Warner Bros. Animation Presents: ‘Justice League Vs. Teen Titans’ Interview w/ Voice Cast
This year at WonderCon, the new DC animated movie Justice League Vs. Teen Titans premiered on Saturday, March 26th in the Microsoft theater. After the screening Jerry O’ Connell (Superman), Jason O’ Mara (Batman), Christopher Gorham (The Flash), Jake T. Austin ( Blue Beetle), Bradon Soo Hoo (Beast Boy), Kari Wahlgren (Starfire) and James Tucker ( Producer) were there to answer questions about the film and Jay Snook was able attend a press roundtable and ask them about this amazing upcoming animated movie.
AC: What was it like getting to play such an iconic character?
Jerry O’ Connell: It is a little daunting. I am not kidding you, I go to the gym more when I voice Superman. That is actually not even a joke. For two reasons, one is you just want to be bigger and two is I cannot allow Jason to be more muscular than me. Clearly Batman had some issues in their relationship with him being the dominant male in the room while we are recording. It is scary but you know. You will get to see the movie today and I think we pulled it off. I do want to say it’s not that scary because the Justice League is surrounded by such an amazing team. They work really hard on these movies and we are sort of the actors who says ” oh your in the Justice League, blah blah blah…” but is it really the behind the scenes people who should get all the credit. That is why it is fun to come to Wondercon because they get their props and they deserve it. You know they spend years on these movies, years animating these things.
AC: What was the hardest thing about playing Superman?
Jerry: I think the hardest thing is that you are going to be compared to dozens of other actors who have portrayed him,and some actresses who have played Supergirl. You have big shoes to fill but I mean it is sort of fun because you have to do some sort of new take on it. That is sort of the fun thing about Justice League is that it is sort of honored. It is a newer take on all of these characters you know.
AC: Have you ever thought of making the leap to live action or do you prefer working in the animated films?
Jerry: In a lot of ways these JLA and Justice League movies, they are different right? JLA and Justice League it is a special world to me and I am really honored to be here. I really appreciate what they do with their fanbases, they are pretty rabid right now. I think in a lot of ways it is more special than a lot of the live action stuff.
AC: What was it like getting to play Batman again?
Jason O’ Mara: This is Batman as he works in relation to the Justice League which is a slightly different point of Batman you could argue. Because he works with Damian, Nightwing and the family for a better word and he gets a little protective of Gotham and kind of wants to work alone. When he is a part of the Justice League he is the one encouraging everyone to work together as a team. The Justice League is functioning pretty well at this point as a group but what isn’t functioning great is how Damian fits into things. He has the same problems as the young Batman had in that he would rather work alone as well. So Batman basically sends off to Teen Titans to learn how to work as part of a team. It is there where he will learn the same lessons as Batman learned. This iteration, in this cannon it would have been the same lessons Batman learned during Justice League: War.
AC: How do you come up with your voice of Batman?
Jason: The initial idea in my head was to go real dark, like as dark as Christian Bale (deep and gruff) It doesn’t play that well on an animated spectrum, you would be surprised. Rather quickly it sounds monotone and almost like a caricature, just audio. So had to pull back from that and then pull back some more kept making adjustments. Just kept listening to how the character it being portrayed in the animation as well and just trying to find it and match it. It is fair to say it took a little bit of time to find it.
AC: What was your biggest challenge in playing Starfire in this film?
Kari Wahlgren: As a comic and animation fan myself it was a really big deal to get to play this part. I was really excited about it. The biggest thing was just the tone of the show and the target audience is very different from what we have seen with the Teen Titans in the past. Trying to find some of those things with Starfire for the role. I was trying to find a way to keep her sweetness and that worldly alien quality about her. But this time, we see a much sexier, stronger and more mature side of her in this movie.
AC: What do your think fans reactions will be to this version of Starfire?
Kari: Some fans will be happy with it and there will be those who won’t like it. You are never going to please everybody. The biggest thing I would say is that it is not meant to be the same thing. It is really meant to be a totally different take on it than the cartoon TV series. We have seen reboots of other Superhero franchises and some people like this Batman while other like this Batman you know. I feel like there is room in the Superhero universe for both. So I hope people will like this one but it’s not meant to be the same thing.
AC: Were there a moments or scenes voicing Starfire that was hard for you to do?
Kari: Overall I would say it has been a tricky delicate balance to try to capture that kind of serene, alien quality of her while also communicating all of the emotions that she has.
AC: Has any of the recent versions of the Flash affected your portrayal?
Chris Gorham: Not really at all actually. I just keep doing what I do. You got the TV show where Grant does a great job on that but his Barry Allen, The Flash, is a younger version of than the one you see in these movies. I don’t want to give away too much but I am proud of what we are doing with these films. I think what they are doing on the show is great too. I haven’t seen the guy in the movies so I can’t comment on that one.
AC: How did you two come up with your iterations of Beast Boy and Blue Beetle?
Brandon Soo Hoo: I took a bit of inspiration from the original Beast Boy that I have seen because I was always a really big fan of the early 2000 series. Being that it has a PG-13 spin on it, it has more adult themes and has some raunchy jokes I guess. All in all, it has a similar feel to it so it will be very familiar.
Jake T. Austin: It is staying true to the original story. Definitely to the original characters and themes but also adding some humor into this too. It is so serious, they are going up against such a negative force. You know the Justice League turning evil. So for them to add moments where there really is humor, comedic beats. I think that is seriously refreshing.
AC: Are there other characters you would like to voice in future projects?
Brandon: I think I am comfortable with Beast Boy right now in terms of just my natural vocal range. I don’t know who else I would do. Is Aqualad coming back? I wouldn’t mind trying that character.
Jake: There is a lot of room to kind of test your range and your ability with these characters. I think now is the beginning, the inception. You get to really re-establish these characters and see them again in a new light. You also get to follow their journey and see where it goes.
AC: Did the relationship with Jaime and his scarab make it easy or hard for you to play this role?
Jake: I think it makes it easier to play the role even though it does happen a lot because they stay so true to that. It is the way he was originally. It is not like he is becoming a totally different person. They are really staying true to the character and as soon as the mask comes off he is an entirely different person.
AC: What was the biggest challenge or hurdle in bringing this project to life?
James Tucker: Finishing it. You shepherd every aspect of it. Getting the script ready, getting the right actors for the right part, working with the people who do that. Getting the performance you want, working with the directors to get the storyboarding right. Then you have to get the footage back and edit it so everything is a job. Since this one was so different then the movies we have been doing and the Titans by nature are a lighter thing there wasn’t a lot of pressure to be heavier with it. Just make a cool Titans movie, that was the job.
Justice League Vs. Teen Titans comes out to stores April 12.
Check out the powerful trailer below: