C. McGinley Scrubs In As A Super-Villain
Voicing Metallo in Superman/Batman: Public
From the trauma of war in Oliver Stone films to hospital
humor on Scrubs, John C. McGinley has covered the acting gamut.
But in his latest role – as the voice of Metallo in
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies – McGinley finally gets
to delve into a characterization he has rarely been offered:
behooves the actor to come loaded for bear."
voices one of the featured villains in Superman/Batman:
Public Enemies, a blockbuster blast of super heroes and
villains alike that includes the voices of Kevin Conroy
(Batman), Tim Daly(Superman), Clancy Brown (Lex Luthor),
Allison Mack (Power Girl), Xander Berkeley (Captain Atom),
Ricardo Chavira (Major Force), LeVar Burton (Black Lightning),
CCH Pounder (Amanda Waller) and a host of others.
the film, United States President Lex Luthor uses the oncoming
trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and
declare a $1 billion bounty on the heads of the Man of Steel
and his “partner in crime,” Batman. Heroes and
villains alike launch a relentless pursuit of Superman and
Batman, who must unite – and recruit help –
to stave off the action-packed onslaught, stop the asteroid,
and uncover Luthor’s devious plot to take command
of far more than North America.
has crafted a well-rounded career in film and television,
forcing audiences to instantly take note with his performances
in Oliver Stone films like Platoon and Born on the Fourth
of July. McGinley has garnered top-notch reviews for his
turns in Any Given Sunday, Office Space, Wall Street, The
Rock, Nixon and Point Break, and he is instantly recognizable
to television audiences for his portrayal of the sarcastic,
abusive, hilarious Dr. Cox in 169 episodes of Scrubs. Mc
Ginley is also no stranger to animation, having spent significant
hours in the sound booth recording for The Boondocks, Justice
League (as The Atom), WordGirl (as The Whammer) and in guest
spots on King of the Hill, Kim Possible, Robot Chicken and
took a few minutes after his recording session as Metallo
to discuss the pleasures of preparation, the similarities
of Andrea Romano and Oliver Stone, his personal commitment
the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk, and
the definition around Hollywood casting departments of the
“John C. McGinley type.” But enough of our words,
here are his – a Q&A with John C. McGinley, the
voice of Metallo in Superman/Batman: Public Enemies.
MIEREANU: What were the joys and challenges
of getting behind a microphone for a
character like Metallo?
C. MCGINLEY: It’s a real treat to collaborate
with the creative folks once you get in the booth. Ten out
of ten times the people on the other side of the glass know
the character better than you are ever going to –
they have been working on this for months or years. All
you can do is try to return serve because you are given
all this wonderful, precise direction. I’ve found
over the years it is really, really helpful to just integrate
also a treat that the people on the other side of the glass
are pretty much the top one percent of their industry, and
I get to have this kind of creative input.
than Terminator: Salvation
get on a lot of film sets and everybody is rolling the dice.
Everybody is guessing their best. The people in that booth
are not guessing, they know this stuff backwards. That to
me is a huge asset.
MIEREANU: What were your impressions
of the script for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies?
C. MCGINLEY: The fun part for me showing up on
any set is the preparation. A lot of times when you are
doing a play or a film, things are going to go wrong. You’re
going to lose the light or the sound is going to stop working.
Even in a controlled environment like that booth, which
lends itself to things going right and to things flourishing,
there are sometimes things that can go wrong and, thus,
compromises will need to be made.
behooves the actor to come loaded for bear. If you are 100
percent ready and we have to make 40 percent compromises,
then unless you have that other 60 percent ready it is going
to kind of just go flat instead of elevating it. My favorite
thing, which may sound a little presumptuous, is to try
to elevate the material.
MIEREANU: Did you enter the world of
super heroes through comic books or otherwise?
C. MCGINLEY: My earliest memories of Batman are
watching the live-action series with Batman and Robin. That
was the coolest Batmobile and you had Frank Gorshin as the
Riddler and Caesar Romero being the Joker. As far as Superman
goes, it was more about the Christopher Reeve films. I was
not a comic book reader. When we played as kids, we were
always acting out stuff we saw Batman doing , or the Green
Hornet or Aquaman. But that inspiration came from Saturday
morning cartoons and not proper comic books.
MIEREANU: As a non-comics reader, does
voicing a comic character still lend
inspiration came from Saturday morning cartoons..."
itself to some child-like thrill for you?
C. MCGINLEY: Well, of course, it is big fat privilege
to work with these characters – and it is really fun
now with Hi-Def. It just kind of jumps off the screen, and
the transfers (to Hi-Def) are so beautiful now and perfect.
It’s completely thrilling because the state of the
art has exceeded anybody's wildest expectations. It is astonishing.
It is not as fun to see my voice come out of a character
as it is really rewarding. To be a tiny component in the
evolution of animation as the voice of a character is thrilling.
is old enough to hear and recognize my voice coming out
of the characters, but it doesn't resonate with him yet.
My daughter will, and that is pretty cool. Not necessarily
to be a killer robot, but we will see how things evolve.
MIEREANU: Actors tend to be very self-critical.
Is it easier to watch an animated film with your voice coming
out of a character than it is to watch yourself on-screen
in live-action productions?
C. MCGINLEY: If I have a script early enough, I
have a room set aside in our house as a rehearsal space.
I set up a camera and I rehearse in front of the camera,
especially for Dr. Cox on Scrubs, who has these
long two-page, single-space rants.
is almost like somebody practicing foul shots. It sounds
simple – go to the free throw line and shoot a foul
shot. But Larry Bird shot a million foul shots in French
Lick before he ever tried for Indiana State or the Boston
Celtics. So I feel like if you have text early enough, it
really is in the actor's best interests to go just hash
about in front of a lens.
thing the lens does is it exposes bad habits. Like an X-ray
machine taking a picture of a fracture. We all have nervous
tics, things we do when you can't remember a line. But if
you watch yourself, you can see for yourself – the
camera exposes those liabilities like an X-ray machine.
So yes, I watch myself on film as much as possible because
the learning curve just objectively is through the roof.
MIEREANU: You’ve worked with some impressive
live-action directors. What’s it like working with
Andrea Romano in the animated realm?
C. MCGINLEY: Andrea Romano is not dissimilar to
Oliver Stone in a lot of ways, in as much as they’re
both like a thoroughbred at The Kentucky Derby. They both
put on creative blinders like a thoroughbred. Oliver and
Andrea both put on blinders and invite you into that narrow
creative vision which is the perfect division for the piece.
So that you don't have to do anything, you don't have to
is Nirvana..." on penalty of death.
right inside here and it is going to be good. When you come
in there with Oliver Stone or with Andrea, it is Nirvana.
You will now shine.
MIEREANU: We’ve heard the expression,
but can you define a John C. McGinley “type”?
C. MCGINLEY: The John C. McGinley type usually
is one of about seven different things. It is a niche that
I fell into, not of my own doing, but it became the part
in the films where either you are the best friend, the co-worker,
the bad guy, the brother who dies and compels the hero into
action in the third act, the boss, now the father of the
kids, the head of the hospital usually in a position of
a long time there was a group of us – Ving Rhames,
me and about a half a dozen other guys – who would
be the component in the story. Who would reiterate the who,
what, where, when and how a couple times throughout the
movie. You need somebody who can speak the speech without
getting in the way of the speech. The hero is not going
to do that.
once in a while throughout the progression of a story, we
need to be reminded where the bomb is, when it is going
to go off and who the bad guys are. So that the hero can
do his job. That “type” has paid the bills for
a long time.
MIEREANU: You’re a bit of a super
hero yourself as the national spokesperson for the National
Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk. What’s the
essence of this endeavor?
leaves Batman and Superman in the dust.
C. MCGINLEY: The Buddy Walk is our national day
of empowerment, encouragement and elevation. There are nearly
300 walks that happen in September and October throughout
the United States – and these are great, great days.
you have a child born with special needs, a lot of parents
think they did something wrong. They beat themselves up
and they don't realize that there is a much larger community
out there who also have kids with special needs. This is
a day of inclusion, where we want people to know that you
have a chance now to be a great parent, which is what it
is going to take.
day is as much about including and loving the caregivers
as it is about the kids. We attempt to raise money, but
that is not really my mantra. It is about coming out and
just getting the love. It is all about introducing people
to nutritional intervention and further education.
a short walk – not a marathon, just a mile. And it
is a lovely day where we include, elevate and celebrate
the similarities that the children and the parents have
instead of their differences. It’s a very important
Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation are set to
release the all-new Superman/Batman: Public Enemies on September
29, 2009 in a Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def edition, a special edition
2-disc DVD, and a single disc DVD. Warner Home Video will
distribute the action-packed movie, which will also be available
OnDemand and Pay-Per-View as well as available for download
that same day.
Public Enemies is based on the popular Jeph Loeb/Ed McGuinness
comic series/graphic novel. Animation legend Bruce Timm
(Superman Doomsday, Green Lantern) is executive producer.
Michael Goguen (Justice League: The New Frontier) is supervising
producer. Sam Liu (The Batman) is directing a script written
by Stan Berkowitz (Justice League: The New Frontier).
more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s
official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.