JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II Interview: Chris Diamantopoulos On How He Crafted The Perfect Steve Trevor

JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II Interview: Chris Diamantopoulos On How He Crafted The Perfect Steve Trevor

Talking to us about his role as Steve Trevor in Justice Society: World War II, actor Chris Diamantopoulos opens up on the work that went into creating a pitch-perfect take on Steve Trevor. Check it out...

Justice Society: World War II arrives on streaming platforms on April 27th, 2021, and hits 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray on May 11th, 2021. This next entry in the DC Animated Universe sees The Flash thrust into the midst of an epic battle between Golden Age DC Super Heroes the Justice Society and Nazis for an adventure that definitely doesn't play out the way you might be expecting. 

Picking up with Barry Allen in the present day, prior to the formation of the Justice League, the Scarlet Speedster discovers he can run even faster than he imagined, and that milestone results in his first encounter with the Speed Force. Arriving in WWII, he finds himself joining forces with a Golden Age team made up of Wonder Woman, Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Steve Trevor, and Jay Garrick.

Silicon Valley alum Chris Diamantopoulos lends his voice to Steve and does an incredible job bringing the fan-favourite soldier to life on screen. The actor is no stranger to the DC Universe, after previously playing Green Arrow in a number of projects (he also stole the show as Aquaman in HBO Max's Harley Quinn). However, with this role, Diamantopoulos knocks it out of the park. 

While we recently shared Chris' comments on playing Mickey Mouse, he talks in detail here about playing the hero, the work that went into finding Steve's voice and playing a hero who is quite literally a man among God-like beings. Diamantopoulos also looks to the future and weighs in on where he could potentially take the character following the events of Justice Society: World War II.
 

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I love the movie and thought your Steve Trevor was fantastic. I was wondering, after voicing characters like Green Arrow and Aquaman, what was it about Steve Trevor that excited you as an actor? 

First of all, thank you so much for the kind words. And thanks for watching the film. I thought they did a spectacular job and that it was just right. Well, I’ll tell you what, man; as a little boy, I always wanted to be an actor because I wanted to be Robin Hood swinging in on a vine to save the day or to be a hero doing this or that! You realise as you grow up that it’s hard to pick the roles you’re going to get, and also sometimes, maybe the hero isn’t the most exciting role to play.

When this came across my desk, I jumped at the opportunity, mainly because I love the idea of the 1940s era and what Steve embodies with regards to that. His sense of duty and a real, stable moral compass. Despite being from that era, he’s not a product of it and is able to see beyond the limitations of the era and recognising the quality in the people around him, particularly Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. He recognises he is by far a #2 and he can exalt in the fact he has so much to learn from her and recognises that she’s the one who will do what needs to be done. He’s there to support her. I think that’s beautiful. The other main reason I jumped at this was, as you said, in the DC Universe, I also voiced Green Arrow, and I did that for Butch [Lukic] and Wes [Gleason]. I had such a great time working with them and felt I was in such good hands with them that I just wanted to jump on board. I had a really great time doing this. 

Despite being surrounded by these larger than life heroes, Steve manages to hold his own; how do you think it affects him being a man among, I guess you could say, Gods? 

It’s fascinating. My son is ten years old and a really big comic book fan. We talk all the time about this notion of powers. ‘What would you do if you had powers?’ What I love about the discussion that’s been happening in our society over the last four or five years is how much power we actually have without any extra superheroism thrown in. I feel like one of the things Steve brings is that we can learn from a time gone by is that if you’re clear on what’s right in your heart and head, and truly do the right thing, that’s as much power as any of these Gods or immortals and superheroic beings have. I feel like while he’s thrilled by what they can do, in the 40s, there was this idea of, ‘Keep your head down, do the work, and just get it done with no grumbling and complaining.’ I think we, as a society, have lost some of that. We’re so busy looking around at what everyone has, we’ve stopped realising we’ve got plenty. All of us have so much and if we just focused on doing the right thing and what we already have, we’d be a-okay not just personally, but also as a society. I feel that he marvels at them and is blown away by them, but in the same token, he stays in his lane, and in the film, even when these superheroic beings express some doubt, because of his resolve and who he is, he’s able to carry on and rally the charge. 

What is your take on why Wonder Woman keeps turning Steve down when he proposes, particularly with how he's clearly just not willing to give up? 

First of all, I think it’s so charming the way they’ve done it. They’ve really woven it together like an old Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr movie. There’s something so beautiful about it. C’mon, who can blame him for continuously proposing? Not only is it Diana, but the way Stana plays her...you’re just under her spell. I don’t know if you know how these things go, but we don’t see each other when we’re recording these. Stana was somewhere else in a black voiceover booth, and I was, on another day, someplace else. It’s a testament to Wes and Butch, who direct us, to be able to give these performances and add these nuances before they edit them together and you see this beautiful, wonderful witty banter between the two of them. I think it’s a beautiful love story, and I only met Stana [Katic] on the panel we did recently, but boy oh boy, am I a fan. I think the world of her and what she did here. I was just blown away. 
 

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In terms of finding Steve's voice, you've mentioned working with Wes and Butch, but what did the process involve, and were there any actors or characters who inspired you in any way?

What a great question. Thanks for being so detailed about this and taking it so seriously. I love working with my voice and I love cataloguing characters that I create. I got into this business to stretch myself and find different facets of my voice I could subscribe to each character. You mentioned Aquaman, and I mentioned Green Arrow, but with Steve Trevor, these are three characters in the DC Universe voiced by me and have many of my vocal qualities. I wanted just some subtle idiosyncratic differences and Wes and Butch were keen to allow me to explore that.

For Steve, the key was the era. I’ve always been a fan of the 30s and 40s, and I’m a huge Cary Grant/Humphrey Bogart fan, so there was kind of a melding of me, Bogart, and Grant. Bogart in the tough moments, Grant in the witty, romantic moments, and me lacing it through. There’s a tempo and cadence to the way they spoke back then that I just absolutely adore and I still wish we spoke that way [Laughs]. When I’m doing something like Oliver Queen or Aquaman...with Aquaman, the direction there was very, very specific because obviously, 'Harley Quinn' is a heightened show, so that was fun. With Oliver Queen, there’s this notion of this rakishness and devil may care aspect to him because of his immense wealth and complete lack of worry for himself. He’s this guy who flies by the seat of his pants regarding how he fights crime even though he doesn’t have any superpowers. It was fun finding that 40s cadence for Steve Trevor and Wes and Butch were totally game. It’s me, but you just hear enough of that era lilt so I can catalogue that as, ‘So, there, that’s Steve Trevor.’

This film takes place in a different timeline, and we know that in other stories, Steve exists in the present day alongside Wonder Woman. Would exploring that version of Steve, or even this one in the present, interest you?

Oh, I’d love that. Certainly because of the players involved, if Stana is involved, just sign me up. If Wes and Butch are involved, sign me up. Aside from that, just looking at the character, I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to show evolution. Much like Captain America, the notion of plucking a figure from another era into a future era is loaded with an opportunity for pathos, but also humour and evolution. I love that. The best characters to play are the ones that can start at point ‘A’ and that be an interesting place, but it’s nowhere near how interesting they’ll be by the time they get to ‘B.’ 

Also Read: JSA: WWII Director Jeff Wamester Explains His Fresh Take On The Golden Age Team
Also Read: Matt Bomer On Playing The Flash, How It Compares To Superman, & More
Also Read: Elysia Rotaru On Her Badass Black Canary And Why She Loves She-Hulk
Also Read: Liam McIntyre On Getting To Play A Badass, Very Different Aquaman
Also Read: Armen Taylor On His Personal Connection To Jay Garrick And The JSA
Also Read: Omid Abtahi On Bringing Diversity And More Than Muscle To Hawkman
Also Read: Co-Writer Jeremy Adams On Adding The Flash To The World Of The JSA
Also Read: Matthew Mercer On Helping Hourman Shine In A Group Of God-Like Heroes
Also Read: Co-Writer Meghan Fitzmartin On The Film's Incredible Roster Of Heroes
 

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