From the era of “Mad Men” to the world of Superman, actress Christina Hendricks slips into the reporter’s chair for the story of the century as Lois Lane in the animated adaptation “All Star Superman,” which hits stores today, February 22.
Based on the twelve-issue comic book series by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, “All Star Superman” serves as the latest animated feature film from Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Premiere and DC Entertainment’s. The series and subsequent movie presents a Superman much more akin to his Silver Age counterpart but that still exists in a modern day context. Informed of his impending death due to a twisted plot by his age old nemesis Lex Luthor, Superman reveals to longtime love Lois his secret identity of Clark Kent. However, as the two begin their long-desired courtship, threats emerge from deep under the Earth, across time and space and even in Superman’s very own Fortress of Solitude.
Along with Hendricks, voice actors for the adaptation include James Denton as Superman, Anthony LaPaglia as Lex Luthor, Matthew Gray Gubler as Jimmy Olsen and Ed Asner as Perry White. CBR News spoke with Hendricks about the film — which marks her very first voiceover work — her childhood memories of the Man of Steel and six degrees of Superman separation.
CBR News: You got to see the completed film recently, at the New York premiere, correct?
Christina Hendricks: That’s right! I finally got to see it the other day. It was fantastic!
A lot of actors will do a role but then never watch the completed movie. Do you enjoy checking out the completed project afterward?
I like to watch a project that I worked on. I worked really, really hard on it and I love to see the end result. I also feel like I learn a lot as an actress for my own performance. But I also enjoy it because there’s a lot of people working really, really hard to finish a project like that, and I love to see what happens when it’s all put together.
Taking a leap back to the beginning, how did you first get involved in this project? Did they sort of just approach you and ask, “Hey, we want you to be Lois Lane.”
That’s actually exactly what happened. They approached my manager, my manager asked me and I said yes. I think it all happened within one day. I was just very excited. I had never worked in voiceovers before, so I was very excited to try that, and I thought, “How lucky am I? I’m the luckiest girl in the world that in my first voiceover job, I get to be Lois Lane.” So, I was just thrilled.
Obviously, most people know who Lois Lane is. Going into this, was there any pressure or anything over the idea of, “Oh man, I’m about to play Superman’s girlfriend.”
[Laughs] There was definitely excitement. I tried not to be nervous because they had confidence in me to choose me, so that made me feel really great. Our director was so fantastic and really put me at ease and was very helpful and playful. I really got to experiment and try all these different things. Everyone really made me feel comfortable, and that helped.
When it comes to voice acting, sometimes it’s done where all the cast is in the studio together, while other times you’re by yourself. How did it work out in this scenario?
This was individual, which was interesting because I didn’t have anything to compare myself to. I couldn’t watch other actors do it, and I’d never done it before, so I really just had to trust people in the room — the producers and director — and trust that I was giving them what they were looking for and hoping they would tell me if I wasn’t. We had a little team working together that day, and they were so experienced and full of information and help that it was quite easy and less nerve wracking for me, since it was my first time, to not have to be in there with experienced actors who already knew what they were doing. [Laughs]
Was there anything fun or unusual that happened behind the scenes while working on this project, or anything that really surprised you?
I don’t remember anything, but we also did this a little over a year ago. It really was a very comfortable and nice situation. I think the funniest thing for me to get used to was doing the little sounds that you take for granted in animation. The “omphs” or the sighs. All those things, at first you feel a little bit embarrassed doing, but then you realize how crucial they are to animation. Now, I think they’re quite fun, but at the beginning, I just felt a little foolish. It’s fun. It’s like an acting game or something. It’s a muscle you don’t flex very often as an actor unless you’re doing animation, so I enjoyed it being so different.
Going into this role, what were your thoughts on how you were going to approach the character of Lois Lane? Did you go in with an idea of what she is like?
Well, I mean, we all know Lois Lane. We’ve grown up with the character of Lois Lane, so you have a preconceived idea of her being sort of spunky and strong and having a lot of chutzpah. [Laughs] So, those were the sort of character qualities that I thought Lois Lane had. Then, of course, I was just trying to be true to the adventure and the story that was being told in this particular script. Really, everything was on the page, so I just tried to be true to what was on the page.
Seeing the completed film, what would you say was your favorite moment and what was your favorite experience about the whole thing?
One thing that was really nice for me was, since I’ve never watched anything with just my voice in it, I was able to completely forget that it was me and I just got to enjoy the movie. Which I really did enjoy. I thought it was really funny and I thought it was really great. So, there were huge chunks of time where I forgot that it was my voice. Then, every once in a while I’d go, “Oh wait. I’m Lois Lane. How cool!” [Laughs] But it was done so well that I really just got immersed in the whole story and just enjoyed it.
Do you have a favorite scene in the movie?
I really, really loved the scene when Lois was a little drugged and out of her mind, getting paranoid. I thought that was interesting and fun. That whole experience, for her and for Superman as well.
In regards to the character and world of Superman, were you ever a fan of the comics, the TV shows or movies?
Absolutely. I grew up on the Christopher Reeve movies. I was madly in love with him. “Superman II” was one of the first movies I ever saw at a movie theater. It was my first drive-in movie, ever, so it is a very strong memory of my childhood — sitting in our Volkswagen van watching “Superman II,” which was pretty cool to see at a drive-in movie theater. And I used to watch the re-runs of the TV series on Nickelodeon or something. But I wasn’t necessarily a comic book person. It was my brother who had all the comic books.
James Denton, who played Superman, is in “Desperate Housewives” with Teri Hatcher, who played Lois Lane in the ’90s Superman television show. It’s like you’re part of six degrees of Superman.
It is! That is interesting. I hadn’t thought about that. I thought he was a great Superman. His voice was perfect.
Did you guys get to meet each other at all?
No. I never met him. Although, I am friends with Matthew Gray Gubler, so we had dinner one night and he was like, “Hey, we’re in a movie together!” I was like, “I know!” [Laughs] And I worked with Anthony LaPaglia years ago on “Without a Trace.” Other than that, though, I didn’t know anyone.
Looking back at your experience as a whole, is voice acting for animation something you’d like to do again?
Yes. I fell in love with it. I really did. In fact, shortly after, I did a voiceover for “American Dad,” and I had a lot of fun with that. I think I caught the bug. I would really like to continue it. I really love the freedom of kicking off my shoes and being quite physical and being able to manipulate and change your voice and play a lot of characters that I necessarily wouldn’t be cast as if it was not voiceover work.
You know, they’re working on the new live-action Superman movie. You just did Lois Lane for the animated film — would you be interested in playing that character on the big screen?
You bet! Of course I would. That would be amazing. I’m sure they’ve cast her, but that would be amazing.
I actually don’t think they have yet. Who knows, now it’s out there!
Really? We need to put the word out! [Laughs]