Who am I?
I have three theories as to why celebrities do animation voice-over work.
1) They have kids and want them to be able to watch something they’ve done on film where they’re not naked/blowing someone’s head off
2) They have a real appreciation for the medium and are truly a fan of the project they’re working on.
3) It’s a big fat check to show up and read lines into a microphone for eight hours.
Reason number three is known as the “Dreamworks philosophy” of celebrity voicing. But whatever their reasons, it’s hard to find an A-List actor or actress who hasn’t done voice work. Here are twelve examples of those who have, some actors (and the roles they played) may surprise you.
1) Christian Bale – Howl’s Moving Castle, Pocahontas
Bale is the reason I wrote this list once I found him in Howl’s Moving Castle. I think he has a great voice for animation, but it absolutely does not match up to the prissy, pixie-like Howl, who would be better off being voiced by Zack Efron.
Bonus: How awesome is it that he was Pocahontas? I had no idea. No, he wasn’t John Smith. That was…Mel Gibson? Really?
2) Angelina Jolie – Kung Fu Panda, Beowulf, Shark Tale
Yes, I’m posting the video of Angelina in Beowulf with liquid gold dripping off her naked body. I figured you’d rather see that than her as a tiger or a fish. She sets the record for 2.5 out of 3 of her animated characters actually looking like her. Wonder why?
3) Brad Pitt – Sinbad, King of the Hill
Sinbad was just an awful idea, can we leave it at that? Surprisingly enough, many A-listers have popped by King of the Hill at one point or another. If anyone can find me this clip which the copyright hoarding bastards at Fox have hidden away, I’ll give you a million dollars.
4) George Clooney – South Park
By far the best voice acting on this list. Proving he has a sense of humor, Clooney voiced the barks and ruffs of Sparky, Stan’s gay dog in an episode of South Park. He hasn’t done any other animation, and the fact that he did this gives me a whole new level of respect for the man.
No video because Comedy Central blows.
5) Matt Damon – Titan A.E.
Matt Damon hasn’t done many guest roles in animation, but he was the lead in Titan A.E., a surprisingly good movie about life after earth. It by no means needed Damon whatsoever, but I’m guessing showing up for a few hours work and fat check was worth it for him.
6) Johnny Depp – Corpse Bride (Spongebob, though not yet), King of the Hill
Another King of the Hill appearance I’ll pay a bounty for someone to find. I’m not sure if his scheduled Spongebob appearance has aired yet, but try to find that as well. And of course, his only real animated role was for his lord and master, Tim Burton in the Corpse Bride.
7) Tom Hanks – The Polar Express, Toy Story 1 & 2
Tom Hanks has the best quality animated role of them all I’d say. Pixar is normally huge on celebrity voices unlike some other sellouts (*cough* Dreamworks), but in Toy Story, Hanks performed admirably as Woody the cowboy opposite Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear. And then there was the Polar Express which made my eyes crawl out of their sockets and hide.
8 ) Meryl Streep – The Ant Bully, King of the Hill, The Simpsons
Yes, another King of the Hill appearance, Go find it if you will. I’ve no idea what The Ant Bully is, but I do remember her Simpsons appearance as Reverend Lovejoy’s evil daughter who seduced Bart. No the Simpsons‘ clip below isn’t of that because Fox is a bunch of dicks and never lets more than eight seconds of any of their shows get posted on YouTube.
9) Julia Roberts – Charlotte’s Web, The Ant Bully
There’s that Ant Bully again. Roberts hasn’t done much animation, but her most notable appearance was probably as Charlotte the Spider in the “live-action” Charlotte’s Web remake. She was Tinkerbell in the live-action Hook, which almost counts, but doesn’t.
10) Will Smith - Shark Tale
To me Shark Tale sums up everything wrong with modern animation. No distinct plot to speak of, only a cavalcade of celebrity guest stars dressed up like fish. They didn’t want to waste their enlisted voice talent (DeNiro, Jolie, Aguilera, Smith) so they felt they needed to bash the audience over the head by making the fish look like the celebrities they were voiced by. WILL SMITH FISH HAS BIG EARS. ANGELINA JOLIE FISH HAS BIG LIPS. HA HA FUNNY. Sorry. I hate that movie.
11) Reese Witherspoon – Monsters vs. Aliens, The Trumpet of the Swan
The Trumpet of the Swan? Sure OK. More recently Reese voiced a giant version of herself in Monsters vs. Aliens which is Yahoo!’s 5th best animated movie of all time. Yeah huh. That movie made money so I’m sure she’s already reading lines for a sequel.
12) Bruce Willis – Over the Hedge, Rugrats Go Wild, Bruno the Kid
Bruce Willis? I wouldn’t have expected that. He voiced Spike the Dog in the Rugrats movie, and I’m sure there’s a more detailed explanation for that out there somewhere, but more recently he was the devious raccoon RJ in the new Dreamworks celebrity voice orgy, Over the Hedge.
A-Listers Who Haven’t Done Animation…Yet: Leonardo DiCaprio, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, and you can look up any more you care about.