by Hans ten Cate
special thanks to Jennifer Jones of Fathom Studios
Monday, 21 July 2003

Eric Idle voices the character Spig in Fathom Studio's animated feature film Delgo [click image to enlarge] Photo Credit: Copyright 2003. Electric Eye Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission

Eric Idle has teamed up with Val Kilmer, Burt Reynolds, and Jennifer Love Hewitt in the computer animated film, Delgo. Eric will voice the character Spig, a bumbling, pompous—yet dimwitted—imp in the fantasy adventure currently under development at Fathom Studios in Atlanta.

Delgo is the United States' first independently produced computer animated film and is scheduled for release around Christmas 2004.

The film, set in a make-believe world called Jhamora, tells the story of a reptillian teenager named Delgo who finds himself framed by Sedessa, one of the leaders of a rival race called the Nohrin. Sedessa frames Delgo for the kidnapping of a Nohrin princess and it falls on Delgo to rescue her, clear his good name, and prevent the races from destroying each other.

Eric's character Spig is Sedessa's servant who, in his futile attempts at sounding intelligent, exposes his idiocy with outrageous verbal blunders. “We cannot imagine a better actor to bring Spig to life than Eric Idle,” said Delgo's Executive Producer and Co-director, Marc Adler. “His uncanny wit and comedic timing made him our first and only choice for the role.”

On Casting Eric

His comedic delivery is dead-on. He knows comedy. We were thrilled he joined the cast. Frankly, if he hadn't... I don't know what we'd have done--probably beg.

Jennifer Jones (Fathom Studios) on Eric Idle's participation in Delgo

“Casting can be a very arduous process,” explained Jennifer Jones, Associate Producer and PR Director at Fathom Studios. “You need your producers and directors to agree on that person. The actor needs to be available and interested. Everything can fall apart at any moment.”

Ms. Jones outlined the many considerations that are necessary for casting an animated character such as Spig, including whether the voice fits the character and if the actor can effectively perform with only their voice. Eric is, of course, no stranger to voice acting, having previously played animated characters in The Transformers: The Movie, 102 Dalmations, South Park (the movie), Secret of NIMH 2, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Quest for Camelot, and a number of animated television shows.

“For a comedic role such as this one,” explained Jones about Spig, “you also want an actor who can bring his own flavor to the role, improvise here and there, expand on existing concepts; someone whose delivery alone will turn an audience chuckle into a guffaw. You also want to consider star power. Is this an actor who would benefit the film via publicity?”

Eric Idle in the studio for Fathom Studio's animated film Delgo. Photo Credit: Copyright 2003. Electric Eye Entertainment. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.

For all of the above reasons, Jones said, Eric was chosen for the role. “The decision to cast Eric as Spig was the easiest of all our cast members. From the moment his name was brought up, he was everyone's only choice. He has an amazing voice that is very suited to this character.

“His comedic delivery is dead-on. He knows comedy. We were thrilled he joined the cast. Frankly, if he hadn't I don't know what we'd have done--probably beg.”

Lend me a tenor

Working with Eric proved to be a highlight for many of the staff at Fathom Studios. “We were all crying with laughter during the recordings,” explained Jones. “He is a consummate professional and a joy to work with. The man truly knows funny. He doesn't even have to think about it, the perfect delivery of the perfect line just comes to him, even in conversation.”

“As a die-hard Monty Python fan myself,” Jones said, “the most difficult part of working with Eric was not quoting the Holy Grail and Life of Brian to him! Believe me, I was tempted and still am!”

Fathom Studios is relying heavily on web-based media coverage to attract interest in Delgo. One of the truly innovative and interesting aspects of the project is that Fathom has created a behind-the-scenes website ( where fans can download "Digital Dailies" and watch the making of the film as it happens.