Grab your pic-a-nic baskets and run for cover, people, because Yogi Bear and his tomfoolery have returned to the forest. Warner Bros. and director, Eric Brevig, present a 3D adventure that is sure to make adults nauseous and children ecstatic. Yogi and Boo Boo, voiced by Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake, have received grave news: Jellystone Park is being sold!
We were fortunate enough to sit down with the actors to get their two cents on the picture. Check out the interview below…
You both had quite a responsibility in reviving the voices of two, iconic animated characters. What was that like?
Dan Akroyd: The characters are long establishing in American culture, from the 1960′s. They were well written and well done. Even though it was flat panel animation at the time, they had a lot of heart and a lot of sweetness that made them endure. We wanted to get as close as we could to the characterizations that were there originally because this is a re-tribute to that great Hanna Barbara franchise – so we wanted to be true to that. He can’t help who he is and I can’t help who I am, so I think you can hear that a lot of our personality comes through in the voices and a lot of our own vocal skill. [Justin's] dryness is incredible, he really channels this character. It’s a two-hander with an incredible supporting cast.
Justin Timberlake: I think an interesting thing about the process of voicing these characters, and so genius of Eric, the director, was he had Dan and I come to record together. We had two or three sessions together because we really did see this as a Batman and Robin, if you will, sort of duo. It really made a difference with the rhythm of the banter between Yogi and Boo Boo. In the specifics of re-voicing such iconic characters, we were honored to pay tribute to multi-generational characters and knowing these characters would be introduced to young minds for the first time. We were encouraged to put a new spin on them. I was just excited to wear a bow-tie.
Were you pleased to be a part of a project that’s ultimately encouraging children to embrace nature? Especially in a generation that’s so distracted by technology?
DA: Put up the texting, put up the Blackberry, put up the laptop, at least for a long weekend once or twice a month. We are ruining the attention span of this generation. It’s time to get back to nature and see that there are other creatures out there. I grew up on the edge of a national park and had to walk to school, and that’s when I used to watch Yogi. In the afternoons after walking through this park – timber wolves, creeks, snow drifts, a bat highway.
JT: I did a film about the birth of social networking and it drove me crazy even being part of that movie. It’s way beyond my brain span, I grew up in Tennessee on the edge of a state park.
Justin, you’re voice is responsible for the bulk of your career. What was it like to use your voice in such a specific capacity?
JT: At the risk of ruining my social life, funny enough, I kind of learned how to sing when I was a kid imitating singers on the radio; Al Green and Michael Jackson and Don Henley, but also I was an only child and obviously really bored. I would entertain my parents by imitating Scooby Doo and Boo Boo, all the cartoon voices.
What was the recording process like for you?
JT: Ha, they all shot this live action in New Zealand and then Dan and I show up and there were these weird stencil drawings running through and it was our job to find what we thought was funny. I grew up with Hanna-Barbara cartoons and I don’t think I realized I would be in character as Boo Boo the entire time. I grew up with them and laughed with them as a kid – nostalgia is probably the reason I did the film.
Were you able to jump right into the Boo Boo? Or was there any vocal-character prep required?
JT:I did some sessions by myself toward the end of the process. Hanna Barbara had a knack for creating characters that stand the test of time. It had weight with me as a young person, as well as with Dan, which speaks so much about how well these characters were thought out when they were first created. Getting the voice of Boo Boo, I had someone on hand with the old 60′s and 70′s cartoons and I would sit there and listen to it in between takes and before we would start ou sessions. It would take me 15-20 minutes to really get it – this is all really boring, geeky vocal stuff – but to get your palate to the right level of the character, after the first 20 minutes, I would go back and re-record everything we’d done in the first half hour. You just get in the pocket of the tone and inflection. I’m really killing any sort of coolness I had before I got here.
Check out Akroyd and Timberlake’s vocal talents in Yogi Bear in theaters this Friday December 17th!