They've pulled in some great voice talent for this cartoon. How did you come to be involved with the Pound Puppies?
Michael Rapaport: It was just through my agent. The normal way you go about doing things. I liked the project and knew the casting director. I decided to do it. I play a character named Squirt. He is a fast-talking, hustling mutt.
Back in the day, when the Pound Puppies originally hit the scene, the dogs didn't really have discernable breeds. Do the dogs here get more defined? Will we be able to tell which dog is what?
Michael Rapaport: There are all different breeds. My dog is an alley mutt. The writing is really good on the show, so I have fun with it. It's easy to work with. And it's something we do episode by episode. This show has a good sense of humor, and its well written. It's for kids, but adults can watch it to. And I always have fun doing it.
You're obviously doing something right, my dog, who is here in the office, just growled at you!
Michael Rapaport: Ahhh!
What sort of antics is Squirt getting into on the Pound Puppies?
Michael Rapaport: Stealing. Hustling. Taking things he shouldn't be taking. But he is also trying to help other dogs find homes. You know, its actually kid friendly. I think it has a good message. This is a fun show. Kids like it, and I like doing it. There is a good message there. And I enjoy myself.
Do you have kids?
Michael Rapaport: I have two sons, yeah.
Did they have a hand in getting you involved with this? Was it something they wanted to see you participate in?
Michael Rapaport: I always want to do things that will appeal to them. But I think they are older than the core audience of this show. They get a kick out of hearing my voice on the show. I have a couple of younger nieces and nephews that really like it. They get a kick out of it. My friend's kids, who are a little older, really like it too. Its so much fun. And the writing? I am telling you, its good!
Speaking of good writing, I watched Bamboozled recently. And I thought that was a very profound work. It was poorly received when it came out, but I think it may be one of Spike Lee's best movies to date. What is your opinion on that movie this far removed from it?
Michael Rapaport: Critical, I think it got a good reception. It just didn't do great at the box office. I think it's a really good movie, and it is very provocative. It is very poignant. It speaks on a lot of things. I don't think it's an easy movie for people to watch. It's got a lot of political stuff in it, but I am very proud of it. I think it has stood the test of time. Its one of those films that people still talk to me about. It was a very controversial movie. It caught some (gruff) with the New York Times. Something happened with the ads. But I just really liked it.
Back to the Pound Puppies, was this your first job as a voice over artist?
Michael Rapaport: I have done a couple. I've done some video games. Like I said, I have some nieces and nephews that get a kick out of it. It's fun, quick, and easy. It's lighthearted. It doesn't take a lot of effort. Which is great for me. I come in and stay loose. The writing is so good, it makes it easier. I am impressed with that. I never feel like its corny. As an adult, I never feel that way. That is why I enjoy it.
These cartoons always seem as though they are trying to appeal to adults, too, especially now a days, with adults being so familiar with these properties from back in the 80s...
Michael Rapaport: It's important, because as the kids watch, the adults watch. And they want to keep the adults happy. They have adult themes, but they do it through the eyes of a kid.
Would you be interested in carrying on in voice work for children's animated programming? Has this been worthwhile for you as an artist?
Michael Rapaport: Yeah, I think its fun. I would definitely do more.
You just directed the Tribe Called Quest movie that came out. What are your aspirations in terms of continuing to direct? Was this a one-time deal, where you just specifically wanted to make that movie? Or will you continue to go down this road?
Michael Rapaport: I have been wanting to direct a movie for a while. I never thought it would come in the form of a documentary. But I was happy and excited. I was compelled to doBeats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest for three years. It kept coming back to me, and I was able to pull it off. The response, and the critical acclaim, and how it has done at the box office, has been beyond all of our wildest expectations. It's been great.
Are you planning on directing a narrative feature sometime in the future?
Michael Rapaport: I definitely want to do a narrative feature. But I would also like to continue doing documentaries.
Any chance you'd come on and direct one of these cartoons?
Michael Rapaport: No!