“Justice League: Doom” doesn’t just reunite the world’s greatest superheroes for a new animated exercise in saving the world; it reunites their secret identities--their Hollywood secret identities.
The latest entry in the popular and critically hailed series of direct-to-home-video is "Justice League: Doom," in which Batman's secret files on his fellow heroes are stolen, revealing their weaknesses to evildoers. For this new film DC Comics reassembled much of the talent known for voicing their heroes over the past 20 years. During a special screening at Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, several of the performers told PopcornBiz that taking on their super-heroic identities is always an adventure.
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“I would be lying if I said there was a lot of research that could be done about Superman because he's always evolving with these new villains,” says Tim Daly of the iconic Man of Steel, whom he’s voiced frequently since “Superman: The Animated Series” from 1996-2000. “But he is a superhero that, unlike Batman, has very little twists in the road. He's very straightforward and because he believes in what he's doing totally, I think that I have to lean into that. I'm much more apt in my personal life to have a sense of irony and cynicism. Superman has none of that. He is a straight-and-narrow guy.”
“If you're a certain age, then Wonder Woman has been a part of your life narrative,” says Susan Eisenberg of her role as the fabled Amazon Princess. “I just wanted to show up and bring the vulnerability and the power, those two things. That combination was very much what they told me that they wanted, so I just tried to bring that out: those vulnerable moments and also the kick-butt strong moments.”
Eisenberg says that while she doesn’t have to endure long hours of workouts to play Wonder Woman, the job doesn’t just involve rolling into the studio in her pajamas – there is a physical side to the gig. “Doing the additional dialogue recording, that is like spending hours and hours at the gym because of the fighting and all of that. You can't just in a chair sipping tea. You've got to be up and kicking and punching and doing all of that, taking the punches.”
Actress Olivia d’Abo – best known as Fred Savage’s older sister on the 80s series “The Wonder Years” – has been part of that extended family since 2001, voicing Green Lantern’s girlfriend Carol Ferris and her evil incarnation Star Sapphire. D’Abo explains that she loves taking personal ownership of a voice role. “I get the action figures,” she admits, saying that learning everything about her comic book alter ego ”really works for me because it just allows you to make really quick choices with the energy of the animation because it's so fast-paced – though I trust Andrea Romano, who always comes in with so much enthusiasm and the prep work that you'd be doing by yourself without her, she kind of gives it all to you in the moment.”
The intangible perks of the job still continue to surprise some of the actors. Even Daly, whose public recognition factor is high due to his roles on primetime series like “Wings” and “Private Practice,” marvels at just how often he gets “recognized” as the Man of Steel.
“I was in San Francisco a few months ago, just having a weekend getaway and I went to a Starbucks and this kid looked up at me and said, 'Oh, my God, you're the voice of Superman,'” laughs Daly. “He was so sweet and so embarrassed. The next day I went to a different Starbucks and the kid behind the counter there said, 'Oh, my God, you're the voice of Superman.' It's great when someone says that. I feel somewhat removed from it because it's a cartoon and it's not me, but when people recognize my voice I think it's great.”