I’m not feeling great this week, so when the floodgates opened up today with a frenzy of backlash in regard to the news that 20th Century Fox is looking to re-cast all of the voice actors for the revival of Futurama…well, my little illness tripled over on me. That’s right, after making the giant announcement that the show would return (Read: Never Underestimate The Power Of Hypnotoad: ‘Futurama’ Is Officially Back!), they now are looking to replace brilliant talents like Billy West (Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. Zoidberg, Leo Wong, Zapp Brannigan), John Di Maggio (Bender), Katey Sagal (Turanga Leela), Phil LaMarr (Hermes Conrad), Maurice LaMarche (Kif, Donbot, Morbo, Calculon), and others.
At first, many believed it was just some sort of marketing ploy and that the plan was to throw everyone into a panic and then throw some big surprise party with the cast showing up and all being well in the world. Though this scenario would be accepted and laughed about later, I believe it would still infuriate fans to hear they purposely did this. However, it appears that word first broke out when multiple cast members mentioned it on their Facebook, which takes away a Comic Con surprise. Then there is Forces of Geek, who brought the news to us with a giant official-looking casting call with all the characters that they want to re-cast as well as clips on Hulu to use as reference.
As it stands now, the situation looks like a good ol’ executive blackmailing attempt. Fox doesn’t like the salaries that the actors want to be paid for their work, so they tell everyone to screw and put out a casting call for other voice actors in hopes that the original cast will lower their fee. A truly dirty and despicable play by the studio. As any fan of the show will tell you, no other show’s voice talent is as important as the cast of Futurama. That core of talents is so good, it just doesn’t matter who they found or how accurate they sounded, you know it just wouldn’t be the same and we would all be able to tell the difference. These guys deserve every single dollar that they’re looking for, and it’s very unlikely that they’re demanding more than is fair.
Click over to the other side to get a look at the call for submissions the studio has put out.
I personally have to believe that this will all be worked out in the end, whether Fox saves a couple bucks or not. It would literally be the worst business decision of ALL-TIME for them to think that they could re-cast the show and do well. They would be actually choosing to pay less and consciously have the show crash and burn in miserable fashion when NO ONE watches, thus losing all that money anyway. On the other hand, they can pay the cast what they want, and make it all back when people flock to their TV to watch when Futurama comes back. Is this REALLY a difficult decision? If it is, then I am going to get a job as a TV executive because my ass could f’n thrive on this truly pain-staking choices that need to be made. Anyone seen Idiocracy? Yeah.
If for some reason this disgusting nightmare comes true, Fox will have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they really do just hate us all with the passion of Satan himself. This could easily kill off any remaining faith I had in a studio making the right call with the fans in mind. I’m also pretty curious as to how Matt Groening and David X. Cohen reacted to this news. I don’t see how they would ever agree to make more episodes without their cast, which would be another reason Fox even trying this seems repulsive.
You can see the casting call below. If you’re a voice actor and this shows up at your door, please, for all of our precious geek-sakes: DO NOT ACCEPT THE OPPORTUNITY TO AUDITION. Getting this job would not be good for anyone, I promise this.
1/2 hour animated comedy for Twentieth Century Fox Television
Creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen
Casting Director: Scott Muller
Shoot/Start Date: August
Pay Rate: TBD
Location: Los Angeles
FOR SUBMISSION OF AUDIO ONLY (MP3S ON CD PLEASE) KING OF THE HILL
ATTN: SCOTT MULLER
15821 VENTURA BLVD.
VOICE AUDITIONS MAY BE SENT IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
1. MP3 AUDIO AUDITIONS ONLINE IN WHATEVER MEANS IS CONVENIENT FOR YOU.
2. MP3 AUDIO AUDITIONS ON CD.
3.EMAILED AS ATTACHMENTS TO: FUTURAMA@SCOTTMULLERCASTING.COM (NOTE: PLEASE USE THIS METHOD SPARINGLY, ATTACHMENTS NOT TO EXCEED 5 MB) AUDITIONS SHOULD BE SENT ASAP AS WE WILL BE MOVING QUICKLY. PRODUCER SESSIONS WILL BE HELD AT A DATE TBD.
We are starting casting immediately for Futurama, a half-hour animated comedy created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Descriptions of these established characters follow, along with links to clips of previous episodes for reference.
SERIES REGULAR ROLES:
[ PHILIP J. FRY (FRY) ]
Fry, a 20th century slacker, works as a pizza delivery boy. On December 21st, 1999, he is cryogenically frozen and wakes up 1000 years in the future in the city of New New York. Through a series of events, Fry tracks down his great (x30) nephew Professor Hubert Farnsworth and lands a job at the Professors Planet Express delivery company as a delivery boy. Fry bunks with Planet Expresss beer-swilling robot, Bender. Fry is constantly trying to win the heart of Leela, the companys ship captain…SERIES REGULAR
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=164702&title=flashback-freeze (Episode 5ACV03)
[ TURANGA LEELA (LEELA) ]
Leela, a sexy Cyclops, is the captain of the Planet Express delivery ship. Leela is in charge of every company mission, having her hands full keeping Fry and Bender in line. Her early years were spent in an orphanage where she was a bit of an outcast for having one eye. She took up kickboxing and other similar sports to make up for the lack of friends. She still has problems with men and often gets jealous of Amys (her co-worker) popularity among the opposite sex. She has a soft spot for Fry but is unsure of anything further than that, due to Frys clumsy advances…SERIES REGULAR
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=162824&title=leelas-timeline (Episode 4ACV02)
[ BENDER BENDING RODRIQUEZ (BENDER) ]
Bender, a cigar-smoking, booze-guzzling, kleptomaniac robot, had a successful career in bending girders but tired to kill himself when he found out the girders were being used for suicide booths. He was saved by Fry and later took a job at Planet Express. To be able to function properly, Bender needs the chemical energy from alcohol. Excessive drinking is mandatory or he will become sober and unable to control his body. Magnets stuck to his head make him sing like a folk singer…SERIES REGULAR
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=188899&title=bender-the-drone (Episode 5ACV05)
[ PROFESSOR HUBERT FARNSWORTH (PROFESSOR) ]
Professor Hubert Farnsworth is the owner of the Planet Express delivery company, which he uses to fund his strange scientific experiments. He also lectures at Mars University on the mathematics of quantum neutrino fields (he made up the name so no one would dare take the course). He is technically 160 years old, but to avoid being picked up by the sunset squad and taken to the near death star he says he is only 150…SERIES REGULAR
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=217636&title=back-in-action (Episode 5ACV01)
[ DR. JOHN ZOIDBERG (ZOIDBERG) ]
Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-like alien, left his home planet of Decapod 10 to become a rich doctor but instead became the Planet Express staff doctor (doesnt pay so well). Zoidberg, who is usually shunned by the rest of the Planet Express crew, is always in search of his next meal. His skill as a surgeon, and basic knowledge of human anatomy, are often called into question. He secretly desires to become a stand-up comedian…SERIES REGULAR
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=147743&title=love-lessons (Episode 2ACV05)
FUTURAMA RECURRING ROLES:
[ MOM ]
Mom is the very old, very rich, very ruthless founder of Moms Friendly Robot Company. She has three sons: Walt, Larry, and Igner, who work for the company and help Mom do her dirty work. Many years ago, Farnsworth worked for Moms Friendly Robot Company, and they had a fling, which ended when Mom kept turning Farnsworths cute inventions into mad, killing machines…RECURRING
http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=147736&title=mothers-day (Episode 2ACV14)
[ ZAPP BRANNIGAN ]
Zapp Brannigan is a 25-star General of the Democratic Order of Planets and has been responsible for several successful wars including a triumph over the pacifists of the Ghandi Nebula. He is always accompanies on mission by his hapless assistant Kif Kroker. Behind all his bravado he is a wimp who is not very intelligent. He once slept with Leela, a fact hat he constantly reminds her of…RECURRING
http://www.hulu.com/watch/60311/futurama-zapp-in-the-shower (Episode 2ACV17)
[ KIF KROKER (KIF) ]
Kif Kroker is a hard working, long suffering alien Lieutenant of the DOOP who does all the hard work and takes the rap for problems usually caused by Zapp Brannigan (his superior officer). Zapp considers Kif to be his most loyal friend however, Kif in fact views Zapp as an imbecile. He is smitten with his current girlfriend Amy. He has no bones and is supported by a system of inflated bladders…RECURRING
http://www.hulu.com/watch/4471/futurama-kif-is-pregnant (Episode 4ACV01)