Adding to the growing presence of anime on TV screens, G4 and Marvel will premiere two original Marvel anime series, “Iron Man” and “Wolverine,” at 11 p.m. (ET/PT) and 11:30 pm (ET/PT) July 29. Later in the year, the X-Men and Blade will join the G4 party, but these series, guided by bestselling author Warren Ellis, will have Adrian Pasdar voicing Tony Stark in “Iron Man” while his “Heroes” costar Milo Ventimiglia will growl his way through “Wolverine.” Hero Complex contributor Jevon Phillips caught up with Pasdar and got his thoughts on giving voice to anime and the Golden Avenger.
JP: How were you first introduced to Iron Man and Tony Stark?
AP: I think my knowledge of the Marvel character came through my childhood and the comics, and obviously through the resurgence of the character through the [Jon] Favreau films. I did have an understanding of it through the comics as a kid, so the opportunity to do it was just really exciting.
The format was the most challenging element. It’s Japanese animation, and the pattern of speech the Japanese have is a bit different than standard North American vernacular. It can be a little bit more drawn out and emotional — the structure at least. So making it work in English — as it probably is for them translating from English to Japanese — as we all know, can be a little bit funny and sometimes dicey to watch it dubbed. You’re not really sure if we’re getting the full intent of the artist. That added a whole new layer of bringing a North American understanding of who Tony Stark is to the Japanese re-conception of who Tony Stark is in their eyes. An American character done in Japanese, and then drawn back in English.
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JP: How was the physical aspect of the voice-over process for you?
AP: It’s a fascinating process to be able to deliver something like that. It’s a lot of hours spent in a booth and watching the same clips over and over and over again that you’re trying to make back into English. That, again, was the challenging part of it all and the main problem that kept coming up and defining my whole experience. Making the voice and the dialogue work with the way the mouth moves … oddly enough, it’s fatiguing. I just hadn’t taxed my brain in that way before, spending hours and hours in a booth. It’s a little tortuous, but it’s also rewarding.
JP: How did you come aboard the project, and have you talked to your “little brother” and fellow anime voice-over actor Milo Ventimiglia, who voices Wolverine?
AP: We actually cross paths in the series. Iron Man and Wolverine. It came up because Jeph Loeb is the head of Marvel Television and he was a writer-producer on “Heroes” and we became friends through that experience. When he landed at Marvel and this became a project, he rang me up. I was in Ireland on a film and I couldn’t have been further from being available, but they waited until I got back.
JP: As for anime in general, what was your experience with it before coming on board?
AP: It’s a throwback to the style that I grew up with, watching “Spider-Man” and “Speed Racer.” The way that the animation was back in the ’70s, it just brings back the childhood interest in watching those types of cartoons to me. While I appreciate the advances that have been made in technology … it’s nice to be a part of something that rekindles my early interest and understanding of the power of anime. To be a part of it as a voice is pretty cool.
JP: Any other heroes that you might want to voice?
AP: Well, I’m doing Iron Man again for the Ultimate Spider-Man series. I looked around and said, ‘These are the guys doing these voices?’ There are grown men acting like 5-year-olds … and it’s fun! It’s different — riffing off of each other…. But, I’d like to do anime where it’s my voice, my movement. Not trying to fit a circle into a square so much. It wasn’t the anime, it was trying to make English fit into something that wasn’t scripted for it.
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