INTERVIEW: Will Friedle

We were lucky enough to be able to interview Will Friedle before his trip to Aus for Supanova. Will has been busy since his days as Eric Matthews in Boy Meets World. Read our interview below to see what he has been up to...

Kurt: How ya goin?

Will: Hi, how are ya?

Kurt: All right, mate. You're heading over our way next month, aren't you, for the Supanova?

Will: I am, finally. I am.

Kurt: Finally...

Will: I can't wait. Finally. Well, I wanted to come to Australia for years. I've never been, so my wife and I are coming down and we're going to be there for two weeks. We are ecstatic; we can't wait.

Kurt: Oh that's good. Well, you're coming at the right time of the year anyway, Our weather is pretty good at the moment. But what are you up to these days? Obviously you're well known for Boy Meets World as Eric Matthews, amongst other things, but what are you up to these days?

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Will: These days there's a lot of fun stuff happening. A tonne of voiceovers still, which is kind of my love. We got another season of Transformers coming out where I play Bumblebee, we've got another season of Guardians of the Galaxy coming out where I play Star-Lord. Got a new show coming out on Netflix called Stretch Armstrong.

Kurt: Oh, okay.

Will: Yeah, I reoccur on that one, and then believe it or not, after years, Boy Meets World spun off into a new show called Girl Meets World. I went and I did a couple of episodes of that and I thought that would be it, but it got the juices flowing again and I have some fun on camera stuff happening that I'm not allowed to talk about quite yet. But there's some neat stuff coming down the pipe for me in the future, and the next four, five months are going to be pretty special.

Kurt: So should I be calling you Senator, then, while I'm speaking to you?

Will: We'll have to see, we'll have to see what happens. But yes, I think the fact that Eric Matthews becomes a senator is pretty amazing. You know, it's the American political system; nothing is out of bounds.

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Kurt: Yeah, real life even shows us that.

Will: Yeah.

Kurt: But on that, I mean, generally when your name pops up I guess people do associate with you Boy Meets World, Eric Matthews, but do you think it'd be fair to say that even your voice role as Terry McGinnis has become somewhat more of an iconic role or character for you in one respect?

Will: Yeah. It's one of those shows that really developed a following. We knew what we had when we were doing it in that we knew that it was going to be a good show, because it was Bruce Timm creating it and Alan Burnett, Kevin Conroy as the voice of Bruce Wayne, Andrea Romano as the director.

As an actor who had never done a voiceover part before, I walked in there and it's like I walked in with an A+ cast and crew. I mean, it just doesn't get better. So I was just trying to hold my own and I had no idea how important the show would become for people. It really has its niche in not only the animated world, but in the Batman world. And that's difficult to create a new type of Batman that people love. That just shows you how incredible Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, Alan Burnett, how amazing ... Glen Murakami, those guys are. They really know what the audience is looking for and can show it to you.

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Kurt: Yeah. Well, that's right. I was having a bit of a Google of you before the interview and noticed that a lot of your following is more ... everybody wants to see more Terry McGinnis, so it's got that sort of, I guess, cult following. But between doing the voice acting and your straight-up in front of camera acting, what's your preference these days?

Will: You know, there really isn't a preference. They're so different. Voiceover acting is completely and totally pure. It doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter what you're dressed in, it doesn't matter if you have blemishes on your face, it's just you and a microphone, that's it. It's a very pure form of acting.

But at the same time, something like when I was doing Boy Meets World, there's a joy that you get from being in front of an audience and getting that instant gratification of knowing that you hit that perfect joke, or when they gasp when something happens because they're so invested in the characters, it's wonderful. So really, again, it's like asking which one of your children do you love the most? They're both different, but they're both fantastic.

Kurt: Actually, I interviewed Carolina Ravassa. She was a voice actor on Overwatch, the video game. I asked her the same question and she said the same thing. You can't really pick. They're two different entities. But I like to ask the question anyway.

willfriedle.current2Will: Sure. It's funny 'cause it also depends on the actor you ask. There would certainly have been a time where I would've said, "Oh, I love on camera acting. I can't imagine doing anything else." And then there would've been a time where I'd say, "Man, I love voiceover acting. I would never go back on camera." I said that for a long time and now I'm doing both and it's kind of the balance between the two is where I'm finding my joy, so I love it.

Kurt: Well, you said you wouldn't go on to Girl Meets World. Am I right?

Will: I did, yeah. I did. I wasn't acting at all anymore. I completely and totally gave up on camera acting for years and when I went back to Girl Meets World, that was the first time in, God, 10 years I'd been on camera. It wasn't that I didn't have the opportunity, it's that I just didn't want to do it.

I talk about this a lot. I dealt with anxiety for years, so the idea of going back into that stressful world just wasn't ... I didn't want to do it. I was loving the voiceover side so much that there was no reason to do it. And then Girl Meets World, they really wanted me to come on. The whole cast is the same, the whole crew is the same, it was like coming home again. So I said all right, I'll give it a shot, and then, man, I just fell in love with it again like I did when I started at 10 years old, and got the juices flowing again. One thing led to another and now it's crazy again.

So yeah, just enjoying every day at this point and trying to find that balance, which is where your sanity lies, I think, so that's the tough part.

Kurt: Do you have a favourite character or anything that you like performing?

Will: On camera or voiceover?

Kurt: Yeah, voiceover. Have you got a favourite one for voiceover?

Will: Yeah, voiceover, it's pretty tough to beat playing Batman. I've had some cool roles, some very cool roles. I mean, like, again, I'm Bumblebee on Transformers, which is great. I was Lion-O in ThunderCats, which is hugely important for me and my childhood, Star Lord ...

I mean, I've gotten some incredible opportunities. I got to play Deadpool and Green Lantern, so some amazing things. But when your nephews look at you and they think you're really Batman because they're six or seven years old, it's tough to beat that.

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Kurt: Yeah, that's it. I've got a four and a half year old that absolutely adores Batman, so I can understand.

Will: See! There you go.

Kurt: And you've done a bit of writing too.

Will: I have.

Kurt: How does that go? Do you enjoy the writing or is it just something you sort of play with, I guess?

Will: You know, enjoy is a tough word. I come from a family of writers and I sold my first screenplay to Disney when I was 18. I wrote the Winnie The Pooh movie for Disney when I was 18-

Kurt: Oh wow.

Will: ... so everybody kind of thought, "Oh wow, he's now going to be a writer," and then when anybody expects something of me it's kind of when I go, "Well then, I'm not going to do that."

So I stopped writing entirely until I started to do ThunderCats, and I loved the story so much. I'm such a huge fantasy fan and they were kind of going almost Arthurian legend with the storyline that I talked to the producer and I said, "Hey, can I write an episode?" He kind of looked at me and went, "Oh, great." You could see the look of "Oh the actor wants to write an episode."

But he's a great guy and he said, "I'll give you a shot, sure." I wrote the first one and he came back to me and he said, "This is fantastic. Would you like to write more?" So I wrote another one and then he said, "Look, we got picked up for a second season, I'd like you to be a staff writer," and then I had already written the first episode for season two and then the toys weren't selling and so they cancelled us.

But he brought me onto his next show so I started writing for a show called Teen Titans Go! I write for Transformers as well, so yeah. But again, enjoy is a tough word. Writing is a very arduous process. I love when I'm finished and the actors are saying the words that I wrote. That is a rush like nothing else, but the actual process is tough.

Kurt: Yeah, stressful and tedious I'd imagine at times.

Will: It is. It's also you're beating yourself up and "Oh I don't want to change this and I have to change that." Especially with animation. You have to fit it all into a box and people assume that, well, it's animation, so if you can think it they can animate it, and that's actually not true. It's still all based on a budget, so you've got to reuse sets that have already been animated and things like that.

It's a very interesting process, and at the time one I was completely unprepared for but it's fun to get into that side of the world. Any time you've got some of the greatest actors and all the voiceovers saying the lines that you were writing at 3:00 in the morning, it's worth it.

Kurt: Makes it all worthwhile.

Will: It does, it absolutely makes it all worthwhile.

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Kurt: I've got to ask, do you still get asked to do the Feeny Call?

Will: Every day of my life. Every day of my life, yeah, I still get asked. I tell people the truth, which is I don't do it anymore because I gave it to the girls on Girl Meets World. So the girls on Girl Meets World went and did it and I went down to the set and taught them how to do it. Then I did it one more time in front of the audience and then I passed the torch. I said if you want to hear it now, it belongs to them. So it is officially Rowan and Sabrina's on Girl Meets World.

Kurt: Yeah, I saw that when they first came on with that. But that being said, I don't think anyone's going to be able to do it quite as well as what you've had it.

Will: Well, hey, I appreciate that, thank you. I don't think they do it as well either. That's just between you and me. No, I'm kidding. They did a great job. I'm glad they were able to keep it alive. That's very sweet.

Kurt: That's it. And have you seen the ThunderCats Lion-O Feeny Call crossover clip on YouTube?

Will: No.

Kurt: When you get a moment you should check that out. Somebody with too much time on their hands has taken your Feeny Call from Boy Meets World and matched it up with obviously your Lion-O.

Will: Okay.

Kurt: Yeah, yeah, it's quite funny actually. Yeah, clearly somebody with too much time, but definitely.

Will: No, I'm definitely going to have to check that out. I can't wait to watch that. I mean, I'll have to get my wife and watch that. That's hysterical.

Kurt: Yeah, yeah, for sure. We're looking forward to seeing you over here next month for Brisbane and Adelaide Supanovas.

Will: Yeah, I can't wait.

Kurt: You've got so many fans. Like I say, the following for Terry McGinnis I personally believe is over and above that of your Eric Matthews role, but that's just my personal opinion.

Will: Hey, that's great, I'll take that all day, are you kidding? I love that, so I will take that all day long. I was frankly worried that I was going to come to Australia and I'm going to sit there and nobody is going to want to come and say hi to me.

Kurt: No, I don't think that'll be the case somehow.

Will: Okay, good. Well, I'm excited to hear that.

Kurt: But, mate, I really appreciate you taking the time out to speak to me today. Yeah, it's been really enjoyable from my end and we look forward to seeing you.

Will: Well, I appreciate that. You're going to be coming to Supanova, right? so I'll get a chance to meet you.

Kurt: Yeah. We'll be there so we'll come and say hi.

Will: Okay. Perfect. Make sure that, yeah, you come and introduce yourself. I want to sit down and have a chat, that'll be great.

Kurt: That'll be fantastic, mate. Really appreciate it.

Will: Perfect. Well, thank you so much.

Kurt: Thank you so much. Cheers, mate.

Will: All right. Well, talk to you in a month.

Kurt: Will do. Thanks.