Celebrity voice acting detracting from real professionals

An issue since the 90s, the overuse of famous people for voice work in media has devastated the careers of many professionals and those aspiring to do voice acting.

Due to Hollywood wanting to make the most profit, famous stars are often the first picks for voice over work in modern media, while trained actors are left out of jobs. 

Professional voice actor Billy West said it was very different when he entered the industry in the 80s. 

None of those people wanted to do animation. It was beneath them to do voices for cartoons,” West said. 

In modern times, many animated films are full of famous celebrity voices.

According to West, the integration of celebrities into the voice acting industry is a “vanity project” and “anti-art.”

I think they want to have these people with them in the studio,” West said.

A current example of this phenomenon is Chris Pratt playing Mario in the upcoming Mario film. 

“I think Chris Pratt in the Mario movie is the biggest shame of our generation. That movie has Charles Martinet in it, the original voice actor for Mario for literal decades,” Cruz said. “How in the world is Chris Pratt a better voice for Mario than the voice of Mario?  [It] makes zero sense.”

According to West, voice work was treated much more like an artform before the change in the industry. 

“We’d go in and the producer [is] sitting at a table and there would be a bar of lead at the table,” said West. “They’d ask, ‘Hey do you think you could turn this into gold before you leave?’ Boom [the voice actors would] be able to do it.”

He described it now as “no change, no alchemy,” when someone comes in and just plays themselves the bar of lead stays on the table.  

 Junior Roman Craig expressed discontent at this phenomenon of using famous voices in favor of actors. Craig used Tom Holland as an example. 

“Sure, Tom Holland is a good actor, but he’s not a voice actor.  He can’t communicate emotions through just his voice,” Craig said.

However, some celebrities have the ability to perform well within the voice acting industry. 

“There are people who are geared for it like Eddie Murphy,” West said. “He was really really good at it, but Eddie Murphy understood how to play characters that didn’t have the same voice over and over again.”

The hesitancy towards new talent hurts aspiring professionals. “I know that voice acting as an industry is really hard to get into as an amateur and to have a long lasting career,” Cruz said.

 Craig said something similar, saying that “the voice acting industry from what I know is very hard to get into. It’s also based on a lot of networking, connections.”

    West confirmed this saying, “I feel bad for the 19-year-old girl that’s out there that can do anything and and will never get a chance because she’s not famous.”

When it comes to popular media with voice acting, Cruz said typically the media he consumes that has voice acting in it is animated shows, movies and video games.