Matt Lanter talks Sled
MATT LANTER (Sled) stars in The CW’s hit show “90210,” playing Liam Court, the West Beverly high school bad boy with a concealed soft side. Matt is known to audiences internationally due to his lead role as Edward Sullen, in the spoof comedy “Vampires Suck.” He will soon be seen playing a lead in the pyshological thriller “Liars All,” directed by Brian Brightly, and is currently shooting a lead in the independent film “A Chance of Rain.” Matt is also continuing his work on the Teen Choice Awards-nominated hit animated television series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which is in its fourth season on the Cartoon Network. He also works on “The Ultimate Spiderman” on Disney XD, voicing the roles of Harry Osborn and Flash Thompson.
Born in northeastern Ohio, at the age of eight, Matt’s family moved to Atlanta, Georgia. While studying at the University of Georgia, he developed an interest in the film and television industry.
After briefly working as a model, Matt decided to move to Los Angeles to follow his dream of establishing a successful acting career. The leap of faith turned out to be quite worthwhile, and after landing roles on shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “CSI,” “Life,” “Big Love,” “Monk,” as well as the feature film, “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” starring Jim Caviezel, he built a solid foundation and was already in demand for film and television projects.
Often recognized for his series regular role as Geena Davis’ son Horace on ABC’s “Commander in Chief,” Matt has also enjoyed recurring roles on two of television’s most popular dramas; NBC’s “Heroes,” as the sinister quarterback Brody, opposite Hayden Panettiere, and CBS’ “Shark,” as Eddie. Lanter made his theatrical debut starring opposite Laurence Fishburne in Alfred Uhry’s “Without Walls” at The Mark Taper Forum.
Lanter’s other film credits include: “The Roommate,” “Sorority Row,” the animated feature “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” in which he voices the popular character Anakin Skywalker, “Disaster Movie” and “WarGames 2: The Dead Code.” Prior to that, he established himself as a tween heartthrob, playing the lead in MGM/ABC Family’s film “The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream.” He also shot a special short feature called “Fanboy” with Sam Raimi.
Outside of acting, Matt actively supports the Alzheimer’s Association and has participated in various events for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Nautica Malibu Triathlon where he was part of the “Commander in Chief” celebrity relay team. Matt currently resides in Los Angeles.
How did you become involved with Disney’s “Secret of the Wings”?
I heard that Disney was looking for a voice for a new character named Sled. I auditioned, and that was it. I wish I had a grand story tell about it, but I just had my interview, then I think I came back for another read, and they cast me in the role.
What do you think the filmmakers heard in your voice that made them select you for the role of Sled?
Sled has a kind of real low voice and he’s kind of quiet and timid but still kind of a manly Fairy. I know that sounds like an oxymoron. He’s almost got a bit of a Southern drawl too. He’s just kind of like a guy’s guy. He’s kind of the testosterone in the Fairy Village. You know, there’s a lot of Estrogen going around. I was hoping to balance it out a little bit.
What is Sled’s relationship to Rosetta?
Rosetta sees him on the Winter side and she developed a bit of a crush on him
You’re no stranger to animation voice over work. From an actor’s point of view, what’s the biggest difference between this and your live-action work?
I guess at the core, they’re similar. You still want to make these characters sound real, with real emotions happening to bring the characters to life. But I guess from a technical standpoint, it is much different. When you’re in the sound booth, you don’t have to hit marks. You don’t have to dress for wardrobe. You don’t have to get into makeup. You don’t have to worry about lighting. You don’t have to worry about props. But I guess the drawbacks of it can kind of be the same thing. Like you don’t have props. You don’t have the other actors physically interacting with you. You not even in the same room with them sometimes. You don’t have a stage set around you to kind of get yourself into the mood or get yourself into the story. So in that way, it’s kind of challenging. You have to be really creative and really put yourself in this place, this imaginary place so it takes a lot of imagination. It’s a very creative process.
Is it difficult for you as an actor to not interact with another player while you’re performing a role?
Sometimes, but I find for the most part it’s not. I can adjust and get into the mode. When I read a scene, I play the scene out in my head and I just try to make that come out through my voice. Sometimes it is a little easier when you have someone there to act off of. And sometimes animation can be a little tricky, especially if you’re not in the booth with the director. There are definitely challenges that arise.
How did you arrive at the voice you used for Sled?
You know, every audition that I get for voice-over I read the character breakdown, and I know what context he’s in. Then you just make your choices and you go with it. I don’t honestly remember what was in the exact search or breakdown that I read but, somehow I arrived at this kind of real quiet hushed guy who’s very strong and very confident; a strong and silent type really. And then I added just a little bit of a Southern drawl, kind of making him a manly cowboy. That was kind of my thought process.
Tell us how you feel about being part of the Disney family.
It’s so cool to first of all be part of the Disney family, and second of all, to be part of a character that is so classic and so iconic, going back to like the earliest Disney days. And then, you know, to branch off into its own successful fun DVD line. It’s just really great to be a part of this, and there are a lot of stars giving their voices to this film. It’s fun to be a part of all that.
Would you please elaborate on why this is so special for you. This movie will make a big impact on young viewers. How does that make you feel?
I’m honored to be able to contribute to what will be a classic Disney film. Disney to me, ever since I was a kid and even now, represents quality. It represents special magical animation that transports you to a different world, even if you’re an adult. I mean “Aladdin” is still one of my favorite movies. So to be part of that, it feels pretty incredible. I feel a responsibility to help make it the best it can be and create a fun character that people are going to like. But it’s a fun responsibility to have.
How do you chose the roles that you play?
Well a voice-over is a different selection process because I can play anything from an 80 year old man to a Tonka Truck or whatever, in animation. So for that I’ll just get auditions from my agent and they’ll send me some things that they think I’m right for and I’ll record here at my house, and send out. Voice-over to me is just really fun. I have such a fun time, not that I don’t like on-camera too, because I do. I love it but animation is just so much fun. It still is, even though I’ve been doing “Star Wars” for five years now. There’s no pressure of having to be in front of the camera and there’s no pressure to dress cool or look good or anything like that. It’s just a creative process and that’s all it is, which is just great. And it feels pure to me. The other cool thing is, doing something like “90210,” you know your cast partly because of a look that you have. But with voice over, it’s purely based on talent and what they what they hear and what they like, and what kind of character you bring to life. So in that regard it’s challenging to come up with a character and it feels gratifying when you get hired just for your voice.
This has been fun. Would you conclude by telling us what you think is the message of “Secret of the Wings” and what you hope audiences will take from watching the film?
I think it evokes the spirit of exploring and accepting new people. The fairies have their own worlds and they do things their way, and it’s always been that way. And then they find these other people in another world that they’re forbidden to visit. Sometimes humans tend to turn our backs on people who are different than us. But these people are accepting and then in the end, actually work together for a common cause. I think it’s a message of acceptance, and exploring your own horizon and expanding your world.
TINKERBELL AND THE SECRET OF THE WINGS 3D IS OUT IN CINEMAS 14TH DECEMBER