'The Simpsons' Dan Castellaneta: Homer has come a long way from Walter Matthau

Zap2it: When “The Simpsons” started, Homer sounded like Walter Matthau. Was there any of that in him?
Dan Castellaneta: The only reason I just thought of Walter Matthau is because he had a kind of a big mouth, and Homer had a big mouth, and the characters were a little more droopy, and he seemed a little more deadpan like Walter Matthau. As it progressed Homer got a little rounder. His emotions were going all over the place. I sort of just found it by accident. I just found its place.
Zap2it: When you are out, say ordering dinner, how often do people recognize your voice?
Dan Castellaneta: No, people don’t recognize. They may have seen me on TV in an interview situation and put two and two together.
Zap2it: On a lot of animation shows, the voices are done separately. How do you get the feel of a regular performance?
Dan Castellaneta: By and large everybody is in the room, 60 to 70 percent of the time. Sometimes Hank is busy doing a TV show or movie. Julie was doing a play. On occasion, someone will be off, and we have good voice-over actors to temp in there. For the most part, even if we don’t have everyone there, we have someone reading the parts. It makes a difference. It not only gives you an idea of how the scene plays out and the levels played; sometimes a new idea will come up, or someone will add something and play off each other, and it’s great.

“The Simpsons” airs Sundays on FOX.