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MomoCon Exclusive Interview with Zach Callison

Photo Credit: Deirdhra Fahey
Photo Credit: Deirdhra Fahey

Zach Callison is an American actor and voice actor. He is known for his roles in Steven UniverseSuperman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, Justice League: War, and numerous other voice roles.

Out of all your roles, what’s been your favorite so far?

For voice work, I’d have to say Steven Universe. As far as movies go… I’d pick Flight of Passage. It was a short film based in the 1960s; there was just something about that film and the people I worked with that I really enjoyed.

How was the audition process for Steven Universe?

I was sent an email packet of early drawings of Steven for the pilot, ten lines of dialogue, and a song. I sang the song, did the lines, and worked on the voice with my vocal coach. I got a couple of callbacks and ended up at the Cartoon Network studio. I got the call and recorded the pilot and I didn’t really think that much of it, because I was recording other voices and doing guest spots, but nothing really had gone super far. Then in October, we were doing pickup lines for Steven Universe, and as I was signing the contracts, they were like, “oh yeah by the way the show got picked up! Congrats.” (laughs).

Are you a big anime/animation fan?

Yeah! Growing up, I actually didn’t have cable, so I would go to my granddad’s house and record shows on VHS tape. I used to watch Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and Codename: Kids Next Door. Those were my favorite shows back then, and I’ve since watched a lot of anime because our show’s very anime inspired. Full Metal Alchemist, Sword Art Online, Angel Beats. I need to watch Attack on Titan, I haven’t seen any of that. I also need to watch Deathnote and Cowboy Bebop.

Was there any difficulty portraying the boy, Billy Batson, and then the man, Captain Marvel/Shazam?

It’s the same thing for Steven Universe; you have to capture the child part of the child character. For Billy Batson, he’s more heroic, and has seen more of the world, has some life experience, and he’s seen all these things as Captain Marvel/Shazam. It’s the less talked about part of the superhero world, the secret identity part. So it was a lot of fun to play.

Are there any animation roles that you want to provide a voice for?

Sure! I’d love to do a voice for Pokémon.

What’s your favorite Pokémon?

You ready… it’s really weird… Mantine. For some reason, I‘ve always liked him. (laughs).

How are you liking Atlanta?

It’s my first time actually getting to see the city. My family used to drive down to Thomasville all the time. I got a tour of the Cartoon Network studio today, so that was fun! I plan on seeing more of the city; I hear the aquarium is fun.

Have you been recognized as Steven Universe and what was the best reaction by a fan?

It goes up tremendously after I do the panels, and here the panel was the first thing. But walking up to the panel I saw a lot of Steven cosplays, yet no one batted an eye at me. (laughs).

Can you tell me about some of your favorite lines from the show?

There have been a few. I had to put on a really bad Italian accent, and I like Italian everything, even though I’m not Italian at all, so I really had fun with that. Some of the songs have been fun, singing with Deedee in the studio, and she’s Broadway-trained so she outshines me.

Who is your favorite character on the show?

If I pick Steven it’s cheating, and if I pick a gem, it’s like picking your favorite family member, so I always default to Onion. (laughs).

If you could voice for a modern cartoon show today, what would it be?

I would like to do some of the adult shows, like Archer or Rick and Morty.

Music is such a part of the appeal of Steven Universe, how do you feel about it?

I got out of music for like five years; it’s what got me into this whole mess actually. (laughs). I started singing when I was seven, then I did musical theater, then film and then these crazy cartoon things. But I’m getting back into original music now, hopefully, I can get an EP together, but I’m busy with all this acting stuff, so we’ll see.

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