Interview with Lex Lang
Lex Lang is a man of many talents-- a musician, an ADR director, and a voice actor who's portrayed a vast number of different characters. Perhaps his best-known role, however, is as Sanosuke Sagara in Rurouni Kenshin. We had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Lang about his experience working on this show as the hotheaded, fight-minded "rooster head" in Kenshin's group of comrades. Thanks to Mr. Lang for his time!
Dub Review: Rurouni Kenshin is different in many ways from other shows you have done-- it's three seasons long, and contains many Japanese words and cultural references that were not translated (such as Kenshin's attacks). How did you feel about working on this show?
Lex Lang: It was a great pleasure. I had a lot of fun in the studio. It was sometimes difficult to pronounce some of the Japanese phrases but we got by in the end. Also, it was nice to have such a long show because as it went on, I could reach for more in the character.
DR: Did you hear any of Sony's "Samurai X" dub of the TV series? If so, how did it affect your portrayal of your character?
Lang: I actually worked on it, as a Samurai Master, although at the time I did not see or hear the voice work of whomever played Sanosuke.
DR: What was your first impression of Sanosuke, and how did that impression change over time?
Lang: At first he was very angry and only interested in seeking revenge, so the character was more fight-driven. As the show went on, he made peace with all of his past and the character got more friendly as did the story line.
DR: Many have noted that you sound quite different from Yuji Ueda, the Japanese voice of Sanosuke. Did you hear any of his performance before recording, and if so, how did it affect your own work?
Lang: I thought that he did a wonderful job with the voice acting, but I wanted to create a voice that gave respect to the character and not try to copy his voice, although many times we would reference his performance for energy levels.
DR: What aspect of Sanosuke's character were you most able to relate to?
Lang: I related most to his determined and fearless attitude, as well as having a sense of humor.
DR: You directed and wrote for eX-Driver. Do you plan to continue directing?
Lang: Yes, I recently also directed a show called Mirage of Blaze and am currently directing Juuni Kokki: Twelve Kingdoms. (Rurouni Kenshin) prepared me for this because it allowed me to really dig in and see how the process works (with so many episodes)
DR: What's the deal with you and sandwiches, anyway?
Lang: Often during the sessions we make mistakes while we are recording and they end up on the blooper tracks, so whenever it happened for Sanosuke, I would try to stay in character and say something about food (because Sano loves to eat). Usually it had to do with a sandwich or something.
DR: Now that it's over, how do you feel about working on Rurouni Kenshin?
Lang: I feel grateful to have been part of such a great show with so many good actors and such a fun story. Working for Bang Zoom! Entertainment is always a pleasure. Kaeko Sakamoto's directing was instumental in molding the characters and performances. They rock!
DR: What is your favorite scene or memory from Rurouni Kenshin?
Lang: I know there was a scene on the train where they are seeing a steam engine locomotive for the first time and Sano can't believe it. He doesn't understand how it works and it leads him into several heated arguments where he acts very cartoony. It was a lot of fun to record and I recently saw it and had some big laughs.