When you say Clone Wars you say Obi-Wan Kenobi. In 2010 I had the privilege of interviewing voice-actor James Arnold Taylor who has provided the voice of Obi-Wan for 15 years now. It was a memorable interview since Taylor showcased his talents by doing several voices at a very fast pace. The full interview can be read at my personal site StarWarsInterviews.com (with over 190 self-conducted interviews the largest of its kind) which is a sister-site of StarWars.community. Below is a short excerpt.
What got you started as a voice actor? Was it something you always wanted to do? And on what age did you discover your talent?
I have always wanted to be a voice actor, pretty much since I was 4 years old. I knew I wanted to do voices in cartoons, TV and radio. I did little radio shows with my friends creating sound effects. When I was 16 I started as a stand up comedian and I always did voices like Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Then I got into radio a year later and became a DJ. I tought myself how to work with all the equipment by staying over late at night and watch all the DJ’s working. I started to make my own shows and gave them to the program director. One day they asked me if I wanted to do my own show because the overnight DJ didn’t show up. So I ended up doing a show and from there on I went on and the rest is history as they say. I actually did over 8,000 comedy bits that I wrote, voiced, produced and directed for the premier radio network over the course of 12,5 years. From there on I moved into voice acting getting an agent and getting in cartoon work. I knew from a very young age that that’s what I wanted to do. I loved watching all those greats like Mel Blanc, Don Messick and Daws Butler as well the new breed like Jim Cummings, Jess Harnell and Billy West. I’ve always been inspired by them and knew that this was what I wanted to do.
Every Star Wars fan knows you as the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Clone Wars and in a lot of video games. How did you get started working for Lucasfilm?
I started about 8 years ago when I auditioned for the mini series of Clone Wars and I was lucky enough to get picked. Collette Sunderman, who was the voice director and a friend of mine thought it was a perfect match. Her words, not mine! (laughs) I had done some voice matching for Ewan McGregor in the past and knew I could hit his voice very well, but I approached it as to match Obi-Wan Kenobi and not worried about doing Ewan as much. It was from this series that I got working at Lucasfilm. They used my voice for the videogames. Revenge of the Sith was in the making at that time so I got to watch so much of the movie before it was released as I had to voice Obi-Wan for the Revenge of the Sith video game. According to the folks at LucasArts it was this that locked me into doing all this and continuing it for Clone Wars.