Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Interview With Josh Keaton
No Evil Shall Escape Josh Keaton's Sight
What do both Green Lantern and Spider-Man have in common? Actor Josh Keaton has given both of them life in an animated form.
Raised in California, Keaton first popped on the scene in the kid-fueled bands “All God’s Children” and “No Authority” in the 1990s. He would go on to voice Jules Brown, the son of Doc Brown in the Back to the Future the animated series. Keaton also appeared on camera in soaps like The Young and the Restless as well as other numerous sitcoms.
Voice-wise, he has appeared on many popular superhero-themed cartoons, but he made a name for himself in the comic book world as Spider-Man in The Spectacular Spider-Man in 2008. He would continue playing Spider-Man in video games like Spider-Man: Edge of Time and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. In Shattered Dimensions he played Spider-Man along with other famous Spider-Man actors like Dan Gilvazan (Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, 1981), Christopher Barnes (Spider-Man, 1994) and Neil Patrick Harris (Spider-Man, 2003).
While Keaton has made a name for himself as the famous wall-crawler for the past several years, on Nov. 11th fans will be able to hear him voice Hal Jordan in the Bruce Timm-produced computerized Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Keaton spoke with Cosmic Book News about playing both superheroes and working with some amazing voice over actors in the business.
COSMICBOOKNEWS: Josh, thanks so much for joining us at CosmicBookNews.com. How long ago did you record the voice of Hal Jordan?
JOSH KEATON: It has to have been a year since we recorded everything.
CBN: Are you worried that because the movie was received so poorly that it would affect the show?
KEATON: I would say that by the time the movie had come out, we had finished most of the recording of the shows. We were recording pick-ups and last-minute other needs, so the success of the movie, one way or the other, had no bearing on our performance.
However, we have Bruce Timm working with us and we have a good crew of people who worked on Star Wars: The Clone Wars working on our Green Lantern show. I think most fans know that we stand on our work and what we have is good.
CBN: Where does the show begin in Hal’s career?
KEATON: The show hits the ground running. He is teamed with Kilowog and it almost has a “buddy cop” feel to it. They are in the process of recruiting a new Green Lantern when their adventure begins.
CBN: Are each of these shows a stand-alone adventure or is there a build-up to something at the end of the first season?
KEATON: Each episode is self-contained yet ties back to a previous episode, but the season is building up to one big thing at the end of the season. We throw in little rewards to fans who watch the entire season, but if you missed the first four episodes you can pick it up with the fifth episode and enjoy it.
CBN: Will any of the other characters from the DC Universe pop up?
KEATON: To be honest, the actors are the last people to be told anything and I have yet to come across any other DC superheroes, and as to whether the door is open for any other superheroes to appear is just pure speculation on my part.
CBN: Will we be seeing the other color Lantern Corps, Blackest Night or anything else that has been popping up in Geoff Johns’ recent run in Green Lantern?
KEATON: I will say this: There is much I don’t know and can’t comment on, but Geoff Johns’ work is in the series.
When I did my research for Hal, I picked up Geoff’s Green Lantern: Rebirth and I could not put it down. I thought the book summed up Hal brilliantly. It was great to have when I did my research for the character.
CBN: How much research went into your study of Hal Jordan?
KEATON: As I said, I read Green Lantern: Rebirth and I did lot of reading about the character. When I was growing up, I tended to be a Marvel fan and I was aware of Spider-Man and Wolverine, but for me Hal Jordan was a new character, and I wanted to make sure I got him right. I mean there is a huge Green Lantern fan base and I did not want to let them down.
CBN: How is it working with Kevin Michael Richardson, who plays Kilowog? He also played the Joker in The Batman animated series not too long ago.
KEATON: Kevin Michael Richardson is one of my dearest friends and it’s great. I think there is this huge crossover between the voice actors of superhero cartoons. It’s rather incestuous [LAUGHS].
CBN: Will we be seeing any of the other Green Lanterns like John Stewart, Guy Gardner or Kyle Rayner?
KEATON: Again, I don’t know and I can’t really comment, but I know that a lot of people told me that Hal used to be a boring character. I found him to be a really interesting character to play.
However, if given the chance, I would love to be Kyle Rayner on camera.
CBN: You had the chance to play Spider-Man with the Spider-Man I remember from my childhood, Dan Gilvazan. He was great in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. What was it like working with him?
KEATON: Dan is a fantastic human being! In fact my wife and I were supposed to make it down to his Halloween party, but we were unable to.
CBN: Did you get a chance to meet the other Spider-Men?
KEATON: I did not meet Neal Patrick Harris, but I have known Chris Barnes. We worked for the same voice-over agency and we hung out before.
CBN: Did you know about the other Spider-Man cartoons likeSpider Man and his Amazing Friends the 1990s cartoon? How did you have the character’s voice in your head?
KEATON: I grew up reading Spider-Man and I had already had the voice in my head. But in the 1990s, I was in a boy band and I didn’t get a chance to watch the cartoon.
But with my years of reading the comic, I was able to come up with the voice. It was cured like a fine Spider-Ham over the years. [LAUGHS]
CBN: [LAUGHS] Awesome! So being in a boy band, were you cool?
KEATON: When I was in high school, I was shorter than most of the students and I was not popular. I found that I liked science and I was not into sports. When everyone else in high school was socializing, I was in a computer lab helping the school set up Netscape.
I got beat up in the locker room and I definitely took my lumps. However, I was also involved in the entertainment industry and I was the exact opposite of what I was in high school. I was not a dork, I was popular and it was almost like this double life, so when I got the role of Spider-Man [for The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon] I understood him.
Also, I was really able to get into the character to the show’s writer Greg Weisman. He was able to capture Spidey from his early Steve Ditko, John Romita and Stan Lee days.
CBN: Now can you see a younger Hal Jordan, who was a bit of the jock in high school, be someone who picked on Peter Parker?
KEATON: You know Hal was dealing with his own stuff as a child, especially with his father not being there, and Hal came from a total “do the right thing” military background, but I can see him having a momentary lapse and giving Peter a wedgie just to be popular for the moment.
However, I see Hal being of the character to immediately regret it and [convince himself] he had not been a part of it and almost becoming an advocate for the nerd of the group.
Hal is not a dick, and even when I was being bullied, there were still some of those jocks who were friends of the nerds and I see Hal evolving into someone like that.
CBN: When you act for voice-over work versus on camera acting, do you act and move your body in a different way? Or do you find you are just reading it?
KEATON: I pretty much act out what is happening on the page and I go through the motions of what the character would be doing.
It’s funny because one of the producers on Green Lantern was able to see the animation after the show had been put together. She said in the studio, “Hal Jordan moves like Josh!” and that is really cool. It’s a testament to the talent of the animators of how they were able to translate my voice into that.
CBN: Well, we can’t wait to see it! Thanks so much for talking with us here at Cosmic Book News!
KEATON: Thank you. This was fun!
"Green Lantern: The Animated Series" premiers Friday November 11th on the Cartoon Network at 7pm ET.
For more from Josh check out his site at www.JoshKeaton.com.