TEEN TITANS GO! & DC SUPER HERO GIRLS Interview With Harley Quinn, Batgirl, Raven Star Tara Strong (Exclusive)
We've saved the best for last with our Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse interviews as the iconic Tara Strong breaks down her roles as Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Raven...
In Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse, Lex Luthor wields an ancient Kryptonian power and unites the world's supervillains to capture the DC Universe's heroes. With only the fan-favourite DC Super Hero Girls left to stop the Legion of Doom, the team must cross dimensions to rescue their fellow superheroes from the Phantom Zone, but a fortuitous wrong turn leads them to Titans Tower...where they find much-needed allies in the iconic Teen Titans!
That's the premise of this awesome blockbuster event, and we can promise you'll have an absolute riot with this hilarious, action-packed crossover. To mark its Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD release this week, we're finally sharing our interview with the legendary Tara Strong. A veteran voice actor, she's been responsible for bringing all manner of beloved animated characters to life over the years.
In this epic crossover event, Tara reprises three of her most iconic roles in Harley Quinn, Batgirl, and Teen Titans Go! fan-favourite, Raven. It goes without saying that she knocks it out of the park, and we had a blast hearing from the acclaimed actor about bringing each of these characters to life.
Talking us through her process, Tara breaks down their respective story arcs, her hopes for these heroes moving forward, and how she tackles them in the recording booth. We also hear from the actor on whether her approach to playing these characters differs when she's part of a project aimed at younger DC fans. For Tara's thoughts on Miss Minutes' role in Loki season 2, simply click here.
Harley Quinn is someone you've really made your own over the past decade, but is still just as much fun now to play her as it was when you were first getting to know her as a character?
I think playing her at the beginning was a little bit scary. I was taking over from a beloved actor, the most amazingly talented Arleen Sorkin. It was scary to follow that; my version was inspired by her, but they wanted something different. You never know how audiences are going to respond, so it was scary but also exciting at the beginning. With the loving score of fans, who I’m so grateful for, Harley has become part of me. I’ve grown with Harley in so many ways and she’s become an extraordinary part of my life. Every time I get to play her it’s fun and rewarding. It doesn’t matter which universe she’s in or whether it’s a video game or she’s a good guy or bad guy. Or a DC Super Hero Girl. It’s just so much fun to be with her.
Batgirl is a character you've played for quite some time now, but with this version, what about her have you enjoyed exploring that previous projects maybe didn't give you a chance to?
The reason the DC Super Hero Girls are so fun and relatable is that we are seeing these characters before their origin stories. All of them have some sort of violence that thrusts them into the good guys or bad guys' world, but this is before any of that happens. They’re just growing and learning as we all do. It’s very fun to reminisce about high school moments for adults, but it’s also fun for high school kids to watch and for little kids to look up to. It really gets to span generational audiences, so it’s fun to explore who she was as a teenager. And who Harley was before The Joker and navigating what her inner demons are going to pull her towards and her and Barbara’s love for each other which is split by what side they play for [Laughs]. It’s a pretty fun relationship to explore in this world. There’s a lot of truth to it and places to go to reminisce about your own childhood. This movie has a lot of that going on. A lot of feel-good moments and a lot of comedy. I laughed so much during this movie. I’m in it as three different characters and I’m laughing at everything [Laughs].
On the other hand, in Teen Titans Go!, you have Raven who is obviously quite a bit more reserved than, say, Harley, so what about that performance do you find most exciting as an actor?
The challenge in voicing Raven is when something really big is happening, you actually can’t maintain that back of the throat roll if ‘Something’s REALLY BIG!’ You have to find ways to sprinkle it in character-wise. I love playing Raven. She’s so important to so many people. She really explores very specific personality traits about appreciating being alone, exploring her own magic, having tormented feelings about her family, and trying to fit in as a teenager. It’s an incredible character to play, and I’ve learned over the years going to Comic-Cons, that she’s really meant a lot to a lot of people. I’ve had people say, ‘I didn’t think I mattered until I met Raven’ or ‘Having Raven in my life helped me get through a hard time and saved my life.’ It’s rewarding to be able to voice someone that important.
Harley and Batgirl’s friendship is a huge, really interesting part of this movie, but when you’re in the recording booth, are you going back and forth voicing each character in their conversations or do you prefer doing them one at a time?
It depends on the scene! Some scenes are shorter for each character, so we’ll do them back to back. Sometimes, we go through the entire feature as one character and then as the other. I think in this movie I recall doing a bit of both, but probably because they were pretty prominent and had such big moments, we did mostly one at a time.
Something I love about this Harley Quinn is she’s not a watered-down version of the character, she’s just a different one. We’re seeing her go down a heroic route now, so what about that, and the fact she may end up being a role model, is fun for you to explore?
I love that they’ve kept her so vulnerable and still someone worthy and with empathy. That’s what bad guys seem to lack, right? They can take over a whole town and not care about killing innocents. They obviously lack empathy, but Harley is not that. We have a lot of hope and faith in her that she is someone who can be saved and work for the good guys. They really are exploring that, for the first time most profoundly, in this movie. It would be fun to see that explored further if they pick up more DC Super Hero Girls. I’d love to see Harley’s conflict with navigating her friend group and who she feels really connected to soul-wise. That should be really interesting.
Both Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls are primarily aimed at young DC fans, but when it comes to jumping between both these shows, does your approach to playing the characters differ in any way?
There are some similarities because the characters are close in age. It is different recording the other show because it’s a totally different universe for me with totally different people I interact with. The cast of Teen Titans Go! has been together over twenty years and we really are a family. The cast of DC Super Hero Girls is its own, newer family that’s still very special in a different way. The experience is similar in process, but it feels quite different.
You've played these characters in such a wide array of projects, but do you feel your approach to them changes when you know you're making a series that does inspire a lot of the young women watching these characters?
I don’t think too heavily about how this will affect things too much in that way. I’m literally in every acting moment that’s happening and I’m trusting my writers to make things relevant and important, and they do every time. If I saw something I didn’t like or didn’t want to say, they’d be totally open to me pointing that out. It’s like if I didn’t want to make fun of a ‘chubby’ girl, I wouldn’t participate. That hasn’t happened on DC Super Hero Girls, but it has happened on other shows. I really do just picture myself in all those moments and hope that the fans like it which they do. It’s a really special show and I think there’s a lot of room for it to grow. It’s not only adorable, but they actually have pretty high stake fights going on. They’re not shy [Laughs] to really kick butt about it, so it would be fun to see where else it can go.
Teen Titans Go! plays a little fast and loose with continuity, but DC Super Hero Girls is building this universe where, like in this film, everything connects. It must be fun to be part of, not just ‘a film for kids,’ but a project where you can develop these characters and take them to new places.
Yeah, I think so too. Thank you for saying that.
It’s an awesome movie. Batgirl and Harley's relationship is one part of it, but we also see something blossom between Raven and Zatanna too. What about that was fun to explore?
Isn’t that a cool moment? That’s a beautiful little scene. There’s just this purple magic love ball [Laughs]. It’s not often Raven meets someone with similar gifts and struggles. It’s not. It was a really special moment to explore with Kari Wahlgren, a brilliant actor and someone I love very much, and to have that moment we couldn’t possibly have unless there was a crossover was really fun. To give Raven someone to relate to is so unique. I think that’s something fans are really going to love about it.
You perform such a huge range of voices in this movie, so does that make a project like this more exciting or do you prefer having one character to focus on?
You know, for me, it’s really exciting to play all of these characters. There’s nothing I don’t love about it. The truth is, when you do voice acting, you get paid the same if you show up and do five minutes of work or four hours of work. There’s something to be said about the job where you come in and go, ‘Here’s your coffee’ and you leave [Laughs]. That’s fun, but the truth is, it’s not really diving into who these people are. When you get to play a role and be a lead character and explore them with tremendous depth, it’s a huge gift.
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Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse is available on Digital, Blu-ray & DVD on May 24. The movie event also premieres on Cartoon Network on May 28 and starts streaming on HBO Max beginning June 28!