SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2: A Conversation With Director Jeff Fowler And Tails Voice Actor Colleen O'Shaughnessey

To celebrate the digital release of Sonic The Hedgehog 2, director Jeff Fowler and Tails voice actor Colleen O'Shaughnessey discuss making the film with us.

The Sonic franchise is soaring. Despite being released shortly before a massive theater closure ushered in by the coronavirus pandemic, Sonic the Hedgehog raked in $319 million worldwide against an $85 million budget. Two years later, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 burst into the scene, making $375 million globally.

The sequel widened the scope of the series, introducing characters like Tails (Colleen O'Shaughnessey) and Knuckles (Idris Elba), and giving Sonic (Ben Schwartz) his highly anticipated Super power-up. 

The film is now available on Digital (coming to 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD on August 9), and to celebrate its home-media release, we sat down with Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 director Jeff Fowler and O'Shaughnessey to discuss their passion for filmmaking, approach to voice acting, and how fun it was to work on the Sonic property. 

Jeff Fowler

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For many, movie-making is the ultimate dream. In reality, however, it can be a significantly taxing endeavor, which can make the allure of film fade away for some in the entertainment industry. That is not the case with Jeff Fowler. As he explained, making movies is his passion, and he has enjoyed being part of the industry since he started out as an animator: 

"It's never felt like a job, my entire career, in terms of being in visual effects, being a character animator — which is how I started. And actually, one of the first things I worked on was 'Shadow the Hedgehog' in 2005. It was at Blur Studio. We created some cutscenes for that game. But I feel very fortunate; I love this stuff so much. Making movies is just the best job in the universe. I love it. I love the experience of working with the cast and the crew. I love getting to meet fans and hear about how it's touched them or why they're excited by it. Honestly, it's just never felt like a job."

Fowler also expressed his gratitude for being able to channel his passion into helming the Sonic property, and for having the opportunity to turn it into a franchise: "[To] get to do it with a character like Sonic — because movies are hard; they take a really long time. You put a lot of your personal energy and effort into it, oftentimes not even really knowing if the movie's going to happen or not. And so, we were very fortunate that Sonic did happen. And now, here we are, getting to talk about two 'Sonic' movies. I mean, it really is just like, 'Pinch me. This seems crazy.' But yeah, it's just awesome, and I'm so thrilled to see how these films have been received by fans."

We also asked the director about any possible teases for Sonic The Hedgehog 3. While he understandably couldn't give anything away, he did share his excitement about the storytelling possibilities on the table: 

"I mean, it's impossible not to just be constantly like, 'Oh, wouldn't this be cool?' Wouldn't that be cool?' I mean, it's certainly nothing that I can really share yet, but it's the best possible sort of challenge to continue to tell stories with these characters, and just know, based off how this movie ended — with the tease at the end of 'Sonic 2' — how much excitement and enthusiasm there is already out there for that. It's just the best feeling imaginable."

Colleen O'Shaughnessey

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Colleen O'Shaughnessey (also known as the voice of Wasp in Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Jazz Fenton in Danny Phantom) began voicing Miles "Tails" Prower in 2014's Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal, and has continued portraying the loyal fox since then. For many, her take on the character has become the definitive one. Now, she is back voicing the hero in Sonic 2

The actress initially made the leap to the big screen side of the Sonic franchise in the post-credits scene of Sonic, which featured Tails arriving on Earth looking for the blue hedgehog. Prior to voicing that scene, however, she was not sure she would get to reprise the role for the movies:

"I didn't know what to expect, 'cause oftentimes voice actors do get replaced by celebrities. And so, I definitely wasn't expecting — I was hoping — but I definitely wasn't expecting a call, because it's Hollywood; this is how sometimes these things happen. But I'm super, super happy that I got to do it for sure, and thrilled that I got the call. 

O'Shaughnessey previously discussed with Entertainment Weekly how grateful she was to have the opportunity to join the big-screen Sonic franchise, especially given how voice actors tend to be passed up for opportunities when the characters they've played in cartoons and/or video games transition onto the big screen. 

With that in mind, we asked her whether or not she felt she needed to change her video-game Tails performance for Sonic 2. O'Shaughnessey stated that she didn't. Instead, she simply adjusted her performance to fall in line with the fact that the sequel found Sonic and Tails getting to know one another: 

"I didn't feel like I had to anything different, other than hear what the situation was, or what the script was calling for, or where we were headed. And Jeff [Fowler] was great about explaining in this Sonic universe of the films where Tails fit in, and where we were. We were at the beginning of [Sonic and Tail's] relationship, so that was a little bit different. But as far as the way that I approached Tails, it was pretty much the same." 

We'd like to thank Jeff Fowler and O'Shaugnessey for their time. 

If you can't wait to get back into the blue hedgehog's universe, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is now available to purchase on Digital. The film will then be available to buy on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD on August 9, 2022. 

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