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TUESDAY, MARCH 11, 2008

THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN'S BEN DISKIN

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Continuum continues its series of interviews with the talent behind The Spectacular Spider-Man animated series today with Ben Diskin, the voice of Eddie Brock/Venom.

The Continuum sat down with Diskin backstage at the recent WonderCon for a short interview. Following is an edited transcription.

The Continuum: So who is Eddie Brock in the series?

Diskin: He works at the ESU lab with Doctor Connors. He's sort of like a big brother to Peter. He was kind of his protector throughout high school and then he graduated and moved on to college. He's one of these guys who has a lot of real serious pyschological issues that he keeps to himself. As the series progresses, you start seeing more and more and more of this demonic, freaky guy who really goes off the deep end.

The Continuum: What's your approach to this guy? Is he more intelligent than the comic?

Diskin: Yes. He's basically a muscular nerd. He's somebody who I would assume tried to change himself in high school into being a big football star and it really didn't work out too well. So when he gets to college he kind of goes back to being this sort of scientist guy. And he gets really giddy and excited about dorky things. But he's also this big, hulking muscular dude.

He's strong. He's brave to the point of serious recklessness and he just has a lot of deep-seeded problems that he drags out of himself eventually.

The Continuum: Obviously, and it's been confirmed, he becomes Venom toward the end of the season. What's the difference there and how do they create the voice?

Diskin: I supply the voice of Eddie Brock as well as the Venom symbiote. So what they do is have me record all the lines as the Venom symbiote and then I come it back and they played it through headphones and I loop to it as Eddie Brock's voice. So it has sort of a dual kind of sound to it. Then they'll probably put some extra sound effects to it or they're going to raise or lower the volumes of the different takes.

The Continuum: Did you watch the movie? They seemed to make him animalistic, too.

Diskin: I did watch the movie. I would say this Venom is more malicious and sadistic than animalistic. When he gets really mad, yeah he goes off the deep end and is very animalistic. But there's definitely a part of him that's more twisted and manipulative and trying to just destroy everything about Spider-Man piece by piece, inch by inch.

The Continuum: We'll be seeing him more than once?

Diskin: Yes. I can't say exactly how or provide details, but yes. He does become Venom and he gets defeated and right now in the recording sessions, he's on his way back. I don't know what he's going to do when he gets back.

The Continuum: Spider-Man is an ensemble recording?

Diskin: Absolutely, in the biggest sense of the word. There's usually about 12 actors and five or six people behind the scenes, too.

The Continuum: Those can be fun...a lot of energy.

Diskin: Lot of energy, and we all play off of each other. Interacting is a little bit nicer than standing by yourself in a little room with a microphone.

The Continuum: You're featured in Blood +. Do you have an anime background?

Diskin: My background is mostly just cartoons. I've done one anime. I did Codename: Kids Next Door for Cartoon Network. I did Hey Arnold! when I was younger for Nickelodeon and various commercials for radio and television.

The Continuum: So this is pretty different?

Diskin: This is really a unique series. It's the first one I've done for Marvel.

The Continuum: Were you a fan of the Spider-Man characters like Venom?

Diskin: When the 90's series came out, he was my absolute favorite villain on it. I was like, "That guy is so cool! If only they were hiring 12-year-olds." To actually get to do him now is a dream come true. It's really an awesome job. I love playing him.

The Continuum: Have you gotten to see what he looks like?

Diskin: I've gotten to see only one black-and-white line drawing of him. I have an idea of what he's going to look like.

The Continuum: So you watched the 90s show. Did you read the comics?

Diskin: I watched the show first, then I got a few Venom comics because I was such a fan. I thought Spider-Man was cool, but I really liked Venom.

The Continuum: What did you like about him?

Diskin: His powers, his completely twisted attitude. It was creepy, but neat. It was, "I hate that I love this guy."

The Continuum: What did you think of Spider-Man 3's version of Venom?

Diskin: I thought it was an interesting interpretation of the character. Certain things I liked, certain things I didn't. I thought Topher Grace was really good at playing that seedy, creepy guy that you don't know why you hate him, you just do. The whole "I am Venom" instead of "We are Venom" and that he was a skinniner Venom... but I liked the way it looked. I thought it played pretty well for the movie's sake. So I would say, I'm mostly for it.

The Continuum: Are there techinques that you use in doing Venom's voice? Something with your tongue?

Diskin: I try not to because it doesn't sound right. (laughs) His voice as the symbiote has a very gutteral sound. I just leave the cheeks very loose.



E-mail the Continuum at RobAlls@aol.com



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