Plenty of actors have lent their voices to prime time animated series like The Simpsons or movies like The Croods and Toy Story. But it’s hard to imagine Saturday Morning Cartoons with huge stars. A lot of people are shocked to find out that the original voice of Shredder on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star James Avery, or to recall which Star Wars veteran was behind The Joker. Perhaps you weren't aware of the big names behind some of these childhood favorites...
Captain Planet and the Planeteers
A group of teenagers use magic rings to harness the elements and to summon Captain Planet, an environmental superhero. Each episode, they battle villains trying to pollute the environment. Whoopi Goldberg voices Gaia, the spirit of the Earth and their boss. What a lot of children at the time didn’t realize is the show’s villains are all played by major celebrities. Meg Ryan is Dr. Blight, a disfigured doctor who works with a sarcastic British computer. Jeff Goldblum plays Verminous Skumm, a mutated rat creature with a fondness for toxic waste. Sting even appears on the show as the creatively named Zarm. Other villains are played by Hollywood veterans Martin Sheen, James Coburn, Malcolm McDowell, and Ed Asner. Major celebs also stop by for guest appearances including Danny Glover, Louis Gossett Jr., and even Elizabeth Taylor.
This Disney cartoon creates a mythology where stone gargoyles come to life when the sun sets. It also has a bizarre Star Trek connection. Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis play series villains David Xanatos and Demona. There are also performance by other The Next Generation stars Michael Dorn, Brett Spiner, LeVar Burton, and Colm Meany. The captains of Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks, and Voyager, Kate Mulgrew, appear on the cartoon. Nichelle Nichols even makes an appearance.
Batman: The Animated Series
Batman is probably the most star-studded cartoon in television history. The series features appearances by stars from the 1970s to today. 1970s icons like Adrienne Barbeau, Michael York, and Marilu Henner pop by the series. Bewitched actress Elizabeth McGovern plays her last role ever on the cartoon. Mark Hamill, a.k.a. Luke Skywalker, finds a career resurgence playing The Joker. Night Court’s Richard Moll, The Beastmaster Marc Singer, and Melissa Gilbert all bring 1980s nostalgia playing major characters. Bruce Wayne’s various love interests include Heather Locklear, comedian Julie Brown, and Supergirl Helen Slater. There are also appearances by future celebrities like Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss and Megan Mullally.
Similarly, this Man of Steel cartoon has a ton of television actors lending their voices. Superman is voiced by Wings star Tim Daly and Lois Lane is Desperate Housewives star Dana Delany. Sitcom stars Peri Gilpin, Brad Garett, and Joely Fisher all appear on the show.
The idea of bringing a singing show contestant's life to screen may conjure up horrible memories of From Justin to Kelly, but based the talent lined up for One Chance, the story of Britain's Got Talent breakout Paul Potts, reality TV may be a deeper well of drama than one might think. Speaking to Hollywood.com in an interview for his new movie Hope Springs (which hits theaters August 8), director David Frankel revealed his approach to turning the story of a mobile-phone-store-manager-turned-opera-singer to life, along with new casting that solidify the project as one to watch.
"I don't know if all the deals are set, but I can tell you that it's Julie Walters, Colm Meany, Mackenzie Crook and a lovely young actress who actually worked [with Meryl Streep]," says Frankel. "Well, they didn't work together because she actually played the young Maggie Thatcher in the Iron Lady. Alexandra Roach. I have a text [from Meryl]: 'Hire her!'"
The quartet join James Corden, set to take on the role of Potts. The actor most recently won the Tony for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his role in One Man, Two Guvnors.
"He can sing. I don't know if he can sing opera," says Frankel. "I don't know exactly how we're going to do the singing yet, we're still working on it. It's just a great Billy Elliot/Fully Monty-ish little British movie that will really surprise people by in its universal appeal."
Potts wowed Britain's Got Talent audiences in 2007 with a performance Puccini's famed aria "Nessun dorma." News of the tear-jerker rendition quickly went viral — to date, a video of his stirring number has been viewed 97.7 million times. Spinning that bite-sized drama into something longer and interesting may be Frankel's biggest task for Once Chance. "That challenge is the Apollo 13 challenge. It's the 'how' of it. Enjoying the journey with him. Really, what we're familiar in the YouTube clip is the last three minutes of the movie. It's everything up to that point."
Frankel is heading to Europe this week to begin pre-production on the film, with a potential for a 2013 release.
Watch the original clip from Britain's Got Talent below and check back this week for our full interview with director David Frankel.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: WENN.com]
James Corden Is Paul Potts: A Visual Comparison
'Hope Springs': Meryl Streep & Tommy Lee Jones Get Sex Tips from Steve Carell — TRAILER
Meryl Streep, 62, to Play Teen in 'Romeo & Juliet'