With Teen Titans GO! to the Movies now available for home entertainment viewing, we spent some time with Kristen Bell – who voices Jade – to talk about being a part of one of the funniest films of the year.
The film finds our egocentric, wildly satirical Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza—a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the superhero genre, complete with musical numbers.
It seems like all the superheroes are getting their own movies – everyone but the Teen Titans, that is! Determined to be a star, Robin vows to change this. If only they could get Hollywood director Jade Wilson (Kristen Bell) to notice them! With a few madcap ideas and musical numbers (of course), the Teen Titans head to Tinsel Town. But when Supervillain Slade (Will Arnett) messes with their plans, the Teen Titans will have to become true superheroes to save the world!
When you were offered the role, what about the film or character sparked your interest?
I love voicing animated characters. It’s my favourite part of being an actor. Creating something from nothing before it’s even drawn and using only my voice is challenging and stimulating.
I was also excited by the fact that I would be a voicing a character new to the Teen Titans universe, and I love that Jade is a self-assured, egotistical, power-hungry director – and a badass, powerful female character.
Did Jade remind you any filmmakers you’ve worked with?
I’ve always been lucky enough to work with very kind directors, most of whom were the polar opposite of Jade. But of course, I’m aware of stereotypes about directors, who sometimes are shown as being super eccentric, strange, dedicated and not very self-aware. With Jade, I thought those were fun character traits to play with, as was her dramatic and passionate nature. But Jade isn’t based on any one person, thankfully, because if I knew that person, I would definitely not work with her (laughs).
How did you find Jade’s voice?
Before I began work on the film, [directors] Peter [Rida Michail] and Aaron [Horvath] discussed with me what they wanted from the character and where she fit in the story. That context was very helpful. It answered some of my questions, like, “Do you want Jade to be abrasive? Do you need her to be more comforting because the Teen Titans lean on her in the third act?” All those things are important. We ultimately leaned into Jade being a bossy, powerful, passionate loudmouth. We played around with how much we could push those traits, while still making her feel semi-realistic. But since this is an animated feature, there was a lot of fun to be had in playing with Jade’s extremes. That worked well for the film because the Teen Titans franchise is known for being funny, quippy, irreverent and sassy – just like Jade.
What kind of things can you do in a movie that you can’t do in a TV show?
The longer form allows you to travel with the character, emotionally. With television shows, it can sometimes seem like you’re watching the characters do things, while a movie can let you feel like the characters are doing and experiencing things. You can push everything – including the action and humour.
What was it like working with your directors?
Peter and Aaron are shockingly calm. Maybe I expected them both to be in lime-green polka dot suits because the Teen Titans TV show is so crazy. What I love about them is that they’re weird, and I mean that as the highest compliment. Peter and Aaron do what makes them laugh. They do what they think is funny and that’s why this franchise is so successful.
Their sense of humour is definitely in sync with mine. It was a joy to watch them whisper jokes to one another and see which joke really tickled them. Because sometimes it’s the smallest and most unexpected joke in the middle of a scene that worked best. When that happened, the two of them would be unable to stop giggling about it.
With which Teen Titan do you most identify?
I think I identified a little bit with each of them. It’s hard to specify one character because it’s not a movie to watch and observe your own reality (laughs). It’s a movie you watch to escape and see incredible and funny things. There are moments that the Teen Titans go through that are identifiable and relatable, but it’s mostly over the top action and comedy.
What do you think families and kids will experience with Teen Titans Go! To the Movies?
They’re going to experience a fun and wild ride. This film presents a much bigger world than you see on the Teen Titans TV show. It’s a complete, three hundred and sixty degrees feel, which immerses you in this world and the characters you love. Audiences will love how the Teen Titans go out of their comfort zone and out of their depth.
TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES is out now on DVD & Digital Download, and available on Blu-ray exclusively at HMV
©2018 Warner Bros. Ent. All rights reserved. TEEN TITANS GO! TO THE MOVIES ©Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. TEEN TITANS and all related characters and elements ™ and ©DC Comics