TRANSFORMERS ONE Producer Defends Decision To Replace Peter Cullen With Chris Hemsworth As Optimus Prime

TRANSFORMERS ONE Producer Defends Decision To Replace Peter Cullen With Chris Hemsworth As Optimus Prime

With Thor star Chris Hemsworth set to voice Optimus Prime in Transformers One, producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura has addressed the backlash from fans due to the A-Lister taking over from Peter Cullen...

By JoshWilding - Jun 15, 2024 07:06 AM EST
Filed Under: Movies
Source: Variety

The early buzz surrounding Transformers One is positive, even after a trailer which split opinions thanks to its retro animation style.

Another divisive element of the upcoming movie is its voice cast. While Paramount Pictures has enlisted a who's who of A-List stars, ditching longtime Optimus Prime voice actor Peter Cullen - Thor star Chris Hemsworth takes over the role - has upset many fans.

Transformers franchise producer Lorenzo Di Bonaventura spoke with Variety at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and he acknowledged the backlash while explaining the change. 

"That was really important because, from a fan point of view, the original voice of Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen, is revered," he said of casting the role. "To have somebody else voice Optimus Prime was like, 'Whoa, we better get this right.'"

"We couldn’t use Peter because the audience needs to feel the character’s youth. That’s why we pursued Chris. I was surprised, too, but not how funny Chris was. I’ve seen him in things where he was funny. But he has a very strong sense of story. That’s not true with every movie star."

Director Josh Cooley also chimed in to say, "Yeah, we have an incredible cast. I can’t believe how great it was. Everybody was fantastic. I would walk them through the scene, and they’d suggest a lot of stuff. Keegan[-Michael Key], of course, rifted like crazy on things."

"But Chris Hemsworth is also extremely funny. I was not prepared for how funny he is," the filmmaker continued. "A lot of his lines in this film are riffs off of what we had written, but he just brought his charisma and his comedy to it. He totally got it."

Hemsworth as Prime is going to take some getting used to and it would be unfair to write him off before seeing the movie. He's no doubt aware that he has big shoes to fill and with this being such a different Transformers story, the change may ultimately make sense for the hero.

Transformers One is the untold origin story of Optimus Prime and Megatron, better known as sworn enemies, but once were friends bonded like brothers who changed the fate of Cybertron forever.

The first-ever fully CG-animated features a star-studded voice cast, including Chris Hemsworth, Brian Tyree Henry, Scarlett Johansson, Keegan-Michael Key, Steve Buscemi, with Laurence Fishburne, and Jon Hamm.

The movie is directed by Josh Cooley and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Tom DeSanto & Don Murphy, Michael Bay, Mark Vahradian, and Aaron Dem, with executive producers Steven Spielberg, Zev Foreman, Olivier Dumont, Brian Oliver, B.J. Farmer, and Matt Quigg.

Transformers One arrives in theaters on September 20. 

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