It so happens that I caught Hugh Grant on the Ellen Degeneres Show yesterday. Her first question was why would they ask him to play a character that doesn’t sound like Hugh Grant? His answer was that they probably wanted him so he would go on all these talk shows and promote the movie. (The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In theaters now!) There is something to what both of them say. In many animated movies they don’t want their celebrities to stray at all from their regular speaking voice. Sometimes it works out well, especially when they are playing a human character that isn’t too far from what they would play in a live action movie. And some celebrities are blessed with naturally expressive voices that can really bring an animated character to life. However, a lot of the time they're using their regular voices to play animals or something even more unusual, and the results are far from convincing. Sometimes I just can’t buy the voice for the character. There have been times where I’m watching the movie and at the same time I’ve got the image in my mind of the actor in a sound booth reading their lines. Their voice coming out of something else’s mouth isn’t a good match. But aren't a good deal of the movie going public going to these movies because of the big name and they want to know exactly which character they are? That means money. And with the enormous cost of these movies they are more often then not going to error on the side of money. I guess I have more respect for actors that show up to work and act then I do for someone who just came to read some lines and pick up a paycheck. Like Hugh Grant says, people are going to know he’s in the movie because he’s out there doing the press tour. Maybe it’s the same as with all movies: the difference is whether people want see actors, who you forget about because they’ve disappeared into their roles, or if they are going to see movie stars in a ‘look at me’ role. It’s the same way I think Gary Oldman is a great actor because of how he embodies different characters. Then again, if Jack Nicolson was asked to do a womanizing polecat, he would be a great womanizing polecat. So, what's to be done? Actors just being themselves seems lazy and might not be that great in the part. On the other hand throwing themselves into the part risks loosing some commercial appeal.