Interviews: Campbell Lane (11/99)
In October of 1999 I had the fortune of speaking with voice actor Campbell Lane, known to Transformers fans as the voice of the powerful Rampage! Campbell lived in Montreal, Canada for 15 years where he attended boarding school. During his last year of high school, his family moved to Vancouver where he attended the Royal Military College. Campbell was raised to appreciate all sorts of cultures such as Japanese, Chinese and French cultures.
Campbell's interest in voice work began with his mother. "My mother had the gift of voices," Campbell explains "we used to watch each other's expressions and break each other up." Campbell's career did not begin with cartoons however, but radio. "Around the age of 22 or 23 I worked with the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Company) doing radio work. as a dj for a morning show as well as radio dramas. The producer really let me cut loose doing voices." Campbell also worked in commercials and movies during this time.
His first break into animation was for the New Adventures of He-Man series. "Skeletor was my first animated role. He was a maniacal character and I used the Joker (from Batman) as my inspiration. This began a whole new thought process and I spent the next 2-4 years learning. In between, I was on four episodes of the X-Files."
This also brought him in contact with another notable figure in Transformers voice actor history: Sue Blu, better known as the voice of Arcee in the classic Transformers series. "Sue was so helpful. She is both a terrific performer and director. She is without an ego that would get in the way. She is able to bring out the goodies from actors. Her enthusiasm and love of the work is infectious and she handles things with grace."
Sue Blu would of course later direct Campbell as the mighty Rampage. "Rampage was a total nutcase, but we saw his compassionate side in "Transmutate". I noticed subtle changes in the character by his fourth or fifth episode. I saw some license in the lines and saw "human feelings". It's unusual to have subtelties and idiosynchrosies like those in Rampage. I love to see growth in characters." Fans will be interested to know the man behind Rampage has given his character as much
thought as some fans "Losing Transmutate left Rampage devastated. A human/mystical love was gone, but it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all. Rampage's attitude changed to 'Let me go to oblivion'."
Although Campbell admits to never having seen Beast Wars due to time constraints "It's enough to hear that the director is happy.", he mentions that he would be willing to reprise the role again.
Campbell also admits that he did not realize Transformers had such a fan base. It was fellow voice actor Scott McNeil who first clued him in, and later Gary Chalk. "It did surprise me. I didn't know about the old show, but my niece and nephew played with the toys."
When asked for advice for aspiring voice actors, Campbell offers some suggestions. "Start with yourself. Some people have that initial gift and like to play. Practice your voices, do them with friends. Listen and watch cartoons carefully. It also helps to watch demo tapes of other actors."
Voice work is not all fun and games however. "There is a lot of breathing and emotion involved. It can be physically exhausting. I once had to do eight episodes of He-Man back to back for six hours each."
Campbell's current roster of live action work includes a guest starring role on "First Wave" as a magician dying of cancer, "Honey, I shrunk the Kids - the series" as an aristocrat from England who thinks he's the King and the series "Dead Man's Gun" as a cowardly sheriff. An upcoming animated role is Doctor Victor Prometheus in a new MGM series.