This weekend's Epic has been very smart in casting its voice ensemble. Charismatic, expressive voices like Judah Friedlander and Aziz Ansari and Beyonce. But they can't cast everybody, and there are still dozens of actors and actresses with dynamite voices who have thus far not been given very much opportunity to shine in animated form. We put together a quick list of ten suggestions. Strong suggestions. Suggestions that should be taken seriously.
Shohreh Aghdashloo: You've heard her speak, right? Human beings have been lulled into a post-hypnotic dream state after hearing her speak. Cast her, Hollywood. Why you gotta make things harder for yourselves?
Javier Bardem: Remember that one part in Vicky Cristina Barcelona where Bardem took Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall out to eat and they both (ScarJo especially) ended up transfixed by his gorgeous accent? That.
Ryan Gosling: I'm still not convinced we've ever heard Ryan Gosling's real voice. But whatever masks of tough-talking brutes he decides to trot out from film to film would be put to great use in animation.
Diane Keaton: Keaton's is one of the most distinctive voices working in Hollywood today. Whether you're looking for flighty, high-strung, gabby or wise, Keaton would no-doubt deliver. Certainly, she should have more voice work in her filmography than merely Look Who's Talking Now.
Patti LuPone: The Broadway legend has never really gotten a foothold in the film industry, but there is absolutely no reason why her stel-reinforced pipes shouldn't be signed up by any animated movie with an available role, musical or not. Though, seriously, Donna Murphy in Tangled showed us what an asset a Broadway diva can be to an animated musical.
Mo'nique: Perhaps predictably, Mo'nique hasn't been able to find very many roles worthy of her performance in Precious. But with that raspy, forceful, booming voice, she could clean up in any number of animated contexts, both hero and villain.
Sissy Spacek: Ever since she first came onto the acting scene, Spacek's Southern accent has been one of the more pleasant sounds to be found in movie houses. It's pretty crazy that she hasn't been utilized more for that asset.
Christoph Waltz: Waltz is actually one of the voices in Epic, so we're well on our way with this one. He already comes across like a live-action cartoon in his film roles. Why not fulfill that destiny by making him one of the signature voices in the next, say, Pixar hit?
Ben Whishaw: I very much enjoyed Whishaw's boyish-yet-knowing vocal tones in the Tribeca Film Festival entry Teenage. And while I think Whishaw is something special, this slot could to any number of Brit-inflected voices working at the movies today. Give me an animated Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, or Michael Sheen.
Jeffrey Wright: He needs more work in general, animated or not. But he could end up being an especially useful asset if his gift for monologue . Anybody who can knock out this scene -- or this one, for that matter -- is a voice that will make you sit up and pay attention.
Previously: Hollywood's Famous Foursomes: Who's the Doug?