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Adam Elliot on recording voices

By ACMI, 2010 2:43 minutes

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In most animated films the characters’ voices are recorded first. However, because Mary and Max is driven by narration it was possible to record the voices of the individual characters towards the end of the filming process. American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman voiced the character of Max in a sound studio in New York via a remote hook-up.

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Discussion Points

As well as Philip Seymour Hoffman’s voice, Mary and Max features the voices of Toni Collette and Eric Bana, and it is narrated by Barry Humphries. Adam Elliot’s Academy Award-winning short film, Harvie Krumpet, was narrated by Geoffrey Rush.

  • Why is it considered desirable to have well-known actors contribute their voices to an animation production?

Adam Elliot describes his films as driven by narration. By foregrounding the role of the narrator, Elliot’s films draw attention to themselves as stories or even modern fables.

The detached quality of the narrator’s voice contrasts with the pain experienced by the characters and underlines their loneliness and isolation.

  • Listen to a narrative sequence in Mary and Max and analyse the impact of this method of telling the story.
  • Because the characters’ voices are used more sparingly in Mary and Max than is typical of most feature animation films, do they make a greater or different kind of impact?