Phil Lamarr and Laura Bailey Act Out Their Aggression in Injustice 2 [SDCC 2016]
Announced last month, Injustice 2 will continue NetherRealm's alternate DC Universe take on a world where Superman rules the planet with a not-so-benevolent Kryptonian hand. This week at San Diego Comic-Con, NetherRealm announced two new members for the roster: Wonder Woman and Blue Beetle. The roster is still expanding, as Injustice 2 isn't due out until sometime deep into 2017, but right now there's a solid core in place of new and returning characters.
At a roundtable session this weekend, we were able to catch up with DC Universe veteran Phil Lamarr, who plays the returning Aquaman, and newcomer to the multiverse, Laura Bailey, who brings Supergirl to Earth for the first time in the Injustice timeline. We weren't able to pry many secrets from the duo, but we did get a glimpse inside the work the actors put into the sequel.
No stranger to the DCU, Phil Lamarr has some strong opinions on why Aquaman has seen a bit of a resurgence as of late. "I think the original conception of Aquaman was sorely lacking," Phil Lamarr said. "I only think its been in the last couple of conceptions that he's really come into his own. They tried for years to do anything with him. I feel like it may have started on Young Justice, but Injustice took it to the next level and gave the character a solid grounding."
He's not entirely wrong, as you can clearly see some influence from the game on the cinematic iteration of Aquaman being played by Jason Momoa. Sure he might be a tad bit biased having intimated that his two takes on Aquaman have helped the character surge back to the forefront, but for Lamarr, it still comes down to how NetherRealm has spun its take on the King of Atlantis.
"They've come up with a really cool take on the character," Lamarr explained. "You have one of these characters that is ostensibly one of the most powerful heroes, he just wasn't cool. They finally figured it out. He's bad-ass. He's the ocean personified, but he's also a man.
"For me the hook is the kingliness; he has power but he also has responsibility. For him, it's always about that. I love the fact that the battle stuff of Injustice is what really put him over the top. Once you've got great writing, it acts itself."
While Lamarr has been rotating around the Justice League meeting table for a few years now, Laura Bailey is diving in headfirst on two distinctly different DC female icons this year. She'll be playing Supergirl in Injustice 2 and Catwoman in Batman: The Telltale Series. Both provide their own interesting avenues for the actor to explore.
"They are such completely different characters," Bailey said. "Supergirl is pure. She's young and impressionable, and when she comes into this story she really is learning about everything that's happening along with the player. Selina is old hat. She's been doing this for years and she's playing everyone. She's in charge of the situations she's in."
Even though Supergirl may be a naive newcomer to this world, she's still in a fighting game, so that purity won't always be so finely filtered according to Bailey. Supergirl is still adjusting to her role, and having to deal with others in a place of authority is something new for the character. As she's still a teen, she'll have some attitude with people trying to tell her what to do. Her arrival on Earth could also be seen as the inlet for players jumping in for the first time. Though no story details about Injustice 2 were shared, if you missed out on the events from the original game, that's okay; so did Supergirl.
Unfortunately, Bailey didn't have any other actors around to help her get acclimated to this game universe. The acting for Injustice 2 was all done primarily solo for the actors, which proved to be a bit of a challenge without having much context for what was happening. At least Lamarr had the advantage of knowing what to expect from working on the original game.
"You have to imagine the line and how it might be said," Lamarr explained. "It's a lot of mental work, plus now they do facial capture while we're doing the lines. You're basically wearing a bicycle helmet with this arm and a camera with a light shining in your face while you're trying to act. It's like, should I jump through a hoop while I'm doing all this as well?"
Bailey echoed some those sentiments, adding, "You go in the booth with your rig on, and you don't get to see the dialogue around it --- the introduction to the fights, or the dialogue within those fights. With the Telltale games, we're getting to record together on a lot of it, which is really cool and new in a lot of video games. It's been happening in years for animation, but getting to be together to record for a video game really makes a difference with a lot of story elements."
After being in DCU for more than a decade at this point, we questioned Lamarr on how much longer we'd have to wait until Warner Bros. did a Justice League adventure where they finally acquiesced and let him play the whole League.
"You have to have Kevin Conroy gone to an alternate universe for a couple of years because nobody else can do Batman. I'll do everyone but that," Lamarr joked. "Actually, I would just try to do my impression of George [Newbern] for Superman. I'm happy to play in that sandbox. I'm an old school comic book guy. I have a couple of DC comics that are about as old as I am. Anytime I get to embody any of them is a joy."
Injustice 2 will be out on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2017.