An illustration of the popular toy and animated character Optimus Prime from the "Transformers" franchise.
Movies - TV
Recording Sessions For The Transformers Series Were 'Bedlam' Behind The Scenes
"The Transformers" TV series was born out of a commercial need to spike interest in Hasbro's toyline, but actors like Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime), Frank Welker (Megatron), Chris Latta (Starscream), Dan Gilvezan (Bumblebee), and Michael Bell (Bombshell) helped make it a memorable show. However, getting these actors together also led to chaotic recording sessions.
In an interview for 1986's "Transformers: The Movie," Gilvezan explained that the recording sessions were often a chaotic game of actorly one-upmanship. He recalled, "You fill a room with a bunch of personalities like the ones we had on this show [...] I mean it was Bedlam. With Michael Bell trying to top Frank Welker trying to top Peter Cullen [...] it was just crazy."
Gilvezan shared that Latta really got into character as Starscream, throwing his body around, bumping into his co-stars, and sweating profusely. "Michael Bell was placed next to Chris Latta in one of the recording sessions, and Chris had a tendency to perspire freely. And because of the gyrations and stuff, Michael actually had to order a towel at one point," said Gilvezan.
Cullen, Welker, and Bell were all veterans of the voice-acting industry with years of experience in popular animated shows, whereas Latta came from the world of stand-up. Understandably, allowing these actors to do full-length table reads while being encouraged to improvise led to some moments of what might be called "competitive acting."