Incredibles 2 has smashed the box office this week, making it the movie you want to see this summer! I had an amazing time covering this film and interviewing talent that you’ll hear in the animation. This last interview comes from Sophia Bush, who is the voice of a new Incredibles character, Voyd. (Meet Voyd in the picture down below. Voyd is the one with blue hair and her own sense of style!) I like her, and can definitely see how she and Sophia Bush were a great pair.
So, when you went into the studio, did you work with any of the other voice actors?
Sophia Bush: No. What’s interesting is you go in and it’s you and Brad in the room. And he’s such a phenomenal director. And as any good director, he’s really got the movie put together in his head. So, I’m guessing obviously knowing that Holly (Hunter) and I are gonna be having a conversation in the way that you and I are, but I have no idea how she’s talking, how fast she’s talking, how loud she’s talking, what her intonation is. So, I have to think about what’s going on in the scene and kind of guess.
Brad knows what take he’s gonna get from Holly, so he knows when I’m throwing things at him, and just which take of mine is right. So, he’s the mad genius scientist, which is awesome.
For me, I had to think a lot about who this girl is. You know, Violet is a teenager. Voyd is a young woman. And she represents, to me, so many of the girls who I spend so much of my life talking to, girls that are in high school, college, post-college, trying to figure out who they are. And the way that I related it was this: I thought a lot about being a young girl in this world of the Incredibles, who has powers, who thinks it’s the coolest. And then you see people like you become illegal. And your parents tell you you have to hide who you are, because you could be jailed. You could be killed. You could be subject to harassment. But you grew up looking up to Elastigirl. She was on your TV. There’s no one in your town like you.
But you had an idol! And you knew that she got to shine. And the way that came into a specific idea for me when I think about what intersectional activism, what I think about being a woman for all women looks like, when I think about what my level of relative privilege is, ’cause when we’re women we don’t have enough privilege, but as a white woman, I have more privilege than a lot of other women. And I think about what the struggles are in society for people who are not accepted or people who are othered because of their race, because of their gender or because of their sexual orientation.
And I thought about listening to my sweet superhero friend herself, Debra Messing, talk about what it was like when Will and Grace was on the air. And she would meet these young gay kids from small towns where they maybe were the only gay boy or lesbian girl, and they were shunned and they were judged. And they would meet Debra or Erica McCormick. And over and over again these kids would say, I grew up in a place that didn’t accept me, and I saw you on TV and your character taught me that everything was gonna get better for me and that someday I’d get to be who I am.
Elastigirl girl is Voyd’s Debra Messing. She is that idol who made this girl, who had to dim her light for so long, feel like eventually everything was gonna be okay. And you see her expressing her identity. Like, she has turquoise hair and a side shave. This is a bold expression of her inner radicalness, but she’s had to hide her biggest magic. And she gets to meet the person who made her feel like one day it was gonna be okay. And that made everything about why she just couldn’t figure out how to hold it together.
It made it really, really personal for me, because it was something that was a fight I’ve been a part of in my real life, and it helped me own the moment for this sweet girl in the recording booth.
Powerful thoughts and words, right?
What would be your superpower in real life?
Sophia Bush: I would love to have Voyd’s powers. They’re really badass! But I think about convenience, and whatever the power is that would allow me to teleport, I’d like that. ‘Cause like I have to get on a red-eye tonight. Do you know how happy I’d be to just like grab my bags and twitch my nose like Samantha from Bewitched and just be in another city? Like, no more TSA, no more bad airport food — it would be the biggest game changer of my life. I would love that.
Imagine not having to sit in rush hour traffic. You just think and you’re at your meeting across town!
Since you spent time watching the animation process, what was it about that process that surprises you the most?
Sophia Bush: I wish that they would do a behind-the-scenes package for people to see the stages, because if you know how many layers of tech — I mean it’s literally like — it’s like a lasagna. It’s like layers and layers and layers and layers and layers of code and specificity. And there’s a whole pass on the movie done just to animate hair. And there’s a whole pass on the movie done just to put the right textures in clothing. And it’s so crazy. And we got to see a rough cut of the film back in February —
And there were whole bits of it not animated yet. Like, our characters were like floating around with no arms like ghosts. And there were certain scenes where they were animated, but the mouths hadn’t been yet, because our dialogue had just been finalized. So, then they have to do the mouth to match your speaking voice. It is so much more complex and brilliant and genius and cool than anybody knows. And, you know, to them they’re like, well, we present what’s perfect to the world, and I’m like, show them everything, you know.
I wanna see the unretouched pictures of these people, too. It’s really — it’s phenomenal and hundreds, hundreds and hundreds of people work on every movie.
My daughter really liked Voyd in Incredibles 2, which is currently playing in theaters. It’s a great summer film that was well worth the 14 year wait! (Read my review of Incredibles 2.)
INCREDIBLES 2 IN THEATERS NOW