Once again, the universe needs to be saved.
The video game to animated movie, RATCHET & CLANK, features our heroic duo Lombax and small robot in an effort to save the universe from an evil alien.
The 3d CGI animated film features the voice of James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward and Armin Shimerman from the video games. They are joined by cast members of Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson and Sylvester Stallone.
The animated film is a retelling of how Ratchet and Clank first met and their fight against Chairman Drek.
RATCHET & CLANK is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download today.
Read the full transcript below.
LRM: It’s always weird to speak with the voice of Clank without the voice of Ratchet. [Laughter]
David Kaye: [Laughter] Yeah. Have you talked with James, yet?
LRM: No, I haven’t. The last time I’ve talked with you was with you and James together at the past WonderCon. And I’ve seen a lot of videos of both of you together. It’s quite unusual for me to associate you by yourself. [Laughter]
David Kaye: [Laughter] Yeah, me too. [Laughter]
LRM: Let’s start off with this—what do you think makes Clank such a lovable character in this franchise?
David Kaye: I think it’s because he is a robot. I have to walk this emotional tightrope by finding some kind of emotion in this character. He’s still a robot. You have to be careful on how far you push it. I like to think that I play this right down the middle where people will feel something. That’s the toughest thing to do with a character like this. It’s always my challenge every time I do something—like to make people feel something or bring a little more life to that character.
The fact that he is a character [with Ratchet] and they form this bond with the Lombax and this robot. It’s neat to see that relationship developed, because it’s just so out there and that it’s not funny. [Laughter]
So we explore this relationship in the movie and with the DVD coming out—it’s really cool! They seemed to have developed a very strong following.
LRM: So how did you first developed the character’s voice? That must’ve been a long time ago, but do you recall?
David Kaye: I still remember it to this finest day. I was at my home studio and I had a bunch of scripts came in for a bunch of different things like commercials and a couple of animated projects. This one came across as a one-pager—I think it was only a paragraph. It had a description of the character as a robot, but they didn’t want it to sound too robotic and with some personality. There was a paragraph of dialogue.
I just basically started talking to the mic. [Changes to Clank’s voice] “Yeah, I basically did this thing. I pronounced things differently like instead of saying ‘I’m.’ I say ‘I am.’”
It’s the small details. I read it like that. So I was like, “Pfft. Whatever.” So at the time, I think I sent it on a DAT or a tape. I don’t remember that. [Laughter] It’s definitely not how we do it now.
It’s was done via the old school thing. I sent it to the agency. Then three to six months later, I got the call and I didn’t know what they were talking about. The agent said [changes voice], “Hey! Good news!” I said, “What? What was that?”
Then I showed up at Warners Brothers Studios under the tower there. It was the home of Wacko, Jacko and Dot. We just recorded our first session. You will never really know on where things are going to go.
Here we are almost fourteen or fifteen years later, there has been a movie out and bunch of games. Hopefully, there’ll be another movie. We’ll see. I want to turn to the next chapter and see what happens next.
LRM: Do you play the videogames yourself? Or do you try to avoid them possibly not to constantly hear your own voice?
David Kaye: I never like hearing my own voice. I always think I could do better and change things.
The very first time I’ve ever played the game—I sat down with it on a Friday night at 7 o’clock. I really never played a videogame all of the way through. I sat down with this game and then suddenly 7 o’clock the next morning—I finished the game as I was up all night and exhausted. I felt sort of silly, but I got hooked on the game.
The reason I don’t play it too much anymore for the reason if I started on something like that—my day would be gone. I just don’t have the time. I get sucked into these things and then I have to finish it. I gotta finish it! It could definitely be dangerous for me. I would forget to pay the mortgage, the car payment and everything else. It’ll be a really bad scene.
LRM: Do you typically work in the booth individually or do you work in together with James Arnold Taylor?
David Kaye: On the movie, we worked together which was the first time ever on the franchise. We were brought in together. Normally, you’re all by yourself. With all those feature films, I’m usually all by myself. You just act directly with the director. We had a chance to work together in a studio which was really cool.
As for animated series, like TRANSFORMERS or AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE, we’re all in a big room and it’s a ton of fun. It’s fun to be surrounded with silly people being silly. That is usually a really fun four hours.
A lot of times, I’m on my own in a studio at home…..in my pajamas. [Laughter] I don’t have to go anywhere. It’s a good day. I could do it from there as well.
Animation is easier in a studio together. Most of time for animations and feature films, you’re all by yourself for the most part. For commercials and trailers, you’re all by yourself.
LRM: What’s the difference voicing for videogames compared to voicing for animation, TV or film?
David Kaye: Not much anymore. There used to be. Back in the day, you are [changes voice] “Oo! Ee! Aah! Oo!” That was basically the sound in the video game. Now it’s all about the performance. Now there’s motion capture and you’ll have to stretch those acting chops. It’s all over the realism and the more real it gets—it’s better.
Nowadays, there’s not much. There’s no difference at all.
LRM: Since you’ve been working with James Arnold Taylor for such a long time, are you guys best of friends and hang out—or just all business?
David Kaye: We’re good friends. I’ve texted him from time to time. It’s usually because of our schedules and he has a young family, it’s difficult to get together. It kind of sucks sometimes. Sometimes I would go months without seeing him.
It’s the same with other people. There are a small handful of people I would be seeing on a daily basis. I usually hang out with my family or friends who are not in the business. With friends who are in the business, I love it every day and every moment I spent with those people. It’s a joy.
So yeah, we’re friends. There may be some stuff coming up this year that we may be doing together. We’re also on a couple of cartoons together as well. The relationship over the years will build up. It’s really cool. I’m honored to call him my friend.
LRM: Terrific! So tell us about the life of being a voice actor. I’ve heard that some people really like it and some people don’t. You’ve been doing this for many, many years!
David Kaye: Yeah, I’ve been doing all of this for many years—all this silliness. It’s great! It’s a dream gig for me. It has taken a long time to get to this point and there are still so much more to do. Every day, I learn something new.
On what I love to do is trailers. They’re very specific form of narration. Everything has its challenges and I just simply love do it. The best thing about cartoons is that you get to hang with your friends and peers. That’s always a ton of fun. So when you don’t get a gig, it’s disappointing cause you don’t get to hang out with your friends. When you’re on the show, it’s really a good ensemble. We need to be in there with everyone.
I just love it. I love doing it. Being behind the mic is my thing. I know on what I’m doing back there. That’s where I love to live.
LRM: You don’t have the desire to do live acting, do you?
David Kaye: I used to. A long time ago. Now if someone is doing a short film or with a friend involved on a project, I’ll do it. When I’m set, I’m like, “I enjoy this. This is fun.” It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. It’s more about if I can do a role and make it real—it’ll be great. I just love being anonymous behind the mic and trying to create different characters. By sounding real behind the mic, that’s something I’m always working on. I’m trying to be as good as I can. There are plenty of brilliant people out there. They can certainly do both. I choose to be behind the mic. That’s where I have the most fun.
LRM: Let me start wrapping things up, can you talk to me about any future projects you may have for yourself?
David Kaye: Let me see…..there’s a bunch that I cannot mention. There’s AVENGERS ASSEMBLE, I’m still involved in that. There’s an audiobook that’s coming out and I’m real proud of it. The author is a good friend, Brooke Burgess, wrote THE CAT’S MAW. The audiobook is coming out in late August and that was a really cool gig to be involved with. It’ll be available on Amazon and all the different platforms. It’s amazing.
Gosh, there’s a bunch of stuff out there. There’s one project that currently hasn’t been released yet and it’ll be out next year. But, I can’t really talk about it. Otherwise, there’s the DVD and digital download of RATCHET & CLANK. That’s really exciting.
LRM: I know you voiced a bunch of characters over your lifetime. Besides voicing Clank, who is the other favorite character you love to voice?
David Kaye: Hmmm….[Laughter] Megatron started the whole Transformers thing. That’s always fun to do. There was this real, quirky character that I was able to do that no one will really know about it called Twisted Whiskers. It was very short-lived. But, I get to sound very cartoony. [Changes voice] I get to be very cartoony. I do a lot of Marvel and DC stuff, but this is when I got to be a cartoon. It was a lot of fun for me. It’s out there in the universe somewhere. It’s called Twisted Whiskers. I played Dander the Cat. My friend, Bill Kopp, did the show. It was a riot.
LRM: That’s awesome. I’ll have to look that up somewhere in the universe. Hey, thank you for speaking with me.
David Kaye: No, thank you.
RATCHET & CLANK is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download today.