David Kaye the voice of Megatron in Beast Wars/Machines, Armada, Energon, and Cybertron sits down with TFW2005. Mr. Kaye is currently voicing Optimus Prime, Grimlock, and Lugnut in Transformers Animated. See what he had to say below.
TFW2005: What were the events that caused you to change from being the voice of Megatron for the past 12 years to your new role as Optimus Prime in Transformers Animated?
David Kaye: There were auditions that came through William Morris Agency in LA for the new series. I of course, really wanted at least the opportunity to audition for the role of Megatron and maybe anything else that might be available. I found out Sue Blu was the Voice Actor director and I love working with Sue so much I HAD to be on the show. I read for the roles from my home studio, emailed Sue and said to be on the look out for the files from William Morris and the next thing I knew I was back for the call backs. I figured, here we go…another Transformer series as Megatron. I certainly didn’t even conceive I’d be even READING for the role of Optimus, let alone be cast as that character. As soon as I read for Prime, I could sense something was up and 2 weeks later I got the call that I’d be playing ‘the good guy’ now along with a couple of other regulars on the show. Lugnut and Grimlock.TFW2005: Has it been hard switching gears from being Megatron to Optimus Prime?
David Kaye: Yesssss !! Just getting the rhythm of the character and finding out who he is took about a half dozen episodes. Even then, it was sometimes hard to keep him on track once in awhile. Completely different with how I handled Megatron in the Beast Wars, etc, series.TFW2005: Transformers Animated Optimus Prime is supposed to be a younger incarnation than in previous shows. How would you describe the character you are playing in this series?
David Kaye: Well, funny thing was, they did want him younger, but as I became more comfortable with Prime I kind of dropped into the character to where he was closer to my own voice. They really liked how Prime was sounding. We actually went back and re-recorded a few episodes where Prime was originally sounding ‘younger’.TFW2005: Peter Cullen visualized John Wayne when he voiced Generation 1 Optimus Prime. Do you have anyone that you have based Animated Optimus Prime on?
David Kaye: No. I just wanted Prime to sound natural. It remains a bit of a battle, because you want to ‘put it on’ sometimes. I mean he’s the ‘Hero,’ right?TFW2005: Now that you have voiced both Transformers leaders, which one did you enjoy most, or were they equally satisfying?
David Kaye: Megatron was always my favorite character. He was so fun to do. Prime was a struggle for me at the beginning but after seeing the first three episodes, I can’t wait to get back in the studio for another season or 2, or three or 4…TFW2005: How difficult was it for you to originally land the role of Megatron in Beast Wars?
David Kaye: It didn’t seem that difficult. I was just doing an audition for a cartoon show. It seemed like it was going to be pretty cool. Megatron just ‘showed-up’ I guess.TFW2005: Was it hard to keep the role during the Armada, Energon and Cybertron shows when many other parts were recast?
David Kaye: Yessssssssssss !!! The animation was already drawn and there isn’t much room to really play in that situation. You have to make the best of it sometimes and just try and fit the dialog in.TFW2005: Out of all the Megatrons that you voiced throughout the years, what series was your favorite or most fun to do?
David Kaye:The first one (Beast Wars) and I quite enjoyed playing ‘Noble’ on the darker Beast Machines.TFW2005: How do you feel about voicing characters originally pioneered by the likes of Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, and Gregg Berger? Does this affect the way you approach the roles?
David Kaye: I try not to have any preconceptions going in. These guys are MY heroes and people I look up to. I don’t want to sound like, or take anything away from anybody. It’s my job and one that I love immensely. So just to be able to work with these people and meet them is fantastic.TFW2005: What did you think of Michael Bay’s take on Transformers?
David Kaye: I really wanted to be a part of it. I mean, so did ALL of us that have been involved in the Transformers franchise at some time or another. I would have been a glorified extra if I could screaming “nooooooooooo.” I thought it was pretty cool. It was totally amazing how far technology in film making has come. I went with my son and it was a great movie too see together. I especially loved Scorponok. The only thing was, even though it was AWESOME to here Peter Cullen speak as Prime, I kind of thought to hear the Autobots and Deceptions speak, took away from the mystery of them a bit. Hey that’s just me, but overall, I thought it was a blast! Get it….blast ! Ha I KILL me!TFW2005: Out of all the roles you have voiced over the years, which one is your favorite?
David Kaye: Megatron from Beast Wars and I kind of dug Professor X in X-men: Evolution.TFW2005: Could you cite sources of inspiration for your voice work and describe how each of them inspired you?
David Kaye: Number one is Mel Blanc. A Master. My other mentor is Don La Fontaine. Had a chance to work with Don teaching a workshop. What a great man and I was totally in awe.TFW2005: Is there any specific character archetype you’re still itching to play
that you’ve somehow avoided thus far in your career?
David Kaye: I’d love to be involved in the Star Wars franchise and to work with Seth MacFarlane would be my dream come true. I think he’s completely BRILLIANT!!!
A special thanks again go out to Mr. Kaye for the opportunity and a few moments of his time.