Jace Norman is best known to fans as Henry Hart, a.k.a. Kid Danger, the sidekick to the bumbling Captain Man on Nickelodeon’s hit superhero comedy series Henry Danger. He launched his acting career in 2012 with an appearance on the Disney Channel series Jessie, and has also been in several Nickelodeon movies (Splitting Adam, Rufus, and the sequel Rufus 2). He has also appeared as Kid Danger in the Henry Danger crossover episodes with The Thundermans and Game Shakers.
However, his latest challenge isn’t from a new supervillain, but the voiceover booth, since he is reprising his role as Kid Danger for the animated series spin-off The Adventures of Kid Danger. He’s also done some guest voiceover work on The Loud House and was the lead in the animated feature Spark. We were able to catch up with Jace Norman while he was in New York City to talk about The Adventures of Kid Danger, as well as some of the other work he’s doing apart from his acting career.
TOONZONE NEWS: I noticed that you’ve been doing some more voiceover work lately. Is that something that you’re actively seeking out or is it just sort of happening?
JACE NORMAN: Yeah! Voiceover is a different side of acting, so I’m definitely exploring that. I think that it’s actually harder because you can only use your voice. So it’s definitely something I’m working on.
TOONZONE NEWS: How has it been making the jump from live-action to animation?
JACE NORMAN: It’s very different, because you’re just in a studio and it’s just a mike. You’re just talking and you have to try to act the whole time while you’re talking. And then you trust the animators to do the work for you. So hopefully they make it look good.
TOONZONE NEWS: Do you guys get to do ensemble records with everybody together, or has it always been the solo sessions in the studio?
JACE NORMAN: Yeah, we can record together if the schedules line up. We’ve actually been shooting Henry Danger and doing the animated series at the same time, so it’s been kind of complicated. But if we can, we like being in the same room so we can do our little dance with each other.
JACE NORMAN: Yeah, yeah, it’s actually pretty important.
TOONZONE NEWS: So when you have to record solo, what kinds of adjustments do you make as an actor to manage that?
JACE NORMAN: it’s hard, because you’re acting with yourself and you’re acting to a wall, which is not always the best. But like I said, it’s definitely a new challenge for me. I’m not a professional voice actor, and they’ve had some legends come in who have done a bunch of voices. Like the one person who can do 15 different characters, or who have done a bunch of Family Guy episodes and stuff.
TOONZONE NEWS: It seems like it’s a relatively natural thing to do superhero shows in animation…
JACE NORMAN: And on Nickelodeon as well. They have a great animated team down there. Just from the history, they’ve got some people there who have been at it for a while. There’s people who worked on Hey Arnold! and stuff like that, and SpongeBob. It’s really kind of surreal to even be in the same kind of area.
TOONZONE NEWS: Do you find that there’s a shift in the material that you get to work with in animation than you do in live-action?
JACE NORMAN: Yeah, it’s much weirder. They do much weirder stuff animated than they do on live-action. Because they’re able to. It’s just so much weirder, which is awesome, but I think fans are actually going to like how much more weird it is. Because it’s not the same thing. It’s like a different version in a way.
TOONZONE NEWS: I know we did a clip last year that had a popcorn monster in a movie theater…
JACE NORMAN: Yeah! Nuts. It was nuts.
TOONZONE NEWS: I was thinking, “They wouldn’t do that on the show.”
JACE NORMAN: No, they wouldn’t. And there’s like an invisible motorcycle. All kinds of crazy stuff.
TOONZONE NEWS: Do you find that that kind of stuff changes your energy as the character?
JACE NORMAN: I think yeah, it’s much higher energy. It’s much more cartoony, so there’s definitely a change. We’re also expanding the world more, so that kind of expands the characters and how they would react to situations and stuff. We have the superhero Man Cave on the show, and we’re seeing different parts of that in the animated series that we haven’t even seen before. We’re discovering these new places…technically, it’s canon to the live-action, so we’re kind of discovering new parts of the universe that we didn’t know about.
TOONZONE NEWS: In theory, it’s always been there, but now you’re getting to see it.
JACE NORMAN: Exactly. We didn’t know it was there, but it’s always been there and it always will be there.
TOONZONE NEWS: One thing that you’ve said about the show is about how the public thinks of the superheroes and they’re here to save the day, but in reality they’re the most dysfunctional people who are barely able to keep it together. Do you find a parallel to that in the industry?
JACE NORMAN: Totally. There’s always this image of “Everything’s fine, everything’s perfect, everything’s all good” but it’s totally not that. It’s a mess behind the scenes at the end of the day, and you’re lucky if you’ve got a solid base around you, which I do. And I’m lucky to have the people that I have at Nickelodeon because they help to keep me sane. One of my favorite shows that I’ve been watching lately is The Office, and I love how those characters are so awkward together. So I’ve really tried to make the relationship between a man and a kid just be the most awkward interaction ever. Me and Cooper [Barnes, Captain Man on the show] try so hard to make it fun. And at the end of the day, we’re having fun, so I think that’s why kids like it. Because they can see us having fun on set.
TOONZONE NEWS: The series started in 2014, so I’m going to guess you were 12 or 13 when you started working on it.
JACE NORMAN: I was 13. I was 13 when we first shot the pilot, now I’m 17. Long journey.
TOONZONE NEWS: People change a lot between 13 to 17…
JACE NORMAN: Definitely.
TOONZONE NEWS: How do you feel the changes in yourself and as an actor have ended up reflecting on the show?
JACE NORMAN: I think in the business, you have to grow up really fast because you’re working with adults and you’ve got a lot of pressure on you. It’s a hard…or at least I don’t know anything different, but it was hard for me personally to grow up in this kind of crazy industry and crazy time, but it was definitely worth it for all the experiences and learning things that I’ve had.
TOONZONE NEWS: Do you find you’re able to watch your old work?
JACE NORMAN: No. I hate it! (Laughter) I can’t watch it at all. I mean, it’s like…I don’t know, I can’t watch it personally. It’s like looking at your old yearbook picture, except worse.
TOONZONE NEWS: And everyone else is also watching it too…
JACE NORMAN: Except that everyone else is looking at it…and it’s like, you’re awful. (Laughs)
TOONZONE NEWS: I was reading up on your work with Creator Edge Media, and so I definitely wanted to talk to you about that. What’s your elevator pitch to people to explain what it is.
JACE NORMAN: Sure, I would say that we connect brands to millions of people using the Internet, using influencers, people with large profiles and large social media followings. We can get their products out there and get their brand awareness out there to millions of people very quickly. I feel like it’s a little bit of a transition period from television to this new media thing, whatever you want to call it, and I feel like we’re really in the forefront of creating advertising around that.
TOONZONE NEWS: When did that actually fire up?
JACE NORMAN: Six months ago. The idea came to me probably a year ago. but it’s a lot of work. That was probably the craziest, when I was doing Henry Danger and that. Starting a company, as I’m sure a lot of people know, is not easy. At all. So for me, the hardest thing about that was just staying mentally sane while trying to do all of that.
TOONZONE NEWS: Was there something in your own personal experience that drove your decision to start the company?
JACE NORMAN: It was just that I’ve always felt like I wanted to do something a little bit bigger than myself, so this felt like a step in the right direction. So that’s where this is heading, and I have kind of been in the entertainment industry, and you have a pulse on everything, so that was the seed of that.
TOONZONE NEWS: Hollywood has a lot of child actors who did not make the jump to successful careers. Some of them came to pretty bad ends. Do you think about that as part of your own career or as part of your own work as part of Creator Edge Media? Because a lot of the influencers skew VERY young. I’m amazed that teenagers are doing nowadays.
JACE NORMAN: I understand where you’re going, and yeah I’m glad you brought that up. Being in the middle of it, I can give you a bit of firsthand info…it’s a crazy industry to be in. It’s a crazy environment. You kind of feed off your environment, so when you have all these egos and all these people trying to one-up each other, it gets kind of nasty, so I think that that’s where a lot of people who don’t have the best base or family or whatever…I don’t know, maybe they already have some kind of thing that they’ve got to prove. It really can mess people up. So my main goal, to answer your question about the transition, I’m not necessarily worried about it. I’m more thinking of it from a big picture standpoint. If I can keep myself good and keep myself sane and keep myself mentally in check, because it’s very hard in this industry. Especially when you see these people…and I don’t necessarily blame them. It’s more like the environment. I think people like to target the people who go off the rails and then they’re like, “Look at this guy! What the hell!” It’s really that the people around them are trying to use them, and that creates a lot of pressure so they resort to doing things that relieve that pressure or they go off the rails.
TOONZONE NEWS: I think also in a lot of ways, the modern media landscape makes it better and worse. You can get your side out there, but you’re under a microscope perpetually.
JACE NORMAN: Totally. And the amount of information is being distributed and that people have is nuts. I try to stay off it as much as I can because I’ve noticed that I think better. I think more for myself when I’m not on my phone. You’re forced out of your own thoughts and into other people’s. It just gets overwhelming. And everybody is just lashing out in weird ways to people. It’s a toxic place.
JACE NORMAN: I think it was when my sister had a friend who’s teaching in Africa, they’re out in the middle of nowhere, and those kids watch the show and they want to make a video. You’re so caught up in your own bubble that you never realize that it gets out there. It just kind of blows my mind that someone from such a completely different universe can still watch the show and like it. That’s what really gets to me.
TOONZONE NEWS: I’m guessing you can’t talk too much about the show itself just yet, but can you talk about what really excites you about the work coming up with the show and the animated series, or the movie? Or anything else you’re working on?
JACE NORMAN: The movie is potential…it’s in the works.
TOONZONE NEWS: Ah, OK.
JACE NORMAN: For me, what’s most exciting about that is that I love the core of Henry Danger and I love what we’ve created in the live-action, and to be able to spread out is just a great opportunity for us to do other things. So that’s what I hope comes across in the animated and hopefully the movie. And there’s a lot of stuff is in the works and I don’t know that I can talk about it. But stay tuned.
Toonzone News would like to thank Jace Norman for taking the time to talk with us, and the PR team at Nickelodeon for arranging the interview. Henry Danger airs on Nickelodeon now, and The Adventures of Kid Danger premieres this Friday, January 19, 2017, at 6:30 PM (ET/PT). You can also follow Jace Norman on his Instagram and Twitter feeds.
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