Kam Williams | 5/23/2012, 10:28 a.m.
Born in the Windy City on Aug. 25, 1978, Kel Mitchell began his acting career at the tender age of 12 with the ETA Creative Arts Foundation. A couple of years later, he got the opportunity of a lifetime when he flew to Florida to be a part of a new children’s television network that would later become Nickelodeon.
Kel was an original cast member on Nickelodeon’s “All That,” which enjoyed a successful run from 1994 to 1999. He and Kenan Thompson also co-starred in the spin-off series “Kenan and Kel,” as well as in the hit film “Good Burger.”
Kel’s resumé includes appearances on such sitcoms as “Sister, Sister,” “The Steve Harvey Show,” and “One on One,” and roles in movies like “Mystery Men,” “Honeydipper,” and “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
Kel has done a lot of voice work on children’s cartoon series, too, from playing the mild-mannered “T-Bone” on “Clifford the Big Red Dog” to the delightful “Ant” on “The Ant and the Aardvark.”
A versatile talent, Kel recently stepped behind the camera to write and direct “She Is Not My Sister,” an upcoming, faith-based feature film about bullying and forgiveness. Here, he talks both about that movie and about providing the voice of “Dutch” on the new Disney XD animated series “Motorcity.”
What interested you in “Motorcity?”
I had worked with the director and creator, Chris Prynoski, before on a Cartoon Network project. He had shown me some artwork from “Motorcity” when it was at the beginning stages, and I thought it was visually amazing. So when I heard the project got picked up at Disney XD, and he wanted me to be a part of the show, I was totally down!
What would you say is the show’s theme?
It’s like the “Terminator” meets “Fast and Furious.” It’s set in the future. There is this man named Abraham Kane who built a city of tomorrow above the city of Detroit. He controls the people still living in underground Detroit with robotic soldiers, ‘droids and tanks.
However, one thing stands in his way of total domination. And that is a group of teens with tricked-out cars who call themselves “The Burners.”
Tell me a little about your character, Dutch.
He is the brains behind “The Burners,” their cars, and all of their cool, hi-tech weapons. I have a lot of fun playing Dutch. He uses tons of technical words and gadgets with names that are fun to say. Plus, it’s fun to know my character is the one making the cars, because the cars in the cartoon are so awesome.
How is acting in a cartoon different from acting in a live-action adventure?
If all the actors are in the recording session at the same time, you can record all voices for one episode in an hour. Of course, the animation takes longer but the voice acting is done very quickly.
It’s a lot of action in “Motorcity” so, for example, a lot of times we’re jumping up and down and screaming in the studio. Consequently, it sounds believable when they animate our characters driving up a ramp shooting at robots. I love seeing what the animators do with my voice acting.