There’s a lot of overlap between Jim’s fans and James Marsters of Buffy fame as he’s the one who narrates the audio books. Back in the day I found a website that saves snipits of James Marsters interviews, and saved the ones that were pertinent to all things Jim Butcher. I’ll copy and paste that resource below.
But first I’ll start with a Jim quote on James’ narrations of the audio books:
I was actually very pleased to hear with Skin Game to hear he was recording it and then it took him like an extra hour or something to record one scene because it was the scene where Harry actually meets his daughter for the first time because he kept breaking down crying. I’m like “yes! I made Spike the vampire cry”.
o How did you get involved in recording the Dresden books?
+ (9-03 DragonCon) Oh, with Jim Butcher? I think someone from his staff just approached my manager and they said check out the book. I read three chapters and was like, “Cool!” I’m a fan of his. I think he’s a really good writer. I’m glad you’re happy with the genre. He really puts more meat on the bones of the story than he has to and it raises the level of the whole genre.
+ (4-05 Houston) They just called me up, which was strange because it’s a book that so does not need an English accent and that’s all I was really known for but I was so happy to sort of give ol’ Sam Spade a try. I had a great time, I think that Dan is a really good writer, scuse me, Jim. Sorry. (big laughs) I was thinking of Dan Brown. Someone gave me an autographed copy of The DaVinci Code, so sorry Jim Butcher, I know your name…His plots go quickly, he’s able to define characters with a minimal amount of lanquage, and he is able to get to psychological truths that really make me feel uncomfortable. You know, like one or two scenes per book there’s some character that you may find out a little more than you ever wanted to know and it just really helps psychologically being unsettled as you go into those worlds. I think it is a perfect use of that.
o Can you tell us a little about your latest audio CD, “Storm Front”?
+ (7-02 Shoreleave) Yeah, that was really interesting you know. I did it just to get into voice over, but, as I read it, it seemed to touch on some more serious issues than I had expected and I found myself when we were recording… we did it in two days – yeah, they’re like, [different voice] ‘You’re a machine man.’ Yes, I am [big laugh]. I thought that the writing was really kind of cool, like Harry Potter grown up. Harry Dresden… I’d like to be like to be Harry Dresden [laughs]… not take a shower for four weeks [laughs]. No, I look forward to… I’m actually thinking of doing some more of that series, that would be cool.
+ (1-03 Creation Con) Yeah, I think that character’s really fabulous, Harry Dresden. Yeah. Yeah. I am, I am planning on doing another book actually, I haven’t inked anything, but I think it’s gonna work out. I thought, that book really surprised me. It had a lot of resonance in it. There’s a particular scene where he goes in to a kitchen, and he’s just about to the end of the mystery and .. I thought that scene was really powerful. I think he’s a really good writer in the genre. Plus I get to play a wizard. So all the kids like me!
o In the Dresden audio books, the character of Marcone, what the heck is that accent for him? The mob guy?
+ (6-04 Moonlight Rising) What do I do? What do I say? I don’t remember. What’d I do? (laughs)
(slipping into a very proper, controlled accent) This is someone who had a lot of money, probably spoke very well and is very dangerous. But he spoke very well, yeah. Because he uses weapons… he uses words like weapons. (in deep voice) “Hello. I hope you’re relaxed.”
o You do such a beautiful job portraying the women in the Dresden audio books. How did you approach these characters emotionally and vocally?
+ (5-06 Jamesmarsters.com Q&A) Emotionally it’s very easy to portray a woman because women are human beings just like me, so there’s not a big need to change the internal. That’s the lesson that Shakespeare taught me early on. Shakespeare wrote great women because he wrote great human beings and then cast great transvestites to play them.
o You said that you read the Dresden novels for your own pleasure and I got into them because you were reading them. Do you do any kind of preparation, like making notes, because you’re really good. And also, which is your favorite book and character to do?
+ (4-07 CreationCon Burbank) Wow. Uhm, I don’t do a lot of preparation. In general, I find that he’s a good writer so I want him to affect me as opposed to me making like an intellectual choice beforehand, like how many English accents do I have, and use number three here and number seven here. I try to, if I can, come up with it on the fly and usually that doesn’t work and we have to go back. (laughs) But I find that this is a little more organic and the last book I did, Summer Knight – that blew up in my face because of the Summer Council scene and there were like fifteen booming, English basso voices and I don’t have more than one of those voices. (Booms out “Hellooo”) But usually, it works really well. My favorite one I think was probably the first one and only because it was my introduction to Jim as a writer and so it was more intense. There was one little scene in which a woman was talking about her husband who was abusive and it was written so deftly, about noticing things in the kitchen and noticing the clock and the silences. And I just thought that he really understood that. My favorite character to do is Bob. Yeah. He’s such a jerk. (laughs and in English accent) “you’re going to burn, Harry.”
o Would you consider any role in the Dresden series?
+ (6-07 Fangoria ) Yes, I would consider any role in the Dresden series because I consider that it comes from a really good source material, it has an eye toward the truth and has a good metaphor for saying it. I declined auditioning for the lead because it was filming in Canada and I really didn’t want to move my kid. I mean, shoot it in LA, you know! (someone says just go to Canada) I know, but I got kids, man. And what happens if they go up there for one pilot or six episodes, and I’ve already taken my kids out of school, you know? You gotta be a parent at some point. But to go up for a few episodes? Hell yeah.
o If they filmed the Harry Dresden series, would you do it and who would you like to play?
+ (7-03 Tampa) I would do it in a heartbeat. I think he’s a great character. I don’t know if there is going to be a movie, I heard they optioned it. When I was reading StormFront, I was thinking this was planned to be a movie. The structure of it’s perfect for a movie.
+ (5-04 London Audience) We are in conversation with Nicholas Cages company about that project, they know about me, and I’m going to audition for it, yeah. I live in Hollywood, auditions don’t mean shit.
+ (5-04 Berlin Audience) No not yet. I know Jim’s really hot on me to do it. Nic Cage is producing it, I don’t know who he’s thinking of. I just really want to get an audition because I feel that if they audition me they’ll cast me.
+ (6-04 Moonlight Rising) Well, Harry. I’d have to get big shoes. But I really like how Butcher has really nailed film noir and also seems to have a good imagination for creating mythical creatures around that. It’s a really, and also frankly has a good eye towards human behavior. It’s something that you don’t normally get in a genre. But there’s a scene in the book that I read about Harry, closing in on the killer and he finds the killer’s wife and he’s questioning her in the kitchen and, you know, it was the best scene in the book, and the clock is ticking and he did the wallpaper and everything’s kind of perfect but also kind of tight -and and you could tell that the woman had a lot that she wanted to say, but she felt guilty about, maybe she felt it’s her fault, and I just thought that that, that I was dealing with an author who understood human beings. And I’d love to play Harry. I also think it’s any of those, any of the books translate very well to film, very well indeed. But you know, who knows.
Harry Dresden sees into a person’s soul when he meets their eyes. How would you convey the impact of the “soul gaze”? So this is assuming you’re playing Harry Dresden.
When confronted with horror… that is a complex human being… because I imagine that if you really can seen in someone, you’re reaction is going to be [quick intake of breathe and step back]. It’s going to be a bit frightening. It’s going to be unsettling because we’re all very complex human beings. So, it’s not going to be “Oh, I see you.” It’s going, “(quick intake of breath) Shit, I just saw you.” Yeah, that’s how I’d do it. It’s possible, actually. Nick Cage is producing it. I’m aware that physically I don’t… If you were to describe the character and then try to find actors who fit that character, I would not be called. However, I think I can do the film noir style very well. I think I can be tired, hungover and grumpy really well. No, I don’t as of yet have an audition, but it’s not to that point yet in the development of the project. So, I am in their minds and I’ve gotten on the list and everything, but we’ll see.
+ (4-05 Houston) The Dresden Files is being shepherded toward completion by Lions Gate. My name has been bandied around and when it gets to that point it will be bandied again, but they’re not to that point yet.
o Have you seen the Dresden Files TV series and if you have, what did you think of it?
+ (4-07 CreationCon Burbank) I haven’t seen it. Uhm…I gotta say, I can’t wait…8:20 – it’s after I sing the songs for my kid, and she goes to bed, and I go straight to CNN, or Discovery Times channel, or Discovery channel, or History channel. And those are such good channels, I don’t really go watching fiction. And I get in trouble. Steve, my manager, will go, “uh, you’re auditioning for this tomorrow, you need to know the acting style.” And I’m like, “but, but but… The Discover Times is doing this thing on Al-Qaeda and I got to know about the Pakistani nuclear bomb, and it’s really….” (grins and shrugs)
o Jim Butcher says you are responsible for getting the Dresden series on TV, that when you went to do voices for the Spiderman cartoon that was on MTV, you had just finished doing one of the books on tape and they were praising you on how you had done that [Spiderman] and you said, “oh, well I just got finished with this book” and that’s how it got on TV. So he blames you.
+ (4-07 CreationCon Burbank) Wow! That’s cool. It’s probably true. I went on and on about that. I had just gotten over it and I was really on fire about how this guy should be turned into film and the books were just ready-made for movies.
o Jim Butcher said that Thomas is inspired by Spike because “because Spike is the epitome of the pretty boy vampire and so I needed a pretty boy vampire and I wrote him like Spike” He is dying to see you on the Dresden Files on TV.
+ (4-07 CreationCon Burbank) I’d love to do it. Yeah, that’d be great.
As Thomas? Or Marcone?
You know who else I think is based on Spike? The gecko for that insurance company. Because you know, (English accent) ‘he’s got that kind of, you know, I don’t know, dry sense of humor.’ I don’t know, I think that’s Spike. (laughs)
o Will you be doing more Dresden book readings?
+ (9-07 Dragon Con) Well I hope so. Jim has not said that I’ve pissed him off recently, so… I would love to keep reading those. The last one I did was Summer Knight. They usually have me do one about every year, so I think I’ll probably be back. I hope so. I think I did an ok job. But every time I read one I’m like “That wasn’t very good, I didn’t do a very good job, and they’re not going to let me do it again.” I always think that. But then like in Summer Knight there was like fourteen deep English Wizard’s voices and Jim would write it (deep voice) “In a basso voice” for everybody and I’m like “how many deep English accents do I have? So that’s why I thought I sucked. I didn’t have enough Deep English wizard characters.
o Can you tell us about the process of recording “Fool Moon” and if there was a difference between what you did with “Storm Front”.
+ (9-03 DragonCon) No, you know, the process was very similar. My schedule is so busy that I didn’t get to read either book before I recorded it. So it was really a process of reading one page and then reading it out loud and reading the next page — to myself in the booth — and reading it out loud again and trying to get carried away by the story. Trying to get a flow happening so that I’d have an emotional response to what I’m reading and it kind of flows. Just kind of letting myself be surprised by the plot, just like the audience would be. And I hope that worked. I wouldn’t recommend that to people who do voice over, but I didn’t really have a choice. Yeah, both very enjoyable. Both kind of like… turning the page like (excited, surprised voice) “Oh my god”. Is Jim Butcher here by any chance? [audience says yeah and he wants to meet you… Questioner tells him that he’s signing over in the other hotel.] Really? Is he far? (Cups hands over mic and yells into mic) HI JIM! (James smiles laughing to himself at the silliness of yelling to another hotel) I’m really sorry guys.
+ (4-04 BTVS Magazine) It’s more than just [voicing all the] different characters – it’s telling the story, which is always fun; it’s also the art of hanging words in the air that the audience responds to, which is much closer to theatre. I love doing books on tape for that reason.
o Describe your process as a book-on-tape reader in finding ways to evoke the emotions and actions of the story using only your voice.
+ (1-09 JM.com Q&A) My process is to complain and bitch to my very patient producer Bob! I’m always wanting to get lost in a story and he’s always wanting to concentrate on things like pronouncing the words and correcting my lisp.
o Which character do you relate to most and why?
+ (6-07 Fangoria ) I’d have to say Harry the most because I’ve read from the perspective of Harry. I don’t know if it’s so well written that it’s universal, and so I can plant myself into it easily, or if actually has specifics that speak to me as a man, but I feel that that is a tired guy who’s trying to do well in the world, but is a little too overloaded to do it as well as he wants to. And that feels like me. I always feel that I need to keep my head above water. Guys, don’t you all feel like there’s a big tidal wave just around the corner and you’ve just got to surf it somehow, but you don’t know how and you’re always trying to keep your head above water? Yeah. And I kind of feel that’s what Harry feels too. But, who’s the dude with the big sword? Morgan? “You’ve broken the LAW!” I’d love to be that guy. I identify with Morgan too, actually.
o Would you consider the role of Thomas the vampire as being typecast because it’s another vampire role or are there enough differences that you would really enjoy taking it on?
+ (4-07 CreationCon Burbank) Uhm, I have done enough other roles now that I think that I could probably go back and do a vampire, yeah. You know, two or three years ago, I probably would have said, “oh, I don’t know about that” but I’ve done other stuff, so yeah. I think I could probably do that, if it’s a good script.
# Off Screen
* Others Speak About James
o Jim Butcher (Author of Harry Dresden books)
+ (4-04 BTVS Magazine) It’s one thing to read it to myself in my head as I’m going along, but it’s another thing for it to be read out loud by somebody who has talent with that kind of thing. There are a lot of extras that James throws in in terms of tone and inflection and timing that I really think do a lot to help the book out. And I really enjoyed him reading Toot-Toot [a tiny fairy character] in the first book. He obviously had fun doing it, so it made me happy.
+ (1-05 Orbitbooks.com) James Marsters has read the audio books of the Dresden Files, and has really done a fantastic job. He doesn’t just read them. He acts them, giving characters different voices and everything. He’d make a fine Harry.
o Joy Poger (Buzzy Multimedia, producers of Dresden Audiobooks)
+ (4-04 Angel Magazine) He Spike) has a great sense of comedic timing, the intelligence, courage, bravery, stubborness, whimsy, fighting against the odds and still coming through. We felt that if he could do that with Spike, he would be able to do that with Harry’.
Quote from: James Marsters source
Any upcoming TV you want to promote?
I do want to plug a book.on.tape series called the Dresden Files. Those are really quite good, a combination of Harry Potter and Sam Spade. Those books always have a little more meat on the bone than I expect. There’s always a scene or two that stick with me as far as emotional impact. I think the author (Jim Butcher) has plans to do 25 books, and we’ve done 14 so far. It’s a long series, and with every book the main character Harry Dresden gets more powerful as a wizard and as a private eye, as the world gets more and more chaotic. His ability to pick up the stakes with every book has just been incredible.