Wonder Woman: Classic Bobblehead

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Actress Vicki Lewis makes her second foray into the world of DC Comics super heroes as Persephone, a key character among the Amazons in Wonder Woman, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies, due for release on March 3.

Lewis, best known for role as Beth in NBC's NewsRadio, made her DCU film debut in Justice League: The New Frontier as Iris West. Her animation credits include the movie Finding Nemo and such TV series as Wild Thornberrys, King of the Hill, Rugrats, Phineus and Ferb, Ben 10: Alien Force and the upcoming Penguins of Madagascar.

Following is a studio-provided question-and-answer with Lewis:

Question: When you read the Wonder Woman script, what was your first impression of Persephone?

Lewis: I'll be honest, I knew nothing about the mythology of any of this. I got the script, and often times I just kind of look at my part, but this is a fascinating story. I ended up spending half a night on Wikipedia going through the real mythology of the character. Persephone is a very fascinating character in Greek mythology and the comic books. I wasn't a great student, so I love any opportunity at my age to learn something new. So that's how I prepared.

Question: What endeared you to the role of Persephone?

Lewis: I do a lot of animation, and mostly I get cast as the wacky character. I play a lot of kids, or the strange neighbor next door, or the really off-the-wall person in the script. But this was really enticing because Persephone is a solid, commanding woman. It was an interesting process to find and place her (vocally) -- she's a powerful character, and the direction was "less is more" in the grand scheme of this Greek tragedy. I'm very rarely asked to play the powerful, centered part of myself. It's always there, but I don't get to use it often (in performance). I played Velma Kelly in Chicago, so I think I drew mainly on that character. But this was a great experience. I expected to come in and they would ask me to act like an idiot, which is what I usually get paid to do. So this was an interesting recording session.

Question: Was there a favorite moment for you during the recording session?

Lewis: When you have 900 people staring at you through the glass of the recording booth, and whispering but you can't hear them, you really want to make sure you give them what they want. And I felt like I got it, because I understood the emotion. This character, Persephone, has some very heartfelt and sad moments, and it was really vulnerable and really human. It wasn't cartoony -- it touched something somewhat real. So I was actually affected by it in a way I didn't expect to be.

Question: Was it fun playing the bad girl?

Lewis: It's always fun being the bad girl. When I was young, I had Barbie dolls and I made them fly. And then my friends deserted me because I turned them into witches. I was always that kid. I didn't even know what a comic book was.

Question: Much of the fanboy populus is into gaming. Are you a gamer?

Lewis: I'm not into the games like the kids play today, but I was addicted to Tetris. I had the Trio, and the Tetris was on it and then my fiance got me the iPhone for my birthday and I love it. But it doesn't have Tetris. So I've kept the Trio's battery alive to play Tetris. I used to be addicted to Pacman. We were doing The Wizard of Oz at the Kansas City Starlight Theatre, so we were stuck in the middle of Kansas and we would go to the House of Pies every night because they had a Pacman machine in their lobby. And we were obsessed with it.

Question: You glide between stage, film, television and animation voiceover performances. All three require different techniques. What's the trick to making the transition for voiceover work?

Lewis: I started out in theatre in New York and then I did movies and I'd been out (in Hollywood) for nine months when I got News Radio and it was all a really interesting transition. Somebody who'd been around for a long time came up to me and basically said that the difference between stage and film and television is that on stage the proscenium is where you can see it. Film and television, it's really got to be here (spreads her arms wide). In terms of turning that into voice work, sometimes the voice is very subtle, and sometimes I'm so loud they have me move away from the mike. So in voiceovers, you learn where the proscenium is in your voice. As far as acting, I've been working for so long that I can basically tap into any emotion. I'm like a little trained monkey at this point. So it's just a matter of finding that place, and adjusting vocally as you would onstage or in film.

For voiceovers, like Wonder Woman, I feel really blessed that I'm able to do this and that Andrea (Romano, voice director) continues to hire me. She always lifts my spirits, she always makes me better, and she's always so gracious. I keep thinking, "When is she going to see through me, that I don't have any of this talent she's thanking me for?" She's just so great, such an amazing director.

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