Wednesday, December 31, 2014

When Actors Dub Themselves

Around Christmas I always seem to watch a lot of films. To be honest, I'm not much of a film fan. My friends and family are lucky if they can convince me to go to the cinema twice in a year since I used to work in one and generally detest the experience. However, I don't mind staying in and watching a film.

One of the films I decided to watch this holiday season was Guardians of the Galaxy, the Marvel comedy released this summer that featured a rag-tag bunch of space villains who through a series of (un)fortunate events end up being far more important to the safety of the galaxy than they would like to be. While I won't say the film is a cinematic masterpiece, I certainly enjoyed it and had a good giggle while doing so. As usual, after the film I researched the actors, directors, and additional information about the film online and came across the following clip, which I knew I had to watch.


Aside from the seemingly odd "je s'appelle Groot" that the French dub opted for, the main thing that struck me about this video was that Vin Diesel voiced the character (who says nothing more than "I am Groot" throughout the film) in a number of languages.

This reminded me of Danny DeVito in The Lorax back in 2012. While you could argue that DeVito hardly mastered the languages he provided the dubbing for, you should still commend him for having the confidence to do it.


Even though the featurette claims this is the first time an actor has provided the dubs for all the languages in which a film was released, I do know that Antonio Banderas provided the English, Spanish (Castilian and Latin American versions), Italian, and Catalan voices for the unrelentingly-adorable Puss in Boots character from the Shrek and eponymous franchises.

So what about live-action films? After a bit more research, I discovered that Christoph Waltz provided dubbing for both the French and German versions of Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained, as well as the fact that it is common practice for actors whose first language isn't English to voice themselves in their native tongue.

While Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings is thought to be a polyglot, Viggo Mortensen, who played him in the movies, also speaks multiple languages. The Danish American actor speaks English, Danish, and Spanish and has provided voices for dubs in all three languages as well as featuring in a number of Spanish-language films.

Thanks to the language skills attained in her French-speaking prep school, Jodie Foster, a native English speaker, has lent her voice to many of her own films for the French dubbing. Helena Bonham Carter, who also speaks French fluently, has acted in French-speaking roles as well as providing her own dubbing.

Penelope Cruz went one better than the dubbers when she played the same character in both the Spanish-language film Abre los ojos as well as its American remake Vanilla Sky. I'm not sure whether or not she provided the corresponding English and Spanish dubbing for each version, though...

The "vanilla sky" in Vanilla Sky was
reminiscent of a Monet painting.
Do you know of any other actors who dub themselves into foreign languages? What do you think of those who do? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!