On Friday, while cruising the casting notices websites, I recognized a rather odd listing for the newly-renewed “Futurama”.
This is it…
1/2 hour animated comedy for Twentieth Century Fox Television
Creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen
Casting Director: Scott Muller
Shoot/Start Date: August
Pay Rate: TBD
Location: Los Angeles
VOICE AUDITIONS MAY BE SENT IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
1. MP3 AUDIO AUDITIONS ONLINE IN WHATEVER MEANS IS CONVENIENT FOR YOU.
2. MP3 AUDIO AUDITIONS ON CD.
3. EMAILED AS ATTACHMENTS TO xxxxx This is a free service from Breakdown Services that will organize all incoming auditions as well as allow us to easily view your client’s auditions via the Internet. If the file is larger than 10 mg, you can send the audition via a website called www.yousendit.com (also free).
AUDITIONS SHOULD BE SENT ASAP AS WE WILL BE MOVING QUICKLY. PRODUCER SESSIONS WILL BE HELD AT A DATE TBD.
We are starting casting immediately for Futurama, a half-hour animated comedy created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. Descriptions of these established characters follow, along with links to clips of previous episodes for reference.
SERIES REGULAR ROLES:
[ PHILIP J. FRY (FRY) ]
Fry, a 20th century slacker, works as a pizza delivery boy. On December 21st, 1999, he is cryogenically frozen and wakes up 1000 years in the future in the city of New New York. Through a series of events, Fry tracks down his great (x30) nephew Professor Hubert Farnsworth and lands a job at the Professors Planet Express delivery company asÂ… a delivery boy. Fry bunks with Planet Expresss beer-swilling robot, Bender. Fry is constantly trying to win the heart of Leela, the companys ship captain…SERIES REGULAR
[ TURANGA LEELA (LEELA) ]
Leela, a sexy Cyclops, is the captain of the Planet Express delivery ship. Leela is in charge of every company mission, having her hands full keeping Fry and Bender in line. Her early years were spent in an orphanage where she was a bit of an outcast for having one eye. She took up kickboxing and other similar sports to make up for the lack of friends. She still has problems with men and often gets jealous of Amys (her co-worker) popularity among the opposite sex. She has a soft spot for Fry but is unsure of anything further than that, due to Frys clumsy advances…SERIES REGULAR
[ BENDER BENDING RODRIQUEZ (BENDER) ]
Bender, a cigar-smoking, booze-guzzling, kleptomaniac robot, had a successful career in bending girders but tired to kill himself when he found out the girders were being used for suicide booths. He was saved by Fry and later took a job at Planet Express. To be able to function properly, Bender needs the chemical energy from alcohol. Excessive drinking is mandatory or he will become sober and unable to control his body. Magnets stuck to his head make him sing like a folk singer…SERIES REGULAR
[ PROFESSOR HUBERT FARNSWORTH (PROFESSOR) ]
Professor Hubert Farnsworth is the owner of the Planet Express delivery company, which he uses to fund his strange scientific experiments. He also lectures at Mars University on the mathematics of quantum neutrino fields (he made up the name so no one would dare take the course). He is technically 160 years old, but to avoid being picked up by the sunset squad and taken to the near death star he says he is only 150…SERIES REGULAR
[ DR. JOHN ZOIDBERG (ZOIDBERG) ]
Dr. Zoidberg, a lobster-like alien, left his home planet of Decapod 10 to become a rich doctor but instead became the Planet Express staff doctor (doesnt pay so well). Zoidberg, who is usually shunned by the rest of the Planet Express crew, is always in search of his next meal. His skill as a surgeon, and basic knowledge of human anatomy, are often called into question. He secretly desires to become a stand-up comedian…SERIES REGULAR
FUTURAMA RECURRING ROLES:
[ MOM ]
Mom is the very old, very rich, very ruthless founder of Moms Friendly Robot Company. She has three sons: Walt, Larry, and Igner, who work for the company and help Mom do her dirty work. Many years ago, Farnsworth worked for Moms Friendly Robot Company, and they had a fling, which ended when Mom kept turning Farnsworths cute inventions into mad, killing machines…RECURRING
[ ZAPP BRANNIGAN ]
Zapp Brannigan is a 25-star General of the Democratic Order of Planets and has been responsible for several successful wars including a triumph over the pacifists of the Ghandi Nebula. He is always accompanies on mission by his hapless assistant Kif Kroker. Behind all his bravado he is a wimp who is not very intelligent. He once slept with Leela, a fact hat he constantly reminds her of…RECURRING
[ KIF KROKER (KIF) ]
Kif Kroker is a hard working, long suffering alien Lieutenant of the DOOP who does all the hard work and takes the rap for problems usually caused by Zapp Brannigan (his superior officer). Zapp considers Kif to be his most loyal friend however, Kif in fact views Zapp as an imbecile. He is smitten with his current girlfriend Amy. He has no bones and is supported by a system of inflated bladders…RECURRING
Didn’t think much of it – - if anything, i just assumed they were recasting the voice actors for a series of commercials, or some kind of unrelated promo spot… or something. Truth is, I probably had so much on my mind that day that I just totally brushed it off.
It emerged over the weekend that the original voice actors – Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeill – will not be returning for the new Comedy Central relaunch of Matt Groening’s popular series. I know, can you believe it!?
Variety says it came down to money. The stars had all expressed interest in returning. But with the budget for “Futurama” dramatically slashed, the salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking. As a consequence, they’re recasting.
“We love the ‘Futurama’ voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands,” 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement. “While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to Matt and David’s brilliantly subversive characters.”
It’s not the first time 20th Century Fox has gone that route during a tough negotiation on one of its toons. The studio previously made a similar move on “The Simpsons” when it couldn’t come to a deal with its stars. Casting feelers were sent out for replacements, but a deal was eventually made with the original cast. So, yeah, it’s possible that the original “Futurama” cast may return – - but as of this weekend, they’re not.