“I’m an actor who doesn’t work often enough”, R. Bruce Elliott jokes, with hundreds of roles across countless shows under his belt, and having just wrapped up an episode of his latest show, Case File 221B, the day of talking to Supanova.
Elliott describes his newest show as “a contemporary Sherlock Holmes anime show”.
“It’s kind of fun and different. Sherlock kind of hangs out with a couple of other detectives, and I am one of those other detectives that he hangs out with – named Michel.”
Of course, many know Elliott for his work on One Piece.
“One Piece I’ve done like six different characters on. My main character for One Piece was Whitebeard… I think we’re at episode 600 or something like that of One Piece. It just goes on and on and on.”
He’s been active in the industry for over 16 years, making him the self-described “old man at Funimation”. This, he says, makes it hard to answer the common question of how to get into voice acting.
“I’m much older than most of my fellow voice actors in this business – certainly in the anime game… I was fortunate that I didn’t have as much competition for the roles.
“That’s my problem talking to young people about how they get into voice acting; it’s really hard for them to do it the way I did it. ‘Be old, have an agent, and have that agent send you on auditions’: that’s how I got started with Funimation. I was already over 50… and here I am still doing this.”
Reminiscing on some of his earlier works, Elliott says his character in Detective Conan, Richard Moore, is so far the most talkative character he’s played.
“I was in almost every episode and we recorded maybe about 120 episodes before we stopped dubbing it,” he says. “So, that was almost a year and a half of solid work – hours and hours every week in the booth.”
Since then, Elliott’s most notable roles have been mostly father-figure characters such as One Piece’s Whitebeard and Fairy Tail’s Makarov. He says their most interesting characteristics are those that defy their gruff exteriors.
“They’re just not one dimensional,” he stresses. “And I think maybe that’s what fans react to as well. Both of these characters have scenes where they’re tough, or they’re yelling and shouting, but every once in a while, they’ll have a scene where it’s quiet, and you see they’re human. It can be very touching. I relish those kinds of scenes as an actor. I love to play those kinds of scenes with those kinds of characters – where you get to see more than one side of them.”
Though Elliott’s notoriety has grown in his over-16 years of work in the industry, Supanova Comic Con & Gaming will be the largest convention he’s ever attended.
“I am very excited about this. [Australia] is one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit. It’s going to be a very big deal for me, and I’m quite interested to see how a con that big works. I’m looking forward to it.”
After his first stop in Melbourne, last weekend, fans will be able to meet R. Bruce Elliott on the Gold Coast, this Friday and Saturday.
Lead image: R. Bruce Elliott at Supanova 2020 – Melbourne. Photo by Steven Yee.