Harold Perrineau on Voicing ‘Blade’ Anime: “I tried to have as much physicality when I was on the mic as I could so he didn’t sound static”
The 1998 film Blade, starring action hero Wesley Snipes, really jump started the run of successful blockbusters based on Marvel Comics superhero characters that is still going strong today. Two sequels, a short-lived television series, and an anime followed, with the the anime airing U.S. television on G4.
Following in the footsteps of Snipes, Blade is voiced in the American version of the anime by Harold Perrineau, best known for his roles in movies like Romeo + Juliet and The Matrix trilogy and television shows like Oz and Lost. Perrineau talked about voicing the half-vampire to MTV, and pointed out that just because it’s an animated role it doesn’t mean he doesn’t act.
Just because he’s voicing an animated character doesn’t mean Perrineau can’t get into the role. Perrineau went to unusual lengths to get into character, confessing, “It was really, really physical in the booth. He’s fighting and moving and jumping and all this stuff, so I tried to have as much physicality when I was on the mic as I could so he didn’t sound static. But when he is static, that’s when I fill it with as much emotion as I could. Hopefully in my voice you hear whatever anguish or angst is happening with the character at the moment.”
Perrineau has some experience acting without others on Oz. As the narrator August Hill, Perrineau often narrated the episodes while separated from the other prisoners in a booth. He points out, “I guess I have a little bit of experience with guys who feel trapped in places, like on a prison show like Oz. It’s a situation where you have no place to vent. I called on a lot of stuff like that. I don’t mind being in the booth by myself, or being alone creating something. Quite often I found myself doing that, when I didn’t have other actors to play off. That’s exactly what we did on Oz. I’d show up one day and it’d just be me and the crew and we’d have to create all of this stuff, and it would just be me and the camera. In a way, that was a really helpful experience [going into Blade].”
The twelve-episode Blade anime airs on Friday nights on G4.