Vampire Rafter Lee

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I just saw Vampire Hunter D tonight and it was pretty damn cool. Definitely better than Blood: The Last Vampire. For you Kawajiri action junkies out there there is a lot of violence, but its not nearly as intense or graphic as the blood balet Ninja Scroll, but there are quite a few cool scenes, one of which is very reminiscent of a scene from Ninja Scroll. Since this is a Flux forum I guess I should talk about John Rafter Lee's performance. For those ladies out there who's legs tremble when they hear Trevor's voice, you may want to bring some paper towels with you when you hear Lee this time around as his voice seems to have gotten even deeper and throatier since his days as Trevor Goodchild. He plays the lead Vampire Meier Link and you know how sexy those vampiric leading men always are. Anyway, I strongly recommend this movie to anyone who likes vampires, Yoshiaki Kawajiri's work, or just a good movie. It has a bit of depth to it, and the animation and voice acting are really great. Go see it.

-- Logo (vosepherus@aol.com), September 22, 2001

Answers

Where did you see it?

-- Inukko (nadisrec@worldnet.att.net), September 22, 2001.

I live in New York City where it has opened in at least a couple of theaters that I know of. Here is a link to a site that has a nationwide theater listing. Enjoy.

http://www.altvampyres.net/vhd/vhd2.html

-- Logo (vosepherus@aol.com), September 22, 2001.


the current list of theaters nationwide to show Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Please remember, dates (even confirmed ones) are subject to change and we are constantly adding more theaters. Not listed are potential cities: Detroit, Columbus, Ann Arbor, San Rafael, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, or Denver. Again, we will take recommendations of theaters in your area that would be interested in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust:

9/21 Cinema Village -- confirmed

22 East 12th St. New York, NY 10118 9/21 Empire 25 (AMC on 42nd) -- confirmed

234 West 42nd St. @ 8th Ave. New York, NY 9/21 Cinemark -- confirmed

10603 Metropolitan Ave. Forest Hills, NY 11375 9/21 The Pavilion at Park Slope -- confirmed

188 Prospect Park West Brooklyn, NY 11215 9/21 Clearview Cinemas -- possibility

110th St. next to Columbia, Long Island, New Jersey 9/21 Olympia Twin -- possibility

2770 Broadway, New York, NY 9/21 Nu Roc 18 -- possibility

33 Lecount Place, New Rochelle, NY 10801 9/21 Commerce Center 18 -- possibility

2399 Rte. 1 South New Brunswick, NJ 08902 9/28 The Music Box -- confirmed

Chicago, IL 10/5 The Showcase -- confirmed (*CHICAGO KAY!!!***)

614 N. La Brea Los Angeles, CA 10/5 The Irvine Spectrum/Edwards/Irvine Place -- possibility

Irvine, Costa Mesa 10/5 Cinemark -- possibility

Lancaster, CA 10/12 Camera 3 -- confirmed

South Second Ave. San Jose, CA 10/12 Universal Citywalk -- possibility

Universal City, CA 10/12 Shattuck -- possibility

Bay Area, CA 10/12 The Metreon or The Kabuki -- possibility

San Francisco, CA 11/2 Hawaii Intíl. Film Festival -- possibility

All six islands, Hawaii 11/9 Honolulu Academy of Art Theatre -- possibility

Honolulu, HA 11/30 The Varsity Theatre -- confirmed

Seattle, WA 11/30 The Dobie Theatre -- confirmed

Austin,TX 11/30 The Ken Theatre -- confirmed

San Diego, CA 11/30 The Brattle -- confirmed

Boston/Cambridge, MA 11/30 The Cinefest -- confirmed

Atlanta, GA

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), September 22, 2001.


I took all that info above from the 'vampyre' site, which is really informative and has some nice links, but I notice they did not include 'cow towns' such as Phoenix, Az. To quote this site: "Again, we will take recommendations of theaters in your area that would be interested in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust". The only place in my area would be the town I work in, (Tempe) where they have a little moviehouse called the Valley Art Theatre, and it is here I will try for a possible showing of this movie, otherwise I will have to put away my paper towels....

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), September 22, 2001.

BTW Logo, it's nice to see that even though you live in New York you're still enjoying the arts and all. (An incredible statement I never thought could be said).

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), October 05, 2001.


I finally got to see this on the big screen. It's a worthy tale; voices are good (except maybe one or two), and the visuals are just great. Kawajiri is king of the close up. But the L.A. Times reviewer gave away the ending! What a, uh, dumbass...

-- Inukko (nadisrec@worldnet.att.net), October 07, 2001.

Loved the mirror scene, BTW.

-- Inukko (nadisrec@worldnet.att.net), October 07, 2001.

WARNING, POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

I was expecting a little more frenetic action from the director of Ninja Scroll, but I was pleased. I'd have to say my favorite scene is probably the one where Meier Link endures the threat of immolation in order to save Charlotte. That scene more than any other in the movie demonstrates his love for her. To be honest I kinda figured he would tire of her after a decade or so and then just either convert her or kill her. After all, he won't age and she will. That scene showed he thought of her as more than just a plaything. I also liked the castle. Damn that thing was cool. I just love gothic architecture. (Wait. Isn't this a Flux forum? My bad).

-- Logo (vosepherus@aol.com), October 07, 2001.


Valley Art theatre in Tempe has Vampire Hunter D! Part of the huge writeup in the Arizona Republic; and I quote: "Forbidden love, bloody battles, gothic themes and a sci-fi ending are the primary elements of Vampire Hunter D...if you are open to alternative film, its a treat. The completely hand drawn animated flick is based on the thriller considered a forerunner of the anime genre" John Rafter Lee is listed right there in large letters as part of the cast. Our John Lee! Tomorrow I vamp!

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 08, 2001.

John Lee is a totally bitching guy. He's OK. He was over to my place once and was disarming due to his evident lack of any affected, self-assuming bullshit LA attitude and I was pleasantly appalled. This gentleman's got more vintage American cool than anybody I've met but Pete Haskell or John Doe. What a natural! I love that guy. I've only got good things to say about some people.

You could never spoil him with attention, too. We can't find anybody like that around here anymore, that's for sure - I was worried he'd have a problem getting along because he's so decent, and have to say it encourages me to know you don't necessarily have to be a cunt out here to get any respect in the business.

-- dangerboy (artian@earthlink.net), December 08, 2001.



Some people have all the luck, sigh. Having John Lee over...

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 08, 2001.

Just a heads up here. In the most recent issue of Animerica there is an interview with John Rafter Lee. He talks about his background and other voice work he has done, but he does mention his work on Aeon flux a couple of times. It's nothing too in depth though.

-- Logo (Vosepherus@aol.com), December 20, 2001.

To save time for everyone having to look it up I am posting this interview here, and thanks for the very cool reference:

"Interview - John Rafter Lee Voice Actor

John Rafter Lee has played many evil entities in animation. His voice has a distinct regal English accent, which ironically gives those darker villains he plays the utmost alluring class, from the likes of Trevor Goodchild (Aeon Flux) to Jason Wynn of the animated series Spawn and the aristocratic vampire Meier Link in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. Dare I say it?--he makes evil sound...sexy. In real life, Lee isn't as evil as his voice can portray and happens to be a very talented actor and screenwriter, a proud father of a newborn baby, and an all-around nice guy. His voice can also be heard in the movies Princess Mononoke and Tenchi Muyo!, and he continually leaves you with a very distinct impression of the characters he voices. Perhaps his years of acting on stage around the country have given him that innate capability of leaving a mark. Perhaps it is because he understands what you need to give when you are a voice-actor. Lee explains the method to his madness: "There is sort of a base preparation for voice-over work that you do because you know you may not always get the script in time. Even if they try to get you a script you are never really sure of the vision the director may have. It's kind of like being very loose with yourself and just being prepared for anything that comes at you. Since you are not preparing for character, you are really just preparing yourself for whatever will happen to you in the room where you are actually working. So you have to make sure that you leave yourself open to that." Lee's style in voice-over work has been able to capture those tiny nuances that become very meaningful in his portfolio of evil characters, making his villains all the more compelling and delicious to listen to. Once you see Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, you will understand how good this guy really is...or should I say "bad"? When did you get your start as a voice-actor? I lived in Seattle for 12 years, when I was a theater actor up there. My big break as a voice-actor came when Jack Fletcher was into voice work. He was voice-casting and voice-directing for Vampire Hunter D. He was actually just starting out on this kind of work with Aeon Flux, and he cast me as Trevor Goodchild. Do you know that series? Yeah, wasn't that on MTV? It started out on Liquid TV, and Trevor was Aeon's nemesis. I remember staying up late to try to catch that on TV. I was really excited when MTV started giving animation that kind of attention. There are rumors that there will be a feature for Aeon Flux in the future. Aeon was my first real recognizable character, and then Jack cast me in Spawn, the animated version where I played Jason Wynn. I was the voice of the bad guy, oddly enough, in that also. I was Jason for three seasons. And I've done bits and pieces here and there. Were you interested in becoming a voice-actor? I love, love voice-over work, because you can show up in your pajamas. What do you do to prepare yourself for a role? The thing about most animation is that it is an incredibly, highly imagined world, whatever the world is. Such as, Vampire Hunter D, which is a strange, completely imagined place and you kind of have to let yourself go with what you think is the creator's notion. An idea of what this place is, while at the same time, you assume that the people and the character that you are playing are rooted in something similar to human reaction and human emotion and human behavior. So, you try to find a way to try to root yourself in "what would I do in a situation like this where I am a vampire and I'm being hunted in Vampire Hunter D." [LAUGHS] Umm, and sort of find your way through this imagined world. You have to sort of let yourself accept the world that has been created. Finding that is the great joy. Finding the character's place in a world that is completely imagined. What did you do to prepare for the role of Meier Link? You know, I had much less time with Meier Link than my previous voice- over work, but I was guided well by the creators.... I have to tell you that we recorded the voices a little over two years ago. I went back into loops and stuff about six months back or so. I think I'm remembering it correctly, and I left the recording studio early so that I would be able to look at the script. One of the interesting things, for me, that I like in animation is the director and the creator. The director in this case is Jack Fletcher, who is very precise in the work. The creator is looking for a particular way of saying something in a particular voice. When they hear your voice they will go, "oh, that is what I want it to sound like," which is why you get cast in the first place. But then, it would literally be, the director who will want something emphasized, like the word "the" or "but" in a particular way. In theater or film, the director would never ask that of you. I am somebody who is very willing to listen to other people and be prepared to accept what someone has created. So, would you say that you don't have trouble doing a line over and over again until the director is pleased? [LAUGHS] Yes. When we were in the booth doing Aeon Flux, Denise Poirier (who was Aeon) and I always used to go through the script and I'd say before we started recording to Denise, "see that line there, that line is 20 takes." [LAUGHS] You just can pick those lines out where you know that it is a difficult line. So, you have to rely enormously on the director. So going with what other people are looking for... because my answer may not be the right answer. I think there are certain actors who are better at voice-over because they are willing to allow someone else to tell them what this world is and what it might actually mean, unlike theater where you let the actor find it. What was it like to work with Jack Fletcher, and was the Japanese production crew of Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust involved with the English dubbing? Yes, there were people from the Japanese side of things while we were doing Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The interesting thing about D is, you are in the booth and they are in the control booth and if they don't have the little button pressed in the control booth you can hear them. So, most of the time you can't hear what they are saying [LAUGHS]. So, they may be saying, "Oh, god, this guy is a complete idiot." You don't know unless you are a really good lip reader. So, what happens is you will record a line, or up to 10 lines, usually you will go with a whole stretch of lines, and then they will play back and see if it matches the mouth movements. What happens with the Japanese side of things, particularly with the translators, is they will do rewrites in the studio as the voice-actor records. If a line ends up not matching they can assist. So, there was a lot of collaboration and they were very meticulous with their work. I think they knew that this was something good and it did take 2 1/2 years or so to complete the dub, so you could tell that it was very important. Urban Vision wanted to try to break out of the anime niche and turn non-anime lovers onto anime with this movie. What do you think are the chances of that happening? I remember thinking while I was recording Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, my first reaction while seeing it on video when I was just dubbing it was how beautiful the artwork is and how beautiful the animation is. I stopped and said, "Oh my goodness, this looks incredible!" Then as I was working on the script it was so far above, so much superior to the sort of quick knock-off translation stuff. I could tell that a special effort and care was put into the translation of D on making this thing work as a movie, regardless of the fact that these are drawn characters. I just felt that there was a real effort to make this into an absolutely believable world. There was just something about that indefinable thing that is a little different and stands apart from the rest and I think this can appeal to a large mainstream audience. How do you go about playing such evil characters, especially Meier Link? Well, the answer is, he/she is not evil to himself/herself. He is a guy who is doing what he has to do to get by. Now for a vampire, it is I've got to drink the virgin's blood, because it is what I do. You know, Meier does what he has to do to survive in the face of being hunted and wanting love and needing blood, those are things that he has to do. You don't play it as though he were the most evil vampire in the world; you play it just like he is this guy who has to get some things done during the day. Or the night. Yeah, he has got to drink some blood. [LAUGHS] Are you going to be in any future voice-over projects? I haven't done anything in awhile. Most of my work is done with Jack Fletcher, and he has given me a lot of work over the years. We work very well together. When you work with someone you trust and you know what he is telling you is good, even if you aren't sure why. One of the things that he does that shows how well we work together is he will say to me after a line, "John...too much William Shatner" [LAUGHS] and I know exactly what he means. Or sometimes he will go, "John, believe it or not I need more William Shatner." [LAUGHS] Do you do any acting work other than voice-over? Yeah, I've been a stage actor for 15 or so, I don't know how many years. I lived in Seattle for a long time and did a lot of theater there. And while I have been in Los Angeles, I've been in two short films but I actually wrote and produced and played the lead in a film of my own called, Breathing Hard. That film is actually winning prizes everywhere but nobody has actually bought it from me yet. I started out as a playwright, and in a lot of ways I'm more of a writer than I am an actor. When I moved to Los Angeles I started to write film scripts. But, I have to say in my heart, my great love is theater. Have you been in any live-action roles? Why yes, the most famous thing I've ever done is a short film, it is the most successful short film ever made, called, George Lucas in Love. A take-off on Shakespeare in Love about how George Lucas came to write Star Wars when he was a student at USC. It is a very funny short; you can find it at Blockbuster with a whole bunch of other short films. I'm in it for about a second. [LAUGHS] So, what would you like to pursue creatively? Other than my own film work, I would love to do more film acting. How do you feel about the fan base for your characters? The whole fan base thing is actually kind of wonderful given that nobody knows what I look like. I am hoping to go and pursue the convention route soon; that would be interesting. Do you have any words of advice to aspiring voice-actors? My only advice in terms of actual practice of voice work, my feeling about it is, whatever your practice or instinct in other forms that you act in...be prepared to listen to and accept what other people have to tell you about it. Be willing to go where they want you to go to. I think really, my only advice is, trust the people you work with. Until they prove themselves to be untrustworthy. [LAUGHS] And always get a copy of your contract at the end of the day. [LAUGHS] That is good advice indeed. Well, thank you for this opportunity; it has been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you, Kelli. My pleasure".

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 20, 2001.


Damn girl! That's what I call being on the ball. I hereby nominate Barb as the Patron Saint of the Flux forum. All in favor say Aye!

-- Logo (Vosepherus@aol.com), December 21, 2001.

AYE: Patron Saint and Sire SIREN

-- dangerboy (artian@earthlink.net), December 21, 2001.


(I should seize the moment and quote Aeon Flux, hmmm, I will use the Herodotus File)

x00:06:18 "AF:I just want to be paid for services rendered".

Wait, exactly how did she mean that?!

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 21, 2001.


Just when was this interview done? It's so good. Love the stuff about how to create these roles, and the behind the scenes stuff. Did anyone notice the line "There are rumors there will be a feature for Aeon Flux in the future" in there? Also, I love his story about the 20 takes. However it makes me suddenly find I miss Poirier keenly. Her email address is now invalid you know. I only hope we hear from her again. I'd love to see her sparring on this forum, I've always had a feeling she had more in common with Flux than anyone with her certain je ne sais quoi.

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 22, 2001.

No doubt about that. And she and Lee I can confirm from my own experience with them was a total cinch. Those two are unmitigated professionals (I directed a six-part cycle of MTV-radio commercials for the book as well.)

-- dangerboy (artian@earthlink.net), December 22, 2001.

Were they part of the radio commercials?

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 22, 2001.

Yes! I got to direct those two for that gig, and it turned out fking great! I'm still proud of swinging that whole little sup-project. If I hadn't been some sort of sht-together kinda slick that whole thing could have fallen to pieces. But I totally handled it, of course. (That's back before I really did fall to pieces. I still haven't completely recovered but it had nothing to do with any work I got to do on the show, thank Goddess).

But anyway, the two of them were just so God damn professional, it was such a breeze! I sure hope they felt similaraly about me; I think so.

-- dangerboy (artian@earthlink.net), December 23, 2001.


Man I'd love to hear those! Where did they air? Just L.A.? Do you have any copies of them? Can we hear them through some kind of internet media player? Is that illegal? Beg beg beg....

-- Barb e. (Suesuebeo9@cs.com), December 23, 2001.

Yeah, don't worry about it! Anybody who wants to drop a line about anything like that I'd be much obliged to swing 'em in the right direction. I think I still know where most of the stuff can be dredged up from around town - I've friends out here who actually do this sort of thing for a living -- who live in or around HWD., who got an eBay thing together with their pc or mac or whatnot and spend the other 1/2 of their time browsing (physically that is the high-profile shopping districts and entertainment and tourist markets about town. Collectors' shops, poster stores, etc. But this BBS isn't for trading or mkt'g of merchandise of course so like I say - I mean I got to get out a lot more and get into emailing people directly about stuff anyways myself - but that really goes for anyone - the odd "HELP ME FIND A VHS OF THE SHORTS PLEEEESE", etc etc. . . .

-- dangerboy (artian@earthlink.net), December 23, 2001.

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