INJUSTICE Interview: Edwin Hodge On Moral Complexities Of Mister Terrific & Monstrous Killer Croc (Exclusive)
The Tomorrow War star Edwin Hodge shares his thoughts on playing Mister Terrific (and Killer Croc) in Injustice, taking a deep dive into the crucial role the hero plays in this epic, bloody adventure.
Injustice is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital, and the movie kicks off with an unthinkable tragedy that propels Superman into a dangerous new mindset, ultimately pitting Justice League members against each other in what we can promise you is a epic battle you won't want to miss.
Based on the Injustice: Gods Among Us video game, this animated adaptation from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment primarily pulls from Tom Taylor and Brian Buccellato's critically acclaimed comic book prequels, telling an original story with a lot of iconic moments thrown in for good measure.
Edwin Hodge has a long list of impressive credits to his name, including Chicago Fire, Mayans M.C., The Purge franchise, and Bumblebee. However, he recently broke into the blockbuster realm by taking on a leading role in The Tomorrow War, so it only makes sense that he's now in the DC Universe!
In Injustice, the actor plays both Mister Terrific and Killer Croc, though it's the former that proved to be a particularly thought-provoking role for Hodge. In this interview, the actor breaks down his approach to bringing both characters to life and shares his thoughts on the moral complexities of Batman's disagreement with Superman. Hodge also ponders a potential return to this DC Animated Universe as Mister Terrific and weighs in on those recent reports about The Tomorrow War sequel.
Mister Terrific isn’t a character we’ve seen too much of on screen, so how familiar were you with him and how exciting was it to be able to put your own stamp on this guy?
[Laughs] I definitely wasn’t familiar with the character or the totality of who he was. Had I seen him in some of the cartoons? Sure, but I never really understood or knew his backstory. As I did learn about who this superhero was, I started to question, ‘Why don’t we see more of this guy?’ Learning who he was and his history of how he became Mister Terrific, I realised that it is an interesting story and I’d like to see more of him.
The debate between Superman and Mister Terrific about gun control is so fascinating to watch as a viewer, but as an actor, what is it like to get material like that to work with?
That was the really cool thing about Injustice. It touches on a lot of topics, politically. We do put it into animation and you pay attention to it a little bit differently. That conversation between Mister Terrific and Superman was one of morale. How far can we actually go before we go too far? How many restrictions are we going to place on people as we condemn them in the most extreme way? It gets to the point where we do take away people’s freedom and their rights to choose. It’s a very compelling story and to wrap it up in an animation, we get to tap into the minds of children, but also the fanatics who are 30, 40, 50 years old who have been fans of these superheroes and DC in general all of their lives.
Of course, you’re also getting to play Killer Croc here, so how much fun was it to step into the role of that iconic Batman villain?
It was pretty cool! That kind of happened on the sly in the studio. I was in the midst of doing Mister Terrific and a couple of the background characters like the cops and whatnot and our director was like, ‘Hey, you want to try doing Killer Croc?’ I knew exactly who Killer Croc was so I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll definitely do that!’ Also, to play a superhero and supervillain in one project, that’s another staple. It’s cool, man. To go from someone who is more morally grounded than most people to a rabid criminal…it’s nice to do that sort of duality in a superhero project.
There’s quite a bit of physicality involved with both Mister Terrific and Killer Croc, so what was it like for you in that recording booth having to act those fight scenes out on your own, I’m assuming?
I’ve been doing voiceovers ever since I was a kid and, for me, my voice is an extension of my physical being. When it comes to voiceover work, yes, we’re using our voices, but we’re using every part of our body to bring these characters to life. When I’m acting in front of the camera fighting aliens and so forth, it’s the same thing. I’m not really looking at anything, I’m just reacting and interacting, using my mind. It’s the same thing in the voiceover studio. You make these different hand gestures and moves and you throw yourself into it to make it sound believable and real. For me, it comes second nature.
On another note, it’s been reported that you’ll be among those returning for The Tomorrow War sequel and time-travel does lend itself to all sorts of craziness, so is that franchise one you’re excited to return to?
It’s still early days on my end. You know, if everything does come to fruition, I definitely would be excited to go back. I think The Tomorrow War stood out on its own as an alien sci-fi film and I thought audiences, as far as the comments and so forth were concerned, did love it and appreciate it. It would be amazing to come back for a second film and reprise my character of Dorian.
It’s such a great film and role, so I can imagine it was great for you to see it receive such a warm response and break those viewing records, especially when it came out at a time there was so much uncertainty with theaters and when movies so often get lost on streaming?
It did and it does feel great. We hope, when we’re filming these projects, that we’re able to reach the masses and when it does, that it’s received well. From the start of this project, it was an adventure and it was fun. The cast and crew were amazing. They made the process of filming highly enjoyable and made it so that I would love to come back for a second film [Laughs]. The success of films today is a lot different to what it was two years ago, three years ago, or even five years ago. To be able to still hit a marquee market during the summer and have this popular film, it definitely feels like an accomplishment.
There’s still so much ground this Injustice franchise can cover and lots that can be done with Mister Terrific in and away from that; are you interested in reprising the role either in a sequel or spinoff?
Yeah, there’s definitely always more to be done [Laughs]. That’s the really, really cool thing about the superhero universe. There are infinite possibilities and stories to be told, so I would like to further explore Mister Terrific, even if it is just his voice and bringing his story and his truth to the masses. It would be highly incorrigible in my world, so if it is possible I could come back as Mister Terrific, I would definitely do so.
Are there any other characters in this DC Universe you’d enjoy taking a shot at down the line?
You know what, being introduced to Mister Terrific has really put me in the mind frame of concentrating on this guy’s story that nobody has really told before. As far as other characters are concerned, whatever they want to throw my way, I’m down for whatever! I love playing villains now. That’s probably the most fun [Laughs] with all the energy and physical activities I had to do in the studio. Voiceover in general is an amazing and fun process if you have the right people behind you and in charge, so any way I can get creative, I’d love to do that.
Having now seen the finished film, were you surprised by the level of brutality, especially when these are such iconic superhero characters?
Yeah, I’m not going to lie, I was definitely surprised by how violent it got [Laughs]. The scene with Superman and The Joker really had an ‘Oh, shit!’ reaction from me. That was the good thing about this film. It kept it as real as you could with animation. We used real imagery and emotions that any of us would be likely to exert in certain situations. You know, with Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman, we’re able to take it to another level. You really do see the passion and the love come out in very violent ways and it is the truth of the world today. I was reading some reports about cop killings and girlfriends and it’s like, ‘Wow, this stuff does happen.’ There’s a sense of passion and love that does turn someone violent if they’re pushed to that level. It’s nice to get this dirtier, grittier ‘cartoon’ with such a highly engrossing topic as far as what Superman and Batman are battling personally and internally. We play on morals and the moral groundings of who we are as a civilization, who we are as people, and how we interact with each other. I thought the film was put together in a very accurate and precise way.
Over the course of the film, we see Mister Terrific on both sides of the argument between Batman and Superman, and we see them both do a lot of right and wrong, but where did you find yourself leaning in the conflict between these two characters?
I do believe there is a right and wrong, but also believe your understanding of what is right and wrong from person to person. Trying to understand and find that common ground where you can accept someone’s opinion which you think is wrong…that’s something a lot of people can’t get past. Once again, the conflict is, who are we as people and a civilization that’s supposed to help each other thrive and push each other forward? We find ourselves in this constant battle of good and bad, right and wrong. Whether it comes to race wars, gender wars, ageist wars, we’ve been put in a place where all we do is fight. There are people out there who thrive off that and absolutely love it. They love the discourse and the chaos because, for whatever reason, it speaks to their ideology. Then you have those out there who are simply saying, ‘Hey, can we just stop, take a breath, realise what’s going on, and figure it out?’
I look at crime in America and, for me, I can almost identify with a mother who may have killed a man who raped her daughter. If someone does that to your family member, it will drive you to a point where that’s not even a thought. It’s just something that needs to be done. Is she wrong for taking that man’s life? Yeah, a lot of people would say so, but then again, if you were in that position, found yourself in that moment and snapped, you can’t really have an opinion about that. You just can’t. That’s the way I feel about it. Is she right or wrong? We’d have to leave that up to your opinion, but we do the most interesting and damning things in the name of love sometimes. We don’t have to accept it, but we have to understand it.
I know you don’t necessarily get to work with your fellow actors on projects like this one, but who did you most enjoy seeing Mister Terrific interact with over the course of this story?
I definitely wasn’t able to interact with anyone personally in the process of making this film, but overall, my interaction with Superman is pretty key and a key part of Superman’s decision making in the film. I really did just love the film. I can’t even speak solely on Mister Terrific. From the animation to the graphics to the storyline to the relevant points being made, it was just a job well done.
I have to say, I really enjoyed Mister Terrific’s interactions with Plastic Man at the end of the film, especially as your character is reeling off all this scientific information and he’s just there cracking jokes.
Oh, yeah…there’s gotta be a little levity to these guys! [Laughs]
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