By Victoria Irwin
August 25, 2013 Santa Monica, CA – At the Aero Theater, the Art Directors Guild (ADG) and American Cinematheque hosted a screening of Shinichiro Watanabe’s film noir anime epic, Cowboy Bebop. In attendance were the lead voice actor, Steve Blum (Spike Spiegel), as well as Peter Ramsey, lover of anime and director of last year’s Rise of the Guardians. ADG Film Society Founder and Production designer John Muto moderated the question and answer section following the screening of the film. Before the film, two quick examples of the work of Peter Ramsey and Steve Blum were displayed. The audience laughed when a typo accompanied Blum’s name, declaring him to be Steve Dunn. Blum commented that he wasn’t “Dunn, quite yet.”
American Cinematheque highlighted the merits of the film, including the fact that the film is hand-drawn, using the traditional method of key frame animation. John Muto extolled the original music work of music director Yoko Kano and expressed his appreciation of her “bluesy jazz” musical styling throughout both the Cowboy Bebop film and 26 episode television show. Muto further explained that he didn’t consider the film to be, “sci-fi or fantasy, but film noir.” He expressed his love of the “Bruce Lee fighting style” and dramatic elements.
Blum was more than delighted to speak with fans, including recording a voice clip for a fan portraying Dos Equis’ famous marketing character The Most Interesting Man in the World. “I’m the blue collar voice actor,” he joked to fans, emphasizing this by explaining that he is “not a trained actor.” He encouraged people who wanted to be voice actors, but also cautioned them with how much work goes into a career as a voice actor. “When sent roles to audition, most actors record 3 or 4 of the available characters. If they send me 30, I record all 30.” Blum demonstrated his skill by giving examples of the various voices he is famous for, including Wolverine, Green Goblin and, of course, Spike Spiegel. “It’s just my natural speaking voice,” Blum said when demonstrating the voice of Spike. Tattooed on Blum’s left forearm is the digital vocal signature of the very last word spoken by Spike Spiegel in the television series.
“It’s just a good film period,” Peter Ramsey commented. “It is a cut above anything in theaters now.” Ramsey created storyboards for films such as Dracula and Fight Club. He discussed his work with David Fincher on Fight Club, remarking that, “the storyboards are pretty much shot for shot what Fincher did.” Ramsey is responsible for the silhouette sequence in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Ramsey expressed his deep love of anime and his joy for over its rise in popularity over the past few years.
American Cinematheque and ADG host screenings of films at both the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, CA and the Aero in Santa Monica, CA. For more information on future showings, visit: http://americancinematheque.