Amy Acker and Phil Morris on Voicing SUPERMAN: RED SON’s Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen

Joe McCabe

Joe McCabe

June 24, 2020

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Like much of the cast of Superman: Red Son, actors Amy Acker and Phil Morris are no stranger to the DC Universe. Acker voiced the first screen version of the Helena Bertinelli’s Huntress in Justice League Unlimited, while Morris has lent his talents to Smallville (portraying the Martian Manhunter), the animated Legion of Super Heroes (in which he voiced Imperiex), Justice League (as Vandal Savage), Green Lantern: The Animated Series (as Saint Walker), and most recently, DCU’s Doom Patrol (as Silas Stone). Here’s what Acker and Morris recently told us about their work in Red Son, for which they took on two of the most beloved characters in American pop culture – Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen… 



Amy Acker



On Superman: Red Son’s version of Lois…


I think her core qualities are still there. She's still asking the tough questions, trying to get answers. She’s still not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right. But the biggest twist is that she’s now married to Lex Luthor. I hadn’t read the comic before I got the script, and so, for me, it does take a second. Because in your mind you’re like, “Wait, is this still Lois Lane?” It’s an identity crisis.


One why Red Son resonates with fans…


The thing that stands out is the whole nature/nurture argument. Because, for however many years, we’ve thought of Superman being this one thing, and then, you read this and it totally makes sense that it could be this whole other thing. I think just flipping something on its head, and yet seeing truths in it makes you kind of open your eyes to how many other things there are out there that you’ve just sort of tunnel-visioned through because you’ve been accustomed to it.


On her favorite Lois Lane…


I mean, I feel like it’s the main one – Margot Kidder in Superman: The Movie. Is there another one? [Laughs.] Yeah, that was my childhood. That’s the one that I watched hundreds of times, and for a long time that was really the only superhero movie I saw.


Because of that movie, even before I wanted to be an actress, I wanted to be Lois Lane. She was just such a role model. She held her own next to Superman. So you felt like she was a superhero, whether or not she was. But I guess not everyone grew up in the ‘80s. I don’t think my kids think that’s the definitive version. They should. [Laughs.] 


That version is so ingrained into who I think Lois is that I initially went into the recording booth saying, “This is who she is.” But the lines in this are a little different, and the scenes with Lex are a little sexier than that movie’s. In their interpretation of what they wanted it to be, they had a very clear vision. So they were very specific with the direction they wanted the character to go, and just the way that they wanted the lines to be delivered. I think it still stayed true to who I thought Lois was, but… It’s hard to say. There’s definitely something different about her in this film than how I would have played [the traditional] Lois.


On revisiting her past roles… 


I mean, now I just want to go backwards and get to do the live-action versions of the voices I've done. I’d love to do Huntress again. [Laughs.] 



Phil Morris



On Superman: Red Son’s Jimmy Olsen…


I think this Jimmy is a bit of a voice of conscience for Lex Luthor. He's much more mature and grounded than the Jimmy that we know. Especially early Jimmy -- he was a little more frazzled, a little more of a “gee golly gosh” kind of a guy. Now he's a more mature individual. He's African American, which changes his core just little bit. He’s a little smoother, I think, a little more classy. But no less loyal, no less eager, no less Johnny-on-the-spot. We just don't play him with those broad kind of dynamics that they did in the original Superman comics. But he's no less the James Olson, Jimmy Olsen, that we all know and love. Because he is incredibly loyal to the right people, he's incredibly loyal to the ethic that they're trying to get to. Yet he doesn't agree with the process necessarily.


On why Red Son is as relevant as ever…


Now, it's the timeliness of it. But I think before, it was "Oh my God, what if that were true? Where does that put us?" Then there's the twist. The manipulation of Superman in this is unlike anything I've ever seen. He was never manipulated here in America, he was given the most wholesome, most value-laden morality that the Kents could give him. Nobody came in there and corrupted that. In this, he starts getting corrupted, and he's manipulated from the beginning. But he truly believes in what he's doing, which is no different than our Superman. The only thing is, his reality is being compromised with his agenda. It's really true. It's very, very honest, I think. And I think it’s what happens in a lot of countries that have an agenda for their people, as opposed to an open-ended, “We all can win. We're all in it together.” Here it’s “No, no, no -- you're in it to win. And this is the way I'm going to go, so you got to go there as well.” That's what he is experiencing.


On his favorite DC Comics…


The Neal Adams/Denny O’Neil classics are amazing -- Green Lantern/Green Arrow. Amazing. Especially at the time that they came out. It was classic. So all of that run. And The Dark Knight Returns. But there's just so many in the world… I think the writing, the morality tales, they cannot be beaten. Then when they translate them to the screen, they look fantastic.



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