Voice actor Peter Cullen once again reprised his iconic role as Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, in Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. His first stint working on the famous character was in the 1984 animated series and in the 1986 animated movie. He returned to the franchise for several projects, including video games.
His voice eventually became synonymous with the character, and his reprisal of the role in Michael Bay’s 2007 blockbuster live-action film established his career in the industry.
Peter Cullen Rolls Out The Truth On How He Landed The Role Of Optimus Prime
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts debuted with $60.5 million at the domestic box office and earned an impressive $110 million overseas. Peter Cullen proved his talent once more as the voice of Optimus Prime.
Speaking with Collider, the actor shared how he landed on the role that forever changed his career. After telling his brother that he was going to audition as “a truck” who ends up becoming a “hero truck,” Peter received some advice:
“Peter, if you’re gonna be a hero, be a real hero. Don’t be one of those Hollywood pretenders, don’t go yelling and screaming and pretending you’re a tough guy. Be strong enough to be gentle.”
Cullen said those words stuck in his head, and while driving to the audition spot, he was practicing the lines “I am Optimus Prime, leader of Cybertron.” The tryout went well, according to Cullen:
“I said, ‘Larry, it really went well, and I thank you.’ He said, ‘What for?’ I said, ‘I just impersonated you.’ [Laughs] Three weeks later, I found out I got the job.”
Cullen’s brother, Larry, was a decorated captain in the Marine Corps who fought in Vietnam. The actor was clearly inspired by his brother’s deep and commanding voice, which is quite fitting for a character that presents himself as the leader of the Autobots.
Peter Cullen’s Voice As Optimus Prime Inspires Memories From Childhood
Peter Cullen’s illustrious career as the voice behind Optimus Prime serves more than nostalgia could ever bring. He has voiced the character for almost 40 years, and many fans grew up watching several iterations of the franchise.
Steven Caple Jr., director of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, was a huge fan of the animated series since he was a kid. Working with the legendary voice actor would have been a dream come true for the young filmmaker. Cullen shared his experience collaborating with Caple Jr.:
“What a pleasure. I mean, what a pleasure. I guess it’s the first time in my life where I ever worked with a director that knew who I was and appreciated me for it. So, I mean, I loved going to work. When they called me, I couldn’t wait to get there, and he’s such a great guy and so talented. I enjoy him immensely, and I’m sure he’s gonna have an incredible career.”
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts toppled Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Disney’s The Little Mermaid, yet it still needs a couple more weeks to bring in the cash and justify its budget ranging between $195–200 million.
Transformers: Rise of the Beasts is now showing in theaters worldwide.