Voice acting, it’s good work if you can get it. Especially if you’re only asked to read for a single character, not an entire small village, like Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer do on The Simpsons. Or Seth MacFarlane does for ALL his shows. Take Family Guy‘s Mila Kunis, for instance. The character she voices, tortured daughter Meg Griffin, spoke about 10 sentences in Sunday’s “The Simpsons Guy.” Kunis takes home between $175,000 and $225,000 per episode, so she made a cool $20,000 for each of her lines. Again, good work if you can get it.
You probably know that Kunis wasn’t the original voice of Meg, mighty fetch Mean Girls star Lacey Chabert was for the first season and into the second, but you might not be aware of why it happened. Here’s what Chabert told GameSpy, for some reason, back in 2006.
GameSpy: Now this, of course, was not your first experience voice acting. You’ve done voices for a number of cartoons and video games over the years, including, if I’m not mistaken, Family Guy, where you were the original voice of Meg Griffin, right?
Lacey Chabert: I was. I did that for a season.
GameSpy: Does this mean you have a grudge against Mila Kunis, who does her voice now, and if so, can this be settled in a game of Sonic the Hedgehog?
Lacey Chabert: No, I actually left the show of my own accord. And only because I was in school and doing Party of Five at the time. But I think the show is hilarious, and don’t have a grudge against her at all. I think she’s a great actress. (Via)
That’s what they all say, “all” being anyone who was replaced on a massively popular TV show that’s been on for 13 seasons and counting because of a mistake. Oh yeah, about that:
What was the reason behind the recasting of Meg?
Seth MacFarlane: You know, it was just purely a contractual thing. Lacey Chabert, I think there was a mistake in her contract, and I guess she had not intended to be involved for, like, the full run of the show. I don’t even remember. To be honest, I don’t really, to this day, know what it was. It was nothing – there was no tension or anything. She wanted to go, and she was very cool about it. We obviously don’t want to keep anyone there who doesn’t want to be there. So, you know, it was early on enough in the show that it wasn’t a huge – that happens from time to time, you’ve got to replace a voice actor. Fortunately, what Mila brought to it, Mila Kunis, was in a lot of ways, I thought, almost more right for the character. I say that Lacey did a phenomenal job, but there was something about Mila – something very natural about Mila. She was 15 when she started, so you were listening to a 15-year-old. (Via)
That was Seth MacFarlane’s diplomatic response to what happened to Chabert, who it’s worth mentioning was actually the SECOND Meg. Cree Summer, who you might know as Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures, was originally hired for the role, but she was fired because, well, let her explain it.
Meg’s casting is as tortured as the character herself.