Latino Voices: Animation Domination (and beyond), Part II

Last week we posted our first look at Latino voices in animation, featuring folks like Antonio Banderas, Cheech Marin, George Lopez, and the phenomenal Carlos Alazraqui. We knew we were only scratching the surface, but we had no idea how much more was there.

For instance, how could we have forgotten that Banderas was not the only Latino talent in the Shrek trilogy: Cameron Diaz was the princess, in human and goblin form, both completely charming. Meanwhile, Sofia Vergara isn’t busy enough with Modern Family, commercial endorsements, and movie roles; she also lends her unique vocal styling to a prominent role in Happy Feet Two, premiering on November 18. We also forgot one of the youngest (but most active) voices around, Jake T. Austin, the 15-year-old actor from Wizards of Waverly Place who is also the voice of Diego on Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go, as well as in movies like The Ant Bully and Rio.

“Virtually every feature film and almost every television show produced in English in the U.S. has a Spanish-language voice track produced for foreign distribution and DVD release…”

And then there’s Jeffrey Garcia, a highly talented up-and-comer in voice acting who’s been part of the Jimmy Neutron franchise for years, including supplying the voice for the wonderfully named “Sheen Estevez,” who’s even had his own series, Planet Sheen. He’s also been part of everything from Rio to both Happy Feet to Barnyard and its sequels–sometimes as the stereotypical “Latino” character, and often as a unique, non-ethnic character in his own right.

Lombardo Boyar, a Latino actor with a long list of live-action TV appearances for more than a decade, has done his time as a voice as well, as “Lars Rodriguez” in Rocket Power cartoon series, in both Happy Feet movies, in Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and in a host of video games, ranging from Turok to The Chronicles of Riddick. And comedian Johnny Sanchez of MadTV is in the mix as well, with roles in both Happy Feet movies and the video game, as well as a voice in the notorious video game, Night of the Chupacabra.

And then there’s a whole separate–and often forgotten or even hidden–branch of the voice-over industry: dubbing. Virtually every feature film and almost every television show produced in English in the U.S. has a Spanish-language voice track produced for foreign distribution and DVD release (as well as French, German, Japanese, and other versions), and a hardy group of Latino actors make a part of their living supplying the Spanish voices for American actors (and even, in some cases, for Spanish-speaking American actors who aren’t available or cost too much to supply their own voice tracks). Often these unsung actors and actresses are contractually bound not to talk about what voices they’ve supplied for which movie, though it’s not easy or quick work, and requires a special kind of acting ability. But if we’re talking about Latinos doing voice work, it’s only fair to mention this small army of talented professionals who work (all too often) in secret, supplying quality content for the rest of the Spanish-speaking world.—all half a billion of them.

And we’re positive we’ve missing some others as well…which, in a way, is good news: there are so many talented Latinos working as voices in Hollywood we can’t keep track of ’em all! (And let us know of any others you run across!).