EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Josh Keaton on Voicing Hal Jordan in GREEN LANTERN: THE ANIMATED SERIES
Josh Keaton appears to have a growing monopoly on the comic book voice acting industry. His extensive list of credits includes pulling double duty as The Flash and Aquaman in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, was the voice of Young Hercules in Disney's Hercules and is perhaps best known as the voice of Spider-Man, voicing everyone's favorite web slinger in the critically acclaimed The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series as well as in the popular video games Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, and the upcoming Spider-Man: Edge of Time.
Interestingly, Keaton didn’t have an extensive history with Green Lantern before landing the role. “With something like Spidey, I’ve had over the course of a couple decades a voice in my head when I read the comics. I’ve had imagery, a ton of imagery to go off of,” he explained. “Whereas with somebody like Hal in Green Lantern I didn’t really have any of that. At least not with the same amount of detail and specificity.”
But as Keaton prepared for the role, the prospect of tackling a new character became more exciting. “I saw it as a challenge. A lot of my superhero-y stuff has been the young, wet-behind-the-ears, still-uncomfortable-in-his-own-skin, reluctant hero. You, know, Spider-Man! Whereas Hal already knew who he was before becoming a Green Lantern. He was already set in his routine, and he already had a life and had himself pretty much figured out.”
After reading a great deal of Green Lantern comics, both old and new, Keaton got a clear vision of the character. He boiled Hal down to a few core points: “One was the fact that he’s cocky… he knows he’s good at what he does. Two is, he knows what he’s going to do before the words even come out of his mouth. And he trusts himself almost in a Batmanish way…. And also, the fact that he grew up in a military family, there’s needs to be some sort of a military bearing that underscores everything that he does, all of his interactions.”
Overall, Keaton is enthusiastic to be working on a such a large-scale, sci-fi project. “I mean, it’s in space. It’s not even that the sky’s the limit; the sky’s the starting point! There’s so many worlds that they can go to and there’s stuff that nobody’s ever seen!” And for those who are still skeptical, he gives a simple, effective reason for why Green Lantern: The Animated Series is worth watching: “If you’ve ever heard the name Bruce Timm, you know he usually doesn’t steer you wrong.”
Keaton has his hands full currently with voice work, but he hopes to get his face out a bit more in the future… perhaps even as another famous Green Lantern: “I want to do more on-camera work, because that’s really where I started out… I’m definitely making that a little bit more of a focus because I don’t want to give that up. I’d still love to be an on-screen Kyle Rayner.”
Green Lantern: The Animated Series will be the first computer-generated, animated series featuring DC Universe comics characters. Hal Jordan will act as the main character, while other characters that have been confirmed to be included are Kilowog, the Guardians of the Universe, Carol Ferris, Salaak, Sayd, Saint Walker, and Zilius Zox. The main antagonists of the show will be the Red Lantern Corps, led by the villain Atrocitus, and the Manhunters. The first season of the show will have 26 episodes, and will air exclusively on Cartoon Network.