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Can You Star As a Voice?

By RD Heldenfels Published: November 6, 2006

I've been doing a weekly trivia question in my Sunday HeldenFiles column and this week's involved Brad Pitt: Name the five movies he starred in between 1994 and 2005 that had a number in the title?

The correct answer, by my calculation and that of many people sending in their answers, was Sev7en, Seven Years in Tibet, Ocean's Eleven, Oceans' Twelve and Twelve Monkeys. And I had that answer e-mailed by a reader at a very early hour.

But some readers added a sixth movie: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, an animated film that Pitt did voice work for.

While that's an impressive attention to detail -- and I'll be noting it in my HeldenFiles column for Wednesday -- here's my question: Does an actor ''star in'' an animated film? Shouldn't you be seen as well as heard?

Of course, this goes to the larger argument of how much voice acting counts as acting. Yes, voice acting is impressive. You may remember there was Oscar talk around Robin Williams' performance in Aladdin. And as a long-time fan of animated films, I think voice acting is an impressive form of performance.

But should it be equated with, for want of a better term, full-body acting? And especially the whole ''starring in'' issue, since you're lending your voice to a visual form not your own? And, just to muddle things even more, who played Darth Vader? Was it the body or the voice?

Your thoughts?

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