So at Super-Con last weekend I was lucky enough to get to sit down and chat with voice actor Crispin Freeman, who you've doubtless heard playing the titular Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Alucard in Hellsing, Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, etc.
In addition to charming the socks off of me, Freeman also forgave the fact that my pathetic little camera was completely incapable of picking up audio in the large, noisy convention hall where I was told to conduct the interview, so I'm sorry that you'll have to put up with a text version of the interview instead of the video.
Without further ado...
The Interview!Anime Vice: If you were going to be stuck on an island for the rest of your life with an anime character you've played-- and they would NOT have any of their special powers or items –which character would it be?
Crispin Freeman: That's a very specific question! Hmmm. I guess I'd have to pick Tylor, because one way or another we'd either get off the island, or it would become the next big resort.
AV: Obviously you've been working in dubbing anime for some time. In that time we've seen female characters move towards moe-- do you think male characters have changed at all?
CF: No, I don't think they've changed that much. The thing about “moe” is that I always felt like in the past, anime production companies were just focused on trying to create the best stories they could. Now with moe and other fanservice stuff, it seems like they’re tailoring the stories specifically to the fanboy and otaku market. I would think that would be too small a niche to target in the marketplace. Why not make stuff that appeals more broadly?
AV: Interesting points. So, is there any role out there that you really wanted to play, but couldn't because you were the wrong type, age, gender, etc?
CF: That's a good question, because I hate being miscast. If you're an actor and you're miscast, then no matter how good an actor you are, you can't win. With Wolf's Rain, I remember really identifying with Kiba and wanting that role, but then I realized that the role I was really right for was Tsume, so I knew they'd cast me as that. And I was glad that they did.
AV: So, we're here at Super-Con, a comic convention. Do you go to many comic cons, or do you mostly stick to anime conventions?
CF: I don't go to a lot of comic conventions, although I often seem to wind up at San Diego, but that's to support other people-- I'm good friends with (Elfquest creator) Wendy Pini, who of course is doing the Masque of Red Death and who had a big panel at San Diego last year for the upcoming Elfquest movie and we were there for her.
AV: So do you think anime cons are more fun, or comic cons?
CF: Well, I don't really “do” comic cons; if I were a guest I could compare them but as it is, it's kind of apples and oranges. I will say that San Diego is HOT, and there are a LOT of people, and I'm actually kind of an introvert. But I fly under the radar there, whereas sometimes getting through an anime convention is tough because I keep getting stopped and asked to give autographs.
But I will say, what's nice about anime conventions is...they're still about anime. San Diego is about Hollywood, games, toys, and all those things are great, but coming into Super-Con is like, “oh, a comic BOOK convention,” not a comic FRANCHISE convention.
AV: Actually, that brings up something I was talking about on the site earlier today: we're in kind of a geek world. Do you think that Hollywood is exploiting that?
AV: So, what do you think about, say, Keanu Reeves in Cowboy Bebop?
CF: ...It's....not who I would have cast. But I'm not sure who I would have cast. I mean, Keanu Reeves' archetype is this guy who doesn't know what's going on, and he either never really understands anything like in Bill and Ted's, or he eventually comes to learn what's going on like in the Matrix. But that's not Spike, Spike is this chain-smoking, whiskey-drinking guy who's gone through hell and is trying to escape his past.
I mean, I love that line in the Matrix where Reeves says “...I know kung fu!” That's his archetype. He didn’t know kung-fu before, but now he does. But Spike starts in that experienced place. That’s just my opinion. The director of the live action Cowboy Bebop might be able to bring out a new side in Keanu. I hope he does, because I want the movie to be a success.
AV: How about, say, Zac Efron as Light/Kira in a Death Note movie?
CF: I don't know Zac, haven't seen his work. But you can cast people as all sorts of things. So, maybe.
AV: Okay, last question: what is the weirdest thing a fan has ever told, given, or done for you?
CF: Ah. I have a few. Once a guy e-mailed me and asked if I wanted to buy drugs because he knew where I lived. That was unpleasant. Another guy asked me for advice on his incestuous relationship with his first cousin, because I played a character in an incestuous relationship in an anime. And a woman once asked me in front of 400 people to have sex with her, and I thought, you don't really mean that, because if you did you wouldn’t have asked in front of all these people. So what are you really asking me?
But mostly I've been lucky. I have fangirls, and I think if I were a woman and I had fanboys it'd be different.
AV: True! Although having been a fangirl, gone to YaoiCon and all that, I can definitely say that fangirls are pretty crazy too.
CF: True, but alone or with their friends. Once they're face-to-face with me they tend to just vibrate in place and/or freeze.
AV: I think I saw one of them do that-- she seemed to be debating whether to ask you to sign a Naruto manga. So I'm a witness.
CF: There you go.