Collider Interviews Peter Cullen and Frank Welker
Collider sat down with Peter Cullen and Frank Welker , the definitive voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron across much of the Transformers franchise. The interview spans Cullen and Welker’s first meeting, their mutual interplay, the hazards of voice acting, the adaptation process in characters and in method for the films, and more.
Cullen reflects on the difference between voice acting for the film franchise compared to voice acting for a series: the extra challenge the films pose of working in an isolated sound booth without direct interplay. But he also sees a consistency in the pair’s portrayal of these perpetual enemies:
First of all, the writing is consistent, and always has been. For Optimus, they follow the guidelines of character traits. There’s still the honesty, integrity, honor, dignity, the sense of trustworthiness and compassion. Those qualities have not changed, and that makes it relatively easy for Optimus to maintain a consistent level of character. Not speaking for Frank, but evil is as evil does.
Welker also reflects on the collaborative aspects of voice acting and how Megatron had to evolve for the big screen:
Yeah, we do have that to hang our acting hats on, the epitome of evil and the epitome of good. Changes through the physicality of the characters, obviously Michael Bay wanted something he felt would work with the size of Megatron. It was so fun to work with him on it because he encouraged me to ad lib and to throw in what I saw. The first thing he said when I walked in, he said, “Well, what do you hear for this guy?” As an actor, it’s so much more enjoyable to have a collaborative type effort.
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