BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
There are no small parts, only small actors, right? Nothing epitomizes that more than James Sie's
work in his latest animated project. Sie's lending his vocal stylings to a pair of comic book characters, Dyna-Mite and the newest incarnation of The Atom, Ryan Choi, in Batman: The Brave and the Bold
. Sie's been in a handful of episodes, including the two part saga that saw our world's heroic Batman swapped with the villainous alternative dimension Owlman. Sie couldn't wait to sink his teeth into this role.
Although most of the people working on Batman: The Brave and the Bold
are lifelong comic book fans, Sie doesn't fit that mold. He wanted to be a part of this series for a different reason -- bragging rights. Sie's seven-year-old, Benjamin, was tired of seeing daddy always voice the villains in a given series. He's played the bad guy in Jackie Chan Adventures
, Justice League
, Marvel Ultimate Alliance
and several other series. "I'm going through my second childhood now, because my seven-year-old is wild about comic books, cartoons -- especially the Justice League, Teen Titans
, and Ben 10
," Sie said. "I'm getting to know all those characters now. I never played with action figures when I was a little boy, but he does and he's improvising battles all over the house and putting on costumes. It makes me feel young again."
"The best thing about playing Atom is that my son gets to have tons of bragging rights," he continued. "I played a lot of villains. He was tired of me being the bad guy. He wanted me to be the hero. This was a great opportunity to step up and play someone he could boast about. I am really happy when he watches and gets into everything. He's thrilled that I'm playing a superhero and that he can play with my action figure and tell his friends, 'My dad's a superhero!'."
Sie said what intrigued him the most about voicing a character like The Atom was the duality of Ryan Choi. "I liked the duality between his intellectualism and his scientific approach to things," Sie told THE PULSE. "Then he has this kind of superhero impulse that comes out -- being a hero is different for him -- it's freeing. I cotton to that aspect of him."
"Also you're playing against this incarnation of Aquaman, so it's easy to be a foil for him, because he's so big, pompous and full of himself," Sie continued. "The best way to go seemed to be to play opposite of Aquaman. I didn't know a lot about Atom. I read some information about him and discovered this is the fourth incarnation of the character, but discovered a lot of the details after the fact. When I saw the mock up of him, I realized he was Asian. I thought that was great. I knew a little about The Atom when I was a child -- really just his superpower. I didn't have any of his comic books or anything."
Sie's not just voicing The Atom, he's voicing the evil alternative dimension version of the character, Dyna Mite. "It's more fun to be the villain," Sie said. "You can milk the lines a little more -- there's more juice in there. It was a lot of fun to battle out. I got to say the great line about, 'I know Owlman and he's no Owlman!'. It was great!"
"Andrea [Romano] was specific about not wanting the voices of Dyna Mite and the Atom to be too different, but a different shade of the same character," he continued. "Dyna Mite was a slightly darker shade, but not entirely different from the Atom. It was consistent for everyone in the cast, which is good. Someone strong like Andrea gives you a consistent finely polished product. I got to work with Andrea on Justice League. She's very talented."
Sie said it wasn't much of a challenge for him to take on the Tiny Titan. "When you're surrounded by a great cast as this core cast is, just to play off of them is really easy," Sie told THE PULSE. "I got to do a little bit of improvisation in the incidental sound voices, but I think for that episode The Atom is a very cut and dried character. He's not prone to going off. I stay faithful to that."
"They wanted to make sure the Atom wasn't snide or unlikable," Sie continued. "He just approached things in a very analytical detached way as a scientist would. I tried to capture that. It was an honor to work with the cast -- some of these actors have been in the industry so long, it was fantastic to be a part of all of this. In some of the things I do, you're alone in the booth, doing your own thing. With Batman
, we're all playing off of each others energy and it's a much more familial type place. I really enjoyed playing The Atom and I hope he comes back!"Batman: The Brave and The Bold
airs weekly on the Cartoon Network
. Check your local guide for times and listings to see when the Atom will next appear.