Exclusive Teen Titans Go! Interview: Scott Menville
If you tune into Cartoon Network tomorrow evening at 7:30 PM ET, you will see two all-new mini-episodes of Teen Titans Go! The two mini-episodes and their descriptions are as follows:
Cyborg convinces Raven to create a magical double of himself and Beast Boy so they will both always have someone to play with.
Robin gets up the courage to ask Starfire on a date, only to find that she has already agreed to go out with Speedy, Robin’s archrival … so Robin kidnaps Speedy!
To see the preview clips for Teen Titans Go! we posted earlier, go to this link:
As a special treat, to get you ready for tomorrow’s all-new Teen Titans Go! adventures, ToonBarn’s Marc Morrell spent some time talking to Scott Menville, the voice actor who plays the role of Robin on Teen Titans Go! Here’s their conversation:
Marc: Hi Scott!
Scott: Hey, how’s it going Marc?
Marc: Well, you have Teen Titans, Go! now, huh?
Scott: Yeah, I am very excited about that. A lot of fun.
Marc: Are you having a good time with this one?
Scott: Havin’ a blast! I mean, my castmates and I are all good friends who hang out at times outside of recording. So, to get to come work and do more episodes with something we loved to do years ago, and to do it with people that we totally dig hangin’ out with, is just a gift.
Marc: So, do you guys record together or individually?
Scott: Generally, unless somebody is out of state, or something, we all record together, which is really great for the show, ’cause the Titans are a team, why not record as a team?
Marc: And you get along great with all these guys.
Scott: Yeah, I mean, I’ve done surfing with Greg Cipes and Khary Payton, and gone out to have a beer with Hynden, and hung out at Tara Strong’s house, so yeah, they’re all really good people.
Marc: So, maybe you could tell us something you know that nobody else knows about each of your castmates?
Scott: Well, what most people don’t know about Khary, because he’s so funny on the show, he’s actually a great dramatic actor too, who’s done some really dramatic work on TV and film, so that’s something. People pretty much know Tara because she’s in everything, and she is a madwoman on the Twitter, so I don’t know there.
Scott: Hynden Walch, something you may not know, is she is so smart. She’s a person who has graduated with a Master’s degree in college, and recently decided to go back to UCLA, just for fun.
Scott: Because she wanted to learn some more. That’s something about Hynden. And Greg, what can I say that people don’t know about Greg? I don’t know, the guy’s just got the biggest heart in the world. He’s just a sweetheart. He’s got love for everybody.
Marc: That’s cool. Thanks for that. So, outside of acting, what do you like to do as a hobby?
Scott: I like to go surfing. Anything outdoors. Chillin’ with friends. That sort of thing.
Marc: I have watched both the original Teen Titans and the current Teen Titans Go! series, and I hear a slightly different Robin voice this time around. Have they directed you to sound any different?
Scott: Nobody is directing me to sound different, I’m not so sure, because I’m trying to hit it the same way. But, with the situations that Robin finds himself in, some of the comedic situations, you see him having different emotions than he ever has before, so that could possibly cause him to emote in a different way.
Marc: Would you say there’s less tension for him this time around?
Scott: Not necessarily. As the episodes go on, I think you’re going to find Robin feeling very tense in a lot of situations.
Marc: I was looking over the one episode where he has to take his driver’s test.
Scott: Yeah, that’s airing Tuesday. It’s Driver’s Ed.
Marc: Yeah, it’s gotta be an uncomfortable situation for a guy who’s like a Hero to go through something like that.
Scott: Well, this is the guy who’s trained under Batman. Super skilled in Martial Arts and whipping’ around the City in his motorcycle, and really? He’s gotta go to the DMV, wait in line and take a test? He could do donuts and circles around any of these Driver’s Ed teachers. Yeah, it is kind of surreal to have Robin finding himself in that situation. I mean, we saw it in the first episode, when he’s at the store to wait in line to get bread. I mean, really? This guy’s got more important things to be doing than wasting his time with this kind of stuff.
Marc: Right, right. I saw the one where he’s waiting for his ticket to get called. He’s number 78, and they are only on 37. Meanwhile, the other heroes are out fighting against huge monsters, and he just can’t wait until the number 78 is called.
Scott: Yeah, and at one point, you see him so frustrated that he’s literally standing against the wall, banging his head against the wall.
Marc: Yeah, right. RIGHT, exactly. Ha,ha.
Scott: I don’t think he knows quite how normal people cope in the real world having to do boring, mundane tasks such as this.
Marc: So, what about Robin, and you can speak to this from the original Teen Titans, or the new Teen Titans Go!, what about Robin makes him a good leader for a group like the Teen Titans?
Scott: Robin is a good leader because, unlike any of the other Titans, he doesn’t have superpowers. Every power, every skill, every technique that he has, he has trained, he has learned, he has worked at it. Because of all those hours that he has put in to master these skills, he’s got a consonance about him that knows that he can not only talk the talk but walk the walk. Which I think, makes him a natural leader. He’s also very headstrong, which we’ll see more of in this new incarnation of the show, and you kind of need a leader to be headstrong, you need somebody to steer the ship. Robin knows without question and he’s that guy.
Marc: What kind of things do you do with your voice to show that leader quality?
Scott: Well, early on, one of the things in the first series, when Andrea Romano was directing, I think it was Episode 1. I pretty much had the voice close to where it is, about 90% there, and she gave me a direction. She said, “Throw in some Clint Eastwood, add some Clint Eastwood.” And so, what I took on that was when (“Clint gets very steely, and kinda talks in that raspy whisper like that, and I just sorta pitched it up and made it sound like Robin, raspy whisper, kind of a steely thing.”) Clint’s feathers aren’t going to get ruffled, and neither are Robin’s.
Marc: Wow! Do you ever look back on any of the other actors who have played Robin on TV or film, where you might pay homage to the other actors with your version?
Scott: I don’t, and I am saying that with all respect to those other actors. But, no, I think I wanted to make this my own, as did Andrea Romano and Glen Murakami, our show runner at the time. Everybody wanted this to be a different Robin. In fact, I remember hearing a story about the producers going to talk to a toy company about making Robin toys. And they had the old Robin from the Adam West series. They had one of those toys. They said, “You see this Robin?” One of them kind of tossed it over his shoulder, and he said, “This is not the Robin we have now.” They pulled out a sketch of the new Robin. So, he wanted to make this one his own.
Marc: Why do you think the style of animation is the way it is on the new Teen Titans Go! as compared to the original Teen Titans?
Scott: I can’t really say whether it’s better or worse. Comparing the two shows is like asking somebody if they like swimming in the ocean as compared to a pool. They’re two totally different things. They have positives to each one. The character design of Robin and the other characters are very appropriate to the tone of the show – the brighter colors, the characters look more cute, it’s not as dark because this series is not as dark as the first one. So, I love them both the same. I have mad love for that original series, and some of my favorite episodes were the dark, dramatic ones. On the other hand, I love this new show. I love the backgrounds, I love the character designs, and I love the fun stuff that the writers are allowing us to do on the scripts.
Marc: So, do you think the target audience has purposefully changed?
Scott: I guess you’d have to talk to somebody from Cartoon Network or the WB cause I just show up and try to do the character as truthfully as I can, but I think it is obvious that it is geared to a younger audience. That being said, I think there are a lot of adults out there who are faithful to the original series who are loving this as well. But yeah, so far we haven’t seen a lot of the darker stuff. In the original series, the whole storyline with Beast Boy and Terra, that was some pretty heavy stuff, that I don’t know would be age appropriate to throw at the audience that this one is targeted toward. On the other hand, with the show being targeted to the audience that it’s being targeted to now, we do get to see the Titans in a lot different situations that we would have never seen them put into before, in the original series. Which creates a lot of tension, within the episodes, and a lot of surprises, the way the characters react to things.
Marc: Will you be representing WB or Cartoon Network for Teen Titans Go! at San Diego Comic Con this summer? I will be there with ToonBarn, and it would be cool to catch up with you.
Scott: I’ve heard rumblings about the possibility of that, but I haven’t heard anything official. If I am invited, I’d love to come. I know I was there for a Titans panel and signing in 2004 at ComicCon. It was an incredible experience to get to meet a lot of people and just a good time.
Marc: What other projects are you working on now?
Scott: Right now, I am doing a recurring role on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I get to work with Greg Cipes on that show too. I’m not a turtle, but I am a recurring character that pops up here and there. And I’m playing two regular characters in a new show called Angry Little Asian Girl, to be released sometime in 2013, aimed at the teenage and adult audience. Other than that, some video games, and recurring on a couple other shows, and just having a good time.
Marc: Where would we see Angry Little Asian Girl?
Scott: It’s sort of a spinoff of a series of Comics, and it looks like a writer named Lela Lee, who created a line called Angry Little Girls. I’m not exactly sure where it’s going to air, at the point, but I will say, it’s pretty funny. I am proud to be a part of it.
Marc: If there was going to be a video game developed with the Teen Titans Go! characters, you would most likely play Robin in that, right?
Scott: Uh, yeah, I would assume so. Assuming it was all Union. Every now and then, there are Non-Union games that pop-up that we Union actors are just not allowed to do. Once you’re in the Union, you can’t do Non-Union stuff. Assuming it’s Union, yeah.
Marc: You’ve done a lot of video game work, obviously. What are some of your coolest games to do voice-over work?
Scott: My skill level at playing them is pretty bad. (Laughing) I know a lot of friends and cousins who tell me, “You’re in this game or that game, cool!” Literally, no, because I haven’t played them, but i just know what sessions I’ve had going on. Some of the Call of Duty games, I had fun doing, and that sort of thing.
Marc: So, you never really get to hear yourself in the games?
Scott: I do if someone else is playing it who’s really good. I’ve had little cousins who say, “I’ll take you up to the level where you are”, or whatever.
Marc: Well, Scott. We want to thank you for joining us on ToonBarn today. We look forward to seeing more episodes of Teen Titans Go!
Scott: Absolutely, thank you for your time, Marc. Have a good one.
ToonBarn thanks Scott Menville for joining us today. We wish him luck with Teen Titans Go!, and can’t wait to see the next episode tomorrow on Cartoon Network at 7:30 PM ET. The two mini-episodes are called “Double Trouble” and “The Date”. Check it out! It’s a blast.