For the Future of the Texas Film Industry, Look to Animation

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If Matt Hullum, CEO of Austin-based entertainment network Rooster Teeth, and Gray G. Haddock, the head of the company’s animation studio, spend much time battling insecurity about their place in the wider media landscape, they don’t show it.

The company has built itself into a media juggernaut, with an audience of more than 45 million viewers; licensing deals that have placed characters from its hit anime series, RWBY, on backpacks and t-shirts at Walmart and Hot Topic; and 65,000 die-hard fans who travel to Austin every year for its annual RTX convention. But approaching a Hollywood superstar for the lead voice role in its forthcoming series did make them a little nervous.

Michael B. Jordan—the former Friday Night Lights star who co-starred in this winter’s Black Panther—was always on Haddock’s mind when he created the character. And so even though casting a superstar as the lead was new ground for Rooster Teeth, they decided to take the chance and court the Jordan. Monday, the company announced that Jordan will be the voice of Julian Chase, lead protagonist of the forthcoming anime series Gen:Lock.

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