We’re all waiting with anticipation for the Man of Steel to triumphantly return on the big screen in Superman: Legacy courtesy of filmmaker and DC Studios co-head James Gunn who has boldly promised an aesthetic completely different for the character. Fans eager for a visually distinct interpretation of the Last Son of Krypton will definitely want to check out the new My Adventures with Superman animated series. This clearly shonen anime-inspired show follows a twenty-something Clark Kent (voiced by Jack Quaid) as he builds his secret superhero identity as well as a career at the Daily Planet joined by his friends and fellow interns Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

Ahead of the premiere of My Adventures of Superman, we had the chance to interview some of the cast and crew including voice actors Alice Lee (Lois Lane) and Ishmel Sahid (Jimmy Olsen) as well as executive producers Jake Wyatt, Brendan Clogher, and Josie Campbell.

Taimur Dar: You’re both well-established actors but this is your first major animation voiceover project. What did the casting and audition process entail for each of you?

Ishmel Sahid: I think I read for this during quarantine. They sent me the sides and I did my best version of how I saw the character. I recorded myself at home and then a couple of weeks later they wanted to do a voice callback. They gave me notes and I did it again. I didn’t hear back from them, so I figured I didn’t get it. [Laughs]. Then I heard back from them, and they said I got the role of Jimmy. I was surprised but also excited.

Alice Lee: This was also one of my first voiceover auditions. Obviously, it was Superman and it was Lois Lane so it just stood out and I had to try this. I did the best version that I thought was Lois and sent it in. Weeks later I got a callback and didn’t hear anything. Then I got the phone call, and they said I got it. And I was like, “Oh, cool!”  

My Adventures with SupermanDar: In a perfect world, voice actors would be able to record together but that’s not usually the case, especially with actors like yourselves who also do on-camera work. Did you record individually, or did you get to record together at any point?  

Sahid: We didn’t record together at all. I was in a little recording booth and you have the sound engineer on one side. But we also have the producers and writers via Zoom so we could see each other. As I would read the lines, they would give me notes and they would direct me on how to go about the scenes. We were very much by ourselves and couldn’t act off of each other. But we would act off each other’s voices depending who recorded first. That was very helpful. I think later on they had animated some parts of the show so we got to see it and it gave us an idea of how these characters would look.    

Lee: It’s so cool the fact that we weren’t in the same room but it seems like we were. I once passed Jack [Quaid] and we said hi. But we didn’t record together. What’s cool about voiceover is because we’re also actors and work in different locations and cities, the fact that we could it from wherever we were was awesome.  

Dar: Gene Vassilaros, the voice director for My Adventures with Superman, is well established in the industry, having come from casting at Nickelodeon animation before transitioning into voice directing. How was the experience working with him?   

Sahid: He was awesome. There were times I would be very big or pitch my voice up and he would say, “Let’s pitch it down” or “This is a more sensitive and dramatic scene so let’s ground it and be a little bit more real.” He was very instrumental for me to get this character especially when I struggled on certain lines or how to go about it. He was very dope.

Lee: Same. Gene was awesome. I trusted him implicitly. He knew what he was doing. He’s smart and he made me feel comfortable. We were so lucky to have him.   

Dar: Finally, what is your dream superhero role to play either in animation or even live-action?

Sahid: If they make a live-action version of our show, I would love to play Jimmy Olsen.

Lee: What an answer!

Sahid: I would make them give me superpowers. [Laughs].

Lee: I’m going to follow Ishmel! If they would do this live-action, 1000% Lois Lane. And it would be cool to see an Agent Lois Lane!

My Adventures with SupermanDar: It goes without saying that this My Adventures with Superman animated series is anime inspired. I think fans will be really surprised by some of the clever reinterpretations, for instance making most of the origins of the villains based around technology. What went into these reinterpretations both visually and story-wise?

Brendan Clogher: We really wanted to do a version of the show that leaned into the science fiction of it all. Way back when Superman was first made, he was a science fiction character. We wanted to hearken back to that and ground the start of our story in Metropolis with terrestrial villains. Everything coming into our show early on feels closer to home to all the main characters.

Jake Wyatt: Brendan namechecked Metal Gear a lot

Clogher: That was definitely a big influence on some of our villains. We like video games and anime as I think you figured out.  

Josie Campbell: Story-wise, everything we did we did for a reason. I can’t talk too much about it otherwise we’re giving away stuff. There are reasons the villains are tied to technology. You’re going to have watch the show to figure out why!

Dar: While we’re on the subject, technology is a major theme throughout the first season of My Adventures with Superman. That really resonates particularly in regard to Silicon Valley. As we’ve seen in the last few years, the heads of these tech companies have revealed themselves to be as duplicitous as actual comic book villains like Lex Luthor. I’m really curious if Silicon Valley informed the show?

Campbell: There’s a villain that’s very “tech guy” influenced. One of the things talked about in the room, and Brendan brought up a lot, is the idea that people who believe that human beings need to be improved or changed versus someone who believes human beings need to be helped. For us, Superman is someone who believes humans need to be helped. They need someone to hold out their hand and say, “Hey, maybe you’ve made a mistake. Let’s go fix it.” A lot of our villains have the mindset that human beings need to be fixed and optimized. We need to be made more perfect or more efficient. Outside of a villain that I think everybody is going to pick up on, it is a lot more do you need to be helped or improved upon? Superman is a hero because he thinks people are good and need to helped.    

Wyatt: I’m going to piggyback on that. We’re going through a moment right now where a lot of corporations and sometimes even our own governments are pursuing technology that seem damaging to human well-being. It’s going to displace or immiserate human beings and a lot of the response that you hear is, “Well, China is doing it too, so we’ve got to do it first.” There’s all this fear motivated reasoning. There’s the contempt for humanity versus the love that Josie talked about, but there are people operating from even a good faith place of fear. If we don’t, someone will. So, we have to. We have to build the bomb. We have to develop AI. We have to do these things or someone worse will do it. We get a little bit of that too from the techno villains.   

Dar: The entire voice cast is phenomenal and is one of the best I’ve seen for an animated show. But one particular actor that really surprised me is Chris Parnell. I don’t want to say too much, except that he’s a villain, so fans can discover for themselves. I’m old enough to have watched Parnell on SNL play characters like Merv the Perv, so I was taken aback at first. It’s not dissimilar to the disbelief when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman, but Parnell truly shines. I’d love to know about that inspired casting.

Wyatt: I’m going to be too transparent! We had a small number of voices per episode so we needed to cast actors who were flexible and could play multiple roles. Initially we had Chris Parnell cast for a double role, one of which was a sympathetic secondary protagonist and another who was a villain. We liked him as both, to be clear. We loved what Chris did for both of them. Eventually we recast the secondary role for executive reasons and kept Chris as the villain. And we’re like, “Great! Perfect!” Like you said, it’s not who you would think [and] he really delivers in the role. We had everybody read for both parts and he killed both parts. He did a really good job and he’s a joy to work with.    

Campbell: It was also funny because we get lists of who’s auditioning before we listen to their takes and his name popped up. But both me and Brendan didn’t believe it was him. [Laughs].  

Wyatt: I came in the next day and said, “Did you guys hear Dr. Spaceman?”

Campbell: Jake’s the one who said, “Don’t be idiots! It’s him!”

Clogher: We were superstar struck by Chris Parnell. We love him.

My Adventures with SupermanDar: The Office was my comfort show during lockdown. But it just dawned on me, especially with this show, that Lois and Clark are basically the Pam and Jim of the DC Universe. How would you characterize their relationship in My Adventures with Superman?  

Campbell: You’re not totally wrong! We pitched this as a rom-com with punching. Honestly, a lot of it was rewatching the ‘70s Superman film with Margot Kidder. Clark has these powers, but Lois is the one pushing him to do things even when she doesn’t know that she is. He wouldn’t be Superman without Lois. And Lois would be locked in a bad guy’s trunk and in a lot of trouble if it wasn’t for Superman. Jimmy is just as equal a part of this equation. The way we see the three of them [is] Jimmy gives Clark the bravery to be Superman and Lois gives him the push to be Superman.

Wyatt: Lois is the Batman in the relationship and in this show! [Batman voice] “They must be punished!”

Campbell: For sure! A hundred percent! I think if Lois had the superpowers this would be a darker show.

Wyatt: They do alternate universes where Lois Lane is dead and Superman is the world dictator. We joked about Clark Kent being dead and Lois being the world dictator!

The first two episodes of My Adventures with Superman premiere Thursday, July 6 on Adult Swim. One new episode will release every Thursday on Adult Swim, next day on Max