Anime Expo is in full swing this weekend in Los Angeles, California. It’s a large gathering of nerds, anime, and all things smelly (blame Los Angeles, not the cosplayers), and I was lucky enough to grab an interview with Ben Diskin to talk about his fantastic iteration of the Eddie Brock character in Spectacular Spider-Man, his role in the seminal Cartoon Network program CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR, voice acting in general, and other nerdy goodness. We tried to make it as non-awkward as possible. Did we succeed? Find out below:
DC: First off, thank you for sharing this time with me.
BD: You’re welcome. That’s what we’re here for. Come sit across from me as we stare at each other trying to make each other feel awkward for a few minutes.
DC: We’re off to a good start if we don’t let the awkward set in. Let’s do this. As a big Spectacular Spider-Man fan, I’ve never been a huge fan of the Eddie Brock character. He’s just a sort of a big, muscly jerk who hates Peter Parker. You happen to play the only version of the character I actually like.
BD: Aw, why thank you. I like Eddie Brock, and watched a lot the 1990s Spider-Man series. He’s a character that was really fun to play in the new approach to Peter. You know a lot of that comes from the writing. That show wouldn’t have been what it was without the writing.
DC: The way the show was structured (with mini-arcs within seasonal arcs) always keeping things fresh. Characters were always evolving. It’s a damn tragedy the show ended its run early. Were there any discussions on where the Eddie Brock might have gone in future seasons?
BD: I’m not sure. Eddie was sort of all over the place in the first season as Peter’s close friend, before turning into Venom in the finale, and becoming a recurring villain in Season 2. As for next season, I don’t know. Hobgoblin was going to be the big guy for that whole deal. I’m pretty sure they were going to incorporate Carnage around there too, so maybe Eddie would have come back around there.
DC: Going over to some more of your work, you were also on CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR, which still has a major, supportive fan-base.
BD: Just a small show I was on.
DC: That show still has a heck of a presence online, and people are still talking about how hilarious it was. Do you have any personal favorite episodes?
BD: Mine has always been S.U.P.P.O.R.T. Something about the team just trying on bras always gets me. “Battle ready armor, on!”
DC: Going back real quick to Spectacular Spider-Man, same question.
BD: Probably the First Season finale, because I finally got to become Venom. “Survival of the Fittest,” I think it was called.
DC: Yup. That show had great episode titles.
BD: And I got to start saying cool villain phrases. When we finally got to the big brawls between Peter and Eddie, I wanted to shout “We are Venom,” and I really wanted him to not contradict himself, because they’re ultimately still two characters forming a bond in their hatred of Spider-Man.
DC: Given that it’s Anime Expo here in Los Angeles this weekend, and we’re here to celebrate all things anime, I was wondering which anime you would recommend for people just getting started?
BD: Obviously you’ve gotta recommend Cowboy Bepop. It’s more Americanized and less exaggerated, even though we’ve got people in outer space. It’s just fucking awesome. Sorry, am I allowed to curse on this?
DC: Fuck yeah, you can.
BD: [Laughing] Then fuck, yeah, Cowboy Bepop. As for what I’ve done… I’m not sure
DC: What are you most proud of?
BD: What am I most proud of? [Jokingly Shrugs] There might be one or two… I’m proud of. I’m just going to say Naruto.
DC: Someone like you has an extensive and impressive resume in voice work. Even with your prior experience, do you find yourself having difficulties in certain work environments?
BD: [Contemplates] Not so much until I realize I’m just yelling to myself in a room all day. For the dubbed anime, it’s all isolated, because we’re just matching up to pre-drawn animation. But for the original stuff, it’s all in a room with the entire cast. I find interacting is the easier of the two.
DC: And lastly, I’ve got to end on a superhero question. Everyone loves those Marvel movies, and superhero movies in general are the big thing right now. If you had the opportunity, would you be interested in doing voice work on any of those future projects?
BD: [Laughs] I’d love to, but I think they’re going to leave that to the more mainstream actors like Bradley Cooper. I love what they can do with the motion capture stuff now, and I’d be honored to try it out myself. My dream is to do the mo-cap for a future Spider-Man game, like how they did for The Last of Us.