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Cast of MARVEL’S SPIDER-MAN Talk Tooning up Peter Parker and Miles Morales

On the big screen, Peter Parker exists in a shared Sony and Marvel Studios universe, while Miles Morales gets to be the lead in a Sony Animation feature set in an entirely different universe. On TV, however, the rights are different, and both Spider-Mans will fight crime together in Marvel’s Spider-Man, premiering Aug. 19th on Disney XD at 7 p.m. I got to watch it happen in real-time, too, as voice actors Robbie Daymond (Peter Parker) and Nadji Jeter (Miles Morales) laid down the vocal tracks for the scene in which Miles reveals his new arachnid affinity to the original wall-crawler.

Now, I have a wife who does voice-over acting, and I have seen the many repeat and alternate takes she has had to do over the course of a session. Daymond and Jeter, however, nailed it right away, adding just a few additional options after pretty much satisfying all involved the first time. I had to ask both actors if it always goes that smoothly.

“No, I think you got a taste of some of the highlights!” said Daymond, with Jeter adding, “That is how a typical session goes. I can definitely tell you that. That is definitely how every other Friday, 9 to 1, we all get in that booth and just, you know, we say those lines until we get them right. You know what I mean?” Lest we suspected the quickness was just for show, Daymond assured me they would not go back and do multiple retakes once reporters were gone, saying, of the minor retakes we did see, “No, no, no! That’s something–we just took the time machine back just a little bit. Not too far, but enough.”

Daymond is a veteran voice-actor, with credits dating back to Sailor Moon in 1993, while Jeter has relatively little experience in that area save The Last of Us–his first-ever voice-over job that turned into a phenomenon. “No one knew!” he emphasizes, regarding the response it got. “But imagine just going in for an audition for it, you know what I mean? It’s just, like, you’re in this big studio, and you do a couple of lines here and there, and then that’s it. And then cut to a couple of months, couple of weeks later, you’re in Mo-Cap suits, you’re talking voice over and all that stuff.” He praises his costar for keeping him comfortable, noting “It has been an easy transition because of studying and learning from Robbie, and seeing how he conducts himself in the booth, and taking little things from him, you know.”

For thirtysomething Daymond, voicing a high-school student has its challenges. “The directors and engineers are great at making sure I stay on pitch and tone,” he says. “I warm up in the morning. Friday mornings are not the easiest time to play a fifteen-year-old, but yeah, it’s not much problem getting up there…I feel like that when you’re playing someone younger, they’re maybe just a little more passionate, sincere, they wear their hearts on their sleeves. They’re kind of emotionally driven, sometimes, even if they’re smart and quick, like Peter is.”

Both actors auditioned using a disguised script that used fake names to conceal the show’s true nature. Daymond knew it was a Marvel show, but had no idea it was Spider-Man. “It could have transplanted to another hero,” he says. “But no, all the characters were renamed, it was very, very top secret. So while now, in retrospect, of course I recognize what it is, how it was written, at the time, I really didn’t know. Yeah.” He was told he got the part at the last minute, beating out an unnamed choice the producers were sure they were going with. Producer Marsha Griffin says the “anonymous” script yielded some great results: “I will tell you one thing that the actor who plays [Doc] Ock–Scotty [Menville], when he auditioned for the role of Ock, clearly we took the names off, we did everything. He had no idea that he was auditioning for Ock. He came up with an amazing persona for him, and it seems perfect now, in hindsight, in retrospect. But he had no idea he was doing it.”

Jeter learned about the significance of representation of Morales through his family, telling me, “I was talking to my uncle, and my uncle knew about Miles Morales way before me. You know, he was 26, 27, whatever. So he knew about Miles Morales–he was a big comic book fan growing up. So he kind of schooled me on who Miles Morales was, and how far his character goes back into Marvel. And so just taking that, and just knowing what Miles stood for, and as far as with all of my little cousins and brothers and sisters, that are just going to look up to Miles, and see this type of character on screen–it’s going to be impactful. It’s going to be crazy, and I can’t wait for people to get their T-shirts, the hats, the dolls and all that stuff for Miles. But man, it was so fun! It’s so fun to just be that kid. To be that kid again.” Producer Cort Lane tells us there won’t be any Miles solo adventures in season 1, but possibly for season 2.

Most fun of all? Jeter’s little cousins can’t know yet. “I keep it secret,” he says. “I keep it secret from myself! I’m the type of person to sit back and smile, just knowing that that’s me.”

While both lead actors would like to be involved in a version of the Maximum Carnage storyline, psychotic, murderous Cletus Kasady might seem on paper to be a bit much for Disney XD. But Lane disagrees, saying, “I think anything can be done if you take the right tack. You can make some adjustments. Boys love Carnage. And so after we’re done with Venom, yes–that’s absolutely a possibility.”

Because Daymond has previously voiced Ninja Turtle Michelangelo, we couldn’t leave without asking who would win. His answer favored the new, of course. “I think Spider-Man would win. Yeah, I mean–you know, Michelangelo’s got the ninja moves, but Spider-Man’s got the Spidey sense, so he’d be able to anticipate them. I don’t think Mikey’s strong enough. He’s just not. Maybe in a pizza eating context, but not in a fist fight.”

Images: Disney XD

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