Exclusive Interview Series: Andrea Romano On Steven Spielberg, ANIMANIACS and Casting Overseas

Andrea signing autographs

Andrea Romano, casting director and voice director of many of your favorite animated series and movies, including STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS ANIMANIACS, STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS TINY TOON ADVENTURES, STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS PINKY AND THE BRAIN, BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES, THE BOONDOCKS and SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, has 8 Emmys, over 40 Emmy nominations and a huge fanbase.

She has cast and directed many animated shows for Steven Spielberg and spoke with us about the attention to detail that went into dubbing ANIMANIACS for non-English-speaking audiences.

This is Part 4 in the series with our exclusive interview series with Andrea.  Click here if you missed any of our discussion with this fascinating woman.

Spielberg in baseball cap

THE TV ADDICT:  Steven Spielberg is a person known for wanting to deliver a great product to audiences, as are you.  Could you tell us a bit about that process?

ANDREA ROMANO:  One of the things that I did several years after ANIMANIACS came out in the U.S. was to cast the series for overseas.  Steven Spielberg did not want the series to be sold overseas without someone from the original series having creative control.

Spielberg with Animaniacs animated
He wanted casting approval here and had me supervise the first few episodes being directed in the major territories, like France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. I went to Europe to supervise some episodes in each of those four countries through a translator, and that was great fun.

Ultimately, STEVEN SPIELBERG PRESENTS ANIMANIACS went on to be dubbed in at least 32 languages, if not more.

TVA:  That sounds like a lot of fun.  Did the original actors hear their voice “doubles”?

AR:  Yes!  What was really cool was that, once in awhile, I would get submissions from various countries, which would sound like Bernadette Peters speaking Hungarian or someone who sounded like Rob Paulsen as Yakko Warner, but speaking French or an actress who sounded like Tress McNeille as Dot speaking Hebrew.
Jess, Tress & Rob performing

What I would do is that I would play the tapes and call the actors here and leave it on their answering machines saying, “This is what you sound like speaking Spanish!”

ANIMANIACS was so well-received that the show was such a joy for all of us.

TVA:  Finding the right actor for the job is difficult enough in one language.  What was involved in finding actors in multiple languages?

AR:  When we were doing the overseas versions, Tom Ruegger came to my office, and we would review submissions from different countries.  We would marvel at what the Goodfeathers would sound like speaking German!

Goodfeathers

We used to talk about a scenario in which, one day, we would put together an episode that had the ANIMANIACS, PINKY & THE BRAIN, Rita and Runt, Goodfeathers and the other segments being voiced in various languages by the actors from the other countries.

Andrea Pinky Brain

We’d planned to send that episode out to be aired in the U.S. because there are so many people here who speak foreign languages.  We never got to do it, and it’s one thing that I wish we had done because it would have been so much fun!

Click here if you missed any of the segments with Andrea.

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