In honor of SeptBender, PJ Byrne chatted with Hypable about his role in The Legend of Korra as the perpetually optimistic earthbender, Bolin.
PJ Bryne is currently co-starring as Bolin in The Legend of Korra, and will soon appear as Nelson in the upcoming CBS sci-fi drama Intelligence. You can also catch him this November in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film The Wolf of Wall Street (alongside Leonardo Di Caprio.) Follow PJ on Twitter as @PJ_Byrne.
Hypable chats with PJ Byrne
Hypable: Were you familiar with anything in the Avatar universe before you started working on The Legend of Korra?
PJ Byrne: No, actually, I wasn’t. So when I booked it, I wanted to get an idea of what that world was about and what the powers of the Avatar were. Because I knew that I was an earthbender and there’s four other elements, so I wanted to learn that world and the world they live in – and it was awesome. I was like, “Oh my god, I wish I’d had this when I was a kid!”
You always want to put yourself into the character a little bit, whatever you’re doing. So I think that was sort of the pureness of why the audition went well, and why it kind of works nicely for [Bolin.] You always want to do your homework after, but I just had maybe an out-of-the-box thinking process of what Bolin was.
They’re really cool about giving actors their space. And when they have notes, they’re always spot-on, and their suggestions are great. And also it just looks beautiful, so like… wow, it’s amazing.
I know from a fan perspective, we were very hesitant to see what would come because it’s such a new situation to get a sequel to one of your favorite shows. But the response has been incredibly positive.
That’s awesome! That’s what we feel. We’re like, I can’t believe this. I feel like the bar was raised. And the work they put into it, and the painting, and how these artists are just SO sick. It’s really special.
And that’s why it takes so long to get one episode done. Everyone’s like, “Where is it? Where it? Where is it?” And I’m like no, just wait, because it’s so worth it. Because they take such good care of this, from the coloring, to the drawings, [to] the action sequences. They know more about color-correction than I’ll know about anything ever in my life. It’s insane.
Honestly, I’ve seen what’s coming and it is like, oh my gosh. So cool. They also keep beating themselves, it’s crazy. They keep… upping the ante and you’re like, Woah! Wow.
Do you have a favorite moment from the first book?
Sometimes when we’re doing ADR, when we’re trying to match our voice because they wanted to add something, or they were in it and they saw an opportunity for something. So we’ll go back in and try to add a little color to it.
So one of my favorite parts was, there’s a moment where we’re all trying to get away, and we’re all riding Naga out, and [she’s] got me in [her] mouth, and I’m bouncing up and down. And I saw a little bit of my mouth opening and closing, and they’re like, think what you can say. So I improved this thing, “I-want-to-be-on-your-back.” That for me… I just love that because it was a mixture of everything.
When you record, you’re imagining so much of what it’s going to look like. You don’t have that final picture, which is great, and it’s freeing. You’re getting these real answers, and that’s why I do voice-over – it’s amazing.
But sometimes when everybody’s at the table and you see what the product is and exactly what it has to be, those are special moments as well. And if you can find that piece of gold that really works, and that helps heighten the moment and add to the humor? I kind of love that moment.