ComingSoon spoke to DC Superhero Girls star Will Friedl on the upcoming crossover Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse before release May 24as well as his Boys meet the world past and more.
AT Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the MultiverseThe Teen Titans and DC Super Hero Girls must team up to take on Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom as they enact a plan that could even defeat the Justice League.
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Tyler Treese: DC Super Hero Girls is pretty unique in your filmography because you don’t usually voice villains, but you’ve proven yourself to be a great Lex Luthor. How refreshing was it to show this range here?
Will Friedl: It’s funny that you mentioned this because I always say that in the 25 years that I’ve been a voice actor, I think I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times someone has let me be a villain, so it’s very chilly. He is a much younger version of Lex and a more carefree Luthor because apparently DC Superhero Girls and Teen Titans Go! this is a much funnier version of the characters. While it’s still great to play someone bad, I’ll be honest with you.
Why do you think you don’t get many villain roles? Are you too good a guy in real life?
I think this is part of it. I think that’s also the tenor of my voice, it’s just that my range is suitable for younger or even many times younger superheroes. So usually they don’t say, “Hey, we’re doing a big villain role. Take Friedle. Hey, Clancy Brown was unavailable. Let’s take Will Friedle,» has never been said in Hollywood history. I usually say: “Hey, we have a 19-year-old hero. Can you play it?» Like, of course. What can I do without problems. So it’s nice to be able to play someone bad from time to time.
You’re here too Aquaman. What do you like most about this version of Aquaman?
I think because he’s just so bad, Matthew McConaughey impresses. I think what’s funny about it is that they’re kind of like caricatures. The Old Justice League are caricatures of themselves. You have Batman who just mumbles and Superman looks a lot like a Boy Scout and Aquaman looks a lot like a surfer dude. It just made a bad impression on Matthew McConaughey. For some reason I think it worked! I think it works for the character.
Lex is a big force in this movie. What scene did you most like to record?
For different reasons, there were different scenes that were interesting to record. Every time Lex Luther faces the Legion of Doom. It’s pretty cool, just because I grew up to be such a DC fan. Going around and hiring different villains, those scenes were a lot of fun to record, but only because of the crazy goofiness, the Aquaman stuff… because everyone kind of knew what we were doing. We’re not doing well, Matthew McConaughey. So everyone just laughed and we had a lot of fun. Usually you say «ooh» and «ah» when you get hit or something and you go «ugh», whereas when you play this character it’s «oh no, dude», you know? You can somehow get confused in everything that happens. So we had so much fun.
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I’m guessing this crossover is even cooler for you since you’re so familiar with Go! You did the voice of Kid Flash and I assume you also wrote a few episodes?
I did, yes. I wrote several episodes Teen Titans Go! and be Kid Flash. So [I’m] very familiar with the team there and the tone of this show. I know this is a very controversial show for some people. I think it’s brilliant. It’s just that in this movie the idea that they are… the first part of the movie just talks about them being in a crossover, how they break the fourth wall. And the cast, Khary Payton and I don’t even have to name them all. Tara and everyone else, they’re just incredibly good at what they do and just embody these characters now that every time I get the chance to work with them or better yet even write for them, I’m really proud of it. .
You have raised controversy. I feel like it has gone downhill as the series continues. I know you voiced Fang in Teen Titans, so you went through both. Do you feel like the show was accepted simply for being a fun, wacky show and for what it has become over time?
I do. And I think it was, I think you’re right. It was worse in the beginning. I always quote Bruce Timm and he’s talking about Batman when he once told me… We were talking about how Batman of the future it was very, very dark, and at that time Batman the films were very, very light. It was during the time of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Batman and Robin films. He told me, “Yes, because there should always be a Batman for everyone. So when the movies are light, the animation is dark. When the animation is light, the movies are dark.» I think this should apply to most superheroes. So you have Teen Titans Go!and then you have Titans. There’s always a version you want to watch, but sometimes doing just a lighthearted, fun show… I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
Speaking of Batman Beyond, this is such a unique show because Terry McGinnis was made for it. It’s very rare that one voice is associated with a character, but you’re Terry and this show has such a legacy. So how do you look back on this?
I like to tell myself that I am by far the best Terry McGuinness there has ever been. That’s how I make myself feel good about it. For many reasons this show is important to me. It was the first animated show I ever did. Some of my closest friends – Andrea Romano, Kevin Conroy – came out of this series. Working with some of the greatest writers [and] producers from Bruce Timm to Paul Dini, Glen Murakami, Stan Berkowitz, Hilary Bader… the opportunity to work with all these people who are just legends in the industry… that this will be your entry into the world of animation was overwhelming for me and still is . So this show will always have a special place in my heart.
Before you got into voice acting, you had the success of Boy Meets World. I’m a big professional wrestling fan, so I have to ask how I trained with Big Van Vader on set? «The Thrilla’ in Phila» is such an iconic episode and I’m sure now that he’s passed away it’s even more special.
He was one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life. We would have some incredible conversations. Once, when we were rehearsing, he paid me a wonderful compliment, lifted me up, put me on the bench twice, and then threw me over his shoulder. After that, he said: «You know, you do it better than some of the professionals with whom I worked.» I think he probably said it as a joke, but it was still such a wonderful compliment. Couldn’t have met a nicer guy. A wonderful person. Another person we saw on the show a couple of times was Mick Foleywho, again, couldn’t have been a nicer person. I still have my Soko. Mick is another great guy and we run into each other at conventions and he still comes along and baffles me. But two incredible men and God rest Vader. He was a great guy.
It’s a little wild, like Mick Foley and Vader, they have these deathmatches and they love bloody stuff, but at the same time they are so cute. The contrast is incredible.
It also just goes to show how great they were and how entertainers they were. Like any method actor, they would get used to their character and give 110%. Some of the matches they wrestled in weren’t half-hour WWE matches. These were matches that lasted for hours. So they were incredible athletes, incredible entertainers, and Mick is rocking conventions to this day and instantly becomes that character again. They are amazing at what they do.
Your I Hear Voices podcast is incredible and it was great to hear that you are also open about anxiety. What was the most rewarding interview with your other voice actors?
My favorite thing. It’s not just about interviewing them. It’s about what’s going on in the industry right now and that voice actors are finally starting to become rock stars. And they should, because there are women and men in this industry who are some of the best actors in the industry, period. I don’t care what medium you’re talking about, they are the best and I’m going to these conventions now and I see that some of the longest lines are for anime actors, for video game actors, for animation actors. It really confirms what we’ve all been doing for decades now. So to be able to shed some light on them for I Hear Voices is great. And after Rob Paulsen’s incredible Talking Toons show, we wanted to kind of pick up the baton if we could, because he’s done so much to bring voice actors into the spotlight, and we just wanted to keep it going.
You probably won’t get asked a lot about Rogue Galaxy, but you voiced the protagonist and over time it’s become a cult favorite and is still downloadable. What is special about recording this game?
It was one of those things where you audition and then you come in and you never know what it’s going to be and playing Jaster was a lot of fun and [I] I just didn’t expect him to be so strong. We worked hard on that game. We did… I think it took about 20 sessions and we really put our all into it. So, you know, it’s very exciting, and again I’ll be at these conventions and I’ll be signing. People will come and have copies Rogue Galaxy. So it’s great to see something that lasts.
My last question, I wanted to end on a funny one. When you make an important decision, who are you most likely to hear as the angel of your consciousness? Is that Feeney or is that Kevin Conroy’s Bruce?
Wow, great question! The actual answer is my wife but to be honest it will depend on what we are talking about. Just because I started at 16, it’s hard for me not to hear Bill Daniels in my head. So Mr. Feeney kind of gets stuck there, unlike Kevin Conroy in my head when I walk around and just hear, «You can clean up the city.» I know I can’t, so yes, it’s Bill Daniels doing my mind.