I just watched the trailer for an upcoming stylized CGI-animated, feature-length film produced by Tim Burton called 9.
In the film, Elijah Wood, John C. Reilly, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, and Christopher Plummer provide voices for each of the animated characters, and I'm sure were payed handsomely for their efforts.
However, I wonder if animated studio features like 9, and all those that have come before it (all the Shrek movies, Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ice Age, Monsters Inc, and the vast cauldron of others) would have been any less successful if the voices behind each character in each movie, were provided by non-stars... "no-list" actors that could really use the work and the money.
They say that the rich get richer, and there's certainly more than enough proof to support that statement; but the studios could opt to reverse that trend by giving an unknown the opportunity to perform and earn a paycheck in the process, instead of calling on established celebrities.
These are often family-friendly films, aimed at boys and girls under the age of 16, who probably could care less whose voice was behind each character in each film.
I doubt adults care either. I've seen a few of these films, and the names listed in the "voiced by" section of the credits aren't the attraction. The style of animation, and the story are.
Who really cares if Eddie Murphy provided the voice for Donkey in the Shrek movies, or if Tom Hanks was the voice behind Woody in the Toy Story series - all immensely successful films that I genuinely believe would have been just as successful if Joe Schmoe, struggling Los Angeles-based actor, was given the opportunity to flex his vocal talents.
So, I say, come on Hollywood - give the little guy a break for once. I seriously doubt that it'll hurt your bottomline. Jennifer Connelly doesn't necessarily need the work, nor the money; next time, give the job (and the paycheck) to Jane Schmoe, struggling New York actress. I'm sure she'd be incredibly grateful, and would give you one heck of a vocal performance!
In the meantime, here's the trailer for 9, a film that's on my 2009 "To-See" list. From the little dialogue heard in the 2-minute teaser, see if you can tell who's voice is whose, or whether you even really care.