Andrea Romano Casting & Voice Directing All-Star Superman
Press Release from Warner Premiere
Steamy shot from All Star Superman.
To vocally craft the characters within the DC Universe Animated Original Movies, the production brain trust of DC Entertainment, Warner Premiere, Warner Home Video and Warner Bros. Animation is smart enough to employ the best in the business – on both sides of the microphone.
While winners of Oscars, Emmys and Tonys alike provide the voices behind some of the world’s best known comic book characters, it is the super hero of voice directors that guides these unique talents – Andrea Romano.
Arguably the top animation voiceover director in the business today, Romano has been instrumental in orchestrating the vocal tones behind the first 10 DCU animated films, including the highly anticipated February 22 release of All-Star Superman.
The eight-time Emmy Award winner (not to mention 30+ Emmy nominations) has a voiceover casting/direction resume that spans more than a quarter century, covering the genre gamut from action (Batman: The Animated Series) and humor (Animaniacs) to contemporary (The Boondocks) and timeless (Smurfs). She will appear at both the New York and Los Angeles premieres of All-Star Superman next week, and will undoubtedly be greeted with a wild, lengthy cheer – an ovation she regularly receives at Cons around the globe.
For All-Star Superman, Grant Morrison’s beloved, Eisner Award-winning vision of Superman’s heroic final days on Earth, Romano has rounded up an intriguing lineup of stars to fill the comic book character roles. James Denton (Desperate Housewives) has donned the cape as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) is Lois Lane, and Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) voices Lex Luthor to form the core cast. They are joined by seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner (Up) as Perry White, Golden Globe winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Jimmy Olsen and Linda Cardellini (ER) as Nasty. Also amongst the voice cast is Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy), Catherine Cavadini (The Powerpuff Girls), Finola Hughes (General Hospital), Alexis Denisof (Angel), Obba Babatunde (That Thing You Do!), Michael Gough (Batman) and John DiMaggio (Futurama).
Romano paused between her many current projects – including a few upcoming DC Universe Animated Original Movies – to discuss the cast and recording of All-Star Superman. Listen up …
Are there certain writers’ scripts you find easier to direct or get an instant feel?
There are several writers I’ve worked with over the years whose words I can recognize without even seeing a title page, like Stan Berkowitz, Alan Burnett, Bob Goodman and especially Dwayne McDuffie. And because I’ve worked with them for so long over so many different projects, and once they know I’m on a project, it’s almost as though they write for me – because they know exactly what information I need to know to give to the actors. So I love working with all those guys. Dwayne works so hard on being true to the source material, and yet translating it into something that can be acted. He’s really good at making that transition of honoring the material, but bringing the words off the page to make it actable and dramatically interesting.
You’ve directed your share of voices for Superman. How did James Denton rank in his first foray in animation?
Jamie was a voiceover virgin, or he hadn’t done much, but he was outstanding to work with. Once an actor trusts that I will not let their voice go out sounding bad, and that their performance will be nothing less than the best, it becomes a very pleasant experience for all involved. Jamie was like that. He reminded me of Jensen Ackles – both are good actors, I’d seen their on-camera work, but because this form is different than what they’re used to working with, there is some insecurity with the territory. But once they don’t feel threatened, they relax into the role. Jamie was a really interesting choice – it can be difficult to cast some of these Superman films – and he brought some unique interpretations and sensitivities to the role. And that’s interesting for a director – to hear somebody else’s thoughts on what a man like Superman would sound like.
What are you seeking in a Superman voice that differentiates from all other voices?
Superman is such an interesting character because, while he isn’t human, he has so many human qualities. He’s interesting because without the effects of certain kryptonites, his instincts are always going to be to do the right thing. But you don’t want that to come off as being a Boy Scout or one note. And so you need kind of the white knight, but to still keep him interesting. It’s like when we girls first start dating, it’s never the clean-cut nice guy that attracts us – it’s always the bad boy with the extra dimensions. That’s why I like Batman so much. But when we can give Superman some layers, that makes him interesting. And every actor I’ve used for Superman has brought some amazing layers.
How did you choose Christina Hendricks to play Lois Lane?
I am such an admirer of her work, and I love what she does on Mad Men. It was cute because she was quite nervous coming in with no prior voiceover experience, but her acting instincts are so good, she has the ability to adjust to acting to a microphone as opposed to camera very quickly. I always give people positive feedback, but I was telling her “terrific job” and you’ll see the evidence when you see the piece. This is a very unusual, different story between Lois and Superman, and she captured everything we were looking for and then some. She was so enthusiastic about the role that she found a way to squeeze the recording into her schedule – right after getting married – and she gave us a terrific Lois Lane. I would use her again in a minute.
I’m guessing you’ve been angling to get Anthony LaPaglia behind the microphone for a while?
The actors I tend to bring in are people I’ve admired from afar and have been looking for a specific character for them – as with Anthony LaPaglia for Lex Luthor. He is such a versatile actor, and his dialect work is so good. Moreover, he was so directable. If something confused him, he asked just the right questions – he wouldn’t blindly do it 10 times to make it be right. He’d ask a very specific question, and that makes it easy to direct, because you can answer those direct questions.