DC Comics News is proud to present you with another exclusive! It was my honor to speak to Ms. Hynden Walch. You can’t hear her voice without thinking of Starfire from Teen Titans and Teen Titans GO! She has also given voice to Ace on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and Harley Quinn on The Batman and Batman: Assault On Arkham. Recently, she voiced Starfire again on LEGO DC Super Heroes – Justice League: Gotham City Breakout. This interview was conducted in April 2006.
Alright! DC Comics News.com! We have an exclusive interview with one of my favorite voice over artists, Miss Hynden Walch! Hi, Hynden!
Hynden Walch: Hi! Hi, Kevin! How are you?
I am great, thank you so much for taking time from your busy schedule. I know you have a lot of voice over stuff that you’re doing so I really appreciate this.
I know that fans are familiar with you and your voice from Teen Titans and Teen Titans GO! as the voice of Starfire, and also with Harley Quinn on The Batman and Batman: Assault on Arkham.
Hynden: My Twitter description reads “undercover actress.” I’m a really private person who is very happy to act every day, and to be normal when I go out. I started as a stage actress and I did on-camera as well.
Speaking of TV, I remember you were on a TV show called The Untouchables. You starred in the show with a guy named John Newton who played Superboy before.
Hynden: Oh, cool! Super cool! Yeah, that show was about Al Capone, and I got cast when I think I was 20, and I played Mrs. Capone, which isn’t that crazy? The whole premise was he married this little Irish schoolgirl, and being a little Irish schoolgirl, I could do. That show was great and I was working and living in Chicago, and they filmed it in Chicago. I was like “great, I don’t even have to move!”
So what was it like working with John Newton? Did you get to do any scenes with him?
Hynden: I don’t think we ever did because I was a bad guy and he was a good guy.
How did you get into voiceover work?
Hynden: Well, it was something I always wanted to do. I had been acting professionally since I was 11 years old in the theater. Who wouldn’t want to do animation? At the time it wasn’t like the “cool” thing to do, I still thought it was the coolest thing you could possibly do. The problem was I was always in the wrong city. So I was in Chicago where there would always be a lot of ad work, but there’s no animation. You might get an audition sent your way from LA once in a while, but that’s it. And then I was in New York, and there was very very very little animation work there too. And then eventually I moved to LA, to really get to see more of that world, and it was great. I got an agent right away when I moved out here, in the voiceover world. I kind of had a suitable resume for it. I had just done a show on Broadway called The Rise and Fall of Little Voice where I played a little girl from England who could imitate all these famous singers perfectly. So I was doing, like, nine different voices in that show. So I was in a pretty good position to be in a place in LA animation world could be that I could fit in there. I don’t know if you noticed, but it’s really hard to get into the animation world. There’s like 50 people who do everything and I’m really grateful. I had to audition for a lot of years before I got my first show and my first movie. And I’m like “oh my god, this is the most fun thing ever. Let’s never, ever do anything else.” I’ve been very lucky I get to enjoy a very beautiful imaginative wonderful acting world, which is cool.
So you like to do voice acting mores now as opposed to live action?
Hynden: Years and years ago. It always felt like on-camera acting is about your hair. On-camera work and me never hit it off. So I was very happy to not do it anymore.
You’re so good at it and you have such a nice, bubbly voice (I love Princess Bubblegum). Let’s talk about some of your DC characters that you portray in cartoons and animation. Let’s talk about Starfire. What was it like to audition for Starfire the FIRST time on Teen Titans?
Hynden: It was great! Andrea Romano brought me in for both Starfire AND Raven. So I read both roles, and it was just a tiny, tiny bit of dialogue. And the first time I read Starfire, I was like “oh my god. That’s it? Did I mess it up? Can I do it again?” and Andrea said “yes, you can do it again. You don’t need to, but you can do it again!” And it was a little scene with Starfire and Robin, and there were all these feelings for Robin, and then being totally alien, and having never been to a movie before, she didn’t understand. And I remember the last line of the audition was “Robin that man needs our help!” and then going into action. But my audition was so short, I thought I didn’t do it right. I know Tara (Strong) was brought in for Starfire and Raven. And so we audition for each other’s roles.
I like when you played both Starfire AND Blackfire in those respective episodes. You can tell it’s your voice, but there’s a difference between the two characters, which you do so well.
Hynden: I like them too! They were scary at first. The episode with the sisters was the second episode we ever recorded. So we didn’t even know each other yet, and I had to basically spend the entire recording session talking to myself and then fighting with myself, in front of everybody who I didn’t know yet. Now when we do those Starfire/Blackfire episodes on Teen Titans GO!, Khary (Payton), who plays Cyborg, tells me “I get to sit here and watch to you talk to yourself!”
I liked how when you were all still recording Teen Titans, you also did an episode of Justice League. I love how they brought all of you in as the Royal Flush Gang, and how you interacted with the cast of Justice League. That was probably as close as we were going to get to seeing a crossover between Teen Titans and Justice League.
Hynden: Ace was really cool. That’s actually one the parts I’m asked about most, because that’s the episode with Batman where she dies. That was really powerful writing in that show.
So you did Assault on Arkham where you played Harley Quinn. I know it wasn’t the first time you played Harley Quinn, but what was that like?
Hynden: That was an awesome movie! It was written by my buddy Heath Corson, who I thought did a BRILLIANT job. I loved playing Harley. I don’t remember the year I started doing Harley, but I was the second person to do her after Arleen Sorkin. I feel like Harley belongs to Arleen Sorkin and Paul Dini because THEY created her. When I played her in the movie I did it as an homage to them. But it was such an honor to play an awesome female villain in this world. So I started playing her on The Batman, which was the one with Rino Romano as Batman. And then she came up a few more random places, like Yo-Yo, but in another reality (Editor’s Note: Yo-Yo was the villain Thomas Wayne was chasing as Batman in Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox). And to work on Assault on Arkham was an absolute pleasure.
Now we come to Teen Titans GO!, and they bring back the whole cast from Teen Titans, but it’s a lot different – a more comedic version of the show. What was that like when you were called back to do Starfire again?
Hynden: I think we’d (the cast of Teen Titans) all agree that we were thrilled when we got that phone call, because to say “Hey we’re doing Titans again” – wonderful news! Because we really love each other, we really are close, hang out, talk on the phone, and it’s really wonderful to just see my deliciously talented cast, who can play the heck out of drama and adventure, do absolute screwball comedy and high satire, and do it brilliantly. I think the Teen Titans are killing both sides of (drama and comedy). I’ve noticed the trouble is we’ve gotten so good at doing the comedy, that people are like “well you could never do anything serious.” And I’m like, “dude did you SEE the original series?” Of COURSE we can do it. I was a little confused at first. It took a little getting used to the new style, but Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath are amazing producers, they got their legs under them, and really good at writing high satire. The writing is incredible, where if you’re five, you think it’s hilarious, and if you’re 50, you think it’s hilarious. We got a season four, I’m very happy about that.
You played Platinum in Batman: Brave and the Bold, as well!
Hynden: YES! And then they brought the Metal Men back, and did a whole bunch of shorts, and I was Platinum, and I was Tin. And I like her, she’s pretty.
Well thank you, Hynden so much for talking with us. It’s been a pleasure.
Hynden: Thank you!