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‘Transformers 4′ Casts John Goodman and Ken Watanabe as Autobots

Transformers 4, Ken Watanabe, John Goodman
Paramount, Getty Images

In some inspired last-minute casting, ‘Monsters University‘ star John Goodman and ‘Godzilla”s Ken Watanabe joined the cast of Michael Bay‘s ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction‘ as Autobots.

Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay revealed the casting, specifying that Goodman will voice Autobot Hound, while Watanabe will tackle Drift. In addition, Peter Cullen, Robert Foxworth and Reno Wilson return to voice Optimus Prime, Ratchet and Brains, respectively, in addition to other voice actors Frank Welker (Galvatron), John DiMaggio (Crosshairs) and Mark Ryan (Lockdown).

Said Bay of the voice cast:

I am pleased to welcome two gifted and versatile actors, John Goodman and Ken Watanabe, to the world of Transformers. And to re-team with Peter and Frank, who have brought Transformers characters alive from the beginning. I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best voice talent in the business, and together we will introduce several exciting new robots to fans of the franchise around the world.

And it showcases how much post-production has changed over the years as this sort of recasting seems unimaginable 10 years ago (when it took more time to make film prints). Considering how much post is now done digitally, changes can now be made up to almost the very last second (as we saw with the final post-credits tag on ‘The Avengers‘), and that includes adding voice cast members seven weeks before a film is scheduled to hit theaters. Then again, you can’t read the lips of Autobots all that well.

What’s interesting about this is that this franchise has — for the most part — avoided stunt voice casting. The first film enlisted Hugo Weaving to play Megatron, while the only other big name previous to join the voice cast was Leonard Nimoy’s Sentinel Prime in ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon.’ Other than that many of the voices came from the original performers of the animated series. Perhaps this was a reaction to ‘Transformer: The Movie,’ which — besides featuring the song “The Touch” (which current ‘Transformers’ star Mark Wahlberg sang in ‘Boogie Nights’) — added more famous actors to voice the Transformers, including Orson Welles, Judd Nelson, Eric Idle and… Leonard Nimoy.

‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ is scheduled to hit theaters June 27.

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