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Beyoncé Joins Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried In 3D Animated 'Epic' + Thoughts On Celebs As Voice-Actors...

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 31, 2012 8:01 PM
7 Comments
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In what will be her first movie project since taking time off for maternity leave, Beyoncé has signed up to voice-act in the 20th Century Fox 3D CG-animated picture titled Epic.

Bey (voice-acting for Queen Tara in the film), joins Colin Farrell as Ronin, The Hunger Games‘ Josh Hutcherson as Nod, Amanda Seyfried as Mary Katherine, Johnny Knoxville as Mandrake, Aziz Ansari as Mub, rapper Pitbull as Bufo, Jason Sudeikis as Bomba, and Aerosmith and American Idol's Steven Tyler as Nim Galuu.

The film, to be directed by Ice Age helmer Chris Wedge, is described as...

...a battle deep in the forest between the forces of good and evil. When a teenaged girl finds herself magically transported into this secret universe, she must band together with a rag-tag team of fun and whimsical characters to save that world, which in turn saves the real world.

Epic will be released May 24, 2013

Reading over this voice-cast list got me thinking... 

I wonder if animated studio features like this one, and all those that have come before it, would have been any less successful if the voices behind each animated character in each movie, were provided by non-stars; "no-list" actors (you could say), that could actually really use the work and the money.

Would box office be hurt if studios instead gave an *unknown* the opportunity to perform, instead of calling on established celebrities?

I suppose the main reason for using celebrities is for marketing purposes; but I still have to wonder: these are often family-friendly films, aimed at kids, who probably could care less about whose voice is behind each character in each film.

And I'm not so sure adults care either, do we?

I've seen a few of these films, and the names listed in the "voiced by" section of the credits aren't the attraction. If I couldn't place the voice to a face, I would be perfectly OK with that. The style of animation, the characters, and the story usually are the draw, aren't they? Not necessarily the faceless people voicing each character.

Thoughts?

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7 Comments

  • Reign | June 2, 2012 12:19 PMReply

    I agree with the article, I've never attended an animated movie to hear the voices of celebrities. And I also agree that "no-namers" should be given an opportunity to showcase their talent and skills. I certainly wouldn't go to a movie to hear Beyonce's southern drawl.

  • Xi | June 1, 2012 11:39 PMReply

    I think it depends. In some cases, the actors will bring a certain flavor or essence to the character that adds to the story. In others, the actors can serve as a distraction. But just for the record....I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy hear Cree Summers on the ones and twos!!!!

  • Marie | June 1, 2012 11:04 AMReply

    As an animator who reads a lot of animation blogs, I can say with confidence that the rank and file who work in the field think the whole "celebrity voice actor" thing is a joke. Neither kids nor adults go to see an animated film for the VOICES! In fact, celebrity voices can hurt a film (I'm thinking specifically of Rosie O'Donnell's obnoxious work in the otherwise wonderful film "Tarzan.") One animation insider suggested that it's a way for the studio execs to rub elbows with famous people. I don't doubt it.

  • Cortez | June 1, 2012 2:43 AMReply

    I don't think it makes a difference. A voice is a voice and as long as the acting is still good, it makes no difference, notable or not.

  • Ted | June 1, 2012 1:10 AMReply

    It's also worthwhile to note almost all of the classic Disney animations didn't use celebrity voices. Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella etc didn't use notable celebrities for voice acting. The only exception I can think of is Peggy Lee in "Lady and the Tramp," and she wasn't playing the main character. Even "Beauty and the Beast" didn't use a notable celebrity voice. I don't really know why this trend is taking over, but I think professional voice actors would probably do a better job than many of celebrity acting choices.

  • Tamara | May 31, 2012 11:54 PMReply

    I loved Ratatouille. But upon viewing couldn't tell you WHO the actors portraying the characters were. It wasn't until an episode or two of "Community" and after viewing "Kitchen Confidential" that I realized who was who. But contrasting that I knew/had to know who voiced the characters in "Madagascar". But that's two different studios and two different types of promo. I don't recall Ratatoullie's promo being as aggressive as Madagascar...but what do I know. There are other examples I could provide but won't. I'll just agree and say that it is the look and the story of an animated feature that first attracts me. Not the voices. Can't wait to hear Beyonce "inflect"! Lol. Lots of star power* in the cast listing...

  • Peggy | May 31, 2012 8:06 PMReply

    I agree. They have A-list celebs with D-list all in the same film. If I were A-list I'd pass. Because due to the laws of physics, when you put a D-lister with an A-lister, only the A-lister loses luster.

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