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For the actor, who voiced the character in a Japanese incarnation of the Marvel hero two years ago, stepping back into the role was a bit easier the second time with a product that’s made for stateside audiences.
The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Pasdar ahead of Sunday’s episode to discuss the differences between the two animated series, what continues to attract him to comic book-themed work and how his Iron Man compares to Robert Downey Jr.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did your time voicing Iron Man/Tony Stark differ from your experience with the Iron Man animated series two years ago?
Adrian Pasdar: The difference between recording the Japanese anime and the Marvel version that we’re doing now is the Japanese anime that I did was a reinterpretation of the Japanese script and the difference between the verbiage was substantial, trying to sometimes fit five potatoes into a bag designed for two was a challenge. Making the plots still work in English along with the visuals that were created in Japan was the bigger challenge. With regard to the contemporary, what we’re doing now with Marvel, you’ve got voice work being done first and the rough sketch animation being done, but then the final version being married to and including the actors’ breath and the lip movements so it’s obviously much more real, much more personable version of Tony Stark than the Japanese anime.
How did your approach to the character change for Ultimate Spider-Man?
The same dynamic is at work. I was alone in a room for the Japanese anime for each episode and at times it became highly repetitive and impossible to see clearly what kind of progress is being made. With Marvel, it’s much more fluid. There’s more kinetic energy being used and decisions are made on the fly about dialog. Changes are able to be enacted because you have the actual players in the room, all of them. The writers, directors and producers are behind the glass, so it’s a much more fluid process.
What attracts you to the cartoon voiceover space?
My children and the kid inside me, the chance to voice a character for a cartoon that my children actually watch. Most of the stuff I do my kids can’t watch — it’s not age appropriate yet — so having a chance to be the voice for Iron Man, it’s right in my kids’ wheel house and they just eat it up. I can actually be a hero for 22 minutes.
Are you a big comic fan?
I love comic books. I love the conventions and had the opportunity to be right in the middle of all that mayhem with Heroes for a couple of years. That was just about as exciting as it gets. They are some of the most loyal and enthusiastic fans, that fan base is enormous.
Did you grow up reading comic books?
I did, but they weren’t as prevalent as they are now. I didn’t have any money but whenever we could get our hands on a used comic book, I would pass one around in Philadelphia at the school I went to. The panels, that way of reading, made so much sense to me as a young kid. I still love it. My kids love it now, too.
How does this incarnation of Iron Man draw upon Robert Downey Jr.’s character?
You’d have to ask Robert his interpretation of the character, but once you’re set up in the room and you’re with the other actors and the script is in front of you and you’re reading it, it becomes alive and it takes on a life of its own. If you try to hold on to any preconceptions you had, you’re doing a disservice to everyone around you. It’s a very creative process, and the things they have in common are obviously the goals that they share and the suit that he wears, but the differences are brought by the actors that play the part. It’s really fun to explore that world new and fresh every time.
Check out an exclusive clip, above, from Ultimate Spider-Man, which airs Sunday at 11 a.m. as part of the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD.
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