Mark your calendars for the release of Frankenweenie, which is in theater this Friday. This is one movie you are going to want to make plans to see.
Last week I was out in Hollywood for the white carpet event and after party for Frankenweenie. You can read all about it here, http://bit.ly/OuLfTs.
Just prior to the event we had the delightful opportunity to interview the young stars of the film – Charlie Tahan (the voice of Victor Frankenstien), Rob Capron (voice of Bob) and Atticus Shaffer (voice of Edgar E. Gore). Most people are more familiar with Rob as the lovable character of “Rowley” in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. Atticus is seen every week on ABC’s hit series The Middle. He plays the role of the youngest son “Brick”. Charlie is not new to acting either, having starred along side Zac Efron in the movie Charlie St. Cloud and other movies and TV shows.
Q: The boys were all asked about what it felt like when received word that they were going to be cast in this Tim Burton movie, and if they had any favorite Tim Burton film.
Charlie: Well Tim has always been like one of my favorite directors since like before I started acting when I was like three or four. And I was obsessed with Nightmare Before Christmas and I didn’t even know it was a Tim Burton movie at the time. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure was pretty funny.
Atticus: And for me, my favorite was of course the first one I saw start to finish (Nightmare Before Christmas)… I fell in love with it immediately, just because the way that Tim Burton takes all these shapes (and) objects and then transforms them… and then creates this own world of his.
After the defibrillator woke me up, I was brimming over with emotions…this is just oh my god, I’m going to be a part of a Tim Burton legacy.
Rob: Yeah I’m like, Atticus, because my favorite Tim Burton movie was the original Batman, because that was the first one I saw (and) because I love Batman. And so when I, when I found out I got the part, I was like flipping out. When I first met him, like literally the like first thing I said to him was ”You directed Batman. That’s awesome.” It was really funny.
Q: What was your favorite thing about your character?
Charlie: Victor (who) is kind of like loosely based on Tim’s (Burton) childhood I think a little bit…He’s been one of my favorite directors, so I was honored to be able to sort of play him.
Atticus:…He’s just so over the top. And he’s kind of like a semi villain. He loves everything more big and over the top. He’s kind of like the Igor character and I knew how to play that off. (By) the second or third audition into it, they said “If possible, do a Peter Lorre impression.” And I was like this is so new for me, it’s going to test my acting abilities, I want to do this… My mom and I rented Maltese Falcon and we already had Casablanca, and just sat down and really studied… and that alone was just such a thrill for me.
Rob: For me the thing I like the most about Bob is that despite the fact that he’s really big and he could very easily be like a bully, he’s not, he’s actually a very nice person. Like that was one of the things I liked about his character.
Q: Have you seen the original Frankenstien movie?
Atticus: I (am a) big fan of any classic black and white film, because that’s where the ideas originate from. They weren’t the spoofs or the spin offs or the parodies or anything… They were groundbreaking back then.
Rob: I haven’t seen like the entire movie, but I have seen like little bits and pieces of it, and I read the original book. So that was pretty good. That was a good book.
Q: What did you find challenging (about doing voice overs)?
Charlie: This is my first voice over thing ever, so I thought it was going to be a lot harder, especially after I found out that I wasn’t going to be with the other cast, to read with them. I think it was a little bit easier because half my scenes are with me and Sparky… I have a dog at home (so) I kind of just imagined that my dog was there. But it’s pretty easy… You don’t have to worry about blocking or where to stand or hair and makeup… you can mostly just focus all your energy into your voice, so it’s a little bit easier.
Atticus: I love doing voice overs, I mean that’s the whole reason I got into the business in the first place… I love to play with my voice. I love telling stories (and) being able to put myself into these completely new characters. And also the fact that there is such a long list that you do have to worry about (for example)… wardrobe, makeup, memorizing lines, choreography, everything.
Rob: The thing that I like about voice over is that it’s significantly easier than actually filming. It’s way easier because like Atticus and Charlie said, there’s so many different variables that go into filming, because you need the lighting (and) you need to look good with the hair and makeup. This character is already made so all you need to do is supply the voice. But like Charlie said, too, a challenging part of it was that you’re not actually recording with other actors. You’re just doing it by yourself. And that can be kind of weird, because you’re talking to yourself, in a way. And that may sound weird but usually somebody else will read the other lines first, and that makes it easier.
Atticus: Well I talk to myself all the time, so I already know that feeling.
Q: How long is the process?
Charlie: It’s three years since we started filming. I only worked like ten days on the whole movie, but it’s spread out like once every two months or so. So it wasn’t like ten days in a row.
Atticus: Yeah the thing that’s funny about working on a voice over is that you may think you’re done with it and then like five months later, they’ll come back and say, “Oh we need like a couple extra grunts and like some breathing noises“(and that is) all you have to do exactly. I had to go call one day and just laugh once, then I had to go home.
Rob: Yeah one session I had to go in (and) say one line, then all I had to do is go like [MAKES NOISE] and scream.
Q: What was it like working with Tim Burton?
Charlie: I didn’t expect him to be like somebody like a scary guy… he knows how he wants each scene like to be. Frankenweenie is really pretty personal to him. I think it’s sort of about his childhood issue. I think that he knows exactly how he wants shot or scene to go.
Atticus: My favorite part of him in particular was the fact that he is so creative. He doesn’t want to follow the crowd or be a part of the big machine. He wants to do his own thing. He wants to be creative (and) groundbreaking…This film in particular is the first three-D black and white animation…Being able to be a part of something groundbreaking like that…Being a part of his mindset, his world, was just phenomenal for me.
Rob: The thing I liked about Tim was that he definitely had a specific idea of how he wanted like every line to be. And that’s one of the things I like about a director, is when they know like exactly what they want. I think that’s really cool for someone to just know what they’re doing.
Q: Any particular actors that inspire you?
Charlie: No particular like actors. I mean, I have actors that I like, but I don’t have any specific actors that I like try and model after.
Atticus: I’m a big fan of, of Liam Neeson and Russell Crowe, just because they are so professional in their craft and they do voice over along with actual theatrical. When I am performing I do want to be professional. I’m an anal germaphobe with my talent too. I always like being on time, I always like being prepared. And I never like be second best. I give a hundred and fifty percent and my all. And if someone doesn’t like that, then that’s okay with me. But I can take comfort in my heart that I was able to give my all.
Rob: I don’t have an actor that I specifically model, like I don’t try to be like them. But for me my favorite actor for a while and probably still is one of my favorite actors, is Jimmy Stewart. Because the first like really good movie I saw was Rear Window. I saw that when I was like nine, which is kind of creepy now that I think about it. But when I saw the movie, I remember thinking I was awesome. Like I want to be in a movie like that.
Q: What are your career goals in life?
Charlie: I don’t have any like actual like goals, because if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be more sad.
Atticus: For me my goal is to be a storyteller. My mom and I would read books out loud together. We would do little character voices. Not for any thought of being in the business at all. It was just because it was fun, we love to read. (Being able to) carry that and take it into adulthood and be a form of storyteller is phenomenal. And in this business in particular, I am the character of the story. And so I can tell the story from that perspective. But my hope is to go to college and learn how to become a director and a writer. And then be able to tell stories from that point of view. Almost, almost like the narrator.
Rob: When I was like four years old, I was obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. I know it probably seems really random, but I’m leading into it. I would memorize like every single episode of that and I would always say it, word for word, to my family. After that, I realize now that I like doing that kind of thing. And so I love acting, but I think in the future, I’d like to go into directing and writing as well. That was a really weird way to start it off, I’m sorry.
Q: Do you have any pets?
Atticus: Yes a great many, a great many where I live. I have chickens and I do have two dogs, a rabbit and five cats. And actually over the course of being on the film, it’s grown closer closer to me. Because after we had finished recording and it was just before I went to see the screening of the film, a dog that we had for six years passed away. And so I became even closer to the film and I definitely knew how Victor must have felt and how a lot of people have felt. And I feel like this film is another way of tributing them, because it does show that you can be that bonded to an animal, person, or a thing. And you would go to whatever extent possible in, in your world to either honor them in memory, or to bring them back.
Charlie: I have one pet left. Samantha the dog. I’ve had rabbits, hamster and lizards before. They’re all dead now.
Rob: Yeah I have three pets, I have a cat, a dog, and a rabbit.
It’s also worth noting a couple of other comments the boys made about the film Frankenweenie.
Atticus: Because it is a black and white film hopefully will inspire a new generation of kids to want to see the old classic films and see where the ideas originated from. And then not lose that part of our history.
At the after party I did look for all three boys. The only one I happened across was Rob. I was able to chat with him for a few minutes. Rob is a sweet, polite, well spoken young man. He told me about some new projects he’s working on. Rob will be playing the role of “Derek” in the 3D CGI motion-capture version of Tarzan which is set for release in 2013.
*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers.