Morgan Freeman? No—meet Kyle Holman, voice of The World Games 2022 opening ceremony

The World Games 2022 Opening Ceremony 15 1 1 Morgan Freeman? No—meet Kyle Holman, voice of The World Games 2022 opening ceremony
Kyle Holman was the voice of The World Games 2022 Opening Ceremony. (Nathan Watson)

If you thought you heard Morgan Freeman’s iconic voice at The World Games 2022 opening ceremony, it was actually Kyle Holman, a Birmingham-trained thespian and voice actor. Read on to learn more about the Freeman soundalike, courtesy of an interview by Chanda Temple, senior project manager for the City of Birmingham.

A voice for The World Games 2022

Morgan Freeman’s deep, calming voice is one of the most recognizable in Hollywood. Dr. Henry Panion III, the artistic director of The World Games 2022, wanted a narrator/storyteller who could read in the style of Freeman. Holman was the man for the job.

He put several hours into recording segments for the opening, and he’s grateful and proud to have been given the opportunity. He said he wanted to do everything he could to achieve their vision.

“I have to tell you, being backstage and seeing what it takes to do this and seeing the planning and then the number of teams it takes to do this, I was able to really watch and see how hard these people worked to pull this thing off. If this were easy, everybody would be doing it. I’m very proud of Birmingham.”

Kyle Holman, voice actor, The World Games 2022

The 57-year-old voice actor could be heard introducing all of The World Games 2022 opening ceremony acts, including performer Bootsy Collins and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

Not his first rodeo

Holman is no stranger to being in the spotlight. He’s appeared in Red Mountain Theatre Company productions including My Fair Lady and Porgy and Bess and Virginia Samford Theatre’s 9 to 5 and The Sound of Music. He’s even done theatre work in New York as he studied at the American Academy of the Dramatic Arts, whose notable alumni include Anne Hathaway, Paul Rudd and Jessica Chastain.

Holman has been doing voiceover work since the mid ’90s. Early in his career, somebody told him he sounded like Morgan Freeman in the film Shawshank Redemption, and he’s been emulating him ever since.

“I see (Freeman) and picture him, and I understand him in my head when I am doing that sort of thing. Honestly, I don’t really hear it. The fact that other people do is wonderful.’’

Kyle Holman, voice actor, The World Games 2022

He’s done voiceoverwork all over the world, including in New Zealand. He presents a voice to fit the role and does the recordings in his home.

Holman uses his acting experience to approach his delivery, taking note of Freeman’s speech patterns to get into character. He specializes in impersonations and character work.

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Gabby Gervais
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