As a seven and eight-year old kid freshly exposed to “Star Wars,” there was only one television series that could even come close to satisfying my hunger for sci-fi. That show was “Battlestar Galactica” and I watched it religiously until the bitter canceled end.
One of the characters on “Battlestar Galactica” was a strong female viper pilot by the name of Sheba. Sheba was played by actress Anne Lockhart who was the daughter of “Lost in Space” mother, June Lockhart. I was fortunate to get to meet her one year at Dallas All-Con and do a video interview. Ms. Lockhart was such a pleasant woman to talk with that I’ve always made it a point to say hello to her when she’s making an appearance.
Anne Lockhart now spends most of her acting career off-screen providing additional voice work for different movies and television shows. One of those films is “Tangled,” which came out on Blu-ray and DVD recently. When I saw that Ms. Lockhart was attending Dallas All-Con 2011 as a guest, I knew I had to sit down with her again and chat about her work on “Tangled” and other projects she’s been in. Read on to see what she had to say.
Over the years, you’ve been doing a lot of what is credited as Additional Voicing for some pretty big films. There’s been “Tangled,” “Buried,” “Surrogates,” “Star Trek,” “Bolt,” and several others. Can you tell us what it means to do additional voices?
It can be several different things. For example in “Buried” they (the directors and producers) were specific. The character is in fact buried in a coffin with a lighter and a cell phone. He tries to call people and I am three of the voices that he calls. I just changed my voice. I am a specific voice at the end of the telephone with scripted lines. In a lot of the other things I do, it’s improvisational and not scripted. I work frequently on “Law & Order” and “Law & Order: SVU.” When you see the central police characters on the street in New York City talking about how they guess the crime is in apartment 5B, in the background you will see policemen, firemen, black and white police cars, and pedestrians on the street. Normally when they are filming that, those people will be pantomiming so they can get a clear dialogue track from the principles. They cut the picture together and then some of us will go in and look at those background people and give them appropriate voice. If it’s done correctly you should never notice it. It should be played very low because you don’t want to take away from your principle characters who are telling your story. If there was nothing there it would look very peculiar for you to see fifteen people up on a screen and only hear two of them talking. This is done in the post-production phase. There are also other things that are added in like ambient sound, tweeting birds, traffic noise, and a honking horn. It’s like being part of a musical scoring in a way.
Let’s talk about your involvement in “Tangled.” How did you get involved in that movie? Did you use an agent or…?
This sort of work is not done through an agent usually. There is a wonderful woman named Terri Douglas who runs a group called Loop Troop. ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) used to be called looping back in the old days. You actually had to take the piece of film with the dialogue and the line that needed to be recorded. They would splice the two ends of it together, put it on two reels, and it ran continuously in a loop so you could hear it over and over again and match with it. That’s why it became looping. Terri is one of the top ADR voice casters in Los Angeles. She called me and asked me if I would please come in and do some work. You have to record it in studio with picture. So “Tangled” was done at Disney Studios.
What are some of the key parts in the film where we can hear you and might or might not know it?
Essentially what we were doing was the background townspeople because the principals (lead actors) had already done their main parts. “Tangled” is such a lovely and charming film. I was so happy to be a part of it.
Which do you prefer more – acting in front of the camera or behind the scenes?
I like all of it. I love working on stage. I’ve directed. I’ve co-produced. I’ve done live radio, film, and television. I love all of it. One of the things that I particularly enjoy about doing the ADR voice work is the research I’ve had to do and the things I’ve had to learn. When I did some additional voices in the last “Star Trek” movie, I had to be very specific. You can’t improvise any dialogue for “Star Trek.” I’ve been an air traffic controller and had to learn those particular terms. I’ve been a NASA controller at the Johnson Space Center. I know police dispatch and different codes. The ten-codes are different when you do a period piece. Fifty years ago they had different radio codes that they called. I remember when I did a movie called “Up Close and Personal” with Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert Redford. I believe it took place in Miami Beach. Each of them were news reporters and they were constantly going to crime scenes. I needed to do police dispatch. I had to record a police dispatch which goes out over all the radios of all the police cars. However, I believe, that Miami Beach is the only city in the country that didn’t use ten-codes. They used Q. codes, which are World War II ham radio codes. How do you find that? I had to call and I couldn’t find it in a library. This was maybe 20 years ago, so the internet wasn’t really available as it is now. I finally found a list of them. I called up a ham radio store and a guy went “Oh yeah. I’ve got a list of them” and he faxed it to me. I have gained this amazing pile of knowledge.
Do you need to learn all the real and technical jargon or do you want to so you sound surer of yourself and “real” when delivering lines?
I want to do it because I want to know what I’m doing. I can’t tell you how many doctors and nurses I’ve been in an emergency room. It sounds a whole lot better to be able to say “BP is 90 over 60…eyes are fixed and dilated” as opposed to “Hey, hand me the scalpel.” Doing this job has been such a fascinating thing for me because of all of the areas of research that I’ve done and the things I’ve learned.
Here you are at Dallas All-Con again. This time, however, Richard Hatch is here as well from the original “Battlestar Galactica.” What kind of memories does that bring back? When was the last time you saw him?
It brings up lots of memories. It’s funny. We haven’t seen each other in a couple of years but it doesn’t feel like that because we simply talk. We’ll talk on the phone or e-mail. We’ll gossip or catch up as to what’s going on in his life. I’ll tell him what my kids are doing. It’s not as if he’s someone I haven’t seen in a long, long time and suddenly all these memories flood back. “Galactica” is not the only thing we ever did together. We did an episode of “Love, American Style” together. I asked him about it and said “Do you remember that?” He said “I do.” I haven’t seen that since it aired. He thinks he might have it someplace. He told me he’ll have to go look to see if he’s got it somewhere. Also, he and I were in the very first episode ever of “Murder, She Wrote.” Not the pilot but the very first episode.
What can we look forward to hearing or seeing you in movie or TV wise in the near future?
There’s so much stuff that I’ve done that hasn’t come out yet. I can’t remember them all. More television, more film stuff. I will be doing some more stage work. I did “The Lion in Winter” onstage at the end of this last year in Shreveport and had a wonderful time. I’m going to be going back there again at the beginning of next year. It looks like that will be to do “Night of the Iguana” because it will be Tennessee Williams’ hundredth birthday.
I would like to take the time to say thank you to Anne Lockhart for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer these questions. As usual, it was an honor to share a few moments with her. Check out “Tangled” and see if you can spot where her voicing parts are.