Cowabunga Dad, he’s back
Actor Rob Paulsen takes on a new role in familiar territory, writes
YOU may not have heard of American actor Rob Paulsen, but you’ve most likely heard him.
He’s the voice behind hundreds of cartoon characters, from Boomer in The Powerpuff Girls and Pinky from Pinky And The Brain to Carl, Mr Wheezer and Butch in Jimmy Neutron.
He has spent more than 2500 hours voicing 250 cartoon characters during three decades behind the mic.
High on his list of achievements is winning a Daytime Emmy in 1999 for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for Pinky And The Brain.
He returns to the screens for his second stint in Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles ( TNMT) – this time cast behind a different coloured eye mask.
He voiced Raphael for more than 190 episodes during the first series of the TNMT which started in the late 1980s.
This time around Paulsen is sticking his neck out and providing some attitude for Donatello – while Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin has slipped into Raphael’s shell.
Making up the quartet are American Pie star Jason Biggs as Leonardo, while Teen Titans voiceover man Greg Cipes is Michelangelo.
‘‘I was asked to audition for Donatello this time and it’s more about the attitude he has,’’ Paulsen says.
‘‘He is kind of the brains of the bunch and he may not be the best fighter, he’s the intellectual gizmo maker, so to that extent the attitude and the aim of the character is a little different in context of the other three turtles.’’
Playing a Turtle the first time around provided Paulsen with some of his life’s most satisfying moments.
Like the time his son Ashton, who is now in his late 20s, used to hustle him to speak with his school buddies over the telephone – but in character.
‘‘What would happen is the phone would ring and my son would pick it up and say things like ‘He really is, no he really is, why would I lie about that? Dad, my buddy wants to talk to Raphael’,’’ Paulsen says.
‘‘It’s so great to be able to do something that your kid gets a kick out of.’’
Paulsen told the other voice cast members their lives were about to change for the better and they would get a great amount of satisfaction in voicing one of the best known modern day cartoons.
He said it was one of the driving forces behind wanting to be a ninja turtle again.
‘‘I told the other guys that their life is about to change in the coolest way,’’ Paulsen says.
‘‘You can do a lot of good and just being able to speak with children in hospital when they are in some difficult circumstances, either in person or over the phone, is very satisfying and very impactful.
‘‘You can bring smiles to so many faces with a five minute phone call.’’ Debuts Monday, October 8, 4.30pm, Nickelodeon.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles