It’s been nearly 30 years since Dan Gilvezan first voiced everyone’s friendly neighborhood web-slinger but on September 7th the veteran actor will reprise his role for the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. However, this time around Dan is bringing the 2099 Spidey to life – a character very different from that of his Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends role in the 80’s. Fortunately for us, Mr. Gilvezan was gracious enough to answer a few questions about the project, even after we tied him down and forced him to record our voicemail greetings. Here’s what he had to say:
What first drove you towards voice acting?
It was an accident really. My on-camera commercial agent had rented office space to an agent named Steve Tisherman. Every time I came into the main office I would see Steve in his little cubby off to the side doing whatever it was he did. Finally one day my curiosity got the best of me and I stopped in to find out who he was and what he did. He liked me, thought I had potential in the world of voiceover and ended up becoming my first v.o. agent.
How does it feel to be back voicing Spider-Man?
It feels great! After a 25 year hiatus, I feel I finally have a grasp of the character. Seriously, the whole experience has been a delight. The folks at Activision have been terrific, very gracious and accommodating, and I hope this marks the beginning of an ongoing relationship.
Spider-Man 2099 is much darker and grittier than the Spider-Man of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. The wisecracks are still there in abundance, but bottom line he is one tough S.O.B. As far as the other three Spideys in the game go, I’ve seen very little footage of the other worlds so it’s kind of hard for me to judge.
Were you familiar with the 2099 universe prior to being offered the role?
No. In fact, when I was offered the role, I assumed it was for the Spider-Man I was familiar with. It was a major adjustment coming from a more light-hearted version of Spider-Man to the intense, take-no-prisoners Spider-Man 2099.
Was 2099 your choice or was that what they offered you? If there was no choice which Spider-Man would you have chosen to voice?
2099 was the role they offered me, principally, I think, because he’s older than the other three, as am I. Personally, I wouldn’t have minded voicing the good old blue and red suited Amazing Spidey, ’cause he’s the one I grew up with.
What about the game surprised/entertained you the most?
I think the fact that there are four different Spider-Men is the most intriguing thing about the game. It’s really a brilliant concept. And the fact that they’re using actors who have voiced Spidey in the past. The four of us have a built-in emotional connection with the character having done him before, so the performances, I think, will be richer, more connected. Plus, for those who’ve watched and enjoyed the various animated shows the game should have a real familiar feel. Like re-connecting with old friends.
Can you get away with revealing any juicy details about the game?
No. Stop asking!
Have you seen the finished product yet? If not, what are you looking forward to seeing most?
I’ve only seen pieces. And I must say, the wizards behind the design of the game have really done a fantastic job. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in all four worlds and comparing the action and graphic style in each. And of course relishing my amazing acting talent as Spider-Man 2099.
I think it’s an inevitable progression. The new technology allows animators to do so much more than they could with traditional cel-based animation. Although I have to say, there’s a certain charm and specialness to 2D animation that CGI can’t touch.
Were you ever approached for any of the recent Transformers games or movies?
I was not, and I think one of the reasons is, my Bumblebee (a Volkswagon) no longer exists. I’ve heard it had to do with not being able to get the rights from VW. So the new Bumblebee is a Camaro and I think they just wanted to distance themselves from the old incarnation.
What can we look forward to hearing or seeing you in next?
I just finished shooting a guest role on CSI Miami which will air sometime in the fall, and I continue to do radio and television commercials. Also, I’m working on a novel that may or may not ever see the light of day. We’ll see.
Having been in the business for 30 years now, what advice can you give to people who wish to pursue voice acting as a career?
Study acting, take voice classes, pay attention to TV voiceovers and radio commercials, analyze the voices you hear in animated movies and TV series (without the visuals), listen to the speech patterns of those around you and practice, practice, practice. Then cross your fingers and prepare yourself for a very tough slog ahead.
(Many thanks to Dan Gilvezan for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us. Keep an ear out for his voice when Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions hits shelves September 7th)