Animated films and cartoons have now been with us for a considerable time, almost as soon as the first talkie was released. But who could possibly tell you who was responsible for the voice of Snow White in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Walt Disney produced some blockbuster feature cartoons. Including One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Bambi, Pinocchio and Cinderella, but the actors who portrayed the characters are little known.
The names of all the actors that played the different starring roles will probably never be remembered by the average film goer even though their voices are instantly recognizable. Then around three decades ago things changed dramatically in the world of animated films and cartoons. For the first time major actors and celebrities were called upon to use their voices in these feature films.
Why Use Celebrities
Film makers did not enlist the help of celebrities particularly for artistic reasons. It was because they were already famous and could bring an extra element to their cartoon characters. The days of voice acting being the sole property of voice actors died around 1990. Now almost any famous person is recruited to act in these highly popular movies.
Celebrities from all walks of life now have become major voice-over actors. This is because famous people can bring their real-life personalities immediately into the characters they are portraying. So, sports personalities, comedians, and even musicians are instantly recognized as soon as the cartoon character speaks.The major advantage of this for film directors is that the audience identifies what the celebrity stands for.
Celebrities Outshine the Actors
It is really interesting that recent animated movies have major voice actors performing but it is the celebrities that are remembered the most. The adaptation of Aladdin in 1992 by Walt Disney had many seasoned acting professionals as part of the cast. But it is Robin Williams that will always be remembered as the voice of the Genie. In many ways it was the brilliance of the casting director to sync Williams’s instantly recognizable voice and wit with the character of Genie. Immediately the audience understood what sort of personality the genie had even before he got up to his famous antics.
The Danger of Using Celebrities
In many ways using a famous celebrity has major drawbacks attached. The audience immediately associates the voice with the real-life person and not necessarily with the character they are portraying. In other words, the animated character becomes the celebrity. This is okay if that is the intention by the casting director, but often this is not so.
However, the benefits of using celebrities in animated movies and cartoons far outweighs the drawbacks. And some of the actors that have starred in these movies include; Jack Nicholson, Angelina Jolie, Jerry Sinfeld, Will Smith, Whoopi Goldberg and a host of others. The celebrity cartoon voice actor is here to stay, and we will be hearing a great deal more from them in the future.