The voice-over world is easily one the most vast aspects of entertainment. Most seem to just look out for that actor or musician to lend their voice to a film, but there is an army of actors that prime focal point to their career is voice over work and without them none of the beloved animation projects would be possible. Will Friedle burst onto the screen stealing young girl’s hearts as Eric Matthews on the popular series Boy Meets World. Now he has submerged himself into the world of voice-over work being featured in some of the most popular series around including Ultimate Spider-Man, Thundercats, MAD and most notable as the lead in Batman Beyond. Now he is starring as Bumblebee in the new animated film Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising and I had a chance to sit down with this talented actor about his voice over career.
Bobby: Originally you worked on Boy Meets World as well as numerous other things, was voice work something you had always wanted to do or did it just happen?
Will: It just kind of happened. While I was doing Boy Meets World they were casting for the show Batman Beyond and the producer of the series’ wife was a huge Boy Meets World fan and said “You should bring in Will”. I was lucky enough to get the part and it was pretty much off to the races after that. I loved it so much and was having such much fun; that by the time I turned 30 that’s all I wanted to do. I completely retired from on camera work and submersed myself in the voice over world. It happened out of nowhere and no one myself included expected it and all of a sudden that’s all I wanted to do.
Bobby: While Batman Beyond may be one of the biggest being such a huge series since then you have also done a ton of others like Thundercats and Transformers, but one of my favorites was your work as Deadpool on Ultimate Spider-Man. Is there any chance of us seeing more of you as Deadpool?
Will: There hasn’t been any more talk of Deadpool stuff to be honest. I’m glad you liked it, that’s one that people either really liked or really hated. There were a lot of people that I heard said please do not ever let him do that character again, but then there were others who thought my take on the character was great. Ultimate Spider-man they tend to do just the guest star stuff, so I think we were always just a one-shot deal. No plans that I know of, but I would love to do Deadpool again, it was a blast.
Bobby: With the new film Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising, you play Bumblebee, but were you a part of it throughout the series?
Will: No actually Bumblebee didn’t speak throughout the series. They did three seasons without him speaking. He was doing his normal beeps and bonks until the last episode where I got to speak and will transition into the film.
Bobby: You have such a wide variety of characters that you do; what kind of process do you go through to come up with the different voices?
Will: It depends on the project. Usually you will go in, especially with a new character, you will go in probably 10 or 15 minutes before you are going to record the episode you’ll sit with the direct and set the voice and when you find what they want you go in and record the episode.
Bobby: I know as an actor you have to do a variety of voices sometimes, but with voice work there is even more of that. How hard was it to transition from an on camera actor to the voice world?
Will: It was defiantly a challenge, but it was one of those things where by the end of the first episode of Batman Beyond I was hooked. I knew it was something I wanted to do and work at. I think some of the best actors in the world and not just voice actors, but I mean anywhere in the world are voice actors. Some of these men and woman that I work with are just so talented that you just sit back in awe as the play five characters in one episode. So I am always working at trying to become better at modulating the voices and by sitting and watching these people you really get some clues on how to do it. That’s the other thing that is so great with working with the actors in the voice over world is that the actors are open to talking about their process and how they come up with characters. They really try to help out some of the younger guys, especially when I first started I think I was 23 and Kevin Conroy who did the voice of Batman for years and years took me under his wing at first and helped me into the world. It’s a very open kind of world in Hollywood.
Bobby: At this point you have done so many characters, but is there any character that you haven’t gotten to play that you really want too?
Will: You I know of just let it happen. At one time though, because I never get to do this, I would like to play a bad guy. I am always the good guy which is great and fun, but to play something like a Cobra Commander or and evil Transformer or something would be really, really cool. With every project I get I think nothing can possibly top this and then the next one comes along it’s like “’Hey your Bumblebee in the Transformers” and I started watching the show when I was 8 years old, so to be involved in any capacity let alone playing Bumblebee is just huge for me. Every day I get to go into work with a big smile on my face.
Bobby: When you are doing any of these characters do you get to sit there in front of the screen while they are playing it and act along with it or is it strictly a studio session?
Will: It’s strictly a studio session where you go in and sit with the other actors and read it like an old radio play from the 1930s. You really don’t get to see the animation, but they send it away which takes about a year for the episode and they send it back and we have to go back and then we see it on the screen and do an ADR session where you are just cleaning up all the voices and adding the groans and stuff, but at first you don’t you just have to sit there and imagine it in your mind and read it straight through.
Bobby: Before wrapping this up I have to ask if there is any chance you are going to be involved in the Girl Meets World series?
Will: As of right now I am not going to be involved with Girl Meets World. In the future who knows what will happen, but as of right now I am just involved as a fan. Hopefully they will let the new young actors get their feet wet and get used to their characters without all of us old school actors hanging around them. So no, as of right now I have no affiliation with the show other than a fan and going to the set and wishing everyone as much luck as possible. You never know what the future holds so we will see if something comes down the line.
Bobby: I appreciate your time and thanks for doing this.
Will: Thanks I appreciate you talking to me.
Be sure to grab your copy of Transformers Prime Beast Hunters: Predacons Rising when it hits Blu-ray on October 8th.