Movie Article

Sprechen Sie Tom Cruise?

German voice-over actor speaks candidly -- Andreas Frohlich, who has voiced John Cusack and Edward Norton for American films released in Germany weighs in on being a successful ''Synchronsprecher''

When German actor Andreas Frohlich walks down a Berlin street, he rarely gets mobbed by star-crazed autograph seekers. That is, until he opens his mouth. ''People will scream, 'Oh, my God! Aren't you the German voice of Edward Norton?''' he says, laughing. Frohlich is a successful ''Synchronsprecher'' -- voice actor, unseen performer, aural doppel-ganger -- saying the lines of English-speaking stars on film, television, and DVD for German audiences. Frohlich (who also regularly dubs John Cusack) recently portrayed ''a more evil Gollum'' in the German-dubbed ''Lord of the Rings'' movies. ''The English version of Gollum sounds like Donald Duck,'' he laments. Some Germans enjoy their DVDs with the original English soundtrack; others prefer Hollywood with a Teutonic twist. ''I really like the German voice of Sandra Bullock better than the original,'' admits Arne Kaul of Kamen, Germany -- webmaster of synchrondatenbank.de/en, an Internet shrine to ''Synchronsprecher'' -- who claims to recognize the voices of more than 3,000 German actors. Frohlich maintains that his Cusack has the highest fidelity. ''I think mine fits best,'' he says. ''But maybe the Hungarian or Czechoslovakian Cusack thinks the same thing.''

Originally posted Jul 16, 2004 Published in issue #774 Jul 16, 2004 Order article reprints