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Voicing Vixen: An Interview with Megalyn Echikunwoke

Voicing Vixen: An Interview with Megalyn Echikunwoke

By Tim Beedle Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

The fourth episode of Vixen, the animated digital series set within the Arrow and Flash TV universe, debuts today on CW Seed. It’s arguably the best episode yet, finding our wildlife-fueled hero being put to her first real test as she attempts to escape from the Flash and Arrow (voiced by guest stars Grant Gustin and Stephen Amell). The pace of the episode is relentless and the confrontation is a pretty spectacular set piece that gives us the first real glimmer of the potential Vixen has as a hero in this already rich world. If you’re anything like us, it’ll leave you itching for the next episode. But since that’s still a week away, we thought we’d fill some of that time by talking Vixen with the gifted actress behind the animated hero—Megalyn Echikunwoke.



 

So how familiar were you with the character of Vixen prior to getting involved with the show?

Megalyn Echikunwoke: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t too familiar with her. I think I was vaguely familiar with the fact that there was this cool, black comic book character. I wasn’t familiar with what world she was a part of.

But now, I just can’t believe it. It’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I had no idea at the time of what I was getting into. I had never done anything that involved me being a part of a comic book. I’ve done sci-fi stuff before, but connecting with comic book fans is a whole other level. It’s a whole other world of fandom. It’s really exciting for me.

One of the things that I’ve always liked about the character is how she has a tough exterior, but she’s a hero at heart. Is that a quality you can relate to or admire?

Yeah, it’s just so funny how the world works and that I was asked to be a part of this because…  This is probably going to sound weird, but I actually fantasize about being a hero and have for a long time. So when I started thinking about Vixen, it really felt right and made sense because I do sometimes live in this fantasy world where I am a hero and I help people. I do feel like sometimes just in my regular life, I am called upon to be the strong one and the heroic one. Especially in my own family and to a lot of my friends, I’m definitely the one who helps out and comes in and saves the day. So yeah, I guess I do relate to her in that way.

Well, hopefully that common ground doesn’t extend to actually getting yourself in jail like she does…

I would do it!

How important is it to you that you’re playing both a female hero and a hero of color?

It’s extremely important to me and I’m honored. I’m extremely honored that I get to be one of the first ones. I think that the fans and the DC community, at least as far as I can tell, are really excited and hungry for this character. There are a lot of female fans, an overwhelming amount, and a lot of female fans of color who deserve a comic book character that they can also relate to. Someone that they see themselves in. So I really am honored that people think that I’m the right person to play her and that the reaction to me being Vixen has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s really exciting for what’s to come. I just hope that I can honor the fans in my portrayal.
 


Today’s new episode has you going head to head with the Flash and Arrow. It’s a really action-heavy episode. Were you glad you didn’t have to do all that blocking and stuntwork yourself?

No, I’m not glad that I didn’t have to do it. I’m a very physical and action-oriented actor and person in general. I do every kind of exercise that I can think of that appeals to me—I do yoga, I dance, I swim, I run, I even started doing acro-yoga. All of this stuff is something that I’ve always wanted to bring to my acting. To play an action hero is a dream of mine. So no, I’m sad that I don’t get to do that. I’m not happy! I want to do that, that’s what I do!

Doing the voice is also amazing, though. My boyfriend always says that 80% of acting is how you use your voice. I think that’s true. The fact that I get to be Mari’s voice is a huge honor, but I also hope that someday I’ll be able to do all the live action stuff as well.

Well, I think you may have just answered my next question, but I’m going to ask it anyway. How ready are you to see Vixen brought to live action life? Are you hoping we’ll see the character on The Flash or Arrow?

I’m hoping that she’ll come to live action in some capacity. Listen, ideally she’d have her own movie. Or they’d bring her to the Justice League movie—it would be so exciting to see her in that space. Yes, I’m very ready to see her in live action, mostly because it seems like the fans are so ready. All of the questions I get from fans who interact with me are about when she’s coming to live action. “When will we see her in live action? Is she coming to Legends? Will she be on Arrow or The Flash? Are you going to portray her when she’s live action?”

I don’t have the answers to all of that. It’s based on many things that are out of my control. But yeah, I’m ready and I think the fans are definitely ready.

Vixen can take on attributes of any animal, but if you could take on the qualities of one, what would it be?

I should have thought of a clever answer to this by now, but I haven’t. There are so many of them that I love. This might seem lame, but I really do love horses. I feel like they’re very special animals. Does that sound lame?

No, not at all!

Horses to me are many things at once. They’re extremely powerful, but they’re also very graceful and so beautiful.

I think it’s a great choice. So is there an animal you’d avoid? One that, if you were Vixen, you absolutely would not want to use?

Do spiders count? Can Vixen be a spider?

I think she can!

But being able to take on the attributes of a spider would actually be good…

Definitely. Look at Spider-Man.

Yeah, so I guess spiders are useful…

Oh, a mosquito! I would never want to be a mosquito.

I’m not even sure how that would work! Would you go around sucking people’s blood?

If there’s Spider-Man, then there could be a Mosquito Man.

But he’d be creepy. He’d be a villain!

Mosquitos! Oh god, I hate mosquitos! They’re foul, foul creatures.


New episodes of Vixen debut Tuesdays on CW Seed. Click here to check out today’s new episode, featuring the voice work of Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin and Emily Bett Rickards. Also, be sure to check out Megalyn on last week’s episode of DC All Access.