Feel The Roar: Interview With Larry Kenney
By: Don Smith Jr. Contributing Writer and
Matt McGloin, Editor/Publisher
The Thundercats were set loose, once again, two months ago when Warner Bros. Animation released news that everyone's favorite felines from Thundera are set to return to the Cartoon Network later this year.
It was revealed that original Lion-O voice actor, Larry Kenney, would be returning to the series that saw millions of young Wiley Kits and Wily Kats shouting "Hooo!" - until they could shout no longer.
Now a new generation will be introduced to "site beyond site" as Kenney voices the part of Claudius, father to young Lion-O.
After hearing the news of the Thundercats return and with Kenny's involvement, we just had to give the actor a call.
Kenney will be appearing Sunday April 3rd at this weekend's 25th Annual WonderCon in San Francisco as part of Warner Bros. first ever panel on the new animated Thundercats.
Kenny shares his thoughts on the new Thundercats, recording the lines, on the new Lion-O, Terry McGinnis, and more.
Cosmic Book News: Larry, before we get into the new Thundercats, can you tell us about your take on playing the original, Lion-O?
Larry Kenney: When I played him, I played like he kept his distance from the rest of the Thundercats. Lion-O was a man-boy, he was thrust into the thick of it. He wanted to make sure the rest of the Thundercats knew they could count on him when the chips were down. The thing was, he had to do this growing up quickly and in an alien world.
Cosmic Book News: Are you still in contact with your fellow actors from the original? Are they going to be involved with the new show?
Larry Kenney: Well, I see Peter Newman [original Tigra] and Lynne Lipton [original Cheetara] a couple of times a year at recording sessions and auditions, but they have not said anything to me.
To be honest, I think they asked me to the show as a way paying homage to the original. I mean, over the years there has been so much talk of a movie and new television series, internet petitions [and with allusions to Peter Cullen being asked to return as Optimus Prime in the live action “Transformer” movies] I can see why I was asked.
Maybe at a later date, they will be asked. That would be cool.
Cosmic Book News: Regarding the new Thundercats, what did you think when you were asked to voice a role?
When I was first asked to do the show, I asked for a complete script and when I read it, I was impressed. It felt right.
Cosmic Book News: You play Claudius, father to Lion-o? Can you tell us anything about that?
Larry Kenney: Yes, I do play Claudius this time.
However, there is a lot that I cannot say because the show has not aired [laughs]. In July, fans will be able to see the show.
Cosmic Book News: You worked with creative director Andrea Romano, who also is behind the Warner Bros. animated Green Lantern: First Flight and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, what can you tell us about that?
Larry Kenney: It was great! It reminded me of recording in the old days with Lee Dannacher [original producer on Thundercats].
Working with them was great. Both knew exactly what they wanted.
Andrea will say, “Let’s record line 37. Give me three takes.” I will record it three times, she will hear it and then say, “Let’s do three more, and let’s do it like you did your third take.”
I don’t mind doing hundreds of takes of a line, but I would prefer the director knows what he or she wants. Sometimes, I can do several takes and the director will have no idea what they want.
When I speak, I try to give several different takes so they can have something to work with and go from there.
Cosmic Book News: Have you met the new cast?
Larry Kenney: No, I have not, but I have seen some of their stuff.
[Will Friedle] who is playing the new Lion-O, I heard him last week and I saw it matched up with the animation and Will is just great.
Cosmic Book News: How would you describe Lion-O this time around?
Larry Kenney: Lion-O is a bit of a smartass and it works well for this interpretation of Thundercats. They have given it a real contemporary sound. I like it a lot.
Cosmic Book News: This is not the first time Will Friedle has taken over the role for other mainstay characters. He was Terry McGinnis, the new Batman, in Batman Beyond.
Larry Kenney: He was good.
Andrea told me that when they first got into the recording studio, Will was reading the script and came to the line, “Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats, Ho!” - he stopped, looked at the script, looked at Andrea and said, “I don’t know if I can do it.”
He did it well.
Cosmic Book News: Ultimately, what is your opinion of the new series?
Larry Kenney: I really got the same feeling in this cartoon that we had with the old one. It has the “Code of Thundera” and it really has the heart of the old show.
They have made it entirely different in some ways, but it has the feel of the old series.
It has a harder edge and it is more aggressive, but they kept the essence of the show.
Cosmic Book News: Thank you, Larry!
Larry Kenney: Thank you. This was fun.
Look for "Thundercats" on the Cartoon Network later this year and don't miss Larry Kenney, Sunday April 3rd, at the WonderCon Thundercats Panel!