of character, resonating with strength, courteous, courage

The infamous DEATH of Optimus.
– Pete's reaction to death scene?
– 17-min into script, with Frank (claps on Frank's name). "I'm getting whacked on page 17!" "You're kidding!" "No!"
– On rebirth of Optimus, some jokes, but thanking Hasbro, Discovery, and Hub on bringing Optimus to whole new generation

Regarding Frank. Both talk about their interests

Pete thinks Optimus' character has grown, "more mature"

Secret of successful voice over?
– "Have to be able to inspire someone else", able to come up with a voice fitting of the animated drawing, usually done by chara figure itself. – Peter
– Looking @ TF Prime, "almost a human element". They explore more acting technique more so than voice manipulation

– On Optimus as father figure, Pete thinks Optimus is trustworthy
– Any weakness in Optimus's character? Pete says no, as he doesn't write the script. Peter's insistent that Optimus not go a direction Optimus shouldn't

Q&A
– Faceplate or no faceplate? And what are Peter's feelings about other VAs doing Optimus?
– He didn't pay too much attention to Optimus after 1986, had to move on, do other things. Doesn't dislike other Optimus VAs
– "What the h*** is a faceplate?" -King

– What's Pete's favorite Optimus quote & why?
– "Hold onto your dreams, the future is built on dreams."

– He'd play other roles. Giving praise to other Prime VAs
– Couldn't switch roles w/ Frank or Steve.

– Each series, Optimus seems different. Is Optimus different from G1 to TF Prime, or same?
– "Always be the same as long as [Peter's] Optimus Prime."

– Fan asking question in Megatron voice, Peter responds in Optimus's.

– Regarding "we will kill them all" in DOTM, Peter showed hesitancy but overruled. Not a word Pete would use, and agrees that it was a bit  out of character for Optimus
– On the other hand, it showed Optimus as a bit more "human".

– Regarding the script of Season 2 in TF Prime, Peter thanks producers that he was given a heads-up on how it'll go for Optimus later on.

– Which Optimus Prime did he enjoy voicing the most in regards to video games, cartoon, & film?
– "Greatest experience [one] could ever have" in reference to working with Hub. It's a lot different compared to back in G1. "Conditions weren't always normal" working w/ the other VAs in G1.
– the one Peter appreciates the most, it's TF Prime

– Little kid asking how does Peter transform from car to robot. Pete answers about the animators doing the job of transforming, which in context, it's real.

– Has there ever been other animated series/media that Peter wanted to be a part of?
– Seeing musicals/animations, sometimes "I auditioned for that". Mel Blanc is Pete's hero.
– He saw Mel Blanc matinees when young

– Little kid acting like a Decepticon. Peter answers in Optimus's voice, telling him to listen to his daddy.

– Cheesy pick-up line in Optimus Prime's voice?
– "Excuse me, are you from Cybertron?"

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