After 27 seasons, Homer Simpson’s ready for a little live improv, thanks to the latest mocap tech applied to Emmy-winning voice actor Dan Castellaneta.
Inspired by the recent success of live TV musicals (“Grease,” “The Wiz”), Homer will grab the mic at the conclusion of Sunday’s “Simprovised” episode to answer fan questions about the Presidential race and whatever else inquiring fans want to know.
The deadline for submitting questions was last week and Homer will hold up a newspaper from Sunday to prove that he’s live.
Castellaneta will be motion-captured in real-time in a recording booth using Adobe software tweaked by Fox Sports. Jean said they first toyed with the idea of mocapping the characters for “The Simpsons Movie” in 2007 but it was too crude back then. Now, though, it’s fluid enough to pull off for three minutes, as they seamlessly translate the actor’s performance into Homer’s motions onto a fixed animated background (with pre-programmed lip assignments).
Jean figures they’ll have enough time to reel off four or five answers, and the tests have gone smoothly so far. Then again, you never know what can happen with live TV.
Meanwhile, Sunday marks the 595th episode of “The Simpsons,” which trails “Gunsmoke” by 40 episodes for the all-time prime-time scripted series record. The current Fox agreement runs through episode 625 in the fall of next year while the actors are under contract through 30 seasons. Maybe they can arrange to go totally live for the record.
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