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Mania Interview: Christina Hendricks
Driving Men Mad, Again
By Robert T. Trate
February 18, 2011
In All-Star Superman, the Man of Steel rescues an ill-fated mission to the Sun (sabotaged by Lex Luthor) and, in the process, is oversaturated by radiation – which accelerates his cell degeneration. Sensing even he will be unable to cheat death, Superman ventures into new realms – finally revealing his secret to Lois, confronting Lex Luthor’s perspective of humanity, and attempting to ensure Earth’s safety before his own impending end with one final, selfless act.
Based on the Eisner Award-winning DC Comics series/graphic novel of the same name by Grant Morrison with illustration by Frank Quitely, All-Star Superman is executive produced by animation guru Bruce Timm and directed by Sam Liu (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths) from a script by acclaimed comic’s writer Dwayne McDuffie (Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths).
The celebrity-packed voice cast is headed by James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Lois Lane, and Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) as Lex Luthor. The stellar cast includes seven-time Emmy Award winner Ed Asner (Up) as Perry White, Golden Globe winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Jimmy Olsen and Linda Cardellini (ER) as Nasty.
Mania had the distinct honor of attending the world premiere in New York City. To watch All-Star Superman in a theater with a crowd of people is an experience that very few people will ever have. Equally impressive is having the chance to meet its star, Christina Hendricks. The star of the hit series Mad Men was all too eager to discuss her first voice over performance. In attendance was her husband as well, Geoffrey Arend (Devil and Super Troopers), who had no problem telling us how much of a geek honor it is to be married to the Lois Lane.
Question: How did you prepare to step into this iconic role?
Christina Hendricks: I don’t think you really can prepare. I grew up knowing Lois Lane my entire life, so there is something very intimidating about it. I just tried to do my own take on it, not try and copy anyone else, and be true to the material on the page. Hopefully, I am a good Lois Lane (she laughs).
Question: When you were first approached to play the role was it something you had to be convinced to do?
Christina Hendricks: No, I was immediately on the page. I had never worked in voice over before, that was all ready exciting to me, and it was Lois Lane; the crème de la crème. What a way to start. As soon as they asked, I said absolutely and thank you.
Question: Therewas a rumor a while back that you were going to play Wonder Woman with your old friend Joss Whedon. With Joss doing The Avengers now, will we see you in that film?
Christina Hendricks: I’ve seen him recently as he is preparing for it and I don’t think there is a role for me in that project. I hope to work with Joss in the future because he is fantastic, really easy to work with, and a friend; so not on this one. As far as the Wonder Woman rumor goes, it was started by… I have no idea (laughs). It was a really nice compliment. No one has approached me about it but it is a fun rumor to go around.
Question: The role of Lois Lane is very different than the one you play on Mad Men. What was it like to be Lois?
Christina Hendricks: She is a little more rough around the edges then the character I play on Mad Men (Joan Harris). Both are very strong women and very independent. I don’t think that they are so different necessarily but definitely more of an adventurer is Lois.
Question: I understand that you and James [Denton, Superman] did not record your sessions together. What was the challenge of doing your part that way?
Christina Hendricks: It is interesting because you don’t know exactly how someone else is going to read it, which I think will make it really fun to watch. The direction was so great on this that we tried things a bunch of different ways and we had different options. They knew exactly what they were doing. I wasn’t worried about it.
Question: There was a rumor that your co-star on Mad Men, Jon Hamm was going to play Superman. Now that you have played Lois Lane have you rubbed it in to him at all?
Christina Hendricks: (laughs) I just heard that rumor. I never even realized it. I think he would make a great Superman, he would be fabulous. And yes, I will probably rub it in (laughs).
Question: This film, as opposed to other DC animated films, has a lot of emotional arc to it. The characters go through quite a great deal. Since this was your first voice over performance did you get to feel a lot of that yourself? Did it come through on the page, did you have to bring it from somewhere else, or did you feel it just by reading it?
Christina Hendricks: I think just by reading it. We all know these characters so well and that they are a part of our culture. We know the relationship between Superman and Lois Lane so it isn’t hard understanding the emotions of these two characters. I was actually quite surprised when I read the script and the adventure that they take together.
Question: You obviously have a big following from Mad Men but Firefly as well. How do the fans differ?
Christina Hendricks: I think Sci-Fi fans are some of the most loyal and passionate fans. I think that fans of Mad Men are equally passionate. You just don’t like the show you love the show. I think that they are very similar. Both are very in Vogue. On the other hand, I have a Mad Men Barbie and when I was on Firefly, someone at home made me a Saffron Barbie and sent it to my house. So, I actually have a one off Saffron Barbie at home (laughs).
Question: A lot of your fellow co-stars have played superheroes before. Jon Hamm has played Lex Luthor (in a Funny or Die Video) and Nathan Fillion will now voice the Green Lantern (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights). What is the appeal to the superhero genre and these projects?
Christina Hendricks: These are iconic characters that we have all grown up on and especially as actors we grew up acting like these characters already. It is an incredible opportunity to play an iconic role.
Question: This project in particular has an interesting arc for Lois, which must have been a challenge.
Christina Hendricks: It was. There is a lot of physicality in the script. When you are standing in a room by yourself to portray that physicality on screen was something I had never done. You find yourself making a lot of noises that this character is doing. You feel kind of foolish just standing in this room but then you get really into it.
Question: Do you read the actual Grant Morrison comic before you took the role?
Christina Hendricks: I didn’t. It was completely new to me. It was really exciting because I had never seen these characters do this before. I didn’t know you could do that in comic books. This isn’t the Superman that I know.
Geoffrey Arend: I told her how important it was.
Christina Hendricks: (laughs) I did get some education. It was completely new to me. It was even more exciting in some ways because it was such an adventure I had never seen these two characters on.
Question: Given the chance, would you play Lois again? Or perhaps is there another character in the DC Universe you would like to play?
Christina Hendricks: I would love to do Lois again. As a little girl, that was who I wanted to be and of course Wonder Woman. Now I am starting that rumor. I am saying animated (laughs) that would be really fun.
Question: Actually my question is for Geoffrey. What is it like be married to Lois Lane?
Geoffrey Arend: (big sigh)Oh my god. My cousins are huge Superman fans and when they found out, I think it was released on Facebook that she was playing Lois Lane, they said, “I’m going to kill you, you are married to Lois Lane”. For me it is a personal thrill because I used to dress up as a kid as Superman. There are pictures of me, up until third grade, wearing a Superman cape to school. I am a giant geek and I might be crying during the middle of this (the screening) with tears of joy. It is pretty awesome.
Question: If Lois Lane Lane is your dream girl is this better than being married to a Bond girl?
Geoffrey Arend: I think so (laughs). They are making a new Bond movie maybe Christina will be a Bond girl too. Maybe she’ll be a Bond girl, Wonder Woman, and Lois Lane. Then my head would explode.
All-Star Superman will be released on Blu-ray and DVD February 22, 2011.
Check out Robert’s interview with Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, on Superman/ Batman Apocalypse here on Mania.