INJUSTICE Interview: Yuri Lowenthal On Balancing Three Roles As Mirror Master, Flash, And Shazam (Exclusive)

Yuri Lowenthal (Spider-Man) talks to us about his three roles in Injustice, explaining why it's always more fun to play a bad guy and sharing his hopes for future roles in the DC Animated Universe...

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Injustice will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on October 19, 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 brutal, bloody battle. 

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.

Yuri Lowenthal is one of the most prolific actors working today and we're sure you'll know him for his spectacular work as Peter Parker in Sony's Spider-Man video games. There's so much more to the actor than just the wall-crawler, though, and he proves that with not one, not two, but three extremely memorable roles in Injustice as Mirror Master, Flash, and Shazam (along with a couple more).

In this interview, the actor talks to us about his approach to each of them, confirming that, yes, it's more fun to play a bad guy. He also discusses getting one over on Superman as the villainous Mirror Master, getting to play in the DC Universe after spending so much time as Spider-Man, and the characters he'd like to take a crack at in this animated universe in the not too distant future. 

Yuri is clearly a fan of this world and we're sure you'll love his work in this action-packed blockbuster!

Without looking at the credits, I don’t think people would realise you voice The Flash, Shazam, and Mirror Master here; how did you go about approaching each of those characters and their voices?

It was a team effort for sure working with the dialogue director, Wes Gleason. I came in and they had already slated me for these three characters and we had to find voices that were separate so they would stand apart. Luckily, I’m a bit of a comic book nerd and they didn’t have to explain why any of these characters were going into it [Laughs] so that was out of the way! We just had to find ways to distinguish them. The Flash lives in my own natural range. I don’t know that I did much beyond younging him up a little bit. Shazam, also a very iconic and specific voice. The one we spent the most time on was the one I had the most dialogue: Mirror Master. That was fun because while I associate a certain kind of voice with those other two characters, I honestly could not remember ever having heard Mirror Master speak in anything. It was fun for me to work with Wes to find that voice. That was one we took a little more time on and I’m glad we got there.

Actors always seem to say that playing villains is more fun, so would you say that was the case with Mirror Master? I felt like this was definitely a version of the character with some swagger…

He does! And you’re correct [Laughs]. I think most actors would play villains all the time if they could. I think it’s because it allows us to act out in a way we would never get away with in real life. That swagger was definitely something Wes said was important with this guy. It ended up being doubly important because you see the opposite of that too. When he’s in that power position, he’s got a lot of swagger, and as soon as that’s taken away from him, you can tell he’s a coward. That was fun. 

When you’re talking about characters like Batman and The Joker, fans immediately think about actors like Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, but characters like The Flash and Shazam don’t necessarily have that definitive voice actor associated with them; does that take the pressure off as you’re not living up to any specific expectations? 

Yes, I do think it’s easier to step into though, although I do always hear Michael Rosenbaum in my head for The Flash! Batman has a very specific voice and so does The Joker, but every actor who has played those roles has found their own take on them. There are definitely elements you see in all of them because of the characters, but with The Flash, I did feel less pressure, for sure. 

You’ve done a lot of DC voiceover roles in the past, but having spent recent years so entrenched in that Marvel Universe with Spider-Man, how much did you enjoy getting to take a deep dive into this DC Universe? 

Yes! I am an equal opportunity comic book nerd and grew up with all of these characters. It was really nice to come home and get to try on a bunch of new tights as it were [Laughs].

Going back to Mirror Master, as you said, we do see he’s more coward than confident, but in that scene with Superman, you are playing a character who has outsmarted and defeated the Man of Steel. That’s got to be fun, right?

It is because who messes with Superman? Only the biggest bads mess with Superman, so it felt good to be up there with that list. Mirror Master thinks he’s put one over on Superman, but he can’t put one over on Wonder Woman. And Raven, I guess [Laughs].

With the Injustice comic books and games, there’s a huge subplot with Shazam and magic superheroes entering the fray and he has a really interesting storyline with Superman; is that something you’re hoping to potentially delve into should a sequel happen?

I would love to. As I said, I’m an equal opportunity nerd and this is as much as I’ve gotten to play Shazam and it was just a taste, so I’d love to do more. I do love how you mention the distinction - I hadn’t read the comics or played the game - of magical superheroes versus superpowered superheroes. That is something that doesn’t always come up, so it was cool to get to honour that phrase or line. 

Now, I have to ask: we recently got that amazing teaser for Spider-Man 2, and while I know you won’t be able to say much, how excited are you for Spidey to square off with Tony Todd’s Venom? He’s such a legend in the horror world. 

Yes, I’m over the moon. I’m over the moon to be back playing Spider-Man again and it’s a dream come true that this is my job. Tony, I’ve worked with once before, and he is an absolute dream, a gentleman, and an all-around cool guy. I cannot wait to get into trouble with him! 

It must have been amazing to see the response to the teaser? Between the hints about Kraven, the Venom reveal, and those changes to the costume, there was a lot for fans to get excited about.

I knew they wanted to hear something. Anything. And while we can’t really tell them anything, they at least wanted to know that the game is coming [Laughs]. I hoped they would be as happy as they were and that the response would be positive, but all I can say is just know that I’m as excited as you about that!

You are the Spider-Man voice for many people right now, but when you come on to a project to play characters who are just as iconic like The Flash and Shazam, is it part of the fun to be able to not just be associated with Spider-Man and get to play a few other superheroes?

Yes, as I said, I’m a comic book nerd from way back and this is my greatest joy. Whenever I get on a project like this, I have this imaginary checklist and I’m saying, ‘Okay, Mirror Master? Check. Shazam? Check.’ I’m checking off the iconic heroes I grew up with and while I’m not credited because they don’t have actual dialogue, I also technically, in Injustice, play Atom when he screams inside Superman’s brain as he’s destroyed as well as Deathstroke in the Arkham Asylum brawl [Laughs]. So, I really racked up a lot in this one. 

That’s amazing. Both of those characters, particularly Atom, do have memorable roles in the film, so it’s crazy people aren’t going to necessarily know that you’re playing them. 

Honestly, I had forgotten [Laughs] that I had done them until I was watching the film a couple of days ago! I went, ‘Oh wait, that sounds familiar!’

Having now seen the finished film, were you surprised by how brutal things get? Obviously, The Flash is part of one of those moments, so that must have been crazy? 

Yeah, I knew all this stuff was going to happen, but it was still pretty brutal to see it all play out. I mean, I’m down for a Green Arrow/Harley Quinn spinoff. They’re the best buddy cop team…or good cop/bad cop team…or good cop/crazy team that I’ve ever seen. 

You’ve done so many great DC characters at this point, but do you think you would like to take a shot at characters like Batman and Superman despite the expectations that come with them?

Always. I will tell you, I always audition for those roles when they come up. Sometimes, I get them and sometimes I don’t, but I will always want to do those kinds of roles. 100%. 

This film is so different to other DC projects, but in terms of the future, I know you’re a fan, so are there any dream storylines or characters you’d like to be part of or is just one job at a time?

It’s one job at a time, for sure. I’ll keep auditioning and playing as many DC characters as I have the opportunity to do. I still haven’t done all the Robins. I’ve done many of them, but not all yet [Laughs]. I’ll keep taking a crack at those and I’ll always audition for the Batman and The Joker when those come up. Obviously, I love a lot of smaller characters. From Mister Miracle who I got to play once briefly on Batman: The Brave and The Bold. I’d love to go back to that. There are so many. We could be here all day. I’d get down to the demon Etrigan. We’d go super deep and who’s got the time for that? 

ALSO READ: Producer Rick Morales On Superman Breaking Bad And Adapting The Comics
ALSO READ: Director Matt Peters Talks His Superman Fandom And The Movie's Epic Cast 

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