Friday, December 02, 2011

Frank Welker, Peter Cullen Talk Transformers: Prime

The Transformers dynamic duo of Frank Welker and Peter Cullen spoke with MTV's Geek News to discuss Transformers Prime: Darkness Rising DVD (first five eps of the first season) that is coming out next week. The legendary pair have been working together for decades voicing tons of iconic characters besides Megatron and Optimus Prime. Below are a few highlights but its worth taking the time to read the entire interview here.

Geek: What do you think keeps that rapport going after all this time? I mean, one of the most pleasant surprises was finding out that you guys were great friends outside of the VO booth—what keeps you working together?
Cullen: Well, I think it’s chemistry and—from my end—I have such an awed feeling when I’m working with Frankie and it’s no secret that I call him “The King.”
Welker: [laughs]

Cullen: Well, you are. I mean it. And just to be able to work with Frank on a continual basis over the years has always been one of the highlights of my life. I’ve always treasured every moment of it because for some reason that chemistry not only exists in the printed word script that we’re reading but it transcends into the off-mic hilarity and respect that we have for each other—[goes low into Optimus Prime’s voice] at least I hope so, Megatron.

Welker: Oh, absolutely. You know, it is kind of amazing that we’ve had the good fortune of knowing each other for so many years. I think Peter likes me because I always make sure to find a parking spot for him. I’ll take two and always make sure when he gets in he gets one. So, I think that’s one thing.

Geek: Having actually watched that first block of episodes, there’s a lot of really great detail in the character design and emotiveness in the faces. Did these new visual takes on the characters impact how you played the roles at all?
Cullen: Well, for Optimus, there’s this concentration, a film-like quality, that creates more intimate moments. And I think that brings out a quieter side Optimus Prime that Generation One didn’t quite have. But in saying that, as well, the film-like quality behind the scenes makes it more realistic.

And that reality is so prominent now so that you can get into subtleties with each other on a performance level that we didn’t really have before. It was more cartoon-oriented but this is more realistic. And so I think we’re treating it a little differently in our characters, somewhat. I’ve concentrated it more into an acting persona than it would have been otherwise.

I’m enjoying that in particular. When Frank and I have some of these allied moments where we’re both talking as two real humans, you know, Autobot-humans, that sense of actor-character—

Welker: It lets us get into the more subtle areas. And you can dig around a little bit more. Like in Generation One, we had to—you’re “up” all the time because you just need to be at that level. But now with the CGI, you’ve got a little bit more mouth movements and body movements and it opens up a whole other range of performance which is really desirable.

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