Mike Ryan (@mikeryan on Twitter) of the Huffington Post was lucky enough to be in the same room as Peter Cullen and Larry King. He had the opportunity to have a dialogue with them. The following is Mr. Ryan’s interview of two of the most iconic personalities in their respective professions. Thanks go out to @mikeryan for writing this great article and giving us a wonderful perspective from SDCC 2012.
In lieu of the standard introduction of interview subjects, I’m going to just explain how I wound up in a room with Peter Cullen, the man who does the voice of Optimus Prime from “Transformers,” and — for reasons I still don’t 100 percent understand — Larry King. Only because, (a) it was one of the most unusual experiences that I’ve ever been a part of and (b) nothing else really sums up the surrealism of Comic-Con. Put it this way: It’s not every day (or any day, until now) that I get called a “nerd” by Larry King after explaining to him the difference between KITT and KARR from “Knight Rider.”
In the week leading up to covering Comic-Con as a member of the press, my email inbox became inundated with requests, offers and invites. Most of them were nonsense, but a few did pique my interests — like the opportunity to talk to the man who has voiced Optimus Prime in multiple animated series and the Michael Bay movies, Peter Cullen. I mean, it’s Comic-Con! And I’ve been listening to this man’s voice for almost 30 years.
A couple of days before the interview, the publicist emailed to inform me that now Larry King would be paired with Cullen. My first reaction was that this Larry King must be some sort of producer on “Transformers,” not the legendary talk show host — because, you know, what sense would that make? After clarifying, however, sure enough, it was that Larry King.
My instructions were to meet Peter Cullen and Larry King at a studio inside the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown San Diego. When I entered, King was already holding court, entertaining a group of technicians and publicists (and Peter Cullen, who by the way, sounds nothing like Optimus Prime when he’s using his normal voice) with a story of how Gregory Peck turned down the lead role in “High Noon.” It was also very obvious that King and Cullen had not met before, which added to my curiosity as to why these two were here together in the first place. I was introduced to King and he responded, “Nice to meet you, Mark.” I didn’t even correct him, I just returned the greeting. (The publicist did interject, “Mr. King, it’s ‘Mike,’ not ‘Mark.’”)
Here, without any more comment, is how the rest of this experience transpired.
My first question that I have to ask is why are you here?
King: They called a friend of mine named Dennis Gilbert, who’s a very big insurance guy and a big guy with the Chicago White Sox, but he knew someone here and they said, “Do you think Larry King could come down to be part of Comic-Con and interview Peter Cullen as an event?” So I put him in touch with my father-in-law, Carl, who’s been working on my career with me, as well, and they made the arrangements for me to come. At first, I’ve got to tell you the truth, I’ve never heard of Comic-Con. This is a whole new world to me. The only place this could take place was Hollywood Boulevard. This is bizarro. It’s bizarro to me. I went to this nerd bar and these people are dressed as weird things, and they’re stopping me on the street. The elves come over and ghouls and guys in uniforms. But of course, I know the Transformers, and I know Cullen’s work.
Are people like, “Hey, you’re dressed as Larry King”?
King: That’s what I did when one guy came over and said, “You look like Larry King.” I said, “Well, you know, I am!” So the chance to interview Cullen on stage — I love interviews and I love asking questions, and it’s a fun thing to do and I live right here in Beverly Hills. [It's a] two and a half hour drive. I love San Diego, come here a lot.
And, Peter, you have been here before, right? You’re, like, the king of this place?
King: You should be the king of this place.
Cullen: I was here last year. No, I could hardly call myself the king of this place. My gosh.
King: But you would be like a heroic figure here. I mean, in the world of comics.
Cullen: Well, Optimus Prime is a heroic figure, definitely. And there are some people that wear Optimus Prime costumes or get-ups, you know?
Do they recognize you?
Cullen: You know, there are some that do, but they’re in it professionally. Could you sign this please? And there’s 400 [photos] underneath of it.
King: And remember, his voice changes for the character, so when he talks in his regular voice, you don’t associate him with it. So he couldn’t run into people, whereas, sometimes, you have a voice like Alan Ladd or someone like that where you just hear the voice.
Or Gilbert Gottfried
To read the rest of the article please hit up the source link and check it out on the Huffington Post website.
Source: The Huffington Post