In a world
Where movie trailers
are serious business...
Don LaFontaine is
The Movie Trailer Voiceover Man.
There are roughly two dozen firms in Los Angeles that do nothing but movie trailers and, of all the voice actors employed by them, Don LaFontaine is the king. The guy with the recognizable gravelly voice you hear in nearly every movie trailer? The "in a world..." guy? That's him.
Don started in the movie business forty years ago, at roughly the same time Hollywood theatrical trailers stopped being star-driven afterthoughts and started being big business, and has now worked on over 3500 different television and theatrical projects. The average movie trailer costs $100,000 to make, and studies consistently show that in 75% of cases a person's choice of what movie to see is based solely upon it. As a consequence, Mr. LaFontaine's schedule is booked so solid that his desire to hire a private limo was motivated more by his need to get to the dozen or more jobs he does per day than by a surplus of money--he even claims he can do more than 80 voiceovers in a single twenty-four hour period!
The King of Movie Trailers does nothing special to protect his voice, eschewing neither alcohol nor cigarettes, and most every interview with him is highlighted by his ability to rattle off dozens of movie trailer cliches:
"In a world..."
"He's a one-man killing machine."
"He's a one-man army."
"He's your worst nightmare."
The existence of which can be forgiven, unlike much of Hollywood's lack of creativity, by the fact that, with the hundreds of movies released every year, there's only so much hyperbole to go around.
Editor's note: Don LaFontaine died September 1, 2008 following complications from pneumothorax. He was 68.
Culled from various interviews.