James Arnold Taylor: The Man of Many Voices (Ratchet and Clank)

You may not be familiar with the name James Arnold Taylor, but chances are you’ve heard his voice hundreds of times in your life!

James Arnold Taylor is best known as the voice of “Ratchet” from the wildly popular Playstation game, Ratchet and Clank. Now the game has been turned into an animated big screen movie filled with plenty of action and fun for the entire family.

In case you’re not overly familiar with Ratchet and Clank, here's a little background information. Ratchet is a Lombax, originally born on the Lombax homeworld of Planet Fastoon in the Polaris Galaxy but later sent to Planet Veldin in the Solana Galaxy by his father to protect him from Emperor Tachyon. Growing up on Veldin, Ratchet longed to travel to new worlds and even built his own ship. Shortly after completing his ship, Ratchet met a diminutive robot fugitive whom he dubbed Clank, who helped him to leave Veldin and fulfil his dream of travelling. From this point on, Ratchet and Clank travelled extensively through the Solana, Bogon and Polaris Galaxies, saving them on several occasions.

Taylor was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California. He has been voice acting since 1995, appearing in the Japanese game Emit. He has been an active member of the voice acting community since, appearing in numerous roles for both television, film, and video games.

Taylor says that what he loves most about voice acting is the anonymity. He can walk around just about anywhere and even though his voice is one of the most famous in the business, no-one recognizes or bothers him.

In the film Ratchet and Clank, the duo travels the universe doing good, especially against evil alien Chairman Drek. Sometimes they enlist the help of the Galactic Rangers. The film features a great voice cast including Sylvester Stallone, John Goodman, Paul Giamatti and Rosario Dawson. One of the Rangers is feisty Cora voiced by first-time voice actress Bella Thorne.

 Bella Thorne voices the character, Cora

Bella Thorne voices the character, Cora

James Arnold Taylor can do so many voices you’d think it would be hard to keep track of them all, but Taylor says all he has to do is focus on the voice he wants to do and out it comes. As for the biggest risk he ever took auditioning for a voice role? “Going out for Fred Flintstone because nobody thought I could be the voice of Fred Flintstone, being 5’4”, looking like Barney Rubble,” Taylor told me during our recent interview in Los Angeles. “The director literally looked over me in the first session. He went, “Where’s the actor? “It’s me.” so it was a risk.

Other voices Taylor has in his repertoire are, Obi-Wan Kenobi in both the 2D Clone Wars animated micro-series and the 3D Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated film and TV series, as well as in several Star Wars video games. Also The Flash in, Lego DC Comics Super Heroes, Johnny Test and hundreds of actors which include johnny Depp, Jay Baruchel, Christopher Walken and John Ratzenberger.

Check out my extremely entertaining interview (which includes several spot-on impersonations) with James Arnold Taylor about being the voice of Ratchet for so many years, how he keeps all of his voices straight and who some of his favorite celebrities impressions are.

Ratchet and Clank is now playing in theatres.