‘Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ a dream come true for Schwartz

The voice of Leo talks Turtles

Ben Schwartz of ‘Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Monday on Nickelodeon

Q: If you could go back in time to talk to childhood Ben Schwartz, which would freak him out more, that you’re a Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtle or that you’re on “DuckTales”?

A: … For me, it’s incredible. Truly, if you went back to when I was a kid and watched the Disney afternoon and watched Nickelodeon, watched “Ren & Stimpy,” watched everything, “Rugrats,” “Turtles,” it’s like a dream come true.

It’s so funny when you hear people like, “Oh, who are the directors you want to work with?” I have my list of that. But also I have like, oh, if there’s a world where I could play Leonardo, are you crazy? That’s insane! I played with that toy my whole life. And then the same, if it could be Dewey or any other blue iconic ’90s character, I was like yes, it’s such a thrill for me. I don’t think I could choose one, but it truly is amazing. … We were talking about when we see the first clips, you get emotional because it’s such a piece of what your life is.

Q: We keep hearing that voice acting is the hardest to break into. How were you able to do it?

A: … For me it was after college. I started trying to act and I did improv and stuff, but I used to audition for voiceover commercials and same with on-air commercials. And then you try to get anything and you fail quite a bit. Then I auditioned for so many cartoon shows until I got my first lead, which was Randy Cunningham, but it takes a while. It’s just like any other part of this industry. You get told no 98 percent of the time. …

And then when you break in a little bit and people can see you as your characters … then you tend to get more roles because they see you and you’re able to do it. But voice acting is tricky. It’s a skillset. You can be a good actor, but to be a good voice actor you’ve got work on it.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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