Geeking Out With James Arnold Taylor

Posted by on July 27, 2015 7:30 pm
Categories: Star Wars Uncategorized

Geeking Out With James Arnold Taylor
1. You have done remarkable voice over work for Star Wars over the past dozen years. However…if you could have a role in a LIVE action Star Wars movie, what character would you like to be? Someone humorous like yourself? Someone dark and dramatic? You don’t need to name a specific PERSON, just a general type of character. 
JAT: I think I would like to be a darker character, but not in the “powerful” sense more like Paul Reiser in Aliens or even the droid I played in The Clone Wars Movie, 4A7.  They both had that traitor or turn coat quality that I feel I could play well.  Knowing your strengths as an actor, what you can and can’t pull off is important even in voice work but especially on-camera where you are judged by more than how you sound.  People have to believe you’re that character and I know I am much more limited by my looks and size in front of the camera rather than in my little padded room…

2. If you could go back in time to when your career first launched and tell a young(er) James just ONE thing, what would it be? 
JAT: Buy stock in Pixar.  
Actually that’s a great question, and as someone with a faith in something greater than myself I try to think that everything I’ve done was there to help me grow and learn to be the person I am today.  So even though I’d love to tell the younger me (in my best Marty McFly voice) “Whoa, James, whatever you do don’t buy that house that has toxic mold in it that will get you sick and make you lose your voice…!” With hindsight, I see all the amazing things that came from my getting sick, losing my voice, relearning technics, etc. and made me the me that I presently am, so I think, I just instead would eat lunch with the young me and enjoy the naive, thicker head of hair version of me.  Well, I might tell him to not sweat the small stuff like getting stuck in traffic while late to an audition.

3. I had a conversation with Cat Taber and we remarked at your energy level. During the Star Wars Weekends and Celebration(s) you seem to have boundless energy 24 hours a day. We joked that you might have an IV of Red Bull to help keep you going. What is your secret for always being so energetic? Is there something in your diet or exercise routine or do you just tap into the Force?

James Arnold Taylor and Catherine Taber pictured together dressed as the characters they played in The Clone Wars TV series.

JAT: Cat is one of my favorite people, that’s awesome you got to chat with her!  Well, I actually am someone that truly loves to perform.  I believe it is what I was put here to do.  So when I’m in “Host Mode” I am simply full of energy to make sure that each guest has the best experience they can.  My heroes in the art of live performance are Steve Martin and of course the great Johnny Carson so I try to combine those two.  Hopefully giving some of the fun of Steve Martin and the attention to making the guest be the main attraction while keeping the show moving that Johnny was so artful at.  On top of that I do eat as healthy as I can to maintain my energy (no sugar, no dairy, no processed foods, no alcohol, I keep it all organic if I can) and exercise with bike riding and lots of deep breathing and stretching. The Force seems to work better when I do these things!

4. What was one role you turned down or didn’t get that you wish you could have back? What is that “fish that got away” for James Arnold Taylor?
JAT: I do turn lots of roles down due to content, mainly for video games but I have yet to regret any of them.  I’d love to voice Bugs Bunny someday or Daffy as I just love them both.  Next to Seinfeld, Looney Tunes is by far what can truly make me laugh no matter how many times I see it and I’d swear they actually make me laugh harder each time.  I am no longer the voice of Fred Flintstone which I was sad to lose that part, but there is no real loyalty to Voice-Actors and voices anymore, I always say that if Mel Blanc were alive today he’d have to re-audition every six months for his own characters. And of course me saying I’d love to voice Bugs doesn’t help that does it!

5. Star Wars? Star Trek? The Last Airbender? Or something else entirely? What is YOUR Geeky franchise that you like to watch? 
JAT: To be honest, I have a harder time with Star Wars now as I’m so involved in it it’s hard to disconnect but I do still love all of the films and The Clone Wars, I am so very proud of the work we all did on it.  
But as far as other franchises I do enjoy The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  My wife and I take a weekend and watch the extended versions about once a year.  
As far as TV shows, I’m a die hard Mythbusters fan although I truly miss my friends Tory Belleci, and Grant Imahara, I don’t know Kari Byron but think she is awesome too and would love to thank her for her work on it as well, and I wish they were all still on the show. That takes nothing away from Adam and Jamie though they are fantastic. 
I watch a lot of comedy films but from the 80’s like the John Hughes films (Ferris Bueller, Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Weird Science) and my favorite comedy is the original version of Arthur starring Dudley Moore and Sir John Gielgud, they were truly brilliant in it (even if it’s considered politically incorrect these days due to Arthur’s drinking) the comedy in that is just perfect.
I’ll be honest while I enjoy a lot of movies today, most tend to be so over the top it’s hard to really put them up there with Star Wars, Raiders, or Back to the Future.  The thing I wish they’d stop doing is destroying NYC all the time in every film, how many times can we see all these buildings and landmarks be destroyed and not think, “Hey (insert superhero here) take the fight out to the middle of the ocean or the desert or something man, we’ll be cleaning this up for years!!” I wish we could get back to some more simplified story telling, we don’t need 3 bad guys in a film… one will do, and he doesn’t need to be so powerful that there’s really no way to defeat him till the end when they come up with some thing that again, destroys the whole city and the bad guy… The comics I read as a kid didn’t go that over the top, but they were exciting and awesome.  Okay, I’ll get off my “when I was a kid…” soapbox! : )