Victor Garber Talks About Sinestro In Animated Green Lantern
"Green Lantern: First Flight" lands on DVD and Blu-ray on July 28, 2009. That's starting to get closer than you realize. Sinestro plays a crucial role in the story of Hal Jordan in his journey of becoming a Green Lantern. In order to truly capture the essence of Sinestro's character, you have to have the right voice. Victor Garber has been in such movies as Titanic and Milk. He is an Emmy-nominated actor for his performance on "Alias" and "Will & Grace." Garber has also been a contender for the Tony Award for various Broadway roles.
Garber has recorded audio books and has done some narration for television in the past. "Green Lantern: First Flight" marks the first time he's done voiceover work for an animated feature.
Here is a Q & A with the actor:
QUESTION: How did you settle on the voice of Sinestro?
VICTOR GARBER: The challenge of bringing this character to life was
to find exactly the right tone. My tendency would be to make it a
little too colorful, but Andrea (Romano) and Bruce (Timm) gave
direction that was very specifically to modulate it and find the right
tone. It was interesting because with animation, it’s all voice – at
the recording stage of the process, you don’t even really know what
it’s going to look like. But when I read the script, I had sort of an
idea of the sound of Sinestro, because it was very specifically
written – and very well written – so you could understand the sense of
humor and irony in this character. I appreciated that.
QUESTION: How does Sinestro compare to other characters you've played before?
VICTOR GARBER: Having played the the ultimate villain as the Devil
many years ago in Damn Yankees!, I found Sinestro was just kind of a
modification of that character. The thing about villains is that they
all think they're doing the right thing, and Sinestro believes that
what he's doing is for the better, that it's going to improve the
universe. The scariest part about a villain is that you know, at any
cost, human life or super-powered life, they will do whatever it takes
to achieve their goal. They believe in their cause, and Sinestro fits
QUESTION: Do you enjoy playing the villain?
VICTOR GARBER: I like to play any character that has dimension and
complexity and if he happens to be a villain, great. If he happens to
be heroic, great. I just like well-written roles.
QUESTION: What development did you put into the voice?
VICTOR GARBER: I actually read the script aloud a couple of times and
sort of experimented with a certain qualities. In the script, it says
– and maybe this was a bit misleading – but it refers to Sinestro as
having a bit of a Simon Cowell attitude. I tried not to let that
influence me too much, but Sinestro is sarcastic and he’s got a real
edge. So I played with it, and once I got into the studio with Andrea,
the voice really came out.
QUESTION: What was your impression of Sinestro’s dialogue?
VICTOR GARBER: When I first read the script, I came to these
four-paragraph speeches, and that always alarms me a little bit
because with anything (that long), you really have to figure out how
you're going to shape the entire piece. But they're well written, and
they have a definite rhythm. So I sort of read it aloud in the privacy
of my own home, because I just wanted to get the sound of it – you
don’t want to be tripping over your words when you get to the studio.
So I had a sense of what I wanted to achieve and it worked out pretty
It’s important to prepare and understand the entire script, not just
your lines. You don’t want to upstage the other actors. If it’s a
scene with two or three or five people, you really basically need to
think, “How am I communicating with all these people?” Everybody in
this mix makes it whole, and I think they've assembled a really good
group of people for this film.
QUESTION: Speaking of the cast, you’re playing opposite Christopher
Meloni’s heroic Green Lantern, and you had the opportunity to act with
each other in the booth. How was that experience?
VICTOR GARBER: Chris was very disappointing (LAUGHS). Christopher
Meloni is a really great actor and I'm a huge fan of his -- the
opportunity to work with him was really my incentive to do it. I'm on
a little break, I’ve just come back from Morocco, I was jet lagged and
my agent called and I thought, “Two days in the studio with Chris
Meloni? I can do that.” We had a lot of fun. He really does exude the
heroic quality that Green Lantern would embody. It was funny because
you’re in the studio and you're focused on the microphone, reading the
script – you hear each other in your headphones so you can play off
each other, but you don’t really look at each other. And occasionally
I would catch a glimpse of him – striking the (super hero) pose. He
was definitely in character.
QUESTION: Did your previous work on the stage and screen help prepare
you for this style of performance?
VICTOR GARBER: From my experience as an actor, every role you do
helps you build a kind of a repertoire of characters that you pull
things from unconsciously. This is very different from anything I've
done on television or even on stage. But my job as an actor is to
imbue it with some sort of authenticity and truth – to make it
believable. I didn’t pull anything for Sinestro from any specific
character I’ve played in the past. They're all different.
QUESTION: From Nora Ephron to Gus Van Sant to James Cameron, you’ve
worked with some impressive directors. What was your impression of
your first voiceover under the direction of Andrea Romano?
VICTOR GARBER: Andrea is a task maker. She's brilliant at her job, I
have to say. You just feel confident that there's someone in the booth
that's really watching out for you. She’s very specific, she knows
what she wants, and she's relentless at getting it – which is a great
thing because then you know that the product is going to be the best
it can be. I had a great time with her.
QUESTION: Based on this first experience, are you interested in doing
more voiceovers for animation?
VICTOR GARBER: Well, I hope that people like what we’ve done and I
hope I get more work from it, but you never know. It was challenging
in that it requires some very specific techniques with the microphone,
things that you would do naturally that you can’t do during a
voiceover. There are constraints that you're required to pay attention
to. But it was completely fun to do and challenging only in the best
sense. I’d like to do more.
Please visit the film’s official website at www.greenlanternmovie.com
I have no doubt this'll be up to their usual high standards. I had my concerns about Wonder Woman, but then seeing it renewed my faith.
C'mon Warner, these are too good for direct-to-video. Lets start putting these bad-boys in the theater and light a fire under your lazy live-action producers.
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