Robert Englund Talks About "The Vulture"

Robert Englund Talks About "The Vulture"

Jay Cochran - March 05, 2008
Robert Englund expands his legacy of creating engaging, iconic characters within the fanboy realm as the voice of Vulture, Spider-Man’s initial super foe in the premiere episode of “The Spectacular Spider-Man.”

An all-new animated television series, “The Spectacular Spider-Man” debuts Saturday, March 8 with back-to-back episodes airing at 10:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Kids’ WB! on The CW.

In the premiere episode, "Survival of the Fittest,” summer is over for Peter Parker and school's ready to start -- both literally (it's his junior year of high school), and in the real world of crime-fighting -- as Spider-Man faces his first real challenge (The Enforcers) and his first real super-villain (Vulture). Victor Cook directed the script, which was written by Greg Weisman. Based on Marvel Entertainment’s popular super hero, “The Spectacular Spider-Man” is produced by Culver Entertainment, a Sony Pictures Television Company.

Englund said the voice for Vulture came organically from looking at the early designs of the character prior to the cast’s first recording session.

“They gave us test drawings when we first came to record, and I used that for my inspiration, my basis for the choice of Vulture’s voice,” Englund said. “I sort of screech – he is a large bird, after all. Mostly I’ve been doing a lot of screaming as Vulture because, as fans know, he flies – and most of the time I’m chasing Spider-Man across the sky.”

After establishing the baseline voice of his character, Englund has worked with “The Spectacular Spider-Man” voice director Jamie Thomason and producer Greg Weisman to further craft Vulture’s personality and particular vocal inflections.

“So far I’ve been conversational, and we’ve spent some time finding Vulture’s sense of humor,” Englund said. “He’s older and a little frustrated, because he feels he’s just as good as the other villains. He actually has a bit of pomposity about him -- so he can be a smart-ass at times with a one-liner here and there. It’s really coming out more as the season progresses – I’ve only just begun to explore that. I think ultimately I’d like to put in a little bit of Clifton Webb -- there’s a bit of his kind of wit.”

Unlike many animated television series today, “The Spectacular Spider-Man” records most episodes in a single day with massive ensemble sessions – often times split into a morning and afternoon segment. The result is a room of 10-14 actors recording together, a scenario that Englund finds especially appealing.

“Jamie is a great voice director – he’s very funny, and he keeps it all nice and loose, which is important because there’s usually a lot of us around,” Englund said. “This is a huge cast – for every episode – and that makes it more fun for everyone. We all get to participate and work off each other. It’s wonderful to finally work with some of these actors – like Peter MacNicol. I’ve been a fan of his since he did ‘Dragonslayer.’ Peter really gets into it.”

Aside from the usual joys of voice acting (“You can show up in your pajamas,” “You do it until you get it right”), Englund finds the nuances of the medium to be both entertaining and educational.

“What’s interesting to me is that voiceover acting and direction has its own different vocabulary that I’m still learning,” Englund said. “It’s kind of like little short cuts of jargon that the director uses to communicate with the actors. It’s pop culture short-hand to cue us to a certain sound or attitude. It’s a learning process, but I like to learn. And it’s fun.”

Head over to for more information on the upcoming "Spectacular Spider-Man" animated series.
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