June Foray hears a… “Who?”

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I was speaking to June Foray today and was surprised to find out she isn’t in the cast of the currently-in-production CG Horton Hears A Who.

Foray, of course, was cast in the original 1970 Chuck Jones TV special playing Cindy Lou Who and Jane Kangaroo. IMDB lists Carol Burnett as voicing the role of Jane Kangaroo in the current production. Gosh, I know it’s way too late to change anyone’s mind at Blue Sky or Fox, but couldn’t Foray – a living legend and the only surviving member of the original cast – at least play a bit part in the new film?


  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    When I was working at what is now Thunderbean with Steve Stanchfield, we worked on a Rocky & Bullwinkle Quiz game where I got to break down actual voice tracks done by June Foray, and animate Rocky to her voice as well. That was fun.

    Too bad these guys won’t have the same luxury.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    They have no heart!

  • uffler mustek

    did she really want to be?

  • http://blackwingdiaries.blogspot.com Jenny Lerew

    I’d bet that Carol Burnett is as big a fan of June Foray as anyone–she’d surely advocate for Foray being part of the voice cast. Not that she has any sway over casting–because she wouldn’t–but still.

    I’d also bet it’s simply a thought that’s not occured to anyone on the production–yet. Good on you to bring it up!

  • http://idragosani.livejournal.com Brett McCoy

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think Dr. Seuss translates well into 3D… and certainly not live action.

  • Chuck R.

    It’s a bit sad about Ms. Foray -she’s a great talent. However…

    I’m still looking forward to this 3D treatment of a Seuss fable. The folks at Blue Sky know how to tell a story, and I think the promotional still with the mayor looks great. Dr. Suess’s style is surprisingly well-suited to CG —his buildings and props are very sculptural despite their loopiness.

    I admire Chuck Jones too, but his version is just too cutesy for my tastes.

  • http://gavinscartoons.blogspot.com Gavin Freitas

    Yeah I just sent Blue Sky this email:
    To Jimmy and Steve Martino,
    I have just received word that you are NOT casting June Foray as a voice talent in your new picture “Horton hears a Who”. She is a living legend in the voice world (not to mention the only surviving person left from the original cast) so why havent you considered her? I’m sure you guys have a big budget and her rates are still affordable for you. I just think it’s disrespectful to have not even contacted June or her agent about this. Cast who you want but as a fan and friend of hers, she’s the real deal. Please reconsider her, even a small part would be nice. Thanks for your time….

    I’m sure nothing will happen but what has the world come to? I like Carol Burnett and everything but she can’t clean June Forays shoes. She’s the one and only. Between Tiffany Ward and Blue Sky I’m suprised that June can still keep a smile on her face. Don’t worry June, the rest of the world still loves you……….Gavin

  • Andrew

    I was close to thinking no one in the world remembers Chuck Jones’s adaptations of Dr. Suess! They’re ALL entertaining! Some network should play those Horton cartoons in honor of the film!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    That isn’t suprising at all. They are disregarding the original animation, so why not do the same for the voice cast? That being said, Carol Burnett is no slouch, and a great character actor in her own right. She would be a blast to animate.

  • http://joelbrinkerhoff.blogspot.com/ Joel Brinkerhoff

    Sad to say, but I think it’s true of most voice talent for ‘toons. They just aren’t a recognizable personality with most audiences.

  • Lou

    Carol Burnett is one thing but if this film were being made by Universal, they’d cast Tiffany.

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Esn

    There’s also a 19-minute Russian adaptation of the story which was made in 1992:
    http://animator.ru/db/?ver=eng&p=show_film&fid=4811

    Definitely not well-known, but it’s quite a good film (even with the unusual artistic direction).

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com GagaMan

    Talk about over reacting. None of us have even heard what Carol Burnett will be like as the character, she might turn out to be excellent in the role. The whole world isn’t trying to destroy your childhood memories by not casting who was in the original film, they probably just didn’t think of it. These guys can’t always play on the nostalgia of us animation freaks =P

    I’m also looking forward to this new film, judging on the content we have so far. The screen shots shown look like a fresh change for CGI feature films, and translate the Seuss style nicely, possibly even more so than the Chuck Jones cartoon which looks more like a Chuck Jones style than a Dr. Seuss one. Hopefully they won’t get my hopes down when the first trailer comes around.

  • http://musingsofachick.blogspot.com sudiegirl

    that’s a travesty not having june do a part in this film. really! she’s one of the best voice actors out there, period, and she needs to be involved.

  • John

    Andrew: The reason why no one remembers them is because the only one that’s gotten annual repeat showings is “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.

  • Smelof Livingston

    Hey…without celebrity voices cartoons wouldn’t exist!

  • LLane

    Seuss in CGI is downright ridiculous. The man could paint, sculpt, and do lots of artistic feats, yet for some reason the majority of his books are line drawings with flat color–so why take away one of the most appealing aspects of his creations? You can’t polish a turd, and you can’t make Horton better than the original source material (as Shrek proves).
    Not that Hollywood cares, I wonder if any of the executives involved have seen the books or Jones shorts or even know who June Foray is.
    Seuss CGI is almost as wrongheaded as, say, an SNL one-joke actor dressed up as the Cat in the Hat.
    Phooey!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    I was contacted by someone currently at Blue Sky who I used to work with when I was there on the first “Ice Age” film. It seems my comment needs some clarification. I didn’t mean to say that the animators themselves are disregarding the original animation. I’m sure they respect the previous film and are doing all they can to respect it and bring some of that respect to the film they are working on. The decision came from above their heads to do this film. They didn’t pick to do this movie. I’m sure the building is full of great and original ideas, yet for some reason they have to make an animated film that already was an animated film that was based on a children’s book. To the animators working on the film, I’m sure you guys are talented and don’t want to disrespect Chuck Jones, but the project you are working on is going to draw a ton of criticism from all different places. That’s just the way it is on this one. Do the best work you can, keep thick skins, and try to keep Fox from screwing it up too badly.

  • Dazza

    Being a feature length film it has to sway so far from a Seuss book – in content anyway…that it’s almost irrelevant whether it captures his drawings or not.
    Seuss CG could well become something interesting in itself, but it’s not going to capture much of the simplicity and nonsense that makes Seuss great.
    What would be fantastic, is if Blue Sky syphoned off some of their cg cash – dropped some shine from the eyeballs here and there, and made a 2d short to go before the film of another of Seuss’ books. A straight read with animation. It would keep all us Seuss fans happy anyway :)
    Actually, Rik Mayalls reads are pretty good! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Doctor-Seuss-Collection-Dr/dp/0001025244. Animate one of those!

    It should be a rule, 3D feature – 2D short, and vice-versa…..

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com/ Emmett Goodman

    This is just another example of how much unnessecary attention is paid to celebrity voices.

    In my opinion, I am sure it would have been a real treat for June Foray to play a part in the new CG of HORTON. Unfortunately, by today’s public standards, Foray is just not a money-making name. But that shouldn’t matter when it comes to animated characters.

    My condolences to all the June Foray admirers out there. As much as I appreciate what Blue Sky is doing for New York animation, their directions in animation are pretty far away from where I think they should be. Its either them or Fox that is screwing up, because I know Fox has made some major errors in the past.

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    Aside from the great Will Arnett and Amy Poehler who’ve (no pun intended) done great voice work in the past, a lot of the names credited don’t have a thing to do with voice work. Looks like another collection of actors and actresses who’ve (again no pun intended) done little to no regular voice work. And most of the names here are a collection of the comic actors/actresses involved in many of today’s top comedic franchises.

    I don’t think this will translate well to the film when it’s released next year. I don’t think I can take bathroom humor ruining another classic tale.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > Carol Burnett is one thing but if this film were being made by Universal, they’d cast Tiffany.

    Glad someone remembered that! I was thinking about that after I made my first comment, and how rather dumb that decision was for Universal just to have a big name in that movie (don’t feel like going into details here as it’ll get this thing off-topic anyway).

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com ZekeySpaceyLizard

    At least the few screenshots of the films that have emerged show that the animation is looking nice.

    And Ron Howard isn’t directing, so that takes away most worries about the final product.

  • G

    23 comments so far. And in just a day or so. I’m sure when someone connected with the movie gets directed to this site, they’ll go out off their way to get June involved. I can imagine a nice little DVD extra, that they could market on the DVD that could increase their sales. Animation geeks buy animated movies, especially when they got all those tastey little extras. Just thinking and all. And I got to beleive someone involved with the movie logs onto this site. Well, is there?

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    June Foray is the man! Er, is the WOMAN!

    I’ve been a big fan for- well, my whole life. This is a disappointment, but maybe they will make it up to her in the next feature they make. I think she would have been a big asset to the Shrek films, and since they’re making 12 more of those, maybe that could happed at DM. Shrek- call June ASAP.

  • Chuck R.

    Jerry: When you spoke to June Foray, did she sound as upset as some of the commentators on this thread? If so, I’d be surprised.

    Did anyone even remember that she voiced Jane Kangaroo before this post went up? I didn’t even know the damn kangaroo had a name. It just seems like a penny-ante part, especially considering June got to reprise her best-known role in the Rocky and Bullwinkle Movie. Surely a professional of her caliber doesn’t expect the phone to ring every time a bit-part in a 37-year-old TV special gets the big-screen treatment.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s always a joy for fans to see these kind of tribute cameos (Mae Questel in Roger Rabbit, Ann B. Davis in the Brady Buch Movie) And as you stated, June is a living legend and it would be nice to have her do a part. But it’s hypocritical to rant ad nauseum about the creative process and how it’s forever being derailed by execs, marketing interests, Geena Davis, etc. etc. and then petition filmakers because your favorite voice actress hasn’t been cast.

    Remember, fans didn’t like the idea of Michael Keaton as Batman when the news got out, but thankfully Tim Burton ignored the screeching.

  • Bryan T.

    Dr. Seuss adaptations are touchy. During his lifetime he was extremely protective of his characters, skeptical of Hollywood and generally avoided merchandising. He himself may have been against a 3-D animation because when they first made a Cat in the Hat doll he thought it looked wrong, and he blamed himself for having drawn the cat different from 2 different angles.

    His one try at a live action feature, The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T, is a beloved cult film, but he was so upset about how it was rewritten that he never worked in movies again. I’m sure his urn exploded a long time ago due to the things his widow has, for some reason, okayed.

    But I have to admit those stills look great. Of course they look very different from the drawings in 3-D, but they stay amazingly true to the style. I haven’t liked any of Blue Sky’s movies, so I will be surprised if the storytelling lives up to the visuals, but if there can at least be Dr. Seuss movie that looks cool that’s a step up. It still drives me crazy just thinking about that stupid sled in the live action Grinch movie. It’s like they asked “what kind of a crazy sled would ol’ Dr. Seuss have come up with?” instead of looking at the drawing to see that he just drew a sled.

  • MLW

    It is a travesty that truly remarkable voice actors like June are passed over in today’s animation voice world, in favor of “name celebrities”. I suppose that this sells tickets, but it certainly lessens the quality of the final product in most cases. Be that as it may, wouldn’t it have been a well deserved tribute if someone had thought to cast June in at least a small part in the movie? Also, an interview with June as part of a retrospective on the original Chuck Jones “Horton” would make a great bonus feature on the DVD.

  • http://musingsofachick.blogspot.com sudiegirl

    Well, let me clarify my preferences too (even though I’m nothing more than an enthusiast).

    To me, I don’t have a problem with big-name celebrities doing voiceover work IF…(and this is a big ‘un) their voice is distinctive. To me, that’s the key! I mean, if the voice of the actor is versatile and/or fits the character that’s created, a big name should be considered as well as a stalwart voice-over actor.

    But when casting seems to be done by the celeb’s name as opposed to what they can actually DO, that honks me off big time. And as far as June Foray not being a “big name”, yeah…understandable…but she is the only voice actress living from the original cast of “Rocky and Bullwinkle”, and was used for the voice of “Rocky” when they did “R&B” in CGI/live action. Even though the film didn’t do so well, the film-makers were respectful of her place in the success of the original series.

    Right?