-- Like Lightning...
Neil Patrick Harris as The Flash in The
League: The New Frontier has been on the streets for a
couple of weeks, but we find ourselves still talking about
it, bolstered by the release last week of DC's New Frontier
special with further stories set in that universe. When offered
a glimpse into The Flash's mindset, we had to jump at it,
especially as I'd talked with Vicki Lewis at WonderCon about
so the chin's a little more chiseled...
the voice of the Flash, Neil Patrick Harris really strikes
the earnest tones of the do-gooder Barry Allen sped up into
the fastest man alive. It's easy to close your eyes and
believe this is the Scarlet Speedster of comics, and in
a dream world, we'd get an animated project with Harris
as Barry and Michael Rosenbaum as Wally West...
Warner Home Video:
the Emmy Award nominations and the critically-acclaimed
stage performances from Broadway to Los Angeles, Neil Patrick
Harris still finds room in his busy schedule for his guilty
pleasure: comic books and the super heroes within.
Harris is now
back on the set of “How I Met Your Mother,”
but he had time during the industry’s recent “vacation”
to enjoy the transition from comic book reader to super
hero actor as the voice as The Flash in the DC Universe
original, animated direct-to-DVD release, “Justice
League: The New Frontier.” In its first week of release,
reviews and sales of the new film from Warner Home Video,
Warner Premiere, Warner Bros. Animation and DC Comics have
been equally stellar, and Harris has been particularly well
received in his key role.
and we like hiim that way.
a super hero is phenomenal,” Harris said. “I
could’ve been the sixth-super-hero-on-the-right and
I’d have been happy, but Flash actually gets to help
save the day, so this is great.”
to peruse his local comics stores, even taking a moment
during a recent interview to voice his dismay when he thought
Los Angeles standard Golden Apple Comics had closed –
and relief when he discovered the store had simply moved
from its location of nearly three decades.
the impressive art designs of comics,” Harris said.
“I’m not so keen on outer worlds and strange
proper nouns, but I like Alex Ross and some of the artists
like that, so I find myself at the comics store every three
or four months doing some shopping. I have a secret comic
that I love, a historical comic called Super Magician Comics
that Harry Blackstone actually did. I believe they made
12 or 14 of them. But once you start collecting comics,
it’s not enough to say ‘Oh, I found issue #8’
– you have to find issue #8 in mint condition, etc.
It’s a bad habit.”
his career quickly in film at age 15 and, within a year,
was starring as the title character in “Doogie Howser,
M.D.” He has managed to avoid any strict pattern in
his roles, bouncing from sitcom to drama, television to
film to stage, live action to voiceover. He’s had
roles in numerous animation series, including the lead in
MTV’s incarnation of Spider-Man. Voicing The Flash
presents new challenges.
isn’t entirely technical – they hire you because
they like the flavor and color you provide to the pallet,”
Harris said. “Actually I find recording the script
is very inflection based, so you have to sort of leave your
individuality and ego at the door and do what they tell
you to do. You do a great grunt that’s supposed to
start with an “o” and you say “raaaar”
and they say ‘yes, but you started with an “r”
so do it this way.’ It’s very interesting because
you have to be very specific to whatever the script calls
acting on stage or film, it’s your interpretation
of the notes that are given to you, so they can get as specific
as they want in the direction, but if they get too specific
then you feel like you’re not even acting. But in
animation, we record the voices much earlier then they animate
the characters, so they have to be very specific in their
direction – and then when you come back for pick-ups,
they’ve already animated the characters and there’s
no room for interpretation. You do a two-second ugh or a
four-second ugh, depending on how the character has already
have Wonder Woman as your lifeguard...
a character for an animated film offers Harris a measure
of enjoyment he isn’t afforded in live-action roles.
the most exciting part of being a voice in an animated character
in anything is that the lag time is so long that by the
time you see it, you’re an audience member like everybody
else,” Harris explained. “When I finally get
to see the animation, I barely remember what the lines were
– which is great because not only do I get to be in
it, but I get the fan perspective on it, too. “
the only voiceover gig for Harris. He’s also very
popular on the books-on-tape casting circuit.
Flash was fun – animation is fun – but books
on tape are hard,” he said. “It’s just
you in a booth with a manuscript, and you have to be technically
perfect. You can’t pop a “p,” you have
to have every word spot-on, and after about 45 pages your
eyes are just crossing. You have to come up with characters
and have everyone stay interested. Some of them take 30-40
hours or recording, and there’s not a lot of visual
stimulation in those experiences.”
shock the Flash? Watch the movie and find out.
Harris has spent
his time dabbling in science fiction, guest starring in
TV series like “Quantum Leap” and “The
Outer Limits” as well as his best-known role in the
genre as Colonel Carl Jenkins in “Starship Troopers.”
For his part, he knows his roles in the science fiction
world might be limited by his physique, but he still enjoys
a good Sci-Fi film – whether he’s acting in
it or just watching.
the agile, young, exuberant guy – I can’t ever
expect to play Batman,” he said. “Batman has
that dark, gravelly voice. (Jeremy)
Sisto is a great Batman voice. I guess I could be the
Robin to Sisto’s Batman. Someday I think I’d
like to play some really iconic science fiction guy –
you know, like (David) Boreanaz
does. That’d be cool.”