Bender voice actor speaks out about not returning for Futurama revival: 'It's about self-respect'
Original Futurama voice actor John DiMaggio spoke out Tuesday night about his decision not to return for the upcoming revival of the animated sci-fi comedy on Hulu.
"I've been thinking about everything that's been going on these past months," DiMaggio began, referring to a negotiation standstill between his team and the studio over what he should be paid to reprise the role of Bender. "And just to be clear, I don't think that only I deserve to be paid more. I think the entire cast does."
Hulu announced last week that a revival of Futurama was ordered, nine years after the final season aired on Fox. Set for 2023 from producers at 20th Television Animation, the new episodes will feature many of the original cast members, including Billy West (Fry/Zoidberg/Prof. Farnsworth) and Katey Sagal (Leela). Series creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen are also on board.
DiMaggio, who voiced the robot Bender in the original Futurama run, is not currently returning due to a salary dispute.
EW reported earlier that while West and Sagal accepted Hulu's offers, DiMaggio felt his was too low and he countered. A stalemate has now occurred, with neither side appearing to budge. A table read for the revival was held this past Monday without DiMaggio.
"Negotiations are a natural part of working in show business," DiMaggio continues. "Everyone has a different strategy & different boundaries. Their 'price.' Some accept offers, some hold their ground. Bender is part of my soul & nothing about this is meant to be disrespectful to the fans or my Futurama family. It's about self-respect. And honestly, being tired of an industry that's become far too corporate and takes advantage of artist's time & talent."
DiMaggio says it's not his place to provide fans with every detail on the matter, but he's "still hoping for the best." In the meantime, he says he's set to shoot AMC's Interview With the Vampire series in New Orleans.
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