Alfred Molina is no stranger to superhero film fans, having played Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2, but now he’s lending his acting talents, and voice, to an entirely different supervillain. Molina will be voicing Ares, the God of War in Warner Home Video’s animated feature Wonder Woman.
This isn’t the first time Molina has worked in animation, not is it his first time working in DC Animation working opposite the Amazonian Princess. He previously voiced King Gustav in the Justice League animated series.
Molina sat down for a Q&A session where he discusses the challenges of working in animation, what he loves about the work and what it’s like to have god-like cheekbones.
Alfred Molina voicing Ares, the God of War. That’s a nice title.
Alfred Molina: Yeah. I’m thinking of changing my name professionally to Ares, the God of War. I think I might just do that.
What is your favorite part of voice acting?
Alfred Molina: This is all about imagination. It’s like our director Andrea (Romano) likes to say, “Thank you for coming to play.” And that’s really what voice acting is. It’s play acting at its most childlike, it’s most free. There are no restrictions of costume or scenery or a set. It’s about what’s in your head, and that’s the fun part.
Were there any challenges of bringing this particular character to life?
Alfred Molina: The main challenge with doing a vocal performance is to find the way that the voice matches the image. Very often, in a sense, you’re working ahead of the image. The image hasn’t been finalized yet, so you get a vague idea of what the character’s going to look like, but you don’t see the character move, and you don’t see the character physically behaving in any sort of significant way. So you rely very much on the director and the writers to help you find that voice. The nice thing is that chances are they’ve called you in because they like something about the quality of your voice, and from there it’s very much a series of building blocks. You start off by some kind of generalized tone, some sense of where you might be, and then you just start refining it bit by bit. Less of a cry, more of a growl. With Ares, I initially placed the voice quite low, which made him sound rather rough, and Andrea (Romano) said, ‘Just make it a bit more suave.’ Sometimes all you need is that idea, the slightest of descriptions, like ‘suave,’ and you adjust to something that’s going to work.
What was your reaction to seeing the sketch of Ares?
Alfred Molina: They gave me cheekbones! This guy’s really cut, so I was very flattered and delighted, but I must make sure that I’m never seen in public again. It’ll spoil the image [he laughs]. He’s very, very manly. Very manly chin. Strong jaw. I like all that.
You’ve had notable experience in villainous roles. Do you enjoy playing villains, and are there any tricks or challenges to assuming that role?
Alfred Molina: I enjoy playing villains – I’m very proud that I belong to a very honorable tradition of British actors who come to Hollywood to play the bad guys. James Mason, Claude Rains, Basil Rathbone, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Caine. At some point in American film, I think there was the idea that the British accent had a tone to it that’s a little bit naughty. We actually tried a more mid-Atlantic accent for Ares.
Playing villains is very liberating because unlike the leading man, nothing is expected of you. Leading men have to look good, they have to behave in a certain way, they have to fulfill an audience’s expectations. But as a bad guy, you have free license to take the audience by surprise. And that’s what audiences want – they want unpredictability from their villains. The villain’s job is to subvert it.
What was your first impression of the Wonder Woman script?
Alfred Molina: The language is really good in this film. There are a couple of speeches that are almost operatic, as they’re nice long sentences and, for Ares, they’re good, flowing tirades. And there’s this lovely notion of paralleling a modern storyline and modern contemporary characters with all these gods and characters from Greek mythology. Gods speaking in classic speech, while the younger set are speaking with a more contemporary approach. It’s an interesting idea and it strikes a great balance.
For more about this interview, please check out MovieWeb.com!
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