4 Goofy Alternate Takes On Iconic Characters (That Somehow Work)
Being an actor who is strongly associated with a famous character is both a blessing and a (very profitable) curse. On the one hand, you can never go out to dinner again without someone asking you to repeat a stupid catchphrase for the 10,000th time. On the other hand, money. But when the comfort of vast riches isn't good enough, another way they cope with the fame is by messing with their own characters and creating the most incongruous alternate takes they can think of, often with gloriously dumb results. Like when ...
Adam West Reciting Gritty Batman Dialogue Works Shockingly Well
There are many interpretations of Batman, from Batman the deranged child torturer to Batman the futuristic teen adventurer to Batman, Turkey, an actual city. No two versions of the character are more disparate than the gritty, ultra-violent vigilante created by Frank Miller in his seminal The Dark Knight Returns miniseries, who we always imagined sounding like Clint Eastwood ...
... and the corny Bat-dad played by Adam West in the nutty 1960s Batman TV show -- you know, the one who had a hit single, an official dance, and would occasionally pop into variety shows to perform musical numbers.
Or at least that's what we thought until we saw this clip and realized that those two Batmen are one and the same.
Yes, that is West reciting Miller's work in a 2013 PBS documentary, and it ... works?! And this isn't the only time West performed lines from that comic. In the animated movie Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, one of West's last performances, his version of Batman is exposed exposed to a substance that makes him more violent and hostile. As a result, we get this magical sequence of West not only quoting one of the The Dark Knight Returns' most famous lines ("This isn't a mudhole ... it's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon.") but also Michael Keaton's inmortal words: "You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!"
In a way, West playing DKR Batman makes a lot of sense: for all its darkness and violence, the comic also includes references like Commissioner Gordon calling the red Batphone or Batman telling a little kid, "Watch your language, son." This isn't the future of today's already-gritty modern Batman -- this is the future of the '50s and '60s version that Miller grew up with and West embodied. This Batman was always supposed to sound like him, but older and wearier. Honestly, we've gone from amused that he voiced those two lines to pissed that he didn't perform the entire comic (sorry, Peter Weller).
Breaking Bad Actor Revives Hank As An Among Us-Obsessed Memer
Actor Dean Norris is best known for playing Breaking Bad's DEA agent Hank Schrader, the star of one of the most transcendental pooping scenes in the history of television -- it was while dropping a deuce and glancing at a book out of boredom that Hank realized his brother-in-law, mild-mannered high-school teacher Walter White, was also an infamous druglord. (It's a shame that we were denied the tense wiping that must have followed.)
After that, things turned kinda dark for Hank in the show's final season ... which might explain why Norris has decided to bring back the character in the goofiest, dumbest way possible. It started when he recorded a Cameo message in which Hank tells Walt he's "been acting kinda sus lately" in reference to Among Us, a retro video game our ancestors used to play at the start of the social distancing era. He also calls Walt a "sussy baka," which we believe is Portuguese for "suspicious cow."
The message was originally requested by a Cameo user as a birthday greeting for his son, a big fan of Breaking Bad and "that type of humor," but it quickly spread far beyond their family. People began inserting the message into scenes from the show; that moment in the desert is now even more emotionally devastating.
Someone else paid Norris hundreds of dollars to read a short script for the specific purpose of turning another Breaking Bad scene into a typical conversation between Among Us players:
It soon became clear that Norris will say literally anything if you pay his hefty Cameo fee, from talking about "loli hentai" to paying his respects to Harambe to sharing his favorite anime girl waifus. He even recreated the popular meme template that uses his face while talking about Vtuber thighs (note: we have no doubt that Norris has no idea what most of these words mean).
The whole thing climaxed with Norris agreeing to play Minecraft with a young YouTuber and setting up a "meth shop" inside the game, which seems rather out of character for Hank. With Better Call Saul coming to an end soon, perhaps the next Breaking Bad spin-off can be about Hank in this digital purgatory he's been banished to, forever forced to repeat nonsensical phrases for the amusement of chronically online teens. At least he seems to be having fun (and his Cameo proceeds currently go to charity, maybe because he finally looked up some of those words on Urban Dictionary and wants to atone).
Winnie The Pooh's Voice Actor Playing Darth Vader Makes Much Too Much Sense
Long-time Disney voice actor Jim Cummings has been the official voice of Winnie the Pooh since 1988, but when he's in conventions, he has an even more popular character he likes to play: Darth Vader. With Pooh's voice. As far as we can tell, it started when Cummings read some lines from A New Hope in a convention in 2013, perhaps inspired by Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm a year earlier and hoping to prove that he (or rather, Pooh) could easily take James Earl Jones' job.
That short performance was such a hit that, later that year, it inspired a full panel where several voice actors read through half of Empire Strikes Back as random characters. Of course, Cummings was asked to play Darth Pooh again for a scene, starting at 49:15 in the video below. Or just skip to 54:44 to hear the ruthless Pooh use the Force to choke Imperial Admiral Tony Soprano and name Paulie Walnuts (also played by Cummings) as his successor.
There were several other panels like that, but the best one came in 2017, when Cummings played Pooh as Vader again while Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us) played Gilbert Gottfried as Luke in Return of the Jedi. Now, you might understandably be hesitant to hit play on a video containing Gottfried's voice, but we assure you it's worth it (skip to 1:05:55).
For Jedi's epic climax, they switched it up and had Cummings as Pooh as Luke, Baker as Alan Rickman as Harry Potter's Professor Snape as Vader, and Jess Harnell (Crash Bandicoot) as Eric Cartman from South Park as the Emperor, with Maurice Lamarche (Animaniac's The Brain) narrating as Peter Falk as Columbo. Yes, it's complete nonsense and yes it rules.
While the other actors put on a good show, Darth Pooh is always the highlight. Perhaps Vader was always meant to be played as a total sweetheart who giggles as he kills people with his mind. It's too bad Disney will never put this in a movie just because it'd immediately get banned in China.
The Original Voice Of Chucky Was ... Arrested Development's Jessica Walter
When Jessica Walter passed away last year, everyone rightfully praised her for roles like Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development ...
And Malory Archer in Archer ...
She excelled at playing mean, kinda racist rich ladies. But there was one famous character played by her barely anyone talked about: Chucky, the demonic doll from Child's Play. Mainly because she wasn't the one who made him famous, since her entire performance ended up in the cutting room floor. See, while making the first Child's Play, director Tom "Not Spider-Man" Holland remembered how The Exorcist used veteran actress Mercedes McCambridge as the voice of the demon and figured it'd make sense to get a woman for this head-spinning horror villain too. He picked Walter because of her performance in the 1971 thriller Play Misty For Me, where she played Clint Eastwood's psycho ex-girlfriend.
Walter took the part and recorded Chucky's lines for the entire movie. While there are no clips of her performance online, we can get an idea of what her Chucky voice might have sound like through the Arrested Development scene where she sings "Downtown" in a baby voice to seduce J.K. Simmons.
Holland has said that Walter was "terrific" in the role, but film-goers apparently didn't agree. Those '80s audiences weren't ready for what screenwriter Ton Mancini called a "gay" Chucky and the test screenings went "horribly." Mancini has said that he was glad when Holland "came to his senses" and threw Walter's entire performance in the trash. They ended up getting the actor playing the serial killer who dies in a toy store at the start of the movie to do Chucky's voice, and it seemed to work out pretty well for them. Still, it's a shame that we'll probably never see the Jessica Walter Cut of Child's Play. Here are some Arrested Development Franklin scenes to cheer us up.
Top image: Lucasfilm, Disney