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Hollywood is mourning the loss today of Ernest Borgnine, that
stocky, gap-toothed Academy Award-winner who made us cry with his heartfelt portrayal
of a lonely butcher from the Bronx in Paddy
Chayefsky's 1955 drama, "Marty." Not to mention making us laugh when
he played that lovable rogue Quentin McHale on the popular 1960s sitcom,
And while we may have seen the last of this 95 year-old
performer (who passed away yesterday at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center due to
apparent kidney failure) ... Well, if Tom Hignite has his way, Borgnine will be
heard from once more as part of a brand-new animated feature that Miracle
Studios currently has in the works.
Just two months ago, Hignite traveled out to Hollywood to supervise
a "Miracle Mouse" recording session. In a recent posting over on
Animation Nation, Tom recalled how Ernest ...
Copyright Tom Hignite's Miracle Studios. All rights reserved
... showed-up EARLY by about 15 minutes. He did not argue or
have any sort of an attitude whatsoever. He did not demand any special
treatment or certain goodies be present at the session.
(In his role as Cranky Crane) the main
antagonist-tuned-protagonist (of the "Miracle Mouse" project,
Borgnine had dialogue) on most of our 97 page script. It took him only about 2
hours to do all of his lines and many of his lines were read in a manner that
was better than we might have envisioned the lines being read. He was gentleman
enough to allow us to do a short video interview afterwards(perhaps to be
released on the DVD edition some day), and he even signed 20 posters over his
character's image just before departing.
Given his work on the "All Dogs Go to Heaven"
films as well as the "SpongeBob SquarePants" animated television
series, Borgnine was obviously already a pro when it came to doing voiceovers.
But even so, Tom was struck by the amount of thought & advance preparation
Ernest had put into this role. How -- when Borgnine arrived at the recording
studio -- he ...
Copyright Viacom. All rights reserved
... first wanted to sit down and discuss some special ideas he
had envisioned for (this) character. Since his Cranky Crane character was a
crane(the bird kind, not the machine type) he suggested we try to use a mix of
his voice and an actual cranes noise when he says his catchline
His speaking was as down to earth as if he was an unaccomplished
no-name blue-collar factory worker. When anyone tried to tell him what a living
legend he is, he dismissed it with a smile and moved onto other subjects.
If you'd like to learn a bit more about what may well be
Ernest Borgnine's last professional performance, why not head on over to the Tom
Hignite's Miracle Studios website and then check out "The Many Stories of
Miracle Mouse" sizzle reel. Where you can then learn more about this
Cranky the Crane character which Borgnine had been recording the voice for.
Of course, now the big question is: Did Tom get everything
that he needed from Ernest in order to complete this character? Given that Hignite
was supposed to be heading back out to Hollywood in the coming weeks to do
another recording session with Borgnine to do pick-up lines for "The Many
Stories of Miracle Mouse," I'm thinking not. So now it's really a question
as to whether Miracle Studios will hire a Ernest Borgnine soundalike to record
those few missing pieces of dialogue or opt instead to junk the tracks that
they have and just hire another actor to now provide Cranky Crane's voice.
Which I know sounds kind of excessive. But just remember
that Chris Farley had reportedly recorded 90% of the dialogue that DreamWorks Animation
needed for "Shrek" when that Saturday Night Live star died of a drug overdose in
December of 1997. And even though DWA had most of what they needed to complete
that animated feature (and reportedly even talked about bringing in Chris'
brother Kevin Farley to record Shrek's last few remaining pieces of dialogue),
DreamWorks Animation eventually tossed all of those tracks and then brought in
Mike Myers to re-record all of Shrek's dialogue for that film.
Well, here's hoping that Miracle Studios opts not to do
that. Because it would be great to get the chance to hear Ernest Borgnine one
more time. Even if this Academy Award-winner is voicing a cartoon crane who
just wants to be left alone.
RIP Ernie. God Bless You, we'll truly miss you. One of the good guys.
hope they keep the ttracks of what Ernest did and if nothing else have some impersonator come in and finish for that would be a nice tribute to a now departed legend like Ernest. his fans being able to see his final film. and hear his voice one last time.
Thank you for the article. It is a sad day for us here in WIsconsin and all around the World for those who appreciated Ernest's extensive body of work. To answer your question, no, we have no intention of replacing Ernest Borgnine's voice-over work as our star, Cranky Crane. His acting was superb and our studio now sees this as the final salute to an acting legend. Ernest's "swan song" of sorts.
Yes, we do have some bits of dialog which will need to be gently pieced together and re-edited to work. We will likely need to use an actor voice-alike to add a few critcal pieces of needed dialog but we are now re-imagining how we might use pantomime or another such story device to carry the message we are trying to acheive.
Ernest gave us a small opportunity to do a short clip or two about his life as a legend. I asked him a few off-camera questions while he was standing alongside his Miracle Mouse co-star Jeannie Elias. If you would like, I can send you the clips, Jim, and you can post them.The mass media has been after these all day today and we are just getting them downloaded off of our tapeless camera which was out on a shoot. Timing is everything
I know Ernest wanted this production to be "seen" as he chose US only after he read and re-read the script . He saw it as a good moral message hidden quietly amongst the outward entertainment of the film.
We are still looking for an investor to come alongside this film and in a way, Ernest's passing has given our quiet little production a bigger voice. Even so,I would gladly trade this fleeting notariety for the chance to see Ernest , being here to enjoy the finished film that he showed such confidence in making. A sad day indeed here at Miracle.
Borgnine has an unreleased live-action film also still to come out.