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Edgy anime feature on Animax

Steamboy is based on the original script by Katsuhiro Ootomo, creator of the groundbreaking cyber-punk animation feature, Akira.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2006 16:31 IST

Ten years in the making, with a budget of $22 million and after more than 180,000 drawings, Steamboy is a cult movie that will be premiered on Animax this Saturday. The voiceover cast includes Anna Paquin (X-Men), Patrick Stewart (X-Men) and Alfred Molina (Spiderman 2). Steamboy is based on the original script by Katsuhiro Ootomo, creator of the groundbreaking cyberpunk animation feature, Akira.

Steamboy is a retro science fiction epic set in Victorian England, and features an inventor prodigy named Ray Steam, who comes upon a mysterious metal ball containing a new form of energy capable of powering an entire nation. The Steam Ball could be an astounding miracle for mankind — or a weapon of global annihilation.

Here’s what Patrick Stewart, the voice of Dr Lloyd Steam and Alfred Molina, who speaks for Dr Eddie Steam, have to say:

How was it working in a Japanese animation film? Have you seen any Japanese animation?

Patrick: Only in the last few years have I become more aware of Japanese animation. I was lucky enough to spend some time in Japan earlier this year and I was just blown away by it. It’s very different from what we’ve been doing in the West. I mean, for instance in this film, there are no talking animals, there are no cute moments. It’s all about human beings. It’s like being in a contemporary drama, expect it has a period setting. 

Steamboy features voices of A-list Hollywood actors such as Patrick Stewart and Alfred Molina

Alfred, tell us about the character you are voicing in Steam Boy, Eddie Steam

Alfred: All the characters I know are just by the first names. Eddie is the son of a scientist — they both are scientists. The whole movie takes place at the turn of the 20th century when steam was sort of the nuclear power of the day. And they are trying to harness it and this thing could provide limitless energy for the planet. The father and son have a difference of opinion in terms of where they need to go with this, both scientifically and ethically, and they have a parting of ways. That’s where Eddie’s journey starts.

What was your experience like, working in a voiceover for such a dynamic character?

Alfred: That’s the one odd thing about this kind of work — you do work sort of on your own. It’s not often that you have three or four actors in a room, but you only hear them, and that’s how you get a sense of where they are going with their roles. It does make the job harder, but also makes it easier somehow. The character I play in Steamboy, it’s very clear that this man is very driven, very ambitious. He has had a very colourful and traumatic past which is made clear in the film.

Steamboy premieres on Saturday, November 25, at 7 pm (IST) on Animax