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The importance of learning from history and preserving truth cannot be stressed enough, especially in today’s trying times. Apparently, Netflix has chosen to comment on this pressing matter by releasing - days before the Fourth of July - the most uproarious, raunchy, violent, and historically inaccurate movie to poke fun at the United States since Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America: World Police. Produced in part by acclaimed filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the America: The Motion Picture cast boasts some really impressive voice talent, including Channing Tatum, whom we will spotlight first in the following breakdown of who is voicing who in the animated comedy.
Channing Tatum (George Washington)
I believe that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s casting of Channing Tatum as young-looking undercover cop Greg Jenko in 2012’s 21 Jump Street, along with the semi-autobiographical Magic Mike from director Steven Soderbergh the same year, had a lot to do with the reinvention of his career. It led to a turning point for the Step Up star, who was taken more seriously than ever in films like the true crime/sports drama Foxcatcher or Quentin Tarantino’s western whodunnit The Hateful Eight and he became one of the more well-respected and versatile actors of his generation. The 41-year-old is reteaming with Lord and Miller for the first time reprising Superman in The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, on America: The Motion Picture as both a co-producer and as the voice of an eager, bladed gauntlet-wearing version of the Father of our Country, George Washington.
Jason Mantzoukas (Samuel Adams)
Also enjoying a surprisingly versatile career thanks to previous success in comedies is Jason Mantzoukas, well known as the unforgivably crass Rafi on FX’s The Leagueor popping up in more serious projects like John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum, in which he played the mysterious Tick Tock Man, or opposite Mark Wahlberg in the sci-fi thriller Infinite (streaming exclusively on Paramount+). The comedian of Greek descent has also lent his voice to various animated movies like The LEGO Batman Movie, animated series like the Boys-esque Invincible (one of the most acclaimed 2021 TV shows on Amazon Prime), or as co-host of the popular How Did This Get Made? podcast. Also known for voicing several characters on Netflix’s Big Mouth, Mantzoukas’ latest contribution to the streaming platform is playing founding father Samuel Adams, portrayed as a beer-swilling bro in America: The Motion Picture.
Olivia Munn (Thomas Edison)
Another unique historical rewrite incorporated into America: The Motion Picture is the depiction of Thomas Edison (yes, you read that right - they put the Wizard of Menlo Park Thomas Edison in here instead of the Declaration of Independence scribe Thomas Jefferson) as a female scientist with mechanical expertise as advanced as Tony Stark. Voicing the superhero-esque genius is Olivia Munn, who is also no stranger to superhero movies having once provided satirical commentary on them as co-host of Attack of the Show! on G4 (which is apparently being revived) and played Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. The actress author of the 2010 memoir Suck It, Wonder Woman!: The Misadventures of a Hollywood Geek will also appear in the crime drama The Gateway opposite Marvel movies star Frank Grillo and another thriller called Aleppo, now in post-production.
Judy Greer (Martha Dandridge)
Another veteran of the Marvel movies (namely as Scott Lang’s ex-wife, Maggie, in Ant-Man and Ant-Man and the Wasp) among other franchises (2015’s Jurassic World and the new Halloween movies) is Judy Greer, who voices George Washington’s wife, Martha Washington, when she was still known as Martha Dandridge in America: The Motion Picture. The Netflix original comedy also marks a reunion for the 46-year-old actress with director Matt Thompson - an executive producer of FX’s long-running, animated espionage comedy Archer, on which Greer voices the promiscuous Figgis Agency secretary Cheryl Tunt. She also voices the title character of the PBS children’s series Let’s Go Luna and has two other projects about the history of the United States in the works, including The White House Plumbers (set around the Watergate Scandal) and the Showtime miniseries The First Lady.
Beyond the screen, Judy Greer's voice can be heard as the narrator of several audiobooks, including Liz Tuccillo's How To Be Single, and Max Brooks' recent novel, Devolution. She also narrated her own book, the cleverly titled I Don't Know What You Know Me From.
Bobby Moynihan (Paul Revere)
America: The Motion Picture also marks a reunion for Bobby Moynihan with his DuckTales reboot co-star Jason Mantzoukas and a few alums of the Saturday Night Live cast whom we will name soon. The 44-year-old actor, writer, and comedian provides the voice of Paul Revere (remembered in reality for calling attention to the British Forces’ approach before the battles of Lexington and Concord), which, actually, is his second role related to politics in 2021 after playing the communications director for Ted Danson’s character on Mr. Mayor on NBC. You can also hear his voice on an episode of the latest of Disney+’s Star Wars TV shows (Star Wars: The Bad Batch), the newest addition of Crank Yankers on Comedy Central, and the animated series Loafy as the titular weed-dealing manatee.
Raoul Max Trujillo (Geronimo)
I cannot find anything from history suggesting that famous Apache tribe leader Geronimo ever fought alongside George Washington during the American Revolution, or having one arm, but I guess that is how the makers of America: The Motion Picture decided to portray him. At least he is voiced by actual Native American descendent Raoul Max Trujillo, who, in addition to playing intergalactic mercenary Lockspur in Riddick, has also played many other indigenous people from history in more accurate period pieces like the TNT miniseries Into the West or Terrence Malick’s retelling of John Smith’s romance with Pocahontas in The New World, as well as a Mayan warrior in Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto in 2006. Speaking of Mayans, Trujillo is a series regular on the Sons of Anarchy spin-off Mayans M.C. as Che “Taza” Romero and will play the Ponca tribe chief White Eagle in an upcoming biopic based on the life of Sacajawea.
Killer Mike (Blacksmith)
The character of a blacksmith whom George Washington enlists for help during the American Revolution is just about the biggest acting role yet for rap artist Michael “Killer Mike” Render - not counting the times he has played himself, such as in ATL from 2006. However, the second half of the Grammy-nominated hip-hop duo Run the Jewels (whose hit song “Nobody Speaks” has appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and commercials) does have a couple of other voice acting credits, most notably his recurring role on the animated sci-fi comedy series Frisky Dingo (co-created by America: The Motion Picture writer Matt Thompson) for Adult Swim. Not to mention, this is only the most recent time he has worked with Netflix, who released his boundary-pushing and thought-provoking reality series Trigger Warning with Killer Mike in 2019.
Andy Samberg (Benedict Arnold)
America: The Motion Picture, in which Andy Samberg plays infamous Benedict Arnold, is also the latest of several times the former Saturday Night Live star has worked with Netflix, including the visual album The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience, in which he rapped as Jose Canseco. The Golden Globe-winning Brooklyn Nine-Nine cast member has also worked with Hulu, most recently for the delightful 2020 rom-com Palm Springs, as well as Quibi (when it was still a thing) as a guest star on Mapleworth Murder, and has hit the big screen to great results, like with the acclaimed music industry satire Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping in 2016. In addition to starring in Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, Samberg and the rest of The Lonely Island are currently working on a new, partially live action Chip ’n’ Dale movie, starring he and John Mulaney as the titular heroic chipmunks.
Will Forte (Abraham Lincoln)
What an honor it must be for Will Forte to be the voice of Abraham Lincoln - who, at least, has to be represented more truthfully in America: The Motion Picture than he was in 2013’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, right? This is actually the third time the former star of Fox sitcom The Last Man on Earth and veteran Netflix collaborator (most recently with a role in the fantasy series Sweet Tooth) has played our sixteenth president after doing so in both 2014’s The LEGO Movie and its sequel and the second time he has played a president after succeeding Will Ferrell’s role as George W. Bush on Saturday Night Live. Speaking of the long-running sketch comedy series, Forte is reportedly bringing back his most popular character, MacGruber, for a new Peacock original TV series.
Simon Pegg (King James)
Rounding out the America: The Motion Picture cast is the villain of the story, King James, voiced by one of the most beloved British actors and filmmakers of his generation, Simon Pegg. After exploding onto the American mainstream as star and co-writer of one of the greatest horror movies (and horror-comedy movies) of all time with Shaun of the Dead, the Spaced star went on to become an integral part of some properties he was already a fan of, including the Mission: Impossible movies, J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot, and the Amazon Prime original series adaptation of The Boys as the father of Hughie, which was originally written with him in mind. In 2020, Pegg also reunited with his frequent collaborator and friend Nick Frost for the horror-comedy miniseries Truth Seekers and has two Mission: Impossible movies with Tom Cruise in the works as we speak.
With a cast this amazing, there is no way America: The Motion Picture cannot be a fun revisionist history comedy. Watch it streaming on Netflix starting Wednesday, June 30, 2021.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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