Cinefantastique Cast Interviews
The following appeared in the October 1996 issue of Cinefantastique, a science fiction and horror magazine. It was recovered from here.
THE REAL ADVENTURES OF JONNY QUEST
Older and bolder, the cartoon quester returns on Turner TV.
by F. Colin Kingston
Making its debut this fall on all three Turner TV networks, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest updates the old show while remaining true to the familiar formula. The new series, for which an initial run of 65 episodes has been ordered, boasts an impressive cast: George Segal (The Terminal Man) is Dr Benton Quest; Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) is Roger "Race" Bannon; J.D.Roth (First Born) is Jonny, now 14 years old; Michael Benyear (Friday the 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan) is Hadji, who has been promoted to being Dr Quest's assistant; Jesse P. Douglas (The Outsider) plays Race's daughter, Jessie, a character not in the original series; and legendary voice-over actor Frank Welker provides the bark for Bandit. The list of guest voices reads like a who's-who for genre fans: Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes) and Marc Singer (Beastmaster) are but a few of those lending their talents to villains and other characters.
J.D. Roth, 27, is excited about playing the title role. "I got so into reading the initial script and so into the idea of what they were trying to accomplish that I had to be Jonny," he said. The new Jonny is much like the old one, Roth explains: "He doesn't think about how he's going to do it; he just wants to go do it. He is full of enthusiasm, and it is infectious. Jonny is crazy about his dad. He looks up to him and thinks he is the smartest man ever to walk to face of the earth. He has the typical teenage relationship with his father, but his father definitely sees something in him. Dr Quest knows that Jonny is going to be something really special."
Michael Benyear describes the important changes in Hadji. "He doesn't say things like 'Sim, Sim Sala Bim' anymore. The writers and producers actually researched the actual yogic powers. He can do more plausible stuff. There is an episode where Hadji pretends to stop his breathing so that the bad guys think he is dead."
During his first day on the show he found himself working with his childhood idol, Mark Hamill (Star Wars). "I'm 25 years old," says Benyear. "During the ages between 7 and 12 my entire life consisted of Star Wars. This blew my mind."
Benyear is proud to be associated with Jonny Quest. "Hadji is one of the few roles for an ethnic actor that is not a bad guy. I mean, how many East Indian heros have been on television? Hadji is for the sensitive kids out there. He is the outsider in all of us."
Jesse P. Douglas, 35, plays Jessie Bannon. On the possibility of negative fan reaction to her character, Douglas says, "I'd be bummed if I upset anybody. Jessie is pretty cool. It is not like she is a girl who is whining all the time. If anything, she is a really good springboard for the rest of the storyline."
There are other reasons for Jessie being on the show as well. Says Roth, "Jonny hasn't discovered girls yet but when he does Jessie would be the type of girl he'd like to be with. In one episode she saves his life. He looks down at her and says, 'You're pretty cool.' I think something will happen between them but right now Jess is his best friend."