Justin Timberlake: Boo Boo's Tale
By: Lynn Barker
You might know by now that Justin Timberlake had a small accident on the set of his film Now that injured his leg. He also performs the voice of lovable Boo Boo Bear in the new 3-D animated and live action feature film Yogi Bear soooo get ready for it! “Boo Boo has a boo boo!” Groan!
Kidzworld is with Justin to get his take on voicing a cartoon character that he loved as a child. He hobbles in on crutches…
Kidzworld: Hope your leg is better soon. What made you want to be part of this fun film?
- Justin: I grew up with Yogi and Boo Boo. I don’t think the director knew that I was going to be in character the whole time as Boo Boo. They are iconic characters and they’re awesome. I laughed at them as a kid. So I think nostalgia was probably the biggest reason I did it.
Kidzworld: These characters are well-loved. How hard was it to do such iconic cartoon voices? Did you try to stay close to the already established voices?
- Justin: These characters were so well thought out when they were created. To get the voice of Boo Boo, I had someone on hand with the old ’60s and ’70s cartoons with the original Boo Boo voice and I would sit and listen to it between takes and it would take me about 15 or 20 minutes to really get into it by doing really geeky vocal stuff but to get my [voice] to the right level for the character. Then I would go back and re-record everything that I’d recorded in those 15 minutes or first half hour because you just get in the pocket of the tone and inflection… I’m really killing any sort of coolness that I had before I came here [we laugh].
Kidzworld: Was the voice of Boo Boo something you would do around the house [as a kid]?
- Justin: At the risk of ruining my social life again, I’ll answer. Funny enough, I kind of learned how to sing when I was a kid imitating singers on radio. But, also I am an only child and I was obviously really bored so I would entertain my parents by doing impersonations of Scooby Doo and Boo Boo and all the cartoon voices. Yeah. Now you know that about me.
Kidzworld: Did you have Dan Aykroyd as Yogi there recording his voice with you? That’s not usually the case.
- Justin: The director did have Dan and I come in and record together. We had two or three sessions together because we did look at this like a Batman and Robin sort of a duo, so it really made a difference with the rhythm of the banter between Yogi and Boo Boo. There’s a really nice relationship that they have. We had so much fun doing this and it really made a difference that Dan and I got to work together. It was so much better than when actors come in one at a time and do the parts. It was a very good collaboration.
Kidzworld: You loved the characters as a kid but did you hope to interest a new generation in Yogi and Boo Boo?
- Justin: We both felt like we were honored to pay tribute to characters that both of us [loved]. We understood also that these characters were going to be introduced to young minds for the first time so we were encouraged to give them a new spin and obviously there are some jokes in the film that are a little more modern and will play better with young people. Other than that, I was just excited to wear [Boo Boo’s] bow tie!
Kidzworld: What would you say to encourage kids and families to visit our National Parks and the outdoors and maybe get off the electronic gadgets? [Note: in the movie, Jellystone Park is in danger of closure due to low visitation.]
- Justin: I’m sorry. I was texting someone [laughter]. I’m kidding! I did a film about the birth of social networking and it drove me sort of crazy even playing a part in that movie. It was way beyond my brain span. I grew up in Tennessee on the edge of a state park so I spent a lot of time outdoors. That’s the way to go.
Kidzworld: This is part of the message in the film.
- Justin: Yeah. There are two great themes that offset each other [ in the film]. Young people can be caught up in technology but, in doing the film, we’re also using 3-D technology to “school” if you will, kids on the environment. We need trees to breathe, and we’re saying also that money isn’t the most important thing in the world.