John C. McGinley Talks About Metallo In Public Enemies
On September 29, 2009, we will get the next DC Universe Animated feature. John C. McGinley scrubs in as the villain Metallo. McGinley has had quite the acting career which has included Oliver Stone films to his current residence in Scrubs. As Metallo, McGinley will get the chance to perform as a character he really hasn't had a chance to do before, a pure villain.
McGinley will also be joined by Kevin Conroy ( Batman), Tim Daly ( Superman), Clancy Brown ( Lex Luthor), Allison Mack ( Power Girl), Xander Berkeley ( Captain Atom), LeVar Burton ( Black Lightning), CCH Pounder ( Amanda Waller) and a bunch of others.
The film has President Lex Luthor using the upcoming trajectory of a Kryptonite asteroid to frame Superman and place a $1 billion bounty on the heads of Superman and his "partner in crime," Batman. Heroes and villains begin their hunt for the duo.
Here is a Q & A with John C. McGinley on his role as Metallo.
QUESTION: What were the joys and challenges of getting behind a microphone for a
character like Metallo?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: It’s a real treat to collaborate with the creative folks once you get
in the booth. Ten out of ten times the people on the other side of
the glass know the character better than you are ever going to – they
have been working on this for months or years. All you can do is try
to return serve because you are given all this wonderful, precise
direction. I’ve found over the years it is really, really helpful to
just integrate and go. It’s also a treat that the people on the other
side of the glass are pretty much the top one percent of their
industry, and I get to have this kind of creative input. You get on a
lot of film sets and everybody is rolling the dice. Everybody is
guessing their best. The people in that booth are not guessing, they
know this stuff backwards. That to me is a huge asset.
QUESTION: What were your impressions of the script for Superman/Batman: Public Enemies?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: The fun part for me showing up on any set is the preparation. A lot
of times when you are doing a play or a film, things are going to go
wrong. You’re going to lose the light or the sound is going to stop
working. Even in a controlled environment like that booth, which lends
itself to things going right and to things flourishing, there are
sometimes things that can go wrong and, thus, compromises will need to
be made. So it behooves the actor to come loaded for bear. If you are
100 percent ready and we have to make 40 percent compromises, then
unless you have that other 60 percent ready it is going to kind of
just go flat instead of elevating it. My favorite thing, which may
sound a little presumptuous, is to try to elevate the material.
QUESTION: Did you enter the world of super heroes through comic books or otherwise?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: My earliest memories of Batman are watching the live-action series
with Batman and Robin. That was the coolest Batmobile and you had
Frank Gorshin as the Riddler and Caesar Romero being the Joker. As
far as Superman goes, it was more about the Christopher Reeve films. I
was not a comic book reader. When we played as kids, we were always
acting out stuff we saw Batman doing , or the Green Hornet or Aquaman.
But that inspiration came from Saturday morning cartoons and not
proper comic books.
QUESTION: As a non-comics reader, does voicing a comic character still lend
itself to some child-like thrill for you?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: Well, of course, it is big fat privilege to work with these characters
– and it is really fun now with Hi-Def. It just kind of jumps off the
screen, and the transfers (to Hi-Def) are so beautiful now and
perfect. It’s completely thrilling because the state of the art has
exceeded anybody's wildest expectations. It is astonishing. It is not
as fun to see my voice come out of a character as it is really
rewarding. To be a tiny component in the evolution of animation as
the voice of a character is thrilling.
My son is old enough to hear and recognize my voice coming out of the
characters, but it doesn't resonate with him yet. My daughter will,
and that is pretty cool. Not necessarily to be a killer robot, but we
will see how things evolve.
QUESTION: Actors tend to be very self-critical. Is it easier to watch an
animated film with your voice coming out of a character than it is to
watch yourself on-screen in live-action productions?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: If I have a script early enough, I have a room set aside in our house
as a rehearsal space. I set up a camera and I rehearse in front of
the camera, especially for Dr. Cox on Scrubs, who has these long
two-page, single-space rants. So it is almost like somebody practicing
foul shots. It sounds simple – go to the free throw line and shoot a
foul shot. But Larry Bird shot a million foul shots in French Lick
before he ever tried for Indiana State or the Boston Celtics. So I
feel like if you have text early enough, it really is in the actor's
best interests to go just hash about in front of a lens.
One thing the lens does is it exposes bad habits. Like an X-ray
machine taking a picture of a fracture. We all have nervous ticks,
things we do when you can't remember a line. But if you watch
yourself, you can see for yourself – the camera exposes those
liabilities like an X-ray machine. So yes, I watch myself on film as
much as possible because the learning curve just objectively is
through the roof.
QUESTION: You’ve worked with some impressive live-action directors. What’s it
like working with Andrea Romano in the animated realm?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: Andrea Romano is not dissimilar to Oliver Stone in a lot of ways, in
as much as they’re both like a thoroughbred at The Kentucky Derby.
They both put on creative blinders like a thoroughbred. Oliver and
Andrea both put on blinders and invite you into that narrow creative
vision which is the perfect division for the piece. So that you don't
have to do anything, you don't have to guess. Come right inside here
and it is going to be good. When you come in there with Oliver Stone
or with Andrea, it is Nirvana. You will now shine.
QUESTION: We’ve heard the expression, but can you define a John C. McGinley “type”?
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: The John C. McGinley type usually is one of about seven different
things. It is a niche that I fell into, not of my own doing, but it
became the part in the films where either you are the best friend, the
co-worker, the bad guy, the brother who dies and compels the hero into
action in the third act, the boss, now the father of the kids, the
head of the hospital usually in a position of authority. For a long
time there was a group of us – Ving Rhames, me and about a half a
dozen other guys – who would be the component in the story. Who would
reiterate the who, what, where, when and how a couple times throughout
the movie. You need somebody who can speak the speech without getting
in the way of the speech. The hero is not going to do that. So every
once in a while throughout the progression of a story, we need to be
reminded where the bomb is, when it is going to go off and who the bad
guys are. So that the hero can do his job. That “type” has paid the
bills for a long time.
QUESTION: You’re a bit of a super hero yourself as the national spokesperson for
the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk. What’s the essence of
JOHN C. MCGINLEY: The Buddy Walk is our national day of empowerment, encouragement and
elevation. There are nearly 300 walks that happen in September and
October throughout the United States – and these are great, great
days. When you have a child born with special needs, a lot of parents
think they did something wrong. They beat themselves up and they don't
realize that there is a much larger community out there who also have
kids with special needs. This is a day of inclusion, where we want
people to know that you have a chance now to be a great parent, which
is what it is going to take. The day is as much about including and
loving the caregivers as it is about the kids. We attempt to raise
money, but that is not really my mantra. It is about coming out and
just getting the love. It is all about introducing people to
nutritional intervention and further education. It’s a short walk –
not a marathon, just a mile. And it is a lovely day where we include,
elevate and celebrate the similarities that the children and the
parents have instead of their differences. It’s a very important
For more information, images and updates, please visit the film’s
official website at www.SupermanBatmanDVD.com.
That was a great interview, G-Man. I think he's a great choice for a super villain like Metallo. I'm glad you touched upon his involvement with the National Down Syndrome Society, so Kudos for that bit as well.
He even pointed out himself he's usually typecast as the "pivot man" I like to think. He makes a heck of a bad guy, too, and the dude is buffed, I'm surprised he hasn't been considered or offered a role in a comic book based movie.
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