Actor Edwin Hodge has appeared in a number of high-profile projects over the course of his career including the highly successful Purge film franchise and most recently the science-fiction action film The Tomorrow War. As an actor who wears his love of pop culture, particularly video games, on his sleeve you can only the excitement Hodge when he was cast as the voice of the DC Comics superhero Mister Terrific in the new Injustice animated film based on the acclaimed video game franchise.
Like the general public, Hodge openly admits he didn’t have a deep connection with Mister Terrific before landing the role but all that changed after voicing the character. The Beat had the chance to chat with Hodge about why voicing Mister Terrific meant so much to him, his experience in voiceover, and much more
Taimur Dar: As someone who grew up in the 90s I’m curious if watching superhero cartoons, particularly the DC Comics superhero shows, was part of your childhood?
Edwin Hodge: Indeed it was! Anything superhero was a part of my childhood. I grew up with Batman and the Joker and Penguin. Actually, the Joker was my nickname for a while because of my smile! As much as I was a fan of my video games, I think watching these superhero cartoons fueled me. DC was definitely a part of it. Batman was my favorite superhero for a very, very long time. He’s the one I identified with because he’s a regular man torn and ripped by chaos and tragedy and turned it into something beneficial and beautiful to save lives even though there’s this darkness within him.
Dar: You just mentioned you played video games as a kid. So I’m curious if you still play video games and if Injustice was a game you had played or knew about?
Hodge: Yeah, I do play video games every day. I probably shouldn’t. [Laughs]. I did play Injustice. I was thoroughly impressed by the game, the story, and the graphics. To find out I would be able to be a part of the film based on it was an honor. I love my video games!
Dar: Mister Terrific is a superhero who’s appeared in animation and live-action in the past but I think it’s safe to say the average person on the street doesn’t know anything about him. Did you have any knowledge about Mister Terrific before landing this role?
Hodge: No, I didn’t. I didn’t really know his backstory. He was a recognizable face because I had seen him in the cartoons and so forth. But I did not have a true grounding of who he was. I did dive into his history. I really was questioning why we hadn’t seen more of Mister Terrific. He seems to be a crucial part of the Justice Society [when I was] learning about his life and family and how smart he was. I just think he’s a brilliant character whose story needs to be told a little more. It intrigued me to the point where if I did have the opportunity I would love to tell more of his life.
Dar: Speaking of which, while watching Injustice I forgot that losing his wife and unborn child is part of Mister Terrific’s origin. After speaking with the filmmakers, it dawned on me that it parallels what happens to Superman losing Lois and his unborn child. It’s not explored extensively in the film but I wanted to know if that aspect of Mister Terrific’s backstory informed your performance?
Hodge: It definitely informed my performance. Mister Terrific is dealing with someone who essentially shares his pain. He could identify with Superman’s pain but at the same time, he also knew the moral barriers that were being broken by Superman’s actions. Mister Terrific is a man who experienced loss in a way that no man should yet still he was able to find some ways to pick himself back up and fight the good fight. I think he saw a lot of himself in Superman. I think that conversation with the chess game is a conversation of one’s moral integrity. You’ve got to step out of that shell and look at everyone as human beings.
Dar: You also have a small additional role as Killer Croc. I think he only has one line so I’m curious how you also ended up voicing him? Was it simply happenstance in the booth realizing you could pull it off or something else?
Hodge: Yeah [that’s] pretty much how it happened. I was voicing Mister Terrific and the director [Wes Gleason] was like, “Would you like to try this?” Play a supervillain and a hero in the same movie? Why not! I’m a fan of Killer Croc. That’s definitely one of the villains I grew up with. Him and the Riddler. It was an honor to play him. I jumped at it. It fulfilled a childhood fantasy of mine to be able to voice a superhero and villain.
Dar: You’ve done some voiceover before but I think this is your first or at least your biggest animation project. How does voiceover work compare to on-camera work?
Hodge: [On-camera work] is structurally a lot different. I love doing voice work. It’s something I don’t do often. It’s just another means of being creative using my creative muscle to present works of what I feel is art to the masses. I love doing voice work because you really do have the ability to play and just create once you get into a certain mood and acclimate yourself to the character. Whereas doing film or TV, things are just always moving and changing. Animation you’re allowed to sit and play. I would not take one over the other, that’s for sure. I definitely would love to do some more animation.
Dar: In that vein, is there any other DC Comics superhero role you’d love to voice in a future project?
Hodge: To be honest with you, I’d really like a chance to expand on Mister Terrific. He is someone who is just fascinating to me and again someone who I feel doesn’t get the exposure. If there’s an opportunity to expand on him that’s where I’d want to be.
Injustice is available now on Digital, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD