Josh Keaton discusses playing Jack Darby on Transformers: Prime

Voice actor Josh Keaton discusses playing Jack Darby on Transformers: Prime

Last week, we got to chat with voice-over legend Frank Welker about portraying Megatron on Transformers: Prime, which airs Saturday mornings at 11 AM PT on The Hub. This week, we spoke with another voice-over actor, Josh Keaton, who provides the voices of Jack Darby and several other characters in this animated series. He also voices Hal Jordan on Cartoon Network's Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Take a look at what he had to say below.

I read that you put yourself on a comic book crash course when you went out for the Green Lantern animated series role. Did you do the same thing when preparing for Transformers: Prime?

Josh Keaton: Not particularly. I watched a lot of G1 (Generation 1) when I was growing up so I was already pretty familiar with the lore. Well, the G1 stuff anyway. I also knew that my character would be seeing and experiencing everything having to do with Transformers for the first time and I figured it would probably be best to not know every detail, as they wouldn't really figure in to my portrayal of someone just discovering the existence of sentient robots.

Can you talk a bit about the recording sessions, and if you record as an ensemble or individually? What would you say are the advantages to recording as a group and also the advantages of recording solo?

Josh Keaton: We record as an ensemble and chronologically act out the episode. They usually try to schedule sessions so that all of the cast can read/act together. The only exceptions would be if someone can't make the session or if we have such a big episode that not everyone fits comfortably in the studio. When that happens, they'll divide the cast in half and take us in in two groups. Aside from logistics and scheduling, I wouldn't say there are any advantages to recording solo when it comes to animation. No matter how detailed your choices are and how extensive your prep work is, you'll never get as realistic a performance as you will when you're playing opposite another actor.

Your primary role is Jack Darby, but I also see roles like MECH navigator and Tailgate in some of the episodes. Can you talk about how that works? Do they just come to you with new voices each week, or is it more planned out than that?

Josh Keaton: For small, incidental roles it's not really that planned out. The producers and voice director pretty much know what our capabilities are and will often make a quick casting decision during the session and have someone play that part. Sometimes they'll ask to hear a couple people in the room read a line in their interpretation of that character and pick one to voice it (that's how I cameo'd as Aquaman in Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths). It's always a cool feeling when one of the incidental roles shows up multiple times.

As a voice actor, do you ever find yourself doing your various voices for kids, or do you ever get recognized just due to your voice?

Josh Keaton: I don't think I've ever been recognized solely for my voice, but I'll definitely do voices for kids. I love reading stories to kids. Dr. Seuss in particular.

Is there anything you can say about the future of the Green Lantern animated series? There was quite a negative reaction to the live-action film. Do you think this animated series will quench the fanboys' thirst for Green Lantern?

Josh Keaton: Our show takes a very different approach to GL than the film did. There's much more of a focus on space, the Corps, and other lantern colors that inhabit frontier space. Since an episodic show is able to delve much deeper into the mythos than a film where everything has to be introduced and resolved in under two hours, we'll definitely be serving up some tasty Greenery.

Transformers: Prime, which stars Josh Keaton as Jack Darby, airs Saturday mornings at 11 AM PT on The Hub.