In Green Lantern: Beware My Power, recently discharged Marine sniper John Stewart (Aldis Hodge) is at a crossroads in his life, one which is only complicated by receiving an extraterrestrial ring which grants him the powers of the Green Lantern of Earth.
Unfortunately, the ring doesn’t come with instructions - but it does come with baggage, like a horde of interplanetary killers bent on eliminating every Green Lantern in the universe. Now, with the aid of the light-hearted Green Arrow (Jimmi Simpson), Adam Strange (Brian Bloom) and Hawkgirl, this reluctant soldier must journey into the heart of a galactic Rann/Thanagar war and somehow succeed where all other Green Lanterns have failed.
Jamie Gray Hyder plays Hawkgirl in the movie, and we caught up with the actor to discuss her role a little earlier this week. Perhaps best known for starring in True Blood and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, we're sure many of you will also remember Jamie from Marvel Television's Inhumans.
We talk to the actor about that and playing this iconic DC Comics character, learning how she prepared to take on the role of Hawkgirl and what it is about the warrior that appealed to her as a performer. Jamie also shares some of her future hopes for Hawkgirl in this new DC Animated Universe.
Check out the full interview below and stay tuned for more from the team behind Green Lantern: Beware My Power very soon!
How did this Hawkgirl role come your way and what was your reaction to joining this DC Animated Universe as such a beloved character?
You know, when I learned that there was interest in me voicing this character, I was ecstatic. I was so happy that it worked out. We were able to record it before the pandemic began in 2020 while I was shooting [Law & Order: Special Victims Unit], and to be able to fit this in and now be able to promote it and share it with everyone is so exciting.
Were you at all familiar with Hawkgirl beforehand and, either way, did you find yourself looking to any other movies, TV shows, or comic books in an effort to get to know her?
I had heard of Hawkgirl, but I didn’t know much about her. When I got the part, for me, it was really important to go back to the comics because I think that’s also where the true fans draw their passion from. Watching other movies or TV portrayals…sometimes, you can fall into the trap of imitating somebody else’s performance, so I wanted to learn as much as I could about those and draw on them a little bit, but mostly focused on the lore that came from the comics themselves. Then, it was about creating a hodgepodge of all of those influences to make my Hawkgirl her own thing.
In terms of finding the right voice for the character, was that quite an easy process for you and, either way, was it something you worked a lot on with voice director Wes Gleason?
I’ve played characters similar to Hawkgirl in the past which is what I believe led to them thinking I would be a good fit. I’ve been fortunate enough to play many women who are far more badass than I am, but I understand where they’re grounded. They’re mission-driven, so that meant finding a voice that was very direct and had a lot of strength in it. You also have to understand what your natural voice is bringing to the table already. I’ve got that gravelly-ness to it and a deeper register. To ground that for Hawkgirl and find her strength in there was how I went about it. It’s definitely something already in my wheelhouse, but you need to figure out how to make it specific to this character.
As you said, Hawkgirl is a badass character and she really holds her own in this mostly male-dominated movie. As an actor, is it important when you come to a project like this that you get to play a strong female character rather than the damsel in distress we’ve seen in this genre before?
A portrayal of a strong warrior female is something that will always be attractive to me. Both to play and to see. I think that’s true of a lot of women in both comic fans and entertainment in general. We’re looking for that motivation and to see women portrayed in ways that they’re not normally accepted in society. It helps ease the way people view us, and I think really does justice to the versions of these women in everyday life; the women who make up our Armed Forces and are actually out there risking their lives for ours. Drawing on that inspiration to make this character and base her in humanity ultimately makes her more well-rounded.
Hawkgirl has such a fun dynamic with the other characters in this film, but which of those did you most enjoy getting to delve into as a performer?
That’s what made watching the film for the first time so exciting for me. To get to see Hawkgirl in context with all these different personalities. You read the script and understand your relationship with one another, but you’re not necessarily privy to their performances. Getting to see her edge up against these warmer, goofier characters in some cases, such as her interactions with Adam Strange and Green Arrow, in particular, you really see her attempting [Laughs] to communicate on their level in her own way. Watching her interact with the other character is what makes her exciting to watch.
You get to see a lot of action in this film heading into battle a Hawkgirl, but what was that experience like in terms of having to get physical in the recording booth to get that across through your vocal performance?
Like you said, we only really have our voices to draw on, but when you’re performing in the booth, you can use your body and really try to emulate the postures and movements of the character. While I have never wielded a mace that can throw a villain across the street, I can still mimic the body language that would come with that and how it would impact your voice. Anyone who has ever gone into a room and screamed out of frustration understands how liberating that is. While I may not be coming with my own real aggression, just being able to let go and let out these warrior calls is always going to be fun [Laughs].
Talking of superhero roles, a lot of fans are disappointed that there’s no Hawkgirl in the new Black Adam movie and with Aldis Hodge playing Hawkman there, how would you feel about a reunion that would see you suit up as Hawkgirl for real?
Absolutely! I’d have to do a lot of weight lifting between now and then, but I’m up for it and, like I said, any opportunity to portray a strong female is something I’m going to go into wholeheartedly.
On another note, you had a really memorable arc in Marvel’s Inhumans, but what was that experience like for you and do you hope to return to that Marvel Universe down the line?
The opportunity to work for Marvel comes with as much history as it does with DC. While I did get to portray a character in Inhumans, playing Hawkgirl came with a different sense of responsibility. Hawkgirl is an existing figure in the DC Universe that I had to embody and I really, really enjoyed that challenge. Who knows what the future holds, but for now, I’m excited to be part of the DC Universe, for sure.
This is a new DC Animated Universe that Warner Bros. is creating, so are you hopeful Hawkgirl is a character you can keep returning to in the coming years?
I think there’s so much more explore with Hawkgirl. You get touches of her warmth and humanity in this film, but I think that’s something that could be taken even further in future as we explore her relationship with John Stewart and possibly some romance there. I think when you take a really tough, aggressive character, the more you peel back their layers, the more intriguing they become. I’d love to have that opportunity with Hawkgirl.
I believe you’re going to be at Comic-Con for a panel with fans, so is that your first time at the event and, either way, how excited are you to share this movie at the show?
I always love going to Comic-Con. I was lucky enough to go for True Blood and then for Call of Duty, so to be back and to be bringing a project to Comic-Con to premiere there is something I’m extremely excited about. It’s been a few years since all of these fans and the creators have gotten to be in the same room, so I know that they’re going to be as excited to see us as we are to see them. I’m looking forward to those interactions.
You worked on this movie before the pandemic, so now you have finally seen the movie, what about it did you enjoy most? Or was there something that really surprised you?
I really enjoyed seeing her interactions with the other characters and the performances of the other actors, which is something you’re not privy to until you see the final product. It was just amazing to see something that you saw from one side for so long really come alive on screen and become so multidimensional.
Finally, now you’ve come to know Hawkgirl both through the comic books and this performance, what about the character have you really grown to love?
I love that she has such strong convictions. She’s not indecisive about what she wants or what her purpose is. I think, in some ways, that can limit somebody, but in her case, it makes her very good at what she does.
Green Lantern: Beware My Power arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital on July 26!