Voice actors James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye talk Ratchet and Clank the movie


What’s a movie or game without some great voice actors to bring the characters to life? It’s not often we get to see voice actors in games return, especially after so many years and installments, so when they do it’s that much more special to fans, especially with the last Ratchet & Clank console game released back in 2012. Here we had a chance to talk with Ratchet and Clank themselves, James Arnold Taylor and David Kaye, respectively.

How were both of you able to land the roles once again for Ratchet and Clank for both the game and the movie?

James: You pay people.

Did you have to re-audition?

James: No it was wonderful coming together. The folks at Blockade were very generous, right off the bat gave us a call three years ago and said, “Hey, we’re thinking of doing this.” It’s natural that you’d play these characters since you’ve played them for so long. And I think they had their pulse on their back. The audience would’ve said no.

David: It’s always a concern when you’re doing a project like this, a Hollywood movie. I was talking earlier about my Twitter trending the day it was announced the movie would happen and we’d be part of the cast. I’d never been involved with anything trending at all in my life.

James: You’re trending to me, baby!

David: I’m trending now! Yeah, I was trending on Twitter. Everybody said, “I’m glad they kept the voices,” “I’m glad they’re doing” “people were hoping it’d be an origin story. I know there are some tweets about it.

James: It’s really important to do that too, because you want to get in new fans, but you also want to keep the other fans happy. The coolest thing for me was that we got to redo the first game. Which I was actually not the voice of Ratchet in the first game. I’ve been the voice of Ratchet in everything since. I’ve done 16-17 games as Ratchet where he’s ha cameos and whatnot. We’ve done what, 12?

David: You remember the golf one?

James: Yeah!

David: I loved that. I was Clank on the golf course and golf club

James: So it was cool to go back in time, and duh, not a crack in time, but a back in time. Not the future but that’s all gonna go commando in a second.

David: *laughs*

You mentioned bringing in new fans. I’m one of those new fans. So what were the specifics of your efforts in making sure this adaptation which has a cinematic storyline and also attracts fans who’re not familiar with the game?

David: It’s been about the origin about how they met and how it all happened. And telling that story is tantamount and so important in establishing the relationship and the rest of the whole franchise

James: And allows you as the fan to feel like you’re in the same place as everybody else that knows it.

David: It’s fresh and new to you as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Which is what we’re hoping will happen.

James: yeah, I just can’t wait to see it.

As voice actors, sometimes you’re asked to do a specific type of voice, sometimes they ask you to do something completely original, sometimes they ask you to do an impersonation. How was the approach in coming up with Ratchet and Clank when you first did your incarnations of them?

James: It’s different, and I’m just gonna toot David’s horn for a minute before I let him blather on. His voice, I don’t know who else could’ve done the voice of Clank. It’s the most original, wonderful, beautiful, and the why it comes out, it’s not processed. It’s just David. If you just listened to David’s voice, you’d never guess it’d come out of him. It’s perfect. I love the voice for Clank. I don’t know how it came about for your audition…

David: It’s one of those things where you know how so they come up with characters sometimes when nothing’s happening you get a paragraph and just a little description of it, just a basic paragraph that was all, no picture or anything, and we wanted to have a personality but not sound too robotic, so I just remembered those key points. And so I was reading the description and then I started doing this *changes voice* and that, my head started doing all this stuff, and the thing about it is once you start, you have to do that all the time with that character, and I’ve come out of sessions and my neck has to be adjusted, and I have to go to the chiropractor.

James: You’re talking about 4 hours!

David: Yeah and if I’m not feeling it that day, like if I’m tired or whatever, I know that Morgan Gearhart, who’s an engineer, will say, “You’re not quite there, your head’s not moving.”

I go, “Oh yeah, hang on.” *changes voice* “Okay ratchet” and then it would happen and that’s how I came up with the voice. And the laugh came out of Jackie…

James: Yeah, one of our sound editors and sound designers

David: Yes, how would he laugh, I don’t know *tries several different laughs as example* Try that. And that became the Scooby. The direction says now try the Scooby, and that became his laugh.

James: It’s a beautiful voice, and I love hearing it. For me, it was different. I came in as the second Ratchet. Mikey Kelly, who’s a wonderful actor, in fact we were in Kevin Munroe’s other film, TMNT, as the ninja turtle brothers. We’re good friends, and so we harass each other. Mikey, who was the original voice of Ratchet, has got a bit of different sound, and it’s a little more there. They wanted us to just change it up a little. I visualize voice, so it’s a bit more rounded and softer than that tone and stuff. And so they went for that, and I just got to be me, which is really rare because I’m usually other people. Whether I’ll be Obi-Wan Kenob, or show me test tubes, it’s totally awesome and obnoxious. So it’s wonderful to get to do something that’s been gone for so long in my regular voice.

I know we touched on earlier that Ratchet and Clank has had such a long dedicated fanbase, and talked about trying to bring new fans in with the movie. From the clips we’ve seen so far, it’s doing something like blending the original origins and adding in some new lore into it from the future games. How well do you guys think the long established fans will take to the new adjustments that’ve been made to the new film that’s been made?

David: I think they’ll dig it. What’s cool is there are so many places you can go. Fans will be, “Oh well they should do,” “What about this weapon,” “What about that story,” “Why don’t they follow this,” and “Why don’t they go to that plan.” There’s an endless bottomless pit of where you can go with this story and if it’s done right, they’ll enjoy it.

James: And that’s like a reminder to people too, that if your favorite thing is missing, go see it, and hopefully we’ll do more of it. And know that they are trying to appeal to an audience that may be watching this for the first time. And so they’re gonna pull out some things that’ve become favorites, but if it became your favorite because you literally played 3-4 games with those characters in it, you got to know those characters. You want to have all these bits and pieces, but this is just the beginning of a new world that Ratchet and Clank get to explore. I’d say patience to the ones who don’t see their favorites in there” and hope for the best

You guys didn’t just do the movie, you’re also rebooting the game. Did you guys do recording around the same time, and how was it going from movie and game for you guys at the same time?

David: It was sort of seamless. There are some fun things that happened in the game, those cutaway things, what do they call them? The mini-games? When I played the first game all the way through, I loved exploring. I would walk off some distance and find some cool things, and I loved that about the game because it sort of seemed endless that you could go around and play in this area, and it was more that than the side stories. I loved how deep it is.

James: We recorded the movie over a year ago, probably two years ago, and you go in for adjustments and ADRs and stuff, and the game started a few months after, we were talking about this the other day. It was a natural progression, but it was kinda weird. There was some time…and it was completely different studios, different environments, directors, writers, which was strange because it was always been the same working with the folks at Insomniac. When we do the game, it’s back with the folks in Insomniac. When we do the movie, it’s back with all the other folks, it’s two different worlds but it’s seemed to work in both. I give credit to the characters, not us. *laugh*

You can read our previous interviews below:

Part One with Ratchet & Clank producer Brad Foxhoven and director Kevin Munroe.

Part Two with Bella Thorne.

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