Our second interview from Indiana Comic Con was with Maile Flanagan. You may not recognize her name, but I’m pretty sure you would recognize her face. I know you would recognize her voice, believe me. You’ve seen her in things like 500 Days of Summer, Disney’s Lab Rats and Showtime’s Shameless, but you may know her best as the voice of Naruto Uzumaki. If you’ve played a game, watched a movie or any episode of Naruto or Naruto Shippuden where Naruto spoke English, you were hearing the voice of Maile. She was born in Hawaii, shares her name with the plant used to make traditional leis, and now lives in Los Angeles with her wife.
She was very busy between autograph sessions and the multiple panels that she was a part of and I was only able to squeeze in a few minutes, but we were able to discuss her work on Naruto and a number of other interesting topics regarding voice acting.
James: You are someone that likes to perform on stage and in front of the camera, as well as doing voice work. After more than 500 episodes, 10 movies and 25 video games have you ever regretted taking on the role of Naruto because of all the time you’ve had to dedicate to it?
Maile Flanagan (MF): No, I’ve never regretted it. I am a bit of a whore [when it comes to roles]. I’ll do pretty much anything, and it’s about 50-50 now between voice work and other types of performing. I do a lot of stage work, mostly for free. One comedy show I work with is a benefit, and we have managed to raise over $150,000 with it. We don’t really make any money doing that, but we do get paid in beer. I love performing on stage and doing Lab Rats, Shameless, and of course Naruto.
James: I wanted to ask you about Lab Rats and the convention experience have kids ever been stunned to see that Principal Perry does the voice of Naruto?
MF: All the time, and not just here. They will tweet me all the time going, ‘What? The voice of Naruto is on Lab Rats?’ or the other way around.
James: Before I go I wanted to ask you about Bad Habits. Do you think it will be the next Sister Act?”
MF: It’s probably dirtier, for sure. It is an independent production, but we have some great people working on it with us. I didn’t create it or write on it yet, but I might in the future. I also may direct an episode in the future. I have already directed an episode of the show Uncorked, and I plan to shadow some directors on some major Hollywood shows. As you get older, you want to expand your horizons. A lot of this started because of Lab Rats. I would hang out with the directors and assistant directors, which was great. I work with kids a lot, and I love doing kid’s shows. It’s great because the rest of the stuff I do is completely filthy… but I’ll do anything, which is what I’ve done my whole career and so far it has worked out!
I was glad that she decided to talk as much as she did about her upcoming projects. Sharing information about these projects is the least I can do to pay her back for her time. In an industry where my name means nothing and her name will draw people to my article, I will redirect readers back to her when I’m done. Maile was great to talk to and I encourage all of you to stop by and meet her when she comes to a con near you. Bad Habits doesn’t have a release date yet, but you can see her acting and directing chops in UnCorked Season 1, premiering online on May 12, 2017. Click on the link to watch the short YouTube video. Women write, direct and star in the show about women who make the kind of porn they would choose to see.