Time to sing a different toon?
Simon Usborne

A little over a year from now, Epic will arrive at cinemas. How do we know? Because 20th Century Fox has just issued a press release. It devotes a a forest, has to save the world) but several more to announcing its ‘Epic’casting.

For "epic," read "celeb-filled." The film stars BeyoncE, Colin Farrell, Amanda Seyfried and that other well-known actor... Steven Tyler. Later this month, meanwhile, the voices of Julie Walters, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson will be heard in Brave, Pixar’s latest. Can you name the voice behind Snow White in the 1937 Disney classic? How about Pinocchio or Cinderella? Probably not because, before feature animation became a billion-dollar industry gripped by a marketing machine that values celebrity above all else, cartoons were voiced by... voice actors.

Adriana Caselotti was Snow White. She received $970 and little attention for her work in Disney’s first animated feature. Regardless of rates of inflation, celebrities today can expect much more for sitting in front of a microphone.

In 2001, the first Academy Award for best animation went to Shrek (Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz). This year, Chris Rock, the voice of Marty, the zebra in Madagascar, presented the Oscar to Rango (Johnny Depp). Tom Hanks earned $15m for Toy Story 3, not much less than he demands for on-camera roles. Hanks helped Toy Story 3 to become the highest-grossing film of 2010 (it made $1bn worldwide).

The Independent