At New York Comic Con 2018, Honey-chan got herself a backstage pass to interview the English dub stars of the upcoming Dragon Ball Super: Broly film! Not much can be revealed about the film since Toei is animating it as we speak, and not even the stars know the plot or what their lines are. But Honey-chan was able to think outside the box and asked some pretty unique questions to the cast.
First, Honey chatted with the voice of Goku himself, Sean Schemmel.
Interview with Dragon Ball Super: Broly English Dub Cast (NYCC 2018) Part 1: Sean Schemmel (Goku)
This film has taken on a new visual style compared to the Dragon Ball Super TV series and many fans are saying it closely resembles the more classic early-to-mid DBZ look. Has this change in style affected your approach to portraying these characters in any way?
I haven’t recorded the movie yet, but it’s possible. What will more than likely influence my performance in term of visuals will be...I don’t know if it’ll influence emotional choices I make in terms of the acting and screaming. You know, I may get inspired and take something to a whole new level cause it’s very inspiring animation. And there were some scenes I saw in the second trailer that gave me an idea of a feel of the seriousness and epicness. And that might affect me because I am affected by the animation style and quality so yeah it could. It changes what I’m doing ultimately since I’ve been doing the same character for 20 years, but yeah it might. That’s a good question.
Interesting. So you just saw the trailer for the first time about an hour ago, and you haven’t seen the movie?
I got my line counts this morning. I think we’re gonna be done this October, but I’m not the producer or director. We wanna promote the movie in November, and we’re doing a red carpet event in L.A this December. So yeah, we haven’t recorded yet. I’m working on Super every week.
Actually, what is the recording schedule like for recording Dragon Ball Super every week?
Well, my recording schedule for Dragon Ball Z used to be really brutal. One time I remember doing 12-hour days in a row, which is really grueling on your voice. Literally, we were trying to catch up with Cartoon Network—this is in the early 2000s—scheduling was not as organized. I was in New York so I had to go on trips and work 10 days in a row and go back. Now because of that, I said I only want to do a couple days a week because it was killing my voice. Plus I do a lot of voice acting so I don’t wanna ruin my voice. So right now I do one or two days a week on Dragon Ball Super. And to give you an idea of how long it takes to record a movie, depending on the length of the movie, it took me two days to record all my lines for Resurrection F. So it’ll probably take me two days, roughly guessing, two or three days to record my part only.
Have there been any times when you suggested or changed your character’s lines while recording?
Yes. I was frustrated that I was getting a bit of fan backlash for because the original Z scripts were not identical with the Japanese. And that was Funimation’s quest at the time, which I understood because 4Kids was doing the same thing. You know, we’re not sure you can sell this anime to American audiences in English, let’s Americanize it a bit, right? And I was so frustrated and tired that they were not giving those moments that would really make fan happy so when I saw in the Japanese script- I started asking for Japanese scripts with Dragon Ball Z Kai, so I can check. And don’t get me wrong, I have it on record several times, that I think the writers are very good and I’ve written for anime, I used to be an ADR director, it can be very tricky when you’re writing for a lot of different shows where you can lose focus on the true authenticity of the character. Since I’ve been playing him for so long a lot of times I notice things that are out of character for Goku that I have license to change. And, usually, what I end up doing is say “Can we pull up the Japanese script?” and I’ll look at it. If it’s very different and definitely confirms the fact that I don’t think this is a true Goku line, we go with the Japanese script. And I will write something on the fly that goes with the Japanese script. The moments that come up in Super, is about one or two times in an episode when I’m just like “That’s not a Goku line.” like when he sounds egoic or full of himself, just no, we change it, like he doesn’t do that. He just likes fighting the strongest a lot and he likes eating, and we just keep it there.
Interview with Dragon Ball Super: Broly English Dub Cast (NYCC 2018) Part 1: Chris Sabat (Vegeta)
You’ve seen a rough cut of this film, and it’s well-known that the Japanese side has been very tight-lipped on what they tell you. Is there anything on this film that is different as far as your connection to the Japanese correspondents.
With this film, they have been definitely a lot more straightforward with giving us info early. Still, in order to read the preliminary script, I had to sign a bunch of papers and it felt like I was deep in the vault of Apple’s headquarters. So I have to be very careful with what I say. Half of what I say is only speculation because I’ve only seen an early cut of the film so I don’t know what changes could be made. Like what I saw was an animatic, so it’s still being drawn.
Would you say that this new level of interest will affect how you dub Dragon Ball Super or any other Dragon Ball projects that come out moving forward that there will be more of a closer-
Man, I hope so. It killed me every single month when Dragon Ball Super was in Japan and we weren’t dubbing it. It was pure and utter murder for me. I knew the more it went, the more people were going to want to spoil it for themselves. And now a lot of people have watched the Japanese and are now watching the dub since most of them are familiar with our voices.
Does that put a lot of pressure on you moving forward with regards to what might change and what stays the same? Has there been anything you had to go back and change again?
No, nothing I’ve seen in this film so far makes anything we’ve done incorrect. Although, granted, our original dub in comparison to Dragon Ball Z Kai, we’ve had a lot of liberal changes. And that was sort of the mission back in the early days of recording Dragon Ball Z in 1998, which was to keep the American audience in mind. Now, there’s more of a focus on just accuracy and just making sure the story is told the way it’s meant to be told.
There are some moments in the Super TV series where there are differences between the Japanese and American. And there have been times when you’ve redubbed, so can you tell us about those situations?
Oh, uh, well, you can’t always catch everything, and I’m not always in the room with the translator. So we’re kinda at the mercy of what we’re given in some cases. But I also believe that as a director of the show and a character in it, our job is still to make Dragon Ball Super as entertaining to watch in English as it is in Japanese. I believe as dub actors, like me I’ll add a funny line or add something that I think helps tell the story a little better. Or even add awkward things about why is Yamcha still hanging out at Bulma’s house when they haven’t been together for a very long time? I love to make those little changes.
Can we expect any changes like that in Broly?
I plan on rewriting all of it as a comedy, like a buddy cop. Broly and Goku hanging out in the hood. No. [laughs] Again, I only make changes when I think we can improve upon the audience’s appreciation for what it is. If I can make it a little bit more funny or make it a little bit more interesting, I just like to change things to be more factual and cannon.
Chris Ayres’ performance as Frieza is something valued by many fans. However, he is still dealing with his medical condition. How has the scheduling/production changed to accommodate his health?
Chris is such a trooper, man. He could literally be in the hospital for a heart transplant right now, and if I told him that if he can get to the studio and stand in front of a microphone, or if we can get him in a quiet-enough space we will record him in his hospital room. It’s a tough thing as a director because, clearly, I want what he wants; but also, I don’t want him to hurt himself because it's a really strenuous character. All I know is that all of the people around Chris Ayres, they’ve all told me that voice Frieza and voicing characters in anime in general, we all know that this is what Chris LOVES to do. It’s his passion, and he would die doing it because that’s what he would want.
Knock on wood that doesn’t happen.