This week I had the honor of talking with one of the coolest voice-over actresses in the business Amanda Troop. She has an impressive resume a mile long with everything from on-screen acting, animation voice-overs, video game voice-over as well as live theater. As I researched to prepare for my interview I became more excited as I read her amazing list of career hits such as ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation‘, ‘Batman Unlimited‘ series, and for the gamers out there numerous video games titles. What I was extremely excited to talk with her about was her upcoming role as Maggie Sawyer in animated feature ‘The Death of Superman’ as well as talk about her video game work and just what it is her favorite superhero of all time is.
Rachel Bryant: When did you know you wanted to take up acting?
Amanda Troop: Well the answer is sort of a two-part answer. When I was a kid I saw a taped recording of Bernadette Peters ‘Into the Woods‘ and I just love that musical. It is a Steven Sondheim musical with Bernadette Peters and I was like “Oh man I am going to be that witch when I grow up”. I didn’t know she was an actor on Broadway or any of that all I knew was I wanted to be the “witch” when I grew up. So, in the back of my mind, I had this idea I would get to be her. When I was a little bit older when had just moved to Florida. Both of my parents were in the Army, so we moved all over the place, so we had just moved to Florida and my mom suggested that we go volunteer at the local community theater. I wasn’t really into it at the time. I had actually just gone to Space Camp, so I was more interested in going into space. So, we go the theater and I am not really into and she signs me up for some musical theater classes and I am not that into that either. I am nervous, I am not really sure this is right for me. I remember we were doing a rock musical with a medley of songs from different rock musicals and we were doing ‘Aquarius’ from ‘Hair’ and I am in the audience and it was a presentational thing were the actors were in the audience and we would all start singing, and everyone would be like “WHAT there were actors in the audience the whole time?” I am just sitting in my row and I am just shaking I am so nervous and freaking out. The music starts and a couple of people come out on stage and the audience is getting into it. I am sitting in my seat all nervous and freaking out thinking I am right here and they don’t even know it and finally I stand up and sing my part and then I go up on stage and I am freaking out and looking at the audience it was like all of a sudden something snaps inside of me and I was like “OH I LOVE THIS” and then I was just “in”. In high school I did community theater, I did school plays, school competitions, summer school plays for acting but I didn’t really figure out way to pursue acting as a career until I was 19 and I sat down with an agent in college and he laid it all out for me that is when I decided to move to Los Angeles and pursue it professionally. I have known it for a long time, mostly since I was 11, but definitely at 19 is when I knew.
RB: I know you do a lot of voice-over work, do you prefer that to on-screen acting?
AT: I can’t choose, I really can’t choose. They are both really fun, but they are different. Voice acting is great because I can be anything I can imagine. I can be a giant or I can be a flea or I can be an alien. I also love doing creature sounds. It gives me a lot of versatility and I have a pretty wild imagination which I can use and play in that arena. On camera is special too because you are interacting with another person where you are usually in the booth by yourself and you get use your whole body. Not that you don’t get to use your whole body when with voice acting but you get to show people with your body what you are trying to express with on the on camera. That is also something that I would never want to give up. Both are just great jobs, I am just so lucky to be able to do both of them.
RB: I have noticed that you have done several video game voice-overs, how is that process different from normal animation?
AT: There are slight differences. Well, actually there are big differences and slight differences. Acting wise let’s say if you are doing a cartoon show like ‘Looney Toons‘ versus video game ‘The Last of Us‘ there is going to be pretty big differences in the style of acting. So, one is going to be more popping and comedic and the other is intimate. The other huge differences in voiceovers in video games is you are making more effort sounds. There are more combat noises, yelling, hitting people, being hit, climbing, being burned by acid and running around on fire. Things that cause you to have what we call “blood throat” which is caused by ripping your vocal cords to shreds because you are basically doing real combat in the booth. So that is very different from what you might experience from an animated show about a teenager going to high school. That is not necessarily going to happen.
RB: Can you tell me a little bit about your role as Maggie Sawyer in the new animated feature ‘The Death of Superman’?
AT: Yes absolutely, Maggie Sawyer is a police officer with the Metropolis Special Crime Unit. In her history, she has had a love/hate relationship with Superman. She always felt that crime solving should be done by good old fashion police work and that superpowers were not always the best thing to use in every situation. There is a period of resentment in her history that is until she gets recused by Superman which changes her opinion after she is recused from a situation that absolutely requires being saved by Superman. So in ‘The Death of Superman‘ in this film, she is called on them to an unusual crime occurrence and because she is part of the special crime unit this is something that she would usually handle, however Superman does come in because it is really intense but nothing can really prepare her for what unfolds in the rest of the film which is of course in the title ‘The Death of Superman‘. The other really amazing thing about Maggie Sawyer which is not indicated in the film, but she is one of the first openly gay characters in a major comic book franchise, so it is really significant when she gets major screen time and time in comic books. She is a very important character and I am extremely lucky to play her.
RB: Being surrounded by all the Superheroes such as Superman and you also have done voice-over work in the animated series ‘Batman Unlimited’, I have to ask who is YOUR favorite Superhero?
AT: Ok this is a serious question. I am going to give multi-part answers. I was always drawn to Roque from ‘X-men‘. This is because she can get anybody’s powers and I think that is a really cool superhero ability but then she has that whole dark side of never being able to touch anyone which is very tragic and a little emo for me. So, Rogue is up there. Then I am going to say I love Elastigirl from ‘The Incredibles’ because she is so capable, and my last answer is Squirrel Girl because she does it with a sense of humor so if you combine the three of them then you have my favorite Superhero.
RB: What are some things that your fans can be looking forward to in the future?
AT: This week I will be in an episode of Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters and it is a really cool anthology series sort of like a funny ‘Black Mirror‘. My episode is called ‘Goatman Cometh‘ and so far the first two weeks we have had a man who was haunted by an animated character that he voiced and that episode was like ‘Cape Fear‘ meets ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit?‘ and then last week it was a little political commentary about a werewolf running for President. Then in my episode there are children and we find out who the real villains are and it might not be who you think it is. It is a very interesting episode with a lot of great comedians, so I am excited to be a part of it. Bobcat was amazing to work with. He is so funny and talented. It was great to work on the set, but I am also a fan of the show. So, people should check it out. Then later this summer there is an animated web series with more episodes coming out called ‘Box Peek’. I have more projects coming out next year and I will be Tweeting more about them as they get closer so they can follow me at @Amanda_Troop for future updates.
I loved this interview and learned so much about Amanda and I hope you did too. You can catch her as the voice of Maggie Sawyer in ‘The Death of Superman‘ which is available digitally on all platforms now or will hit Blu-Ray/DVD on August 7th. Also, don’t miss her episode of Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters which airs on TruTV on Aug. 1st.