Morris: King For A Day Or Faraday
The Spy Master of The New Frontier
to Gary Miereanu for not just sending us lots of profile pieces
over the last few weeks, but for allowing Fanboy Planet a
chance to sit down with many of the talents behind Justice
League: The New Frontier.
us, and damn glad to have him...
the voice talent appearing at WonderCon was Phil Morris,
an actor currently dear to fans' hearts for playing J'onn
J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter on Smallville. He's potentially
playing a dead character on Terminator: The Sarah Connor
Chronicles, but appears in The New Frontier as government
agent King Faraday. If you're wracking your brain to identify
him, it's because his comic book appearances haven't quite
vaulted him to the big leagues, though he's pivotal in Darwyn
Cooke's graphic novel and its animated adaptation. You might
try finding his Showcase appearances under the title I Spy.
you'll find Morris, however, just might be the comics shop.
Not only has he landed a few great roles in fandom, it turns
out he has longed for this chance since he was a kid. We
take him out of the closet of fanboyishness and into the
realm of those able to give something back to that strange
love that dare not speak its name without a slightly nasal
by the way, doesn't have a nasal tone at all -- he's quite
cool. He knows his stuff, and talking with him was one of
the high points of the convention.
McCaw: Is it weird to be playing King Faraday while
someone else voices Martian Manhunter, when, through Smallville,
you’ve become the Martian Manhunter to a lot of people?
Morris: That is a great question. I was hoping
somebody would get to that, build that bridge. I actually
did New Frontier just prior to getting the role
of J’onn J’onnz on Smallville. But
just barely. I voiced it one week and then I auditioned
for the Manhunter the next week.
that was a very long process. It took maybe six weeks for
me to get that job. Went back again, the producers came
down from Canada, saw all their hopefuls in person and gave
us very little notes. We did our thing and I thought I did
great, heard “thank you very much,” and another
two or three weeks, I got J’onn J’onnz. It was
a very interesting process.
here I had just voiced a character who was having scenes
opposite J’onn J’onnz. So it was a little surreal,
a little bit weird, but great.
McCaw: Were you a reader of comics before this?
Were you a fan?
copies on your shelf?
Morris: I’m a huge fan of comics, and I know
almost everything about this universe. Not as much as some
of these guys, and probably not as much as you, but I have
about 50,000 books at home. I’ve been collecting since
I was 7, 8 years old. I’m rank and file all the way
down to my boots. It took everything in me not to wear the
official Justice League: New Frontier t-shirt here.
McCaw: Why didn’t you?
Morris: I know. I should have. Really shown my
time I do one of these jobs, whether it’s Vandal Savage
for Justice League or King Faraday here, J’onn
J’onnz, Miles Dyson I’m playing on Sarah
Connor, I’m doing a new superhero cartoon for
Cartoon Network – it is right up my alley. These people
don’t even know what a geek that they have got in
hiring me. Not only do I love the work, but I love the WORK.
I love their work, and I love working on it. For me, it’s
a marriage made in heaven. Truly.
McCaw: So you were a fan of the original graphic
Morris: I bought it before. I bought the first
three issues, but there are so many books that I buy that
I couldn’t keep waiting for another issue. So I figured
I’ll bag it and just wait for the graphic novels.
Bought one and two. Read them. Got the part for King Faraday.
Knew who he was…thrilled, and then they sent me the
collector’s edition, so I was like, okay, (smiles)
I got two copies…
McCaw: He’s kind of an obscure character,
so you must have had some freedom. Not as many people are
going to know him. He appeared in Justice League, but in
a different incarnation…
Morris: I never knew him in that Justice League.
I never knew him before I read the graphic novel. I looked
at him as a bit of a Robert Stack, just the facts, ma’am,
very serious no bones altruistic government employee, albeit
a high-level, high placed one. And we, Bruce, Andrea and
I worked pretty hard at separating the voice for Faraday
from the voice I used for Vandal Savage. We came up with
a more clipped, clearer, kind of a stylized voice that spoke
to the time frame they were dealing with – that McCarthyism
of that, I think, created a wonderfully unique and individual
King Faraday, one that’s very different from Justice
League King Faraday.
Part Two, Phil talks about
his time on Smallville, Terminator and where he hopes DC
takes him from here...