Voicing a Master of Darkness

Discussion in 'General & Upcoming Kingdom Hearts' started by Sebax, Feb 28, 2015.

  1. Sebax Avatar by Xerona

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    This has not been a good year for the character of Master Xehanort. Sure, he has most of the 13 pieces of Darkness already set up, but, come on, he's gonna be thwarted. And then, he dies in two languages. Chikao Ōtsuka and Leonard Nimoy, Japanese and English Voice Actors for Xehanort, respectively, have passed on. The first at 86, and the second at 83, they both, truly, lived long and prospered, to use the phrase Mr. Nimoy lit in many hearts. Still, their passings have cast some doubts...on casting. Particularly, so far, I've seen, with the English gamers.

    Below, are a collection of posts on the subject from the thread covering Leonard Nimoy's death. Since this is a discussion in its own right, I believe it warrants some talking about. As, the other thread should be there to talk about Nimoy's death, not the work he left unfinished. It was relevant to bring it up, and mention, and reply to, but it felt more appropriate to open up something new to talk about this at length.

    Yay! Somebody talking about James Arnold Taylor! Ahem...

    Sebastian was not voiced by Samuel E. Wright in Kingdom Hearts I. He was voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Samuel E. Wright is not deceased.

    The Genie has never been voiced by Robin Williams in the Kingdom Hearts Series. Both were recorded by Dan Castellaneta and Jim Meskimen. One while Robin Williams was living. In fact, Jim Meskimen became the official voice for Genie circa 2009.

    Impressions are a time-honored tradition. The layers in Leonary Nimoy's voice are imitable.



    7:57 bears the most relevance here. Someone can do this. Maybe not Piotr Michael (That would be awesome though!), but it's proof sound waves don't die.

    The thing I'm going to put out as an impressionist is: The characters are not the people. It's not just sheer sound. It's a portrayal. If somebody can nail the right sound for Leonard Nimoy, then, hopefully, they can cover the character of Master Xehanort as well. Spoiler Alert: Leonard Nimoy did not perpetually talk in such a voice riddled with hubris and molten angst that you'd be sure he's going to try and take over the world.

    I was not a fan of Kevin Michael Richardson's take on Sebastian, truth be told, because, despite getting the sound, the character was slightly different. Jim Meskimen has Robin William's meter of speech down to a patent, so Genie comes off sounding more like, well, "Aladdin" Genie, and not TV "Aladdin" Genie; granted, Dan Castellaneta deserves his due for his years of service as a magical service provider in his own right.

    Have an idea for who might be able to provide a good sound-alike? <This question is professional. Kudos if you got the spec for a totally spot on Spock, but, if you don't already have a presence in VO, please don't use this thread for a springboard to stardom. C'mon, are you out of your Vulcan mind?

    What are your thoughts?

    LLAP
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
  2. lockedongamer Traverse Town Homebody

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    I thought the voice of Genie in Kingdom Hearts Re: Coded was terrible. It was completely off.
     
  3. Sebax Avatar by Xerona

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    I could talk this to death too.

    Robin Williams: A dynamic voice. He made it so that, in order to do Genie, you might need an army of Voice Actors to do one character. There are subtle things about the character as a whole that are hard to imitate. He does Celebrity Impressions and other voices, but they are Robin William's voices. All of the voices sound, even barely, like him. So, in short, you have to imitate all of his range in order to do Genie. Oh wait, NO! We're not through yet. Robin cost the Writing Team for "Aladdin" an Oscar Nomination. He ad-libbed such much of Genie's lines, that the script didn't qualify for an Adapted Screenplay nod. So, you have two things: Robin's manic super fast, sharp as a tack mind at its peak, and his cavalcade of characters.

    The second of which, Jim and Dan do in different ways:

    Dan has a leg up. Having provided the voice for Genie in the Direct-to-VHS "Return of Jafar" as well as for the TV show, he has a bass voice similar to Robin's. But, it always sounded off to me. Dan's and Robin's Genie were always two separate characters to me. Dan would do impressions and voices, but they were 1.) Written by writers trying to emulate Robin Williams. 2.) They were Dan's voices.

    Jim has, for the most part, had two Genie credits. 1.) Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, an interactive game playable at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and 2.) Re: Coded. I stand by my claim that he has Robin Williams's plain speaking voice down to a patent, (Great big) but, that's it. He's a talented Impressionist who can do dozens of other celebrities better than he does Robin. So, why has his Genie not done the Genie thing and done other voices? Perhaps it's the popular realization that a being in the past, though magical, is imitating people who have yet to be born in Aladdin's timeline, giving rise to theories that "Aladdin" takes place in an Apoptlyptic world where blah dee blah, blah blah dee blah, and blah blah blah blah BLAH blahblah! Can you imagine that? Wa. Genie would come full circle if he could go full range, but can Jim do Robin's other voices? Truth be told, he hasn't even shown the full range of Robin William's speaking voice; just the tone he'd typically use for Stand-Up Comedy. He sounds like one Robin. Not enough. And believe me, I'm actually a big fan of Meskimen.

    This is all an example of: You need all the ingredients to make an omelette; not just crack an egg.
     
  4. tamale Anyone can wear the mask. YOU can wear the mask!

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    ...Lemme take a stab at summing up what you're trying to say (which I totally agree with, by the way):

    It's one thing to be able to do celebrity impressions. It's a whole other thing to act in a celebrity impression. And only the really great actors can even attempt to act in a celebrity impression doing other celebrity impressions.

    Dan's got the task of acting in an impression of Robin Williams doing impressions. Have some pity on the poor guy.
     
  5. T'Challa Wakanda Forever!

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    I'll be honest... I thought his Leonard Nimoy impression sounded more like Darrell Hammond's Sean Connery impression from SNL's Celebrity Jeopardy (and I half expected him to mention Alex Trebek's mother...)

    Anyway, I'd like to mention that when the first ever English footage of BBS was released, I initially thought MX was voiced was Corey Burton, as there was something to the voice that reminded me of a previous role Burton had. So I e-mailed Corey Burton, asking him if that was his voice. He replied back and said no, but he had a hunch that it was Leonard Nimoy. A month or two later (I think?), the voice cast for BBS was announced, and listed Leonard Nimoy's name, confirming what Corey Burton said. Now that Leonard Nimoy has sadly passed away, I wouldn't mind hearing Corey Burton's take on MX, as I do think he can emulate the late Nimoy's voice. But part of me is worried that they can ruin the voice just like when they hired Richard Epcar for Ansem SoD (yes, I am aware some have warmed up to his voice, and there are some who prefer him over Billy Zane. But even after five games with him, I still cannot stand Epcar's voice... to the point where I actually mute the game whenever Ansem SoD speaks).
     
  6. Sebax Avatar by Xerona

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    Oh, no, please, believe me, I have great respect for Castelleneta's work as Genie. He has the high energy Meskimen, in a sense, lacks. He's just always been a different Genie than the movie's. Like, I know they're the same character, but they don't have the same liveliness.

    But yes, you got the point. People give modern Disney Shows a bad break, but I truly applaud "Liv & Maddie" for the work Dove Cameron puts into shaping two entirely different characters. She plays a pair of twins on a "The Parent Trap" Lindsay Lohan level where you might be shocked to find out it's one person. Essentially, she's doing an impression of herself. Seth McFarlane has done this on some of his shows (Characters he voices impersonating other characters he voices, in their own voices), as well as Mel Blanc. That's pretty tricky as well. It's all about establishing a character.

    Well, I mean, I heard it in a few lines he said. He does a better Spock, but the video seems to have gone missing. I doubt someone as young as Piotr Michael will be replacing Leonard Nimoy in any sense, I just meant to say "Hey, look, this is how it's done, even if not entirely all the way". His Nimoy, is, though, obviously not his best, which was why I opted to show the whole video from the start. This is not a "Defend Piotr" thread though, and I don't think he was being attacked anyway. Where am I going with this? Perhaps into the next paragraph.

    I remember the hubub that surrounded a Legend like Nimoy suddenly coming out of Left Field to do a Video Game character. I think I heard his name dropped before I heard the the voice in the trailer, but I can certainly see how Corey Burton would be a suitable replacement. Just so long as he doesn't give Xehanort either of Yen Sid or DiZ's meter. Xehanort's voice is Toxic, Proud, and Soft-But-Powerful. Burton has the weight, but I fear he might go too low. There's also the trick of possibly faking a voice heavily affected with lung damage, as was Nimoy's voice influenced. It adds a whole other layer that requires a master deception: Consistency.
     
  7. tamale Anyone can wear the mask. YOU can wear the mask!

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    Ah, sorry, I should have been more clear. That last comment was directed to lockedongamer, and to anyone else who has concerns about Dan's Genie. I know you respect him a lot. XD

    Believe it or not, I was actually going to mention Mel Blanc doing impressions of other Looney Tunes characters as Bugs Bunny and such, since I recently found out about that when I started watching I Know That Voice.

    I definitely agree about Corey Burton, too. While his DiZ, Yen Sid, and Frollo are all excellent in KH, sometimes the aural lines between those characters get a little blurry. Master Xehanort definitely has to have that sinister gravelly rumble of a voice that Nimoy did so well, and Otsuka also did in the original Japanese, albeit in a different (and also excellent) way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015
  8. Noise For Love and Justice

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    I will be honest.

    As much as I respect Mr. Nimoy, I never liked that he was Master Xehanort. His voice was too...gravely for me. We spent the better part of 4 years listening to the Japanese trailers of BBS and then when they showed MX's first english line I was disappointed. I hope they use this tragic situation to find a different actor...one that is similar but yet not as raspy.

    Because you can never replicated a true legend like Mr. Nimoy.
     
  9. Michael Daraghy Destiny Islands Resident

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    They'll find a good voice actor, they have a way of doing so, they had Mark Hamill, Leonard Nimoy, Christopher Lee,, Dan Castellina, and many other legends to play in KH, all of them did a good job. Master Xehanort will be replaced, and he will have a equally awesome voice actor. They will probably find like 50 extremely famous ppl that wana voice him, like they always do.
     
  10. Alan Smithee Destiny Islands Resident

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    What about Robert Englund, a.k.a. Freddy Krueger?
     
  11. Sebax Avatar by Xerona

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    Vocally, I can see this being a viable option. Whether or not Mr. Englund should or would go his full level of creepiness is debatable, as it may be too much for the character, but this is also the climax and he's the main villain. However, he has that right low, low tone with the right amount of grit.

    Mr. Englund is also a classically-trained with modern-thinking thespian, much like Nimoy, so you're talking a similar, developed background of established talent. It's something no one really talked about until now, but I would call it a good idea.
     
  12. Misty gimme kiss

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    In these times of darkness and uncertainty, I would like to nominate @Krowley to assume the voice acting responsibilities of Master Xehanort.

    Really though, I don't know much about voice acting or who's out there -- but I imagine they will replace Master Xehanort with either another high-profile voice actor, or simply grab someone who can imitate Nimoy well. I wasn't a fan of Master Xehanort's voice (though of course I respect Nimoy and what they were going for) and as such, I wouldn't mind a change.
     
  13. Krowley Super Moderator

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    I believe they made his voice that way in english and Japanese to show just how old and in need of a vessel he is.
    It's at least a nice change of pace from the youthful sounding voice actors.

    [​IMG]

    bless.
     
  14. T'Challa Wakanda Forever!

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    Bumping this thread 'cause over in another thread, @. : tale : . suggested Christopher Lloyd would be a good replacement based on his voice in these two vids:




    Having listened to Lloyd's voice in the vids, I gotta say, there were some lines in there that definitely sounded like something being spoken by Master Xehanort.
     
  15. Sebax Avatar by Xerona

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    I could definitely see that working. Not only is the voice very similar, but I believe Mr. Lloyd would be able to capture the gravitas of the character as well. It is, after all, a performance and not just "Impersonate Leonard Nimoy". It would also be nice to have Christopher Lloyd be a member of the Kingdom Hearts family, and the nerd-tastic potential of "Doc Brown" filling in for "Spock" would be wonderful --- especially in my personal favorite medium of fanart.