Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Who is That Movie Deep Voiceover Man?

I just watched the ad for the DVD version of Transformers, another BIG DUMB movie. As a result, one question occurs to me. Who IS the man who does the voiceovers for ALL movie trailers and DVD ads? Is it just one man or are there a legion of them, all with the same gruff deep American voice? Can someone tell me?

Incidentally, the semiotics of the gruff, deep-voiced American voice are interesting. The deep voice is the voice of the tough-guy, but it's also paternal. The American accent denotes Hollywood authenticity, especially to a UK audience in the thrall of US culture. It seems irrational that there are no alternatives until you imagine someone else doing it. They just wouldn't seem as authoritative or exciting...

4 comments:

Steve said...

I'd love to see Joe Pasquale take over the job. It would be effing hilarious.

Nik said...

Ah yes, the great big Hollywood voice over man in the sky (or at least in the roof of the cinema)... contrary to popular belief the 'one guy" is actually a whole host of guys in modern movies.

Back in the old days a dude called Don LaFontaine pioneered the deep action hero/voice of God trailer style. If you were a child of the 70's and 80's and you rented alot of VHS, as I did, you will have heard Don in his prime on everything from Rats: Night Of Terror to When Harry Met Sally.

Don's still around the day, and still seen as the daddy, but he's been joined by a few other guys: Howard Parker, Hal Douglas, Ashton Smith, Ben Patrick Johnson, Tony Rodgers and Scott Rummell, to name but a few. They all kinda riff on the original template The Don laid down.

In terms of the semiotics of the voice itself, what began as a simple tough guy read, has come to symbolise the voice of God... the final word of authority on WHY you HAVE to see this movie. As "event" movies get bigger and more complex the need for this kind of voice becomes even more compelling, and just to convince all of us to break open the bumper pack of Rothmans, the going rate for one of these top guys is 9000 DOLLARS PER HOUR!

Sadly, in the UK movie marketing business we get to choose between Sean Pertwee and Andrew Fucking Lincoln.

Tristan said...

Thanks for the scoop Nik - 'voice of god' just about sums it up! Which is scary, as I imagine it's voice George Bush hears when he prays, urging him to invade Iran.

m-jh said...

Hal Douglas in action - in the 'Comedian' trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVDzuT0fXro